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Malaysia's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, says he has the numbers to form govt on Sept 16 and seeks a peaceful handover of power from the ruling coalition, the Barisan National.
Report from Malaysiakini.

Anwar: We’re ready to form new gov’t

TOC thanks Malaysiakini for allowing us to publish the following report here.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim told a 25,000-strong rally tonight in Kelana Jaya stadium that he had the numbers to form a new government tomorrow.

"Tonight on the eve of Malaysia Day, we are ready to form the government tomorrow," he said to loud cheers from the jubilant crowd.

He said that he had the required number of parliamentarians to form the government.

According to him, Pakatan Rakyat has submitted a letter to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today seeking a meeting for a smooth transition of power.

"Tomorrow is the day we are ready to form government. But the best time, I tell you, is when we meet the prime minister.

"A peaceful transition is paramount," he added.

He, however, did not provide more information on how many MPs Pakatan has in the bag and the number of government defectors.

Anwar will need at least 31 defectors from BN and perhaps over 40 for a stable Pakatan government.

The massive crowd had gathered at the Kelana Jaya stadium in Petaling Jaya tonight to celebrate Pakatan's 'Hari Malaysia' celebration.

ISA dragnet slammed

Anwar, who began his speech at 10.15pm, emphasised the importance of Sabah and Sarawak to Malaysia. He also criticised the ruling Barisan Nasional for pursuing a divide-and-rule agenda at the expense of the two east Malaysian states.

"This is the first time ever a celebration of this scale is being held to recognise that we are one - that Sabah and Sarawak are part of Malaysia," Anwar told the crowd.

He added that he would declare Sept 16 a national holiday when he takes over the government.

Anwar also slammed the Abdullah-led government of practising racial politics, which he said led to the ISA arrests of three people.

He urged the majority Malays not to be swayed by BN policies.

"The Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) benefitted only the rich and elite Malays, not you," he said.

Most of those in the crowd are there in the belief that PKR leader Anwar would make an important announcement tonight on the formation of a new government, which Anwar has repeatedly claimed he would do by tomorrow.

High expectation

Earlier Anwar entered the venue at 9.40pm to wild chants of ‘Reformasi!' and ‘Merdeka'.

Many Pakatan leaders were already at the venue, most of them also believing that Anwar would make an important announcement at the rally.

Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, when asked if there would be a surprise announcement, merely said: "Wait for Anwar".

Guan Eng and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang had earlier entered the stadium to loud cheers.

Many people on the ground whom Malaysiakini spoke to also expressed confidence of an impending change.

"He may reveal the first batch of defectors and maybe on how they will approach the king.

"I think they will wrap it up and form a new government by the end of this month," said retiree G Maniam.

‘I am surprised at how fast things are changing," said another Pakatan supporter at the stadium, Anthony Tong.

The 52-year-old accountant from Cheras said that he would not be disappointed even if Anwar managed to seize power by the end of this year.

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