Unity and economic recovery the top priority in Anwar's first address as PM

Kousalya Selvam
24 Nov 2022 10:51pm
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KAJANG - Reconciliation and economic recovery will be key focus of the unity government under Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as he began his first hours as Prime Minister on a high today.

The Ringgit saw a healthy spike, while Bursa Malaysia rallied to a three-month high as crowds lined the streets to Istana Negara where Anwar was sworn in as the nation's 10th Prime Minister this evening and later at the Sungai Long Clubhouse in the vicinity of his private residence where he addressed the press for the first time since assuming the post.

Already delayed by 30 minutes, his press conference began with another surprise, this time a call from Turkiye president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which Anwar chose to allow the public to listen in on via microphone.

"I must stress that Pakatan Harapan and now this unity government will uphold the constitution and will remain steadfast in upholding the Bahasa Melayu as the national language, Islam as the religion of the federation, the rights of not just Muslims and Bumiputeras but we will not compromise on the rights of Malaysians of every race and of all regions in this nation," said Anwar.

Against the backdrop of doubts raised by Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his deputy Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu over the validity of the government, challenging Anwar to prove his majority, the Prime Minister said the government has set Dec 19 for their first parliament sitting at which the first item would be a vote of confidence to clarify the majority.

"As of now, we have PH, Barisan Nasional and GPS from Sarawak, as well as Warisan and Parti Bangsa Malaysia, which brings the number of seats in support to 139, which is a clear majority. So, the question of stability does not arise," he said in response to Muhyiddin and Ahmad Faizal.

"But having said that, as this is a unity government, I wish to maintain that we are open to all parties to join, including Perikatan Nasional, whose chairman has today questioned the validity of this government," said Anwar.

"That would be subject to them adhering to our core principals, to work together and contribute towards economic recovery, to fight corruption, to come together for the sake of the nation."

He added that Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Abang Openg had contacted him and assured him of GPS' intention of being part of the unity government.
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"We have set Dec 19 for a parliament sitting and the first item will be a vote of confidence among the members of parliament. I am not a Prime Minister like Muhyiddin, who diverts and avoids a vote of confidence because he didn't have the majority," said Anwar.

Anwar then reflected on the job at hand and set economic recovery as the main priority, while on the matter of the battle against systemic corruption he said there were several administrative revisions to be conducted, but conceded it would be a tough job battling against endemic corruption.

He also announced that upon discussions with the Chief Secretary and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, next Monday has been set as a public holiday.

Anwar then took a swipe at those mongering racial and religious slander as narratives to attack and destabilise the new government.

"These attacks are to cause confusion. That is why I need to reiterate that the position of Islam, of Bahasa Melayu and of Malay rulers are never compromised. For more than six decades, Malaysia has existed by bringing together Malaysians of all ethnicities, race and religion, none should be marginalised under my administration," said Anwar.

"Let us now come together and focus on the economy."

On the appointment of Deputy Prime Ministers, Anwar said since he represents the biggest bloc which is PH as Prime Minister, the deputies would be from the second largest blocs which are BN and one representing Sabah and Sarawak, of which the biggest bloc is GPS, but would inform the public once a decision is made.

Anwar said he will also keep his pre-election promise to reject the salary as Prime Minister.
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