SHAH ALAM: It was a gathering of men and women who had taken to the streets to protest for justice when the then deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked and arrested.
Many had not expected or received anything for their long struggle of having to endure being tear-gassed and arrested during their protests.
Known as the Otai Reformis, some of the veteran PKR members who are in the senior years now, still have the fire which made them a formidable force 20 years ago.
Although many issues were discussed at the Ideal Convention Centre here yesterday, it was clear that the gathering was geared towards pushing forth the demand for Anwar to take over as prime minister.
The gathering was also a reminder that had it not been for Anwar and the Reformasi movement, it would not have been possible to change the government.
In his speech, convention chairman Dr Idris Ahmad explained that the goal of the Reformasi movement had changed from the time of its inception in 1998.
“Maybe in 10 years or more from now, the goal of Reformasi will again change, ’’ said Dr Idris.
He said there was some criticism regarding the need for the Reformasi movement to still exist as Pakatan Harapan had already formed the government.
He said if in the past the Reformasi movement was aimed at changing the government, it was now geared towards addressing the people’s grievances.
“Are we satisfied that we have held Putrajaya for one-and-a-half years now? Is there anything we can be proud of after forming the government?’’ asked Dr Idris.
Given that there was still dissatisfaction among the people, he said the movement was still relevant.
He said the current Reformasi agenda was to make changes in the nation to make Malaysia fair and just so that each and every Malaysian could enjoy everything made available to them.
He said the movement’s agenda was to also push Anwar forward to be the next prime minister.
PKR Youth chief Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir, in his talk, said the current leaders must acknowledge the fact that their achievements were due to the efforts of the veteran reformists (otai reformis).
He said they did not ask for anything in return, but were focused on the mission to bring change and reform the nation.
“Leaders who do not realise that they are where they are now because of the reformists have forgotten their roots, ’’ said Akmal.
He urged the veterans to voice out issues, including against leaders who have forgotten their political past.
“Many of those in power appear to have vested interest and because of this, they have no political will as they are busy taking care of their own rice bowls, ’’ he claimed.
Akmal, who is also Johor Baru MP, urged the veteran reformists to take it upon themselves to remind these leaders of their history.
“You are up there because of the reformists’ struggles, ’’ said Akmal.
Former PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali explained that there was an understanding between the Pakatan partners that Anwar would assume the office of the prime minister two years after the general election.
While this was stated in writing, he said, the time frame, however, was not.
“The agreement was for Anwar to take over after he was released from prison and pardoned, ” he said.“Generally, the process of acquiring a pardon takes two years and that is why Tun Mahathir Mohamad said he will make way for Anwar after two years.”
He called on Dr Mahathir to stick to the transition plan and hand over power by May 9 next year.
“We must remember when (Deputy Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the night of May 9, the King asked her why she didn’t take up the prime minister’s post.
“Dr Wan Azizah had stuck to her word, so Dr Mahathir became the prime minister, ” Dr Syed Husin said.
The convention also passed eight resolutions, including seeking a clear date for the transition plan which should take place before May 9 next year.
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