PUTRAJAYA: The acquittal of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of his sodomy charge will not put Barisan Nasional under pressure in facing the opposition in the next general election.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Barisan was always prepared to face the opposition regardless of the verdict, adding that its preparations for polls would proceed as usual.
“We have gone through 12 general elections and gained a lot of experience,” he said.
Muhyiddin, who is also Barisan deputy chairman and Umno deputy president, said there were new and different challenges in every election.
“I have instructed Barisan members to strengthen their election machinery,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the court’s decision would raise public confidence in the country’s democratic practices.
“I hope nobody will give misleading comments after this,” he said.
On Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s invitation to sacked PAS member Datuk Dr Hasan Ali to join the party, Muhyiddin said the Gombak Setia assemblyman was free to decide.
“He is an experienced leader. He knows how to judge which political organisation is for him. Umno always keeps its doors open to those who are interested and who believe in our struggle,” he said.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said Anwar’s acquittal would end accusations by the Opposition that the courts were not independent.
“They (Opposition) cannot accuse our courts of being unfair.
“Now, we will face them in the general election on a level playing field,” he said.
He also congratulated the police for successfully controlling public security and safety during the rally held by Anwar supporters, adding that the personnel had worked hard.
“Our approach under the new Public Assembly Act has borne fruit wherein our officers understood and successfully carried out the Standard Operating Procedure according to this new approach.
“Although there were three explosions, the police were able to control the situation well,” he said, adding that he would personally monitor the probe into the incident.