In Khairy’s backyard, Anwar draws thousands despite traitor allegations

By Lee Wei Lian, The Malaysian Insider

More than one type of fireworks was going off in the quiet village of Kampung Selemak here last night at PKR's Merdeka celebration. Responding to Umno's relentless accusations that he is a traitor to the Malays, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim attacked his bitter rivals last night in front of a large rural crowd.

Despite the accusations of betrayal, several thousand Malays, and a smaller number of non-Malays, still made the trek to this hamlet, located in Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin's constituency in Negri Sembilan, to hear Anwar rail against what he said was Umno's own betrayal of the Malays.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had last week labelled Anwar a traitor to the Malays and party-backed newspapers like Utusan Malaysia went to town with the story.

The newspapers have also carried a slew of stories that have put PKR and PAS on the defensive by painting them as puppets of a Chinese-dominated DAP, due to recent issues such as the large number of Malays taking part in the recent anti-ISA protest rally and the squabble over the sale of beer in Muslim-majority Shah Alam.

Last night, thousands of rural Malays, their curiosity piqued, filled up a dusty clearing, perhaps slightly smaller than a football field, by spreading newspapers on the bare earth on which to sit.

The crowd broke into cheers and laughter as Anwar and PKR central committee member for Rembau Badrul Hisham Shaharin, former Umno Cabinet minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and PAS leader Mohamad Sabu chastised Umno for throwing stones in the proverbial racial glass house.

"They call me a traitor to the Malays. However, I consider it a sin to take shares and projects meant for Bumiputeras for myself or my family. Why don't you ask Umno how many billions in shares, AP permits, licences, projects meant for Bumiputeras they have taken for themselves, their relatives and their cronies? What traitor?" roared Anwar.

"Umno says we are tools of DAP because we gave land to the Chinese. They say we cannot give land to the Chinese, we have to take care of the Malays. OK, then who gave the largest and most beautiful mountain near Kuala Lumpur to Lim Goh Tong? Who gave land in another mountain, Bukit Tinggi, to Vincent Tan?"

"They ask why we care for the Chinese and Indians. But look at Manek Urai in Kelantan. It is poor, not because the Chinese made it so. Till now, they still don't want to pay oil royalty to Kelantan."