23 April, 2008

Anwar says he would be a much better PM than Abdullah or Mahathir

I'll be PM in three years, says Anwar

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today confidently predicted he would be prime minister within three years, sketching out the first rough timetable for his dramatic political comeback.

- Malaysiakini.

Opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim said for the first time he would likely become prime minister if his coalition takes power, and vowed to clean up Malaysia's corruption and halt its colonial-era jailing of suspects without trial.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Anwar said he was in no hurry to take control of government despite his opposition alliance's spectacular gains in elections in March.

But when he was asked whether he would take the job of prime minister if his People's Alliance were to come to power, he said, "There is a likelihood."

He said he would be a better prime minister than current leader Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad.

Well, I wouldn't detain people without trial," Anwar said, referring to a colonial-era law that allows for indefinite detention without charges. The law often was used by Mahathir, and Abdullah has exercised it a few times.

"I will check corruption for sure," Anwar said. "With the little experience I have (in the government), I believe I can do much better, but it is for people to judge. But first I have to be there to consider the question relevant."

The National Front lost its traditional two-thirds majority for the first time in 40 years, while the opposition boosted its strength to 82 seats from 19 seats in the 222-member Parliament. The opposition is now just 30 seats short of a simple majority, something Anwar says is within reach because of expected defections from the National Front.

"We already have the numbers," he said.

But rather than taking down the government now with a wafer-thin majority over the National Front, Anwar said the opposition is waiting for "a comfortable majority."

Anwar said when the opposition comes to power it would provide a much better government than the National Front.

"It is not very difficult to be a better government, to control corruption, to be more just, to improve the quality of education, public health, to stop the squandering of billions of dollars on your family members and cronies. That is quite easy," he said

"The more challenging task is to change the course" of the country, he said, listing economic competitiveness, promoting a market economy, social justice and training of manpower as the main tasks.

"We are not here to improve. We are here to change for the better," he said.

Anwar said the postelection turmoil in the National Front was benefiting the opposition.

"Either way, it is good for us," he said. If Abdullah is ousted, "it will break UMNO. If Abdullah continues, it is also good for us because he is weak."

Source:"Malaysia's Anwar says he would be a much better PM than Abdullah or Mahathir"



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