Time to let Anwar shine where you failed, Rais tells Isa

Negeri Sembilan PPBM chairman Rais Yatim.

PORT DICKSON: Former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Rais Yatim, who is campaigning for Anwar Ibrahim in the Port Dickson by-election, yesterday slammed his successor Isa Samad who is contesting the parliamentary seat as an independent candidate.

Questioning Isa’s motive in running for the seat, Rais said the former had been in power for 22 years, from 1982 to 2004.

“Twenty-two years is a long time as a menteri besar. I was only menteri besar for one term, (but) I left behind the Umno house, state assembly building and all the infrastructure in the districts.

“He (Isa) should have done the same thing, fulfilling the needs of the people in those 22 years.

“Objectively speaking, in my view, Isa has failed in what we want to do for the future. It’s already twilight time,” he said at a ceramah in Taman Intan Perdana.

He added that Isa’s reason for contesting the by-election – “because the seat was empty” – was “not good enough”.

“What was he doing about the dirty beaches, business licences, land titles and so on? Is he able to resolve all the problems I mentioned earlier?

“If it was too difficult to do over 22 years, just give him one or two votes. The rest, please give to Anwar.”

Rais, who was menteri besar of Negeri Sembilan from 1978 to 1982, said sentiment alone would not accomplish what needed to be done.

“What we must know now is whether or not we can rely on Anwar to bring about change as an MP,” he told reporters after the event. “The answer is yes, we can.”

The former Jelebu assemblyman earlier said Isa had failed to resolve a number of issues including retirees’ pensions, housing necessities, land allocation, job opportunities and the welfare of the people.

“In terms of land, Anwar will be able to bring this to the attention of the state government,” he said.

“This will require an examination of the need for land. If it’s a question of actual housing needs, it can be considered.”

He added however that this was a tricky situation as there was no more vacant land left in the area.

“As an ex-menteri besar of this state, I don’t see the existence of vacant or available land here. So (we may have to look) to other areas in terms of housing and resettlement. We have to do our homework on how many are in actual need.”

The Negeri Sembilan PPBM chairman, who is also a lawyer, added that those who claimed Anwar was unqualified to contest in Port Dickson were misinterpreting the law.

“They say Article 48 disallows Anwar to contest, but they forget to read Article 42. Article 42 says Anwar is eligible to contest with a ‘full pardon’ granted to him by the Agong.”