Saturday, September 6, 2008

Crikey! BN heads off to Australia

retreatBarisan Nasional backbenchers have been told to attend an overseas retreat, believed to be in Australia and their attendance is compulsory. The retreat will take place from September 7 to September 19. [Malaysiakini, 5/9/08]

PUTRAJAYA: Barisan Nasional MPs have been asked to submit their passports for an overseas study trip. [The Star, 5/9/08]

The retreat was organized by the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club for its MPs as a 'study trip' to Australia. The media was told that the 12-day trip will provide the opportunity for the MPs to meet and discuss issues relating to agriculture. Interestingly, The Malaysian Insider also revealed that the trip is being single-handedly funded by one BN MP.

backbencherThe trip came about after a few of our members got talking. We wanted MPs to update themselves with the latest information about agriculture and high-tech food production so that we can debate better on the Budget when Parliament sits again in October," said Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (image). [Malaysiakini, 5/9/08]
The Backbenchers Club is a group of Barisan Nasional MPs who do not hold any post in the Cabinet. There are 140 BN MPs in Parliament but only 65 are ministers and deputy ministers. The remaining MPs decided to form a group which they named "Backbenchers Club".

The announcement of the retreat came in response to Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who recently reaffirmed the public that plans to form a new government by September 16 is still on track. Anwar also expects about 30 BN MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to switch allegiance in the coming weeks.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gave his blessings to the Backbencher's Club, much to the disappointment of many Malaysians who view this trip as unnecessary and a waste of time. Could this be one of the government's ploy to foil the September 16 plans? Badawi said the trip had nothing to do with politics.
"If they want to go, let them go. It has nothing to do with Sept 16. They have no desire to cross over," Badawi said. [The Malaysian Insider, 5/9/08]
Though Badawi denied the retreat was politically-motivated, he did in fact vowed to do anything in his power to stop the Opposition from assuming power,
"We'll make sure that whatever they want to do will not happen. They are depending very much on our people deserting us. They will not desert us and give them the government on Sept 16. It will not happen, it will not work." [The Malaysian Insider, 5/9/08]
Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Rzak shared the same view:
"It's nothing more than a field trip." [Malaysiakini, 5/9/08]
PKR sarawakOpposition leaders were unfazed neither by the retreat nor Badawi's war cry as they are still confident of overthrowing the present government by September 16. Their faith was bolstered when Sarawak PKR Chief Dominique Ng (image) announced that about 40 MPs were anticipated to join the Opposition in the next few weeks. He claimed to have met several top leaders of a BN component party who gave their word. [Malaysiakini, 3/9/08]

As September 16 looms closer, the Malaysian public can expect the government to draw all their cards and stop the Opposition from claiming the jackpot come September 16. Things might just get messy in the build up to end Barisan Nasional's dominance over Malaysian politics.

After all, a drowning man creates the most splashes.

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