Nov 22, 2006

Stop playing the racial card, Anwar tells Umno

(Malaysia Kini) Former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim today charged that the recently concluded Umno general assembly had failed to address pertinent issues crucial to the future of the country.

He said Umno was guilty of playing the racial card through “emotional debate” and, as a result, had deflected focus from important issues that could lead to achieving Vision 2020.

“The deteriorating competitiveness of our economy, rising unemployment and a serious incidence of poverty - these issues cannot be solved by continuously playing the racial card,” said Anwar, who is advisor to the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

He said Umno leaders had manipulated racial sentiment and heightened tensions during the assembly, without achieving anything positive.

Touching once again on the New Economic Policy (NEP), which was stoutly defended by Umno during last week’s meeting, Anwar said it was time to focus on promoting economic growth and fairer distribution of wealth.

“More often than not, those who most vocal in defending the NEP were those who had subverted the policy to enrich their families and cronies,” he alleged.

Anwar also said the government must show it means business in combatting corruption by appointing an independent commission to investigate any political personality suspected of involvement in corruption.

He said all leaders and former leaders should be prepared to be investigated by the commission.

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