Anwar: GE14 a win for multiracialism, but Malay fears must be addressed

Anwar described the GE14 movement for change as the 'wisdom of the masses'. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Anwar described the GE14 movement for change as the 'wisdom of the masses'. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — While GE14 is seen as a win for Malaysians who moved past racial lines to vote for change, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has cautioned that the concerns of Malay voters should not be ignored by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

In an interview with Malay Mail after his full royal pardon, Anwar described the election win as a culmination of many factors resulting in a resounding rejection of Barisan Nasional and their policies — the people’s rejection of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the goods and services tax, the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal as well as an end to BN’s race politics.

“What we see from many parts of Malaysia is a push to [move beyond] race politics.

“The election is a major breakthrough for PKR, we won the numbers in multiracial areas, and in some places voters who were not Malay voted for candidates who are Malay,” Anwar explained.

He described the GE14 movement for change as the “wisdom of the masses” and that he was elated when he found out of PH’s win.

“I was elated, like most Malaysians were. I should say even more so, I was jubilant like the rest of the many, many Malaysians who voted for change.

“People tell me that I’m too optimistic, But I feel that Malaysians are great, and it is the wisdom of the masses that decide on the path our country to go on,” he said.

“Everything happened at the right time, but for now we must maintain that momentum and not lose it.”

Anwar said that the PH government must be cautious and address issues of Malay insecurity especially in the Malay heartland states of Kelantan, Terengganu and even Kedah where PAS has managed to limit PH’s presence there.

In the GE14 results, PH won 97 seats in peninsular Malaysia, while BN and PAS respectively won 50 and 18 seats there.

With 24 seats from PH and its ally Parti Warisan Sabah in Sabah and Sarawak and without including independents who later joined it, the coalition won a total of 121 parliamentary seats.

“We still have to deal with the East Coast, we have to be cautious because there is a lot of concern in the Malay belt, in Kelantan, Kedah and Terengganu they still don’t feel comfortable.

“Issues of Chinese encroachment of their rights are being being brought up there,” Anwar explained.

He said that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is well aware of this, and will seek to educate people on PH’s reform plans.

Anwar also asserted that the PH coalition was a much more stable one than its predecessor Pakatan Rakyat, as there is trust and understanding among the coalition parties.

“Unfortunately, in the past Hadi has not been easy [to deal with], and has been wary about this sort of coalition,” Anwar said, referring to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

“But now, the rest are quite comfortable with each other. I don’t feel there is a problem.

“We may differences of opinions and may argue with each other, but at the end of the day we are able to work as a team efficiently,” Anwar said.

Yesterday, the Registrar of Societies approved PH’s registration to be an official political coalition.