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Wan Saiful backs Anwar on 'urban elite disconnect'
Published:  Apr 28, 2019 6:25 AM
Updated: Apr 30, 2019 7:17 AM

Bersatu supreme council member Wan Saiful Wan Jan has backed PKR president Anwar Ibrahim in saying that the urban elite pushing for reforms are disconnected from the needs of the grassroots.

In a statement today, Wan Saiful said this group, whom he dubbed the "Bangsar bubble," was focusing only on institutional reforms from a position of comfort.

However, he added, politicians are the ones bearing the brunt of the discontent from the grassroots, listening to gripes relating to bread and butter issues on a daily basis.

"In short, the 'Bangsar bubble' is living comfortably. They are making a lot of demands. 

"But their lives are disconnected from the villagers in Arau and Pendang, where the people live in hardship and are voiceless," he said.

In view of this, Wan Saiful urged government leaders to focus on the basic needs of the people.

"People who voted for change must get our help. Small-time contractors and businesses who supported change must be helped.

"Activists who worked hard to bring change must have their welfare looked after," he said.

Wan Saiful urged the urban elite to help Pakatan Harapan's efforts to assist the people, and to see for themselves the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

'Correct priorities'

Though stressing the importance of institutional reforms, he said it will take time for its benefits to be felt by the public.

"Our priorities must be correct. Welfare issues and difficulties faced by the public should be our priority.

"If our reform efforts sideline the public, it shows we are overly influenced by the 'Bangsar bubble'," he said.

Wan Saiful was referring to Anwar's recent interview with Channel News Asia, during which the PKR leader said that the federal government had succumbed to pressure from the urban elite and civil society, resulting in a backlash from the Malay community.

"The urban elite sets a list of priorities which are a disconnect from the real problems of the poor, and at times, the elite seems to ignore these real problems. I’ve not heard them talking about poverty, inequality," he said.

"Human rights is an issue, judicial independence is an issue, and (this is something) which we should not delay in terms of implementation.

"But the crux of the problem is still the economy. Economic hardship is real, we will have to deal with this," he told CNA.

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