Bigger problems in the country than touching dogs, says Anwar

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said there are bigger problems in the country than the recent "I Want to Touch a Dog" which he said has been turned into "a national issue that threatens the nation".

"There are Muslims who are involved in gambling firms and beer companies. A minister's family member has a multi-million ringgit security labelling contract for liquor and beer.

"Have the ustazs said anything about this and about big shots who consume alcohol?" he said at a "Rakyat Hakim Negara" gathering in Seberang Jaya last night.

The 'I Want to Touch a Dog' event in Bandar Utama last Sunday drew more than 1,000 people including Muslims, but its organiser Syed Azmi Al-Habshi has since become a victim of abuse online and even received death threats.

The event, which was aimed at helping people to overcome their fear of dogs and to understand canines better, infuriated religious authorities, with some Muslims condemning it as an attempt to insult the ulama (clerics).

Anwar said he was asked on Twitter if he supported the act of Muslims touching dogs, which were regarded as 'unclean' animals.

"I said no. If (a Muslim) wants the touch a dog, just 'samak' (cleanse) after that. What is the big problem?

"A national issue that threatens the country is now young people (Muslims) wanting to touch dogs?"

Anwar joked if Muslims would also have trouble touching money previously in the hands of the Chinese who eat pork.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng says the people 'would wait for Anwar' to come out of jail, if the latter loses his appeal on October 28. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, October 23, 2014.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng says the people 'would wait for Anwar' to come out of jail, if the latter loses his appeal on October 28. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, October 23, 2014.

The crowd burst into laughter when he asked if he should do ritual purification for touching Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

"He hugs me whenever we meet so do I have to 'samak' after that?"

At the event last night, Anwar, who is PKR de facto leader, told the crowd that it could be his last ceramah for a long time if his sodomy appeal at Federal Court on October 28 does not succeed.

Anwar was sentenced to five years jail in March on a charge of sodomising his former aide, after the Appeals Court overturned an earlier acquittal by the High Court.

The Permatang Pauh MP said he spurned offers to live abroad to avoid persecution because he wanted to set a good example to youths and show them the struggles that were needed to bring change in the country.

"If it is necessary in order to raise the awareness of youths, then I will face the test," he said.

"After me, it will be (Bagan Serai MP N.) Surendran, Mat Sabu (PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu) ... beratur (lining up).

"They think if I am in jail, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will crumble but it won't. It will rise up stronger to fight Barisan Nasional (BN)...that is our oath."

Referring to 1998 episode when he was assaulted under police custody resulting in a black eye, Anwar said he hoped the incident would not repeat.

"Before I was jailed, I didn’t believe I would be beaten. But I was assaulted and they said I had beaten myself up," he said.

The gathering had a slow start due to heavy rain, but the ceramah went on and the crowd grew larger.

PAS central committee member and Parit Buntar MP, Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic, right), said the struggle was not about Anwar but about justice for all Malaysians.

"Whether Anwar is freed or jailed, PR's struggle will continue," he said, adding that the coalition had seen and survived tough times by solving their issues, and would face future tests calmly.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, said if Anwar is jailed for five years, “we will wait for him”.

“There may also be a wave of reformasi nationwide, which can help get him out sooner,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohamad (pic, left) described the recently-tabled Budget 2015 as good but its implementation "penipu" (a sham).

This, he said, was because there was no mention on the expenses for prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife's trips overseas, among others.

"Problems of corruption, misappropriation, power abuse will continue," said Mohamad, also known as Mat Sabu.

He said Indonesia had bigger corruption problems but its government had jailed eight ministers, and before new president Joko Widodo appointed his Cabinet ministers, their names were sent to the country's anti-corruption body for vetting.

Mat Sabu said television channels in the republic gave air time to presidential candidates from rival parties.

"In Malaysia, the opposition hardly gets coverage on TV," he said, adding that Najib was getting unpopular and reforms only could be possible under PR. – October 23, 2014.

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