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Anwar puts plan to topple govt on hold

 
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October 14, 2008

Malaysia Power Struggle:
Anwar puts plan to topple govt on hold

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said he is putting on hold his plan to topple the government through parliamentary defection, Singapore news agency Channel News Asia reported.

Anwar, said the news agency, wants to focus on bolstering the economy amid the global financial turmoil.

Addressing the lower house for the first time as opposition chief, Anwar Ibrahim arrived at the Parliament House over an hour late.

Topping his agenda was the debate on the 2009 budget unveiled by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi last August.

The 61-year-old demanded that the government revise the budget, saying that the economic numbers and targets have become outdated.

"I see no way, no reason why any responsible MP can support such an irresponsible budget. Yes, one and a half months ago, it was debatable but now, it's rendered completely irrelevant," he said.

Speaking later at a news conference, Anwar denied that he has set a new deadline to seize power by December 8. He said there are more pressing issues to attend to, such as how to cushion the impact of a global economic crisis.

A former finance minister, the opposition chief has raised concerns over a yawning budget deficit, worsening inflation and job losses in the country. The UMNO-led government, he claimed, is so preoccupied with its internal politics that it is neglecting the economy.

So far, none of the cabinet ministers or their deputies has taken him seriously. Their glaring absence from the House on Monday prompted the opposition to accuse them of being arrogant.

Prime Minister Abdullah has downplayed the risk of Malaysia slipping into a recession. He said the country will have no problem in weathering the economic storm with its strong fundamentals.

The prime minister also said he could not see any reason why any government MP would want to leave the ruling coalition to join the opposition Pakatan Rakyat.

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