Interview with Haris Ibrahim of The People’s ParliamentPosted: May 18, 2008
I’ve just read this interview from the StarOnline here. Very interesting, and I got a few laughs reading it.
Q: It’s interesting you mentioned help ‘our MPs’ when you mentioned Pakatan? Does this mean the People’s Parliament supports the opposition?
A: Let me make this very plain. Right up to the 12th General Election, I worked very hard to send Barisan Nasional out on its backside. I will not make any effort to even apologise for this.
Q: Why are you so insistent- in your words – on “sending Barisan out on its backside”?
A: I have always voted opposition until 2004 when I was so taken in by the promises of Pak Lah.
I have always been anti-Mahathir simply because I have never agreed with his policies, with how he has dismantled our constitutional structures, institutions particularly the judiciary.
Q: Are there any Barisan MPs that you have regard for?
A: (Datuk) Zaid Ibrahim (the law minister who is an appointed senator but not an elected MP) . I still have respect for Datuk Shahrir (Abdul Samad), Datuk Shabery Cheek – not withstanding some silly statements off and on because maybe he’s under pressure – but I have always thought he was one of the better one. I can’t think of anyone else.
Q : Civil society is interpreted in a lot of ways. What does civil society mean to you?
Q: But the rakyat has been there all the time? So have we had civil society all this time?
A: Yes, we have. But we have a civil society that has been numbed into silence by fear. I have been pushing for civil society defined by the power that has been entrusted to the people by the Federal Constitution.
Mahathir very effectively silenced us for 22 years. It’s the same corpus but people now are willing to believe in themselves.
Q: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has talked about toppling the Barisan Federal government through crossovers? What are your views on this?
A: If there are going to be crossovers, the MPs must go back to the voters to get the mandate because otherwise it would be tantamount to a fraud.
If they say ‘no, you stay put’ then you stay put.
Q: But Anwar argues that if the elections were free and fair, then Pakatan would have formed the Federal government?
A: Free and fair like the 1994 Sabah elections (when PBS won but the state government fell weeks later when PBS assemblymen defected to Barisan)?
I posed Anwar that question when he was complaining about the Ijok by-election.
My question was I wonder how clean it would have been if he (Anwar) hadn’t been sacked in Sept of 1998 and he was the Prime Minister now. He was in several elections in this country which were bloody dirty.
Q: In the event Anwar tries to make a comeback through a ‘forced’ by-election, what would your stand be?
A: You’ll find me condemning him. I’ll certainly be condemning the fraud on the voter. If a vacancy is contrived – if that was the game plan before – well before the general election, I will condemn it.
Q: Pakatan Rakyat sees Anwar as their potential PM. Do you?
A: I say it with reluctance because I look at what’s available before us. That speaks very sadly of the state of things here.
My grouse with Anwar is that he was part of the administration for 16 years.
When he was released in Oct 2004 and had a dialogue with the Bar, I was the first to ask him why he hadn’t resigned like (Tun) Musa Hitam had done rather than stick with the regime that did all the things that he now complains about.
Till today he has not given me a satisfactory answer! My contention is very simple. Tell this nation “I was wrong. I am sorry and I want to work with you” and I think we can move forward.
But the fact is I have been tracking this man’s (Anwar) public statements for the last few years and I haven’t seen that unqualified apology to the nation. I haven’t.
Q: Do you trust him?
Q: You said a lot of negative things about Mahathir. Is there anything you like about him?
A: That he retired! I have great passion for the law. When I was in England in 1987 and 1988, it was very painful to watch what he was doing to (Lord President) Tun Salleh Abbas and then the amendments to the constitution in 1988. We have never recovered from those days up to now.
All the Protons, twin towers and KLIA – that was one man’s ego. We didn’t need that. We could have had first class hospitals in all states and residential schools instead of building monstrosities. We could have done so much more for the rakyat but we didn’t.
Full interview here.
Very interesting opinions, if I may say so myself. And it’s difficult these days to find someone who openly condemns the party-hopping, while effectively staying pro-PR. I’m guessing that this is the difference of having party before people, or people before party.
I particularly liked the way he was outright about not trusting Anwar. No frills, a simple no.
His blog is a good place to read up about what’s happening in the political scene too. He’s got some very good points to make.