KUALA LUMPUR: Speaking to an audience of bankers and fund managers at a swanky five-star hotel here, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim related scenes of abject poverty he witnessed in Port Dickson.
The PKR president-elect, who is contesting the by-election in the Negri Sembilan parliament seat, said the hardship he saw cut across races.
He said it underscored his belief that policies to spur the economy must not leave behind any community or region.
“I visited two Malay fishing villages where the people were downtrodden and poor, and two Chinese fishing villages clearly under the threat of poverty.
“This is not to mention the plight of Indian estate workers,” he said in his speech at an investors conference here titled “Malaysia: A New Dawn”.
The conference is jointly organised by Malayan Banking Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and RHB Banking Group.
Anwar invited his audience to see the real conditions faced by marginalised Malaysians for themselves.
“If you have time, I invite you to go to Port Dickson and see for yourself,” he said.
Anwar said he was taken aback by the contrast between the idyllic beauty of the popular tourist spot and the hardships that some of the people faced there.
“Much as I am familiar with the surroundings here, this (scenes of poverty) took me by surprise.
“We talk of poverty and inequality, but in crafting an economic programme or policy for the future for this country, we must ensure no community, no region should be neglected,” said Anwar, who took time off from campaigning for the event.
He said policies to make Malaysia a more attractive destination for foreign direct investment does not need to be at the expense of disadvantaged Malaysians.
“We need to dismantle restrictive policies although we have to bear in mind national interest is paramount, not the interest of factions or vested interest groups,” he said.