17 September 2008

16 September: Anwar's Q & A with the press

Q: Who are the MPs concerned and will you reveal them?

Anwar: Questions are raised on who and where are they. We name them now and they get harassed immediately. So I'm telling you now that I will choose to confide in the prime minister.

And if he wants the list I will show the list at the meeting. Until the right opportune moment, we can't declare. We know how the system operates.

One Teresa Kok in detention is enough.

When will you meet Abdullah?

He has not given the time and date. He said he's thinking about it. There is no official reply - I read (about it) in Malaysiakini.

Although, you can't name the MPs who are jumping over, can you at least tell us the majority you have now?

We've a slight majority.

Can you give us the figure?

Of course, it has to be in excess of 31.

So how many are there, for now?

It keeps increasing by the hour... seriously. I'm not joking. This morning, I received a signed note from another member. What do you want to know? You want to know if we have the numbers. We've the numbers!

For now, it is not a major consequence what number it is. The important thing is we are in excess of the required number.

Can you confirm if this includes members of the present government?

There are members of the cabinet - ministers and their deputies. We've enough numbers.

What if the prime minister can't meet you now?

According to a decision made by members of the Pakatan Rakyat, we'll give him some time as he too is plagued by other problems in his party.

He is currently under pressure from within his party and we should give him more time to consider this in the interest of the country and guarantee a smooth and orderly transition.

This is one of our main considerations so that any moves made will be constitutional.

We the press would like to know how many you've got.

To me, what is important is we've a number in excess of 31. What is so critical about having the number of majority? The majority number will come in time.

Is there a deadline for Abdullah to meet you?

We've not given any ultimatum to Abdullah. We've said it is of national importance, it is incumbent and urgent for any sitting prime minister to respond positively in the interest of the nation and not just to appease the upheavals and turmoil within Umno.

How can you be sure that there will be a smooth transition as parties other than Abdullah may be involved?

For now, we have to deal with the prime minister. Officially, he is the prime minister. So he will have to be fully accountable and responsible.

What if there is a call for fresh elections?

We'll have to deal with it. But for now, our position is we have to write and deal with the prime minister.

Why don't you go directly to the king?

There are two considerations here. There is also a proposal there but the constitutional process and also the invoking the ISA and threats and intimidations have to stop.

Therefore, in our deliberations among the Pakatan leaders is that we will want to impress the government and the public that the security and the interests of the nation is paramount, even if it means a delay of a few days.

But I'm not giving excuses as alleged by the Umno-controlled media. We've the numbers. We can and are prepared to move.

There are concerns that your new alliance will not contain enough Malay representation.

I've stated that it's truly representative and I must allay the anxieties and concerns of some Malay and Muslim groups that they will be under-represented - there is no basis for this assumption.

Is there a cut-off point before you attempt a takeover?

We want to present a case that is responsible and is perceived to be quite conciliatory. We want the transition to be peaceful and therefore it is quite important that we give the right signals.

But there is a limit to one's patience, particularly when we've the numbers. So, I think that given a few more days, Pakatan leaders will have to sit down and reconsider its options.

Given the current situation, what makes you think that the prime minister will meet you? And what would you do if the meeting doesn't take place?

In any democratic civil institution the standard minimum procedure must be respected whether you like Pakatan or Anwar is immaterial.

The important thing is we now have the required numbers to form government. It is absolutely preposterous to quote the term used by the prime minister to deny this to engage with an alternative government.

Any responsible sitting prime minister would have no choice but to accede to the need to negotiate. We are not giving ultimatum. Whether he agrees or disagrees, we should never forget to negotiate.

Is September still your target?

We've the numbers to negotiate. In any other democratic country, we would at least be invited to discuss this matter. This does not happen here. Not only the prime minister but the media is also in denial.

(They said it was) Impossible to lose Selangor, Penang and Perak. Impossible to have a majority in Permatang Pauh. And now preposterous to form a government. When will they ever learn?

What evidence do you have of the crossovers?

I've signed notes and letters of commitment. I've no problem with that.

In the event that the PM refuses to meet you, what is your next step?

I believe he will meet us.

PM said today your intentions are a mere dream...

He is politician under siege. So you can believe him for sounding panicky and desperate. Even without our siege, he is already under siege.

Will you seek an audience with the king?

Our first option is to discuss this with the prime minister.

Do you have a list of the cabinet members for the new government?

Firstly, we will deliberate the major policies. Secondly, the formation of the cabinet will be discussed thoroughly with the parties.

Some issues have been resolved on the cabinet position but not all.

Will you include any BN politician in the new cabinet?

This will be discussed by the Pakatan parties later

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