Malaysia to have first woman opposition leader

March 20th, 2008 - 1:25 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, March 20 (IANS) Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is set to become the first woman parliamentary opposition leader of Malaysia. Wan Azizah was proposed for the post as she represents the largest opposition party in the 12th Parliament, elected March 8, according to a joint statement released by the three opposition parties Wednesday.

Parti Kedalai Rakyat (PKR) won 31 parliamentary seats, Democratic Action Party (DAP) won 28 seats while Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) won 23 seats in the general election.

Wan Azizah is wife of Anwar Ibrahim, the controversial former deputy prime minister, who was sacked and tried for corruption and sodomy by the previous regime of Mahathir Mohamad. He has since been disqualified from contesting elections.

The opposition leaders agreed that Wan Azizah would assume the post till Anwar qualifies to stand for elections. His disqualification ends later this year.

Wan Azizah said she was honoured to be the opposition leader, The New Straits Times said Thursday.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who won a second term for himself and a huge majority for the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), has declared that his government was “too strong to be toppled”.

“I’m aware that the opposition is trying to buy our MPs. Let him say whatever he wants. Why should the government be toppled? This government is very strong. We have the support. We don’t go around buying over people…” Badawi said, referring to Ibrahim.

The BN won 140 parliamentary seats against the opposition’s 82 seats in the 12th general election that also saw five states falling into the hands of the opposition.

Badawi began the inaugural meeting of his new cabinet with strict stipulation about proper public behaviour and staying away from corruption.

The prime minister also wanted his ministers to be people-friendly, be ever willing to serve, and be ready to continue with government policies that are popular among the people and the private sector.

“They must completely reject corruption. They must stay away from corrupt practices and there should be no compromise on this issue.

“We are waging a war against corruption and we are serious about it,” he told a packed press conference after the meeting.

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