Malaysian opposition leader promises to take over this year

October 11th, 2008 - 2:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 11 (IANS) Buoyed by the decision of arch rival Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi to quit next March, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has set another deadline for his Pakatan Rakyat alliance to wrest control of the Malaysian government - before the end of the year. He said Badawi’s decision to step down by March and hand over to his deputy, Najib Tun Razak, would not halt the takeover plan.

“It is not like something I will allow to linger for one or two years. The momentum will continue when the parliament goes into session on Monday,” he told a large crowd at a rally.

He repeated his assertion that he had the numbers to form the new government. Badawi has rejected the claim as “a bluff”.

Ibrahim said the “takeover” approach would be peaceful because Malaysia could not afford the Thai or Filipino mob style, referring to the Southeast Asian neighbourhood.

Although his speech fired the crowd into wanting more, Anwar stopped short of detailing his modus operandi, saying it would remain a secret until the time was right.

Speaking in English for a foreign media in attendance, Ibrahim said he was addressing the crowd at a critical time in the country’s history amid the global economic crisis and Najib’s ascension as prime minister, The Star newspaper said Saturday.

Ibrahim made no reference to the sodomy charge that he is combating in the high court.

An aide accused him of sodomy in June after which he was jailed and later got bail.

In the intervening period, Ibrahim staged a political comeback, winning a key parliamentary by-election in August.

He claims the alliance, that is 30 short of the majority, has cobbled the numbers from the ruling alliance Barisan Nasional, that lost its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority and control of five of the 13 states.

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