Excerpts: Read HERE article by Zakir Hussain & Zackaria Abdul Rahim in The Straits Times
PARTI Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has become the largest opposition party overnight, one that its leaders insist will represent ALL races.
The party led by Permatang Pauh MP Wan Azizah Wan Ismail went from having just one parliamentary seat - hers - after the 2004 election, to 31 seats on Saturday, across eight states.
It also made inroads in states not traditionally associated with the Opposition, such as Selangor, where it won 15 state seats.
According to Anwar Ibrahim at the early morning news coference yesterday:
Anwar said the results exploded Malaysia's race-based political structure, under which parties have traditionally represented individual ethnic groups.
"I will help the Malays, but it will be done justly, and in the same breath I will help the Indians and the Chinese.
The Opposition that has been voted in is a truly multiracial party. It is a fantastic set-up. Going forward, Malays, Indians and Chinese all have to work together and make us a formidable force. "
Datuk Seri Anwar said he felt 'truly vindicated' by the massive vote of support.
The party was formed in the wake of his fall from grace 10 years ago as the Parti Keadilan Nasional. It merged with the smaller Parti Rakyat Malaysia in 2003.
It drew support from former supporters of Datuk Seri Anwar in Umno, but was striking among the opposition parties in its appeal across racial lines compared with the Islamist PAS and the Democratic Action Party (DAP), seen largely as a Chinese party.
PKR information chief Tian Chua, 45, who won the Batu parliamentary seat in Kuala Lumpur by 9,455 votes, said:
He added that it was a nationwide swing of disaffection against the ruling coalition that had propelled PKR to victory.
"We are doing pretty well; that shows our agenda and vision are endorsed and supported by the people.
When you rule for too long, corruption and all other things come in.
The PKR's multiracial nature was a key factor in this sweep. We can appeal to all the different races in this country."
PKR candidate Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, however, felt the party had also focused on core issues the public was concerned about: rising costs of living, crime, and the lack of economic competitiveness.
Said the 26-year-old who won the Seri Setia state seat in Kelana Jaya, Selangor:
Already, the party plans to drop 37-year-old policies giving Malays preference in housing, education and jobs in Selangor, said its secretary-general and Selangor's likely Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
"I think these issues somehow struck a chord with the public and translated to PKR's performance. You have to be well-versed with the sensitivities of Malay Muslims and non-Muslims as well.
Voters who swung away from Barisan Nasional came from all races, including Malay voters in urban areas. If we focus on the public interest rather than party interests, this election's results can be a launch pad for a stronger showing in the coming 2012 or 2013 elections.
Being a multiracial party alone was not enough."