Sunday, March 21, 2010

BN to haul up Anwar over ‘One Israel’ jibe

Barisan Nasional (BN) backbenchers are due to haul up Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim Ibrahim to the Dewan Rakyat’s rights and privileges committee over his remarks linking the 1 Malaysia campaign to the ‘One Israel’ initiative.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan will table the motion today if Anwar refuses to apologise for linking Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s clarion call to the Zionist regime.

“The motion will be brought by us, the BNBBC. However we will give Anwar a chance to apologise,” Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) deputy chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin told The Malaysian Insider last night.

“If he refuses to apologise we will ask the House to refer Anwar to the rights and privileges committee,” the Kinabatangan MP added.

The motion will be tabled at 11.30am after parliamentary question time.

In March last year, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo was referred to the same committee for calling Najib, then the deputy prime minister, a murderer and was suspended from Parliament for one year. The DAP lawmaker is now back in parliament.

On Friday, Anwar called that the attempt to suspend him for saying that the 1 Malaysia slogan is a carbon copy of Ehud Barak’s One Israel, a “rotten joke.”

He said in London that APCO Worldwide, a multinational public relations consultancy hired by the Najib Administration, should not be involved in domestic politics.

At a press conference after delivering a lecture at the London School of Economics Anwar, who has himself been accused of being a “Jewish agent” by his opponents, said that the similarities between 1 Malaysia and the One Israel public relations campaigns are a “strange coincidence”.

He added that it is for Umno leaders to explain the role played by APCO in the government.

When debating the royal address last Wednesday, the Permatang Pauh MP questioned why Najib engaged APCO, which he claims was previously hired by the Israeli government.

Last Thursday, APCO denied its link with Barak’s One Israel and said that the 1 Malaysia initiative was conceived prior to the company’s appointment.

Najib announced the 1 Malaysia concept when taking office last April 3, pledging to listen to the people and declaring that “the era where the government knows best is over”.

The campaign tagline — “People First, Performance Now” — has accompanied the setting up of 1 Malaysia clinics set up across the country and the sponsorship of a privately-financed F1 racing team led by Air Asia chief Datuk Seri Tony Fernandez.

The opposition have called such initiatives populist moves to win back support for the BN which suffered unprecedented losses in Election 2008 where Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat (PR) captured four more states and 82 federal seats to deny the ruling coalition its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Since then, Anwar has lost several state assemblymen that toppled the PR government in Perak in February 2009. His PKR also lost three MPs and sacked another one over the past month to see its ranks shrink from 31 lawmakers to just 27, while its PR allies DAP and PAS have 28 and 23 seats respectively.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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