Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Anwar-Najib friendly gesture a step in the right direction?

While criticisms from some quarters of Pakatan Rakyat supporters greeted the sight of parliamentary opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in jovial mode with prime minister Najib Razak during Monday's parliamentary opening, a former cabinet member lauded the two leaders' gesture as part of civility.

"At a time when the nation is festering with racial distrust and even hatred in some quarters, the leaders of both factions share the responsibility of cooling things down.

"The rakyat is tired of listening to endless recriminations, accusations and shouting matches. They want to start hearing positive news. They want a good exchange of policy statements that’s conducted in a civilised manner so they can appreciate the wonderful things that we have in the country," said former minister in the Prime Minister's Department turned opposition supporter, Zaid Ibrahim.

He was responding to several pictures of Anwar and Najib posing together and exchanging jokes while seated for a meal together with other BN leaders at the parliament house.

Some pro-UMNO blogs have however interpreted this as the PR leadership's hypocrisy, and argued that its supporters who were protesting outside the parliament building against electoral fraud had been cheated.

But Zaid welcomed the 'friendliness' shown by the two foes, saying if it was genuine, it could address the country's politics of hate which will be "an immense relief to all of us".

Zaid called on Anwar to follow-up the gestures by making more courtesy calls on the PM.

"A lot can be achieved by talking to one another whereas nothing would be gained by endless fighting in or outside of Parliament. The Prime Minister would be hard-pressed to reject such overtures and there is no reason for him to do so, the coming UMNO General Assembly notwithstanding," said Zaid.

Zaid, a former Kota Bharu member of parliament, said a "friendly mode" during parliamentary sessions would reduce distrust and lessed offensive criticism, ultimately leading to better policies and laws.

"I dare both leaders to take this first step towards bringing civility to our politics," Zaid said. -HD

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