Updated 2:35pm; 8 April 2009
PETALING JAYA, 8 April 2009: The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will form special panels to oversee each of the ministries in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s soon-to-be announced new cabinet line-up, instead of announcing a shadow cabinet.
“These panels will be represented by members of parliament from all three parties in the PR,” opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said, adding that make-up of the panels will be announced soon.
“We will announce these names in the next week,” he added.
The Pakatan Rakyat is composed of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), DAP and PAS.
Anwar has previously come under some criticism for refusing the divulge a shadow cabinet to counterpoint the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, particularly during his 16 Sept 2008 bid to take over the federal government.
When asked to comment about who would make up Najib’s cabinet line-up, Anwar said: “I don’t foresee a credible list.”
“They (the BN losses) are a referendum on the government’s divisive politics and its failure to implement reforms,” he said at a press conference today at PKR’s headquarters.
Anwar, who is PKR adviser, said the BN’s campaign that centered on them having a new leader who should be given a chance did not work. “Sentiment is not with the new prime minister (Najib) and this signals a major change among Malaysians. People are no longer gullible about political pronouncements of change,” he said.
He added that the increased support among Malay Malaysian voters for the PR coalition was “very reassuring”.
Plans for S’wak not derailed
Anwar also said that PKR’s loss in the Batang Ai by-election by a far bigger margin does not necessarily derail the party’s plans in Sarawak.
Anwar said that by-election cannot necessarily reflect the sentiment of the state, as it was one of the most remote constituencies in Sarawak.
He cited Sarawak chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s televised statement, last night, that “the people in the most inaccessible areas are supportive of the (BN) government”.
“This means that the people were not exposed. That’s why they (BN) won,” Anwar said.
BN’s Malcolm Mussen Lamoh won the by-election yesterday with a 1,854-vote majority over veteran politician Jawah Gerang.
Anwar also questioned voting irregularities in Batang Ai, pointing to the fact that ballot boxes were transported from 14 voting stations to the counting centre by speedboat and helicopter, without any PKR observers following. In such voting stations, the PKR candidate lost, he said.
The PKR advisor likened the party’s defeat in Batang Ai to the Ijok by-election of 2007. Though they lost that battle, PR went on to wrest the Selangor state from the BN a year later. He added that the PR would continue to work hard to woo Sarawakians, but did not elaborate on specific plans.