Malaysia's Anwar announces new opposition coalition

Jailed opposition leader urges Malaysians to come together to save country as he plans to form new coalition with progressive groups

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Imprisoned former Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has announced that a new opposition coalition will be formed soon, after the former People's Pact went defunct due to internal bickering.

The new coalition would work together with all progressive forces, including non-governmental organizations, Ibrahim said in a media statement released by his lawyers Wednesday.

"This coming together of a wide range of groups committed to reform and change will offer a genuine democratic and just alternative to the rakyat [people],” he said in the message. “Let us all put aside all other considerations and differences, and focus upon this great struggle to save Malaysia.”

The new opposition pact will replace the People's Pact, which fell apart after the Democratic Action Party and Malaysian Islamic Party had differences of opinions in the implementation of hudud -- or Islamic penal code -- in Malaysia.

Ibrahim, 67, said the new opposition pact would bring together all Malaysians, in an effort to save the country from the current financial and economic crisis.

The opposition has been led by his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail since Ibrahim was sentenced to five years jail in February for sodomizing his former aide -- a case his supporters consider politically motivated and aimed at stopping him standing in the 2018 general election.

Ismail, 62, had confirmed the three-party pact’s split last month, saying it could no longer function formally as the two quarrelling parties had rushed into trashing each other publically.

Ibrahim's People Justice Party -- where Ismail serves as president – had been seen as the middleman during the process, with Ibrahim asking the three parties to remain calm and work together.

Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister, also expressed concern Wednesday about the state of Malaysia, which he described as going through a "worsening crisis" due to corruption and financial scandals as well as a plummeting ringgit.

The country has been in the global limelight due to recent corruption allegations revolving around debt-ridden state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Razak has been accused of swindling $700 million of 1MDB funds into his personal accounts to be utilized during the last March 2013 general election.

The crisis is said to be a major factor behind the fall of ringgit, which slumped to a 16-year low of RM3.80 to $1.

Ibrahim has been the main opponent of the ruling party, which has been in power since independence in 1957, since falling out with the government in the late 1990s.

The 2013 general election saw the opposition coalition come close to unseating the government in what Ibrahim dubbed the "worst electoral fraud in our history."

The People's Pact had won 50.87% of the popular vote, but failed to form the government as it failed to get a majority number of parliaments.

TRTWorld and agencies