Thursday, February 5, 2009

Perak defections - Pakatan tastes its own medicine

-A commentary-

PUTRAJAYA, 4 Feb 2009: The Barisan Nasional (BN) is ready to form a new government in Perak following four assemblypersons in the state quitting their parties to support the BN, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. [The Nut Graph, 4/2/09]

Look's like the Pakatan Rakyat has got a chance to taste its own medicine as the Perak state government's fate hangs on a thread after four assemblypersons 'defected' to the Barisan Nasional.

On January 25, it was announced that assemblyman of Bota, Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim (BN) has decided to trade his UMNO colours for the Pakatan's. However, Nasaruddin rejoined UMNO 10 days later after 'pledging' his allegiance to the Pakatan. Such indecisiveness from the BN man is anyone's guess. But it is just a political staged show for what is to come, I reckon.

The other three assemblypersons are Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang), Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changkat Jering), and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang) whom all decided to leave the Pakatan to remain 'independent'. All three of them have promised full support for the Barisan Nasional if fresh state elections were to be held.

With the current state of affairs, both the Pakatan and BN have 28 seats each in the 59-seat state assembly. However, BN has the upper hand in this tussle for power, with all three 'independent' assemblypersons mentioned in the above pledging their support the coaltion.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced on February 4 that the BN coalition is fit and ready to seize control of the state. On the other side of the fence, the Pakatan are calling for fresh state elections, in an attempt to settle scores more democratically. Either way, the decision to dissolve the state assembly in order for an election to take place lies with the Perak state monarch.

This is the ugly side of Malaysian politics. I have personally grown to disagree with party defections simply because it is unethical. Regardless of whether the outcome favours the party I support or not, such methods of gaining power is indeed improper. What is the point of having elections when someday our elected representatives could decide for themselves which ship to jump. Would that constitute as cheating the voters at the end of the day? I believe so.

Say I voted MP Bob, who is running for Party A, because I disliked Party B. And one day, to my horror, MP Bob decides to join Party B. What happens to the votes that put him in office in the first place? Those votes were for Party A too.

Post-March 8 Elections (2008) have seen the Pakatan Rakyat denying the BN its 2/3's parliamentary majority it has always enjoyed. By all means, the BN only managed to retain federal power with landslide victories in Sabah and Sarawak. The so-close-yet-so-far dilemma soon settled in and Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (image) stunned everyone by claiming the Pakatan was able to form a new government by September 16 (2008) with the help of defecting BN MPs - 30 of them. Of course, September 16 came and nothing happened. Personally, I was looking forward to it and was disappointed it did not happen. However, I was glad it didn't because it would not be right to entice opposing MPs to switch loyalties in order to form a new government. It is undemocratic, in my opinion. If the Pakatan wants to do so, they would just have to wait till the next General Elections. That's democracy.

The Perak saga has Najib beating Anwar to his game. There has been suggestions for an anti-hopping law for politicians fond of switching parties while in office but the the High Court declared in 1992 that the anti-hop law was unconstitutional as it went against the freedom of association as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. The Pakatan justified party-hopping in the post -General Election months as it appeared to have the edge in the political race to form a new government.

However, the Pakatan are now calling for the implementation of the anti-hopping law and fresh elections to re-decide the fate of affairs following party defections. Unfortunately, I don't hear them saying the same things when Anwar audaciously predicted mass defections from the BN camp a year ago. Politicians are just hypocritical.

As unethical party-hopping may be, the same applies to 'position inheritance' as being currently practiced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his second-in-command, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Badawi announced that he will step down in March 2009, making way for Najib to ascend to the country's top post. Is this not 'position inheriting'?

Look at it this way. Badawi did not intend to retire if it wasn't for the heavy losses suffered by the BN in the 2008 March 8 Elections. He naturally took the blame for the poor results as he was also pressured by many groups to make way for a new and 'stronger' leader. But Badawi ran as Prime Minister in the General Elections and people who voted for him genuinely supported him to retain his position.

So what happens when Badawi suddenly decides to 'hand over' that position of his to Najib? What if I voted for Badawi because I liked him being the Prime Minister but I disagree with Najib being the next one? So, people like me do not have a say when Badawi decides to just allow Najib to 'inherit' the title of Prime Minister. If party defections are enough to call for fresh elections, how is a resigning Prime Minister not?

Politics in Malaysia has been shamefully reduced to unethical methods like party-hopping, defections and 'position inheriting'. This is not true democracy. True democracy lies in the hands of the people - the rakyat who decides who stays and who goes. The politicians do not decide for themselves who we should or should not support! We decide.


  1. AL said...

    An interesting post!

    Will feature your post in our website and link our readers back to your blog.

    All the best!

  2. vasantarao appalasamy said...

    It is now up to Tuanku!

    Silver State under Limelight again, state assembly yet to be dissolved with permission from Perak Sultan. Perak state government Pakatan Rakyat now is too weak to be a state government since several ADUN are declared themselves as independent candidate and hopped to UMNO as well. BN now owned sufficient reps to form a state government.

    Previously Pakatan Rakyat has 32 seats, after Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (PKR-Behrang), Osman Jailu (PKR-Changkat Jering), and Hee Yit Foong (DAP-Jelapang) submitted official letters to speaker V Sivakumar to express their intention to become independent representatives, PR’s position as state government is denied with no majority, current position shows- BN: 28; Pakatan: 28 and Independents: 3 seats.

    Jamaluddin and Osman are facing corruption charges in court, so it’s clear that they have planned something to save their position in Perak state government despite the mandate and believe of his voters given. It’s unfair to the people of Perak state and their constituency too. The defections tremendously effect whole governing institution of Perak. They should go back to the people before making any decision!

    This is a betrayal of the highest order by the Pakatan Rakyat representatives of the trust the voters had placed on them. As voters, they may feel cheated. What a letdown? Now Sultan of Perak must decide on what going to happen in Perak. Tuanku (his highness) able to stop the political game with a fresh pool/snap election in Perak state by dissolving the state assembly.

    People of Perak are waiting for Tuanku’s decision on tomorrow. They need a government that went through democracy process or election, not from defections! They sure hate seeing state government coming to power through back door. Please dissolve Perak state assembly!

  3. Anonymous said...

    We want democracy for Perak

    Join Us Now

  4. Y2K said...

    With regards to your comments the Prime Minister's position. There is no direct election for PM position in Malaysia.

    AAB ran for a seat in the Parliment and as the person able to command the majority of support in the Parliment, he became the Prime Minister. As such, when he steps down, it will be down to the Parliment to select a new leader, not have a whole new GE just for that purpose.

  5. Anak Perelih said...

    Some compared this BN coup with Anwar... but...

    Anwar Sept 16 claim was a bluff to save Perak PR government... The best defense is to attack... If there was no Sept 16 claim, Perak should fell earlier... maybe by August 31 as claimed by tajol Rosli... Why I called it as a bluff??? because to get 30 people is a huge tasks.... That's 21% of BN MPs... Impossible la... He did so just to make BN busy with MP and left Perak alone as Perak has the slimmest majority of all state government... BN only need to get 3 people to hop... so which is more easier.. 3 Adun or 30 MPs???

    We all got brains.. so use it la...

  6. Anonymous said...

    The whole defection thing was not started by PR. Just after BN lost Perak and Selangor, there were already movement from UMNO tempting PR to defect. In Perak, they were asking PAS assemblyman to create a new coalition between UMNO and PAS, and they even offer the MB post to PAS. Same in Selangor.

    What Anwar did was a political ploy to catch BN off guard and to divert the attention of its machinery into guarding their own rather than enticing others. So, UMNO diverted their attention from getting PR to defect in Perak and Selangor, towards safekeeping Sabah and Sarawak.

    I guess, once the 16 Sept date passed, Anwar has no more card to play. Coincidently, there was a KT by-election. That actually buys some time for PR to keep its government in Perak. I have a feeling that, this would happened sooner if there was no by-election.

    Frankly, I am astounded by UMNO political maneuver. Nasaruddin 'act' is classy for these reasons:
    1. he portrays that PR accept defections. Had PR rejected his defection, UMNO would be in bad situation to see this through.
    2. his defection causes Tajol Rosli to step down, allowing Najib to come in to lead the defection. UMNO knows that the defection is going to happen. And since he lost 2 by-elections, this is a way to save the next PM's face.
    3. his defection distract PR, while UMNO is devising their take over plan.

    anyway, whats done is done. Perak is now governed by UMNO (not BN). And as defection goes, expect more 'frogs' to 'jump'

  7. Bangsa Cina Malaysia said...


    Rakyat Perak dan seluruh Malaysia marilah berkabung atas kematian demokrasi
    dan berdoalah kuasa kepada rakyat untuk memilih di kembalikan serta merta.

    InsyaAllah MB Nizar akan kembali berkuasa.


  8. Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...


    Let's go around to court the courts
    As they become the places of last resort
    Where else can you deliver your retort
    To have the chance of getting your rational thinking some thoughts

    (C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 070209
    Sat. 7th Feb. 2009.

  9. Anonymous said...

    Its all started by DSAI with his 16 sept project, but unfortunately BN had win the race ...what happened if 16 Sep dream become a reality , I guess we will hear a different tune from PR . Maybe they will praise those switch...

    and this started because of internal problem within the DAP and PKR too, when things become out of control, the opponent get the dont blame others.

  10. Anonymous said...

    yes u are right, malasian politics sulks...

    BUT lets look at the way how PR and BN attracts Aduns or MPs from aother camp....
    first ask ourselves, what has PR to offer to those BN ppl to jump ship??? practically nothing !! cos i dont think PR have the means, and now that they re practising clean, accountaility and trustworthy governance.. no way to masuk $$$. to those BN who jump ship (if any) to PR is doing it out of basic principles of life and to do what is RIGHT.

    But for BN, they entices oppositions with money money and more money , becos they have the means to squander and masuk...or of cos other perks which are not RIGHT (eg. drop charges or thru other manipulations in the law etc.) To these lowly scums, like the recent three, they are just opportunists who have no principles. We curse the day they were born!!

  11. Anonymous said...

    When DSAI mentioned about possible cross-over from UMNO/BN at the Federal level, DAP Chairman has proposed to UMNO/BN that anti-hopping law be set-up and UMNO/BN will get the 2/3 vote with the support of DAP MPs and PR MPs in Parliment.

    However, UMNO/BN did not accept this DAP Chairman offer.

    So, my questions to all the people who doubt about PR and doubt about intention of DSAI on the crossover issue:

    1. Why BN did not accept the offer of DAP Chairman on the anti-hopping law?

    2. Do you people think DSAI did not remember the Coup d'etat in Sabah 15 years ago?

    The Answers are:

    1. UMNO/BN did not accept the anti-hopping offer by DAP Chairman because UMNO/BN has every intention to repeat the Coup D'etat in Sabah 15 years ago in a dirty way.

    2. Of course DSAI and PR remember Sabah Coup D'etat 15 years ago. Maybe this crossover prediction by DSAI at the Federal level is a bait to get BN agrees to anti-hopping law. DSAI cannot disclose this type of important strategy to you and me publicly. The political struggle is more complicated than just writing blog, I hope bloggers and rakyat who would like to see changes in Malaysia be more mature and less naive.

    My final comment is crossover from BN to PR should not be encouraged, but if people is genuine to crossover from BN to PR to fight for change, PR should accept BUT strict screening should be done before acceptance.

    Example, if Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is a BN MP and intends to join PR from BN, is PR going to refuse his application?

  12. Anonymous said...

    kasihanlah orang orang Melayu, selalu dipergunakan dan dipermainkan oleh pemimpin pemimpin Melayu dan raja raja Melayu dengan isu isu kaum dan agama yang kononnya mempertahankan hak orang Melayu, tapi sebenarnya mempertahankan kepentingan mereka sendiri sahaja.

    Sedarlah orang Melayu, hanya demokrasi dan keadilan yang boleh mempertahankan hak rakyat

  13. jonathan ong said...


    Yes, I know there are no direct elections for Prime Ministers here in Malaysia. But what I am saying is that 'handing down' such an important post is also unethical. Thus, the choice of a new PM halfway through a term should be left to the decision of the people, if and when there is a resignation. Badawi should just sit out this term and let Najib run for PM in the next general election.

  14. Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...


    When silver loses its shine
    What remedy can we all find
    Since there'll be no grapes without the vine
    With what cords can virtue any longer bind

    (C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 070209
    Sat. 7th Feb. 2009.

  15. flyer168 said...

    Moral of the story - you reap what you sow !

    The calibre of any party member, Public servants (Government & GLCs) must be vetted from the start, trained for upgrade, reassess for further upgrades inline with experience.

    If no calibre after 30 years - that’s “Deadwood”, long past - should have been "Eliminated" long ago, period !

    Party promotions based on "seniority, patronisation, money politics, etc" without "Meritocracy & Proven Track Records" leads to "Leaders" that UMNO is inheriting - "Elite, Ketetuanan UMNO BEGGARS !"

    Our Southern neighbour adopts the best criteria Brains, Politicians, Implementers, etc with Academic, Professional, Long & Proven Track performance of "Excellence", who are "Accredited & Remunerated" very well (from a few hundred thousand to more than a Million Sing Dollars per annum) with "Structured Job Specs" in this 21st century context.

    Sometimes Foreigners (Asian first, then others) are taken for a short contract period to "Groom" the Local "Best" personnel.

    As such no squabbles/disputes - right person for the job at hand !

    Integrity & Accountability - Either "deliver or else you are out".

    Anyone involved in "Graft, Corruption, etc" would rather "Self-Destruct" than have to face the Senior PM & their peers.

    This Bolehland has a "Long" way to "Perform" to be able to catch up !

    With the Financial Tsunami meltdown, there must be "Political stability, Relevant, Responsible & correct Citizen's Charter drawnup, National & Citizens' Safety/Security guarantee & "Structured" contingency plans to be able to safely "Ride out" the "Impending Global Disaster" - Global Financial War of Mass Destruction!

    Cheers !