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M'sia opposition coalition flies into turbulence
Publication Date : 24-09-2012
Photographs of Anwar Ibrahim and several leaders of opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition travelling on a private jet have caused a stir in cyberspace.
While some bloggers and officials of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition criticised their “travel style”, Anwar and his team maintained it was merely an easy mode to travel across Sarawak and Sabah.
The pictures, originally tweeted by People's Justice Party (PKR) vice-president Tian Chua on September 15, were uploaded by several blogs.
Apart from Anwar and Tian Chua, those seen in the aircraft included Democratic Action Party (DAP) vice-chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw, PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin, Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli and Terengganu PKR chief Abdul Rahman Yusof.
Some of the blogs even suggested that the aircraft may have been registered to a United States bank.
A posting in novandri.blogspot.com said the opposition leaders had accused the Barisan government of being wasteful while they often portray themselves as being prudent and travel only on low-cost airline AirAsia.
“Many supporters were impressed but, unfortunately, this is all an act.
“The latest story about Anwar travelling in a private jet with other opposition leaders will surely leave a negative perception on the people,” said the blogger.
Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan said it was ironic that the opposition, who accused Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and the government of being wasteful, actually used a private jet for campaigning.
“Even if the service was paid for or arranged by a certain party, the rakyat has the right to know who did it and whether it was a local or foreign sponsor,” he said.
Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang said: “Even if it was a loan, they must realise there is no free lunch in this world.”
Reacting to the criticisms, Anwar tweeted on Saturday: “What’s the issue? A friend arranged for a private jet.”
Defending her father, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar tweeted: “What’s the issue with a jet trip loaned by a friend? Ain’t ours, ain’t public funds.”
Tian Chua said they were travelling to several places in Sarawak and Sabah over the weekend of Malaysia Day, adding that it was cheaper and time saving to charter the jet than to fly commercial.