29 May, 2008

PM's anti-graft agenda won Ezam over


"PM's anti-graft agenda won Ezam over"

The government's post-March 8 anti-corruption agenda was the main attraction for former PKR leader Ezam Mohd Nor to rejoin the party that once expelled him for being overly critical.

So the prodigal son returns, with "3 boxes full of Altantuya’s photos"?

Many are curious as to why now? After all, the party is in a bit of a shambles with in-fighting that political observers insist is Umno’s tradition.

“Because he’s (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) only introduced the (reform) policies (on the judiciary and the Anti-Corruption Agency) in the last few weeks. I’ve never seen any prime minister do that in the past 10, 20 years I was in government,” said Ezam.

"I’m joining Umno now, not in the strongest position. My decision is based purely on my conviction that Umno now is capable of bringing about the necessary reforms."

Ezam did not want to elaborate on his reasons for leaving Keadilan – saying that he had already spoken about it at the time – he did say that he "holds strongly to the concept of an Islamic Malay nation that respects and acknowledges the rights of the other citizens from other races.”

Initially, he said, Keadilan was set up as a multiracial Malay-based party, but slowly, it dropped the "Malay-based" aspect and just became a multiracial party. Ezam said that to lose that foundation is "a big sin." "It crossed the line," he said.

Meanwhile, The Star reported that Two former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders, Anuar Shaari and Khairul Anuar, have applied to join Umno stating that they had suffered a loss of faith in PKR's leadership.

Anuar, the former PKR Permatang Pauh division chief, quit the party on March 25, 2007. Khairul is a former PKR Youth exco member in the term ending 2007. Anuar was also the private secretary to former Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, from 1996 to 1998.

But The Malaysian Insider reported that :"Seven former PKR Youth leaders submitted their applications to join Umno to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak this afternoon."

The seven — Aswan Din Hamzah, Abdul Ghani Haron, Annuar Shaari, Johari Mohd Yasin, Mohd Nazmi Rosli, Ahmad Daud Che Ghani and Khairul Annuar Ramli — are not automatically accepted though.

Their applications have to be approved by the party’s supreme council but they will know within a month. “Normally they (Umno) will accept. I’m sure they will accept,” said Annuar.



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