Thursday, 21 February 2013 16:23
Anwar looks beyond GE13, launches think-tank to form policies, move away from personalitiesWritten by Malaysia Chronicle
SUBANG JAYA - Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is not only optimistic about winning the federal government in the coming general election, he is already looking ahead.
The 64-year-old, whom many see as the country's next prime minister, officially launched a think-tank - Institute Rakyat - to research and help his PKR party formulate government policies.
"The message here is good governance. We are talking about more than a change in prime ministers and leaders but a complete change in system. Gone are the days when I can award a contract to Azizah or Izzah," Anwar said during a question-and-answer session with the audience at the launch.
He promised that Institut Rakyat will be independently run and not be tied to the PKR's internal policies.
"It is imperative that Institut Rakyat does not become a mouth-piece. Hence, it must be independently run and allowed to perform its role which is to advise and critique without fear or favor," Anwar had said in his key note address.
"There must be a separation between the ruling coalition from the government. When the two become inseparable, the propensity for corruption becomes immense and the Umno-BN is the best example of this happening."
Who has better ideas, better policies will win the day
Institut Rakyat will be helmed by a board of directors that include PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali, prominent corporate leader Wan Azmi Hamzah and media specilaist Dr Tan Boon Kean.
Apart from undertaking research, the Institut's mission is also to shift the mindset of Malaysian voters from focusing on personality cults to competitive ideas, dialogue, debate and policy-making.
Economist Azrul Azwar will be the Institut's consultant, with well-known analysts Tricia Yeoh and Yin Shao Loong the research directors.
"We are now talking about who has better ideas, better policies," Tricia said in her speech.
Experience in corruption!
Anwar faced tough questions from an audience consisting of many of the country's intelligentsia, including Gavin Khoo, a former analyst for the Gerakan party.
Among questions asked included to what extent would Anwar be "inclusive" should the Pakatan Rakyat coalition he leads wins the federal government - for example, would he invite Najib to join in the policy-making in the same spirit as President Obama had invited his campaign rival Mitt Romney to lunch after the US elections were over.
"I have no problems with that. That would also mean Azizah would have to invite Rosmah, can you handle that," Anwar teased.
As to what would be the first thing he would do once he got to Putrajaya, the seat of the federal government, Anwar replied that it would be to send the message down the line that corruption would no longer be tolerated.
"I will send whoever I catch to Sungei Buloh," he vowed.
As to how the Pakatan could rule if it did not have "previous experience" in governing the country, Anwar referred to the example of his daughter Nurul Izzah, who had contested and won the Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat in the 2008 election.
"Like my daughter Nurul Izzah had said, Yes, I am young, I have no experience ... in corruption. But if you lack experience, you must have humility to learn, understand the mechanics to govern and run the civil service," said Anwar.