[ Contents | Post ]
Date: 01 Dec 1999
Anwar's wife blames scare tactics for failure to achieve breakthrough
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (AFP) - The wife of Malaysia's jailed ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday hailed the opposition's achievement in trimming the ruling coalition's majority but blamed scare tactics for the failure to make a breakthrough.
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, hoarse after days of successful campaigning to capture Anwar's old seat for her National Justice Party, told AFP: "We have reduced their majority considerably. A little edge would have given us victory."
"We have to work a little harder."
The opposition Alternative Front says ending the National Front's two-thirds parliamentary majority in Monday's poll would have constituted victory.
The National Front secured 148 seats compared to 166 in the last parliament.
Among the Atlernative Front parties, the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) won 27 seats compared to eight, the Democratic Action Party got 10 compared to seven in the outgoing parliament and Wan Azizah's new party got five.
Anwar was sacked by Mahathir in September 1998 and detained that month. Wan Azizah founded her party just before he was jailed for six years in April for abusing his official powers.
Wan Azizah said she had to make a written application to see Anwar, who was Alternative Front's candidate for premier, and might not be able to see him for two weeks to brief him on the poll results.
She told AFP he was in solitary confinement with no access to television or radio.
Wan Azizah blamed the failure to make a breakthrough on the exclusion of 680,000 new voters from the electoral rolls and "scare tactics" in pro-government media.
"The scare tactics worked with the Chinese community because (the campaign) was relentless," she said. "We have no machinery against that.
"We can go to the people but how much can you do in eight days (the campaign period?"
National Front publicity predicted Anwar's supporters as riot-prone and said the inclusion of PAS in the opposition alliance threatened the culture and religion of minority Chinese and Indians.
Wan Azizah said her party, for a seven-month-old party, had "done a lot."
"Malays have given us support -- our support was mainly from Malay areas."