Quit whining about Anwar and find a replacement, Zaid tells Pakatan

Zaid Ibrahim

(Malay Mail Online) – The federal opposition must act firmly by replacing the jailed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim instead of engaging in fruitless displays of displeasure over his incarceration, a former minister said today.

Maverick politician Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said it was unreasonable for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to demand that authorities release Anwar from prison to attend Parliament – which starts this year’s session today – without any legal basis.

“Pakatan making noises about Anwar not in Parliament is childish. Under what provision of the law prisoner allowed to be outside prison?” he said in a series of tweets.

PR lawmakers today turned up for this session’s opening ceremony by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong clad in all-black attire as a sign of protest against the government’s refusal to allow Anwar to trade his jail cell in Sungai Buloh prison for his seat in Dewan Rakyat.

The opposition bloc maintained that Anwar’s case was allegedly politically motivated and had demanded that the Prisons Department and Parliament allow the opposition leader to attend Parliament as he is still legally Permatang Pauh MP.

Zaid, who was briefly a member of Anwar’s party PKR, told the opposition today that the all-black protest by their MPs is a futile attempt at pushing their agenda forward.

“Appoint a new leader is the sensible thing to do. Wearing black is good for movies but changes nothing.

“If there is none then you move on. You cannot expect BN to break the law to please you,” he said in two separate tweets, referring to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

As a matter of tradition, the opposition leader would be given the right to spearhead the debate of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s address.

No announcement, however, has been made by PR on who would be made acting opposition leader or to speak in Anwar’s stead.

On February 10, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s 2014 ruling that had reversed Anwar’s acquittal of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, also sentencing him to five years’ jail.

Anwar stands to lose his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat as the law bars anyone fined over RM2,000 or imprisoned more than one year from serving as a lawmaker.

The matter is pending an application by his family for a royal pardon.