MALAYSIAN de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said the 'ketuanan Melayu' (Malay supremacy) card increasingly played up by Umno is to divert attention from the party's internal problems following its unprecedented setback in last month's general election.
Speaking at a press conference in Shah Alam yesterday, he was asked to comment on Mingguan Malaysia's 'Ketuanan Melayu tercabar' (Malay supremacy threatened) front-page headline.
The Umno-owned newspaper was referring to Kelantan Crown Prince Tengku Faris Petra's speech on Saturday, in which he said that it was not appropriate for other ethnic groups to seek equality and the privileges accorded to Malays.
Datuk Seri Anwar said that instead of the 'ketuanan Melayu' concept, a more important cause was 'ketuanan rakyat' (citizens' supremacy), reported news portal malaysiakini.com.
'And when we say 'rakyat', it includes the Malays...especially the downtrodden ones and not the rich ones,' he pointed out.
Responding to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad's comment that the Israelis would vote for Datuk Seri Anwar as prime minister, the opposition leader dismissed the suggestion as 'ludicrous'.
'This is defamatory,' he said. 'I have never met any Israeli leader, and neither have I paid for the services of any Jewish lobbyist.'
At a forum on Saturday, Tun Dr Mahathir had said: 'Well, the Haaretz (Israeli newspaper) thinks that he is going to be the prime minister. It is the only paper in the world which thinks he is going to be the prime minister, and I think he is the prime minister that the Israelis will vote for.'
Datuk Seri Anwar will attend a rally at the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Baru today to mark his return from political exile.
His five-year ban from active politics ends tomorrow. - THE STRAITS TIMES