‘I’m sorry I made a mistake,’ Anwar says

(The Star) – PKR adviser and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim apologised for his choice of candidates in the 2008 general election.

Anwar said he was responsible for selecting the MP candidates and had made “some mistakes” by choosing “shaky and unclean” candidates.

“I feel sad that I asked you to vote for these people – I apologise. Now I have been stabbed in the back,” he said during the state PKR’s Chinese New Year open house here Tuesday.

PKR’s Bayan Baru MP and Anwar’s personal friend, Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim, quit the party on Friday, triggering talk of an exodus by PKR lawmakers.

Zahrain’s ally, Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng, who is facing disciplinary action from the party, said he would only decide on his future after Chinese New Year.

“We enter politics not to get a Datukship or to ask for contracts, shares and land – you don’t join politics to become rich,” Anwar said.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was present at the event, has alleged that Zahrain’s departure from Pakatan was prompted by his rejection of the latter’s proposal for the Bukit Jambul Country Club (BJCC) to be outsourced and awarded to “a RM2 company”.

Lim also denied that Pakatan was a “brittle” coalition. “Just because one or two run does not mean that we are brittle.

“To those who have left, ‘selamat meninggal’ and to those who are physically still in Pakatan but are not with us in spirit, we leave it up to them what to do – we will still be alright,” he said.

He also hit out at Zahrain for not being a “true friend” to Anwar.

“If he is a truly a friend, why did he choose this moment to act up – when Anwar is facing a trial?

“He can leave – we don’t care,” he said.

A billboard in Zahrain’s constituency, put up by Pantai Jerejak PKR assemblyman Sim Tze Tzin about a week ago, has been vandalised with a large, red X spray painted over Zahrain face.

The board, that is located at the Jalan Tengah – Jalan Mayang Pasir intersection, is one of two PKR billboards in the Bayan Baru parliamentary area that have been put up to wish motorists a happy Chinese New Year.

A check at the other board, located at the Jalan Tun Dr Awang entrance of the Bayan Baru roundabout, Tuesday afternoon showed that it was still untouched.

When asked about the vandalism, Sim said he had only found out about it Tuesday and denounced the act.

“Many people are angry at Zahrain (for jumping ship) but this is not the right way to express their feelings. Instead, we should focus on turning this anger into votes,” Sim said when met at the state-level PKR open house in Rifle Range.

Zahrain quit PKR on Feb 12, citing, among other reasons, dissatisfaction with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Engs leadership of the state.

Sim added that he would take down the affected board this week, earlier than after the full Chinese New Year festivities as previously scheduled.