Monday, July 7, 2008


Anwar challenges PM, DPM to debate on fuel prices


Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has challenged the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to a live debate on July 15 to discuss how to tackle the oil crisis and reduce petrol and diesel prices. He said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak kept saying that there was no way that fuel prices could come down in view of the high global oil price. “They don’t know how to bring down the prices. I am prepared to take on the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and even the whole Cabinet to debate the matter live on television,” he said at a protest rally at the Kelana Jaya Stadium Sunday night. The de facto leader of PKR is already slated to debate the issue live with Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek on July 15. Anwar said the Prime Minister should not give excuses why his Government had to hike up the prices drastically. “I challenge him to a debate. There are some people who ask me: Anwar, are you sure you can conclusively bring down fuel prices? My answer is yes,” he said. He repeated his belief that if Pakatan Rakyat were to take over the country tomorrow, it would be able to bring down the oil prices the following day. DAP Advisor Lim Kit Siang said in his speech earlier that the increase in petrol and diesel price had trigged a total crisis of confidence in the leadership of Barisan Nasional. He said Pak Lah’s Government had pledged reforms in the police, Judiciary and the Anti—Corruption Agency but so far nothing had come out of it. He said the proposal for the Judicial Commission was still hanging in the air while the proposal to set up Independent Police Conduct and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) had fallen into deaf ears and it is questionable how independent the proposed Anti-Corruption Commission would really be. “Last time too, there was corruption but at least things got done. But now there is still corruption but the difference is that things do not get done,” he said. Lim hoped the message at the gathering would get across to the Barisan Government. At the end of the event, a man who tried to climb on stage when Anwar was delivering his speech was cornered and beaten up by up supporters. The man was said to have shouted out Anwar’s name before attempting to get close o the leader who was on his way out. Meanwhile, a singer stripped his trousers and showed his boxer shorts during a concert t the anti-fuel price increase rally. The lead singer of a rock band was halfway through a song about 7pm when he dropped his pants and exposed his boxer shorts. His antics resulted in the audience hurling abuses and throwing bottles at him. Security volunteers had to escort the singer and his band members off the stage while event organisers tried to calm the crowd. It is learnt that prior to his strip performance, the singer was singing a song that included lyrics poking fun at the sodomy allegations against Anwar. A member of the audience who did not want to be named described the act as inappropriate as there were children present at the event. Another man, who also wanted to be anonymous, said it was very unprofessional of the singer, adding that he was very upset because many VIPs, including Anwar would be present. As the situation came under control, event coordinator Hishamuddin Rais came out to apologise for the incident. Earlier, supporters of Opposition parties and extremist organisations earlier defied orders by the authorities and joined the rally organised by the Coalition Against the Fuel Price Hike (Protes) at the Kelana Jaya Stadium here. Many of the thousands of demonstrators, including supporters of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), wore red T-shirts and shouted anti-Government slogans as they gathered to listen to speeches from their leaders from 10 am to midnight.

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