Anwar steals the stage at anti-GST May Day rally


(Malay Mail Online) – Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders today took advantage of a May Day rally meant to protest an impending consumption tax to highlight the alleged persecution of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Taking to the makeshift stage to address the crowd of thousands gathered to protest the new Goods and Services Tax (GST), PR leaders warned Putrajaya of more such protests if it imprisons the opposition leader.

“I want to remind the prime minister to not be cruel to the people and Anwar. Do not touch Anwar,” PKR deputy president Azmin Ali told the protesters in Dataran Merdeka here.

“We will not allow Anwar to languish in Umno-Barisan Nasional’s prison even for one second.”

Gathered in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad building that once housed the Kuala Lumpur courts, the leaders reminded the public of the injustice that once happened there when Anwar was imprisoned for sodomy in 1998.

Anwar was sentenced to five years’ jail on March 7, after the Court of Appeal overturned his previous acquittal of a second sodomy charge.

The PKR de facto leader took the stage later as the last speaker and praised PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu for leading the rally.

“We, the leaders, do we want to listen to our own voices or the voices of the people?” Anwar asked the protesters.

“Definitely the voice of the people who are standing up to fight the oppressive economic system.”

Anwar pointed out that the public are no longer afraid to voice their opinions, and they should continue to press for reform without waiting for the next general election.

The Permatang Pauh MP proved popular with rally goers, who shook hands and took photographs with him in the shade of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

His wife, PKR President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and daughter, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar also joined in addressing the crowd earlier.

Police estimated that around 15,000 people took part in the May Day rally here to protest against the GST, which also saw signs of discontent over Putrajaya’s prosecution of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and handling of missing flight MH370.