The following is a message from Malaysian opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to his supporters after the results of the Hulu Selangor by-election, which was won by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
Tens of thousands of Malaysians joined us to show the people of Hulu Selangor that Pakatan Rakyat is committed to a Malaysia where all of its citizens have the right to peace, justice, and prosperity. I am thankful for the tremendous support you have shown. Your commitment to change is commendable.
One setback shall not divert us from our goal. Any change worth making is hard and will be fought at every turn. While it doesn't take away the sting of this loss, there is no road to real change without setbacks along the way.
Over RM100 million was spent by BN to win a thin majority in Hulu Selangor: that amounts to RM65,000 per person. Dozens of ministers campaigned every day; the Election Commission appears guilty once again of violating its mandate to ensure fair elections; and the police intimidated our supporters and there are reports that they even prevented some voters from reaching the polling stations.
This means that Barisan Nasional has learned nothing since the March 2008 election. Character assassination, racism, bribery and brute force may help to win one or two by-elections. But the people of Malaysia will not be deceived.
Our country still faces the same challenges which cannot be resolved by dirty politics or a few catchy slogans. The economy is lagging, jobs are scarce and our education system remains mediocre at best. We must do more to address the plight of the poor and marginalised people throughout Malaysia. And we must bring credibility back to the Federal government as we have started to do in the Pakatan States.
We increased our popular support in Hulu Selangor. We know we have to do more to reach out to our supporters in the rural heartland, particularly the Felda settlements. I am committed to this challenge and my resolve is unwavering.
Let us look ahead to the next contest and work to bring change to Sarawak. Click here (http://bit.ly/d0YVol) to make a contribution to the May 16th by-election and help us to support the DAP candidate in Sibu.