PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will not survive and will “go to the dogs” unless there is clear political commitment and the resolve to change, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
In an interview with Al Jazeera's 101 East programme released on Thursday (June 8), he said because of this, the unity government is bound to make its administration work for the best, for the country.
“Diverse political parties, yes, but what is essential is for all of them to agree that this country would go to the dogs if we do not take up measures to effect change now? They agree.
“Do they agree the central problem is the issue of good government? Yes. Do they agree corruption has been endemic in this country? Yes. I mean, that, to me, is important.
“And then of course, we adjust policies. I am not a dictator. I am a Prime Minister in a democratic country,” he said when asked if the reforms promised can still be implemented under the unity government.
Despite failed alliances or betrayals in the past, the premier remained upbeat when asked if it was harder to trust people now.
“Yes, but people change. We made mistakes in the past but we were given such an opportunity (with the current unity government). Why impose such harshness on others?” he asked.
Asked whether it was easier to become an opposition leader and “proverbial freedom fighter” than it is to lead the country, he said it was so in some ways as he has no inhibitions as an opposition leader.
“(However) I have been fighting corruption all my life and now I can make sure the anti-corruption agency is more effective, more determined to act against the corrupt,” said Anwar.
The Prime Minister was also asked about his take on the political opponents mostly made up of conservative Muslims.
“It is up to us, the present government, to prove a case that the future of this country is a multiracial agenda.
“Having said that, there are concerns of the issue of poverty of the Malays, but the solution is not race-based.
“Poverty is just poverty. I will not profile them according to race. I will profile them according to earnings,” said Anwar.
Such an approach will help the Malays more because the race-based policies have been proven to be used by the few elites and their cronies to benefit themselves, he added.
On a question of how the Prime Minister will go about implementing policies that are fair for all as the Federal Constitution is focused on protecting Islam and Malays, Anwar said, “You swear as president of the United States on the Bible does not mean you disallow those who believe in the Quran.
“Why must it be seen to be divisive? Unless you take up policies or in your rhetoric, you continue to abuse or discriminate, which I will not do,” he said.
DAP secretary-general and Transport Minister Anthony Loke also shared his views on the unity government’s approach against their opponents.
“We must continue to fight against this extremism of using race and religion.
“The way to fight them is not to become more racist than them; we just have to deliver better than them,” said Loke.