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Tuesday September 16, 2008 MYT 7:15:13 PM

Anwar claims more than 31 MPs will cross over (Update 2)

PETALING JAYA: Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has claimed that more than 31 Barisan MPs have agreed to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat.

He, however, refused to reveal the names of the 31 MPs.

Anwar told a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday that he would give the list of the names to the Prime Minister when he meets him.

The Permatang Pauh MP also claimed that the transition to the new Government has been delayed a few days pending the meeting with Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition.

“The numbers are increasing by the hour, but as of now, it is in excess of 31 MPs.

"This is not empty talk. I am fully responsible for my statement but we have choose to be patient and use the conciliatory way,” the PKR adviser said.

He called on Abdullah to meet with him, where he said he would even give the Prime Minister the names of Barisan MPs wanting to defect to the Pakatan Rakyat alliance of opposition parties.

“I am appealing (for this meeting) in the name of political stability and a smooth transition. It will be preposterous for the Prime Minister to deny me this meeting,” said Anwar, who was flanked by leaders from PKR, DAP, PAS and even non-member Parti Sosialis Malaysia.

Asked why he still refused to give the exact number of defecting MPs or their names, Anwar said there was a fear the MPs would be detained or harassed if their names were released.

Asked what he would do if Abdullah refused to see him, Anwar smiled and replied: “Why assume he will refuse to see me? I am his friend. I believe we will meet.”

He said Pakatan would give Abdullah some time to consider because the latter was having problems within his own party.

Pressed for a deadline for a meeting with Abdullah, Anwar said he did not like to give any ultimatum but it should be within the next few days or “other options would be considered.”

He said he would refer to his coalition partners in Pakatan to discuss the next course of action, but was committed to ensuring the takeover was constitutional.

Anwar was non-committal when asked if he would seek an audience with the Yang DiPertuan Agong to present himself as commanding a majority in Parliament, or if he would seek a motion of no-confidence against Abdullah at the next Parliament sitting in October.

He said these options would be discussed with other Pakatan leaders.

Anwar said that in a letter submitted to Abdullah on Monday, Pakatan had made four demands to ensure a smooth transition:

1) That Barisan does not hinder or prevent the MPs from acting in accordance with their conscience, constitutional rights and independentjudgement;

2) That the Barisan government should not invoke the Internal Security Act to detain the MPs or any other current Pakatan MPs;

3) That the Barisan government does not invoke emergency laws or police powers or suspend the Constitution or dissolve Parliament; and

4) That the Barisan government shall not impose roadblocks or impede MPs from going to Parliament or any institution of government.

Related stories:
Don’t be distracted by politics, says PM
No change in govt, says Najib
Anwar insists he has enough Barisan MPs to form government
Anwar gets points for Sept 16 gimmick

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