By Adib Zalkapli
(BUKIT SENTOSA, HULU SELANGOR), Jan 20 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim declared at a public rally near here last night that his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition would not be divided by the “Allah” dispute.
Addressing about 1,000 people, Anwar claimed that the “Allah” issue had been blown out of proportion to cause a split in PR.
“I was informed that they brought up this matter to drive a wedge between DAP and PAS. They thought if DAP demands non-Muslims be allowed to use the word, PAS would fight against it and break Pakatan Rakyat,” he said.
Citing the views of renowned Islamic scholars like Yusuf Qardhawi whom he met at a conference in Beirut, Lebanon recently, Anwar continued to attack the banning of the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.
“They cannot say that the Islam as practised by Malays is different from others,” said Anwar.
The former deputy prime minister whose Sodomy II trial resumes next Monday also declared that he was prepared to fight what he called another political conspiracy against him.
“They will use this case to embarrass me, to cover up all their wrongdoings, and their corrupt practices,” said Anwar.
Last night’s rally was held in the Hulu Selangor parliamentary constituency where the representative Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad of PKR is said to be contemplating stepping down due to health reasons.
Early this month, Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak also launched his party’s People’s Champion programme here, in what was seen as the start of the party’s campaign for the constituency which the party lost by only 198 votes in Election 2008.
Last night Anwar criticised Najib’s announcement to allocate RM15.6 million to repair the damage roof of low-cost flats near here when he visited the constituency recently.
“The real problem is they don’t take the issue of public housing seriously, now they are talking about roof, when they can’t even guard our jet engines,” said Anwar, who is also the economic advisor to the Selangor government.
Meanwhile, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, who also addressed the rally, spoke of the importance of retaining Hulu Selangor.
“We will have to win Kuala Kubu Baru, Hulu Bernam and Batang Kali,” said Saifuddin, referring to the three state constituencies in Hulu Selangor which are under Barisan Nasional’s (BN) control.
“A win in Hulu Selangor will strengthen Pakatan at the national level, a defeat will certainly weaken us,” he added.