KOTA KINABALU: Pakatan Harapan (PH) is committed to doing away with draconian laws in the country, says PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
Responding to criticisms by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), he acknowledged that the recent decision of the government to lift the moratorium on several security laws to enable the police to deal with the Seafield Hindu temple violence in Selangor might not go down well among the people.
However, he assured that PH still wanted to get rid of such laws.
“Of course, we do take serious a view of expressions from our friends in Suaram who have been rather consistent in their position.
“There are some pressing conditions now but I don’t think they should deter us, or derail us from our firm commitment to reject all draconian laws.
“That is our position, clearly stipulated in the manifesto, and we will certainly honour that commitment,” Anwar said to reporters here today.
In an exclusive interview with FMT, Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong had denounced the PH government as a regime that is no less oppressive than the one it ousted in last May’s general election.
Kua said the excuses given to use the draconian laws were the same as those the public had heard when Barisan Nasional was in power.
Last week, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government had decided to lift the moratorium on the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca), Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) and the Sedition Act following the Sri Maha Mariamman temple riot in Subang Jaya on Nov 26.
While alleging that none of the parties in PH could be described as progressive, Kua also said the main reason for PH’s inability to institute promised reforms could be the control exerted on it by Dr Mahathir Mohamad as coalition leader and prime minister.
Anwar said the coalition had given its mandate to Mahathir to lead PH as the premier and “it is our duty, therefore, to support him and ensure that this government is stable and strong”.
“But this does not mean we are not able to express or articulate our views,” he said.
The oppressive laws will be among the important discussions in the new parliamentary caucus on reform and governance, which the Port Dickson MP is heading.
“Draconian laws must be rejected (and) the new Malaysia would warrant a new climate of change, and clear emphasis on good governance, ridding the country of corruption, racism and religious bigotry.”
Anwar also said Suaram must take note of the fact that this was a new government, which inherited “horrible experiences of the past of endemic corruption and abuse of power”.
“And there’s a growing effort by certain groups in highlighting extremist interpretation of religion and racism, and this cannot be considered as minor. We have to take adequate measures to consider this a priority, with our emphasis on economic development,” he said.