Malaysian Indians rally behind Anwar,opposition alliance

January 4th, 2009 - 3:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Jan 4 (IANS) The main Malaysian opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has staged a rally of supporters among the ethnic Indians at its headquarters here in an apparent bid to stem disaffection among them and to show their support for its leader Anwar Ibrahim. Representatives of the group supporting the party leadership, some of whom came from other states, gave speeches in Tamil proclaiming their support for PKR Saturday, The Star newspaper reported.

“PKR is not a race-based party. It is a party for all races,” PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim said to applause from those present.

Refuting claims that problems affecting the ethnic Indian party members were serious, he said such matters can be settled amicably between the party leaders and members.

“It is only the outsiders who try to portray us as having problems. In fact, the Barisan Nasional (BN) had not been able to help the Indian community for the past 50 years, and that’s why the Indian supporters are with us,” he said.

PKR is the leading constituent of the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that wrested 88 parliamentary seats and control of four of the 13 states in elections held March last year.

Of all communities disenchanted with the BN, ethnic Indians, who number over two million and form nearly eight percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population, were perceived to have swung radically towards the PR.

PR’s leaders have been issuing statements over the last week denying that cracks were appearing in the coalition because of open disputes between its members recently.

They surfaced when S. Manikavasagam, lawmaker from Kapar and a PKR supreme council member, had resigned as party’s Selangor state unit’s deputy liaison chairman, complaining that the party had not given enough support to the Indian community.

However, it was reported that he would decide on his future in PKR after meeting Anwar, who is in Dubai until Wednesday.

Another reason that upset the Indians was the dropping of PKR deputy secretary-general P. Jenapala from the post after it was found that he had been declared bankrupt.

Jenapala later said that he would not leave the party and would also meet Anwar to discuss issues involving Indians.

BN is watching the situation and Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said that with these dissensions, it was clear that PR was “unfit to rule” the country.

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