Wong Choon Mei
KUALA LUMPUR, March 19: Pakatan Rakyat leaders have poured scorn on a bid by Umno lawmakers to suspend Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim over a statement linking Prime Minister Najib Razak’s prized 1Malaysia slogan with Ehud Barak’s 1Israel electoral alliance.
They said no matter how much his minders tried to cover up, Najib needed to explain why he as a leader of a predominantly Muslim nation had chosen a platform that mimicked the one created by the Zionist politician a decade ago.
“It is clear that Umno-BN has embarked on an all-out war to stop Anwar including this latest attempt to keep him out of Parliament ,” PAS vice president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man told Harakahdaily.
“But no matter what they do, they cannot hide the fact that 1Malaysia is a failed project. The parties in Umno-BN are hardly united and even right now are fighting within themselves. How can they unite to form an effective 'one' government?”
Muslims want to know why
Earlier this week, Anwar told Parliament that Apco Worldwide - an international communications consultancy engaged by Najib - had played a similar advisory role in conceptualizing Ehud’s 1Israel.
The israeli leader is a former premier and the current Defence Minister of his country. He had put together an electoral coalition called One Israel in the run-up to the 1999 Knesset elections.
Both the 1Malaysia and 1Israel platforms have underlying similarities in that they aim to unite various groups through the use of centrist rather than elitist or rightist policies.
“Najib’s advisers are now very worried that this will spread and his 1Malaysia will be linked to 1Israel. And this is a big no-no because Najib himself is a Muslim leader,” PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua told Harakahdaily.
“It is difficult for him to explain why he chose to hire a firm with alleged Zionist links. Apco may deny involvement but Najib still has to convince Malaysian Muslims why he picked 1Malaysia when it is so familiar with 1Israel. Surely, there were more sensible choices.”
Indeed, Apco has since issued a written denial that it was involved in developing either the Malaysian or Israeli platforms.
That paved the way for Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz to immediately threaten referring Anwar to the parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee.
However, Nazri later also said he would put the matter up for the Cabinet to decide before proceeding with the complaint to the House.
“This is a serious allegation. We will have to decide whether action should be taken against Anwar for making a false statement in the House,” Nazri told reporters.
“The accusation was made against the leader of the House (Najib). So of course the accusation against the prime minister will involve the Executive. So, the committee has to decide.”