English World

Remember Perak

February 1, 2012
10 minutes read
Remember Perak

Free Malaysia Today
Selena Tay

There has been widespread rumours that Parliament will be dissolved anytime in February with Feb 6 being bandied about as one of the likely dates to pave the way for polling on March 11 (there seems to be a general consensus on this March date for the polls from various sources). This goes to explain the heightened political activity in Perak from late last year till the present.

The recent big activity in Perak is, of course, the National Chinese New Year Open House celebration hosted by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in Sitiawan on Jan 28. It is just too much of a coincidence that Perak is hosting this big event. Something is on the boil and yes, many are already saying that the continuous presence of Barisan Nasional bigwigs in Perak is an indicator that polls will be held very soon.

In the meantime, Perakians will be “celebrating” two dramatic anniversaries in February:

Feb 5 – the third anniversary of the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat state government; and

Feb 9 – the second anniversary of Umno’s Zambry Abdul Kadir being declared as the menteri besar by the Federal Court who upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision via a 5-0 verdict in favour of the Umno man.

A quick recap on how the Perak power-grab came about. Just before the Chinese Lunar New Year of 2009 (Year of the Ox) at around the third week of January, Umno’s state assemblyman for Bota, Nasarudin Hashim, jumped over to PKR and this triggered off a string of defections and dramatic events that would be instrumental in the downfall of Perak.

The main event was the disappearance of three Pakatan lawmakers who suddenly became incommunicado with their party leaders only to appear several days later at a press conference together with the then deputy prime minister Najib Tun Razak to declare that they were BN-friendly.

The names of the “Terrible Three” are Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (state assemblyman of Behrang, ex-PKR); Kapt (B) Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (state assemblyman of Changkat Jering, ex-PKR); and

Hee Yit Foong (state assemblyman of Jelapang, ex-DAP).

This dastardly deed by Najib just before assuming the prime ministership on April 3, 2009, gives a clear indication of the sort of leader that he is – someone diabolical who has no scruples and is willing to achieve his goals by hook or by crook, with the latter being the usual means employed.

Sadly too, Malaysians have no say on the choice of prime minister as the post is handed over from one Umno president to the next Umno president. The solution then would be to boot out Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) entirely by voting them out in the coming 13th general election.

As the polls are to be called very soon, BN leaders have stepped up their campaign in Perak. Long lines of the RM500 cash aid recipients are shown in the mainstream papers and banners have been put up by BN in the rural areas and small towns in Perak to tell all and sundry that the cash aid comes from the BN political coalition. The BN federal government is thus deceiving the rakyat as this cash aid is from the taxpayers’ money.

‘Homestay projects’

Besides the cash aid, Umno members are having “homestay” projects in 135 villages in Larut, Parit Buntar, Bagan Serai, Bukit Gantang, Taiping, Padang Rengas (parliamentary seat of Nazri Aziz), Beruas and Lumut wherein Umno members will stay with the village folk to show their so-called care and concern for the rakyat and, at the same time, bad-mouth the opposition while singing praises of Umno.

This project is carried out in areas that Umno thinks are not to easy to win over. The parliamentary seats of Parit Buntar, Bukit Gantang, Taiping and Beruas belonging to Pakatan are very “black areas”, according to Umno.

Going by the results of the previous general election, there are 16 state seats in Perak which can swing either way due to small winning margins of less than 1,000 votes. Here are the results from the previous polls in March 2008:

1. Selama – BN won by a margin of 355 votes.

2. Kubu Gajah – BN won by a margin of 66 votes.

3. Kuala Kurau – PKR won by a margin of 467 votes.

4. Alor Pongsu – BN won by a margin of 95 votes.

5. Selinsing – PAS won by a margin of 547 votes.

6. Kuala Sapetang – PKR won by a margin of 564 votes.

7. Trong – BN won by a margin of 916 votes.

8. Kamunting – BN won by margin of 555 votes.

9. Pokok Assam – DAP won by a margin of 865 votes.

10. Lubok Merbau – PAS won by a margin of 72 votes.

11. Manjoi – BN won by margin of 348 votes.

12. Kepayang – DAP won by a margin of 490 votes.

13. Manong – BN won by a margin of 749 votes.

14. Pengkalan Baharu – BN won by margin of 14 votes.

15. Sungai Rapat – BN won by a margin of 636 votes.

16. Teja – PKR won by a margin of 175 votes.

Besides the above swing seats, there has been a shifting of voting streams (polling centres) done by the Election Commission and an increase in the names of at least 40,000 dubious voters and postal voters. Below is a sample:

1. Kamunting – an increase of 1,102 voters.

2. Temenggor – an increase 690 voters.

3. Pengkalan Hulu – an increase of 506 voters.

4. Chenderiang – an increase of 255 voters (the sole MCA seat belonging to Dr Mah Hang Soon).

5. Sungai Rapat – an increase of 248 voters.

6. Pangkor – an increase of 5,669 postal voters (Zambry’s seat).

The increased political activity in Perak had started last year. Activities included Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s visit to the state to distribute a large allocation of funds to religious schools and MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek’s forays into Perak rural villages to drum into the rural Chinese that hudud law is a certainty if Pakatan wins control of the federal government.

Power tussle in Perak Umno

Even in Perak Umno itself it is a hotbed of political activity. There are three camps in Umno tussling for power: Zambry’s camp; Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah’s camp; and

Sungai Rapat state assemblyperson Hamidah Osman’s camp.

Ahmad Husni is Najib’s man while Zambry is still known as the Court MB trying to get into Najib’s good books.

The blogger who made an accusation against Nga Kor Ming (DAP’s Taiping MP) pertaining to a tailoring contract even went to see Zambry first before making the accusation.

This is called “The Saiful Tactic” (as Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan went to see the prime minister for a scholarship before accusing Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy).

Zambry also lacks leadership qualities due to his flip-flopping. He has made a statement that only winnable candidates are to be fielded in the coming polls and those who lost in the previous general election will be dropped only to backtrack later by saying that recycled candidates will be fielded.

There is much goings-on in the Umno camps as each one is fighting for power for himself.

In the meantime, to woo over the Malay voters, Umno leaders are still using the same old line of “(Former Pakatan MB) Nizar (Jamaluddin) derhaka” and “Nizar is DAP’s puppet”. Whether this will work or not is still left to be seen.

At the end of the day, the Perak power-grab executed by BN via undemocratic, unprincipled and unethical means is clearly illegal but as usual this is Malaysia Boleh and anything goes.

Before Malaysia really becomes the world’s laughing stock, it is up to all Malaysians and not just Perakians to boot out BN so that Perak and Malaysia can shine again in the world’s political stage. Already there is talk on the ground that dubious voters and phantom voters can win the day for BN.

Therefore, the rallying cry for Pakatan should be “Remember Perak”, similar to the American battlecry for courage “Remember the Alamo”.

Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.

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