Posted by Penarik Beca Friday, April 25, 2008

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Pakatan Rakyat selective in accepting crossover MPs: Wan Azizah (The Edge)
Stop listening to opposition's ridiculous claims, says Sabah CM (Bernama)
BN MPs switching to PKR, names known before Aug 31 (Borneo Bulletin, Brunei Darussalam)
BN not worried: Shabery (Daily Express)
Anwar: PR prefers to govern with big majority (Daily Express)
All part of Anwar's political games: Najib (Daily Express)
Anwar's claim a gimmick: MP (Daily Express)
Masidi: Previous leaders handed powers to KL (Daily Express)
We are taking the rumour seriously, says Najib (Bernama)
Hishammuddin Sees Anwar's Prediction As Political Game (Bernama)
Malaysia's Anwar predicts he will be PM by 2011 (France 24)
Malaysian opposition claims it will form government by September (Thaindian News)
Anwar’s power game goes on
Malay Mail (25/4/2008): Defacto opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has put his credibility on the line by once again claiming he has the “numbers” to topple the government, meaning at least 30 Barisan Nasional backbenchers are ready to defect for him to form and head the next government.

Previously, Anwar had said the defection could happen “today, tomorrow or next week” without giving a definite deadline.

But in a carefully managed media event on Wednesday and, significantly, while on a visit to Sabah and Sarawak, Anwar firmed his position by saying the Pakatan Rakyat, which controls 82 seats in the 222-seat Parliament, would be ready to form the next government by Sept 16, Malaysia Day, this year.

“God willing, we will be there. If not next month, the following month, then if not June or July, (it will be) on Merdeka (Aug 31) or Malaysia Day. I think we should not go beyond that (Sept 16),” he told reporters on arrival in Sabah.

Before getting on the plane, Anwar gave an interview to French news agency AFP and on the plane he was interviewed by an AP wire reporter.

To all, the message was the same — he was ready to be the next prime minister and the way was through defections which would happen sooner, not later.

A master at using the inter national media, Anwar has sent a message to the world that in the new Malaysia, he would be the man to deal with.

While Anwar burnished his credentials, Barisan National leaders from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi down wards were left denying that no government backbencher was defecting, let alone in numbers that could topple the government.

More importantly, Sabah BN political leaders from Chief Min ister Datuk Musa Aman to Tan Sri Bernard Dompok and Datuk Maximus Ongkili have repeatedly said Anwar was bluffing.

Nevertheless, Deputy Prime Min ister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last week that BN was vigilant. When asked whether a snap election would be a possibility if defections did happen, he said: “We can’t rule it out.”

Many civil society leaders and ordinary Malaysians have questioned Anwar’s stated methods, seeing it as an unethical way to undermine democracy, free elections and respect for the public mandate.

“We elected a responsible op position to act as a check and balance, not an opposition that undermines democracy and engineers defection,” said a senior bank officer, who is involved with the People’s Parliament movement started by human rights lawyer Haris Ibrahim.

“Anwar should play the role of a responsible opposition leader in Parliament. He should stand for election and get elected and sit in Parliament and prepare for the next election. He should face the people and let the people decide whether he should be prime minister.

“What he is doing now is anti-people and anti-democracy. What is he offering to engineer defections? People are not changing loyalties because they love him or believe in his cause.

“If he is offering positions or money it could be a crime under the law.”

At the ‘Black 14’ rally in Kampung Baru last Monday, Anwar answered some of these issues but his replies fell flat.

He posed the question ‘some people say it is immoral to engineer defection?’ and answered it by arguing that he was arrested, stripped naked, beaten and thrown into jail on trumped-up charges.

“Is that moral?” Anwar asked and the crowd shouted back “No! No!”

The ethics of engineering defections aside, can Anwar pull it off? Is he bluffing and if so, what are his motives? Looking at the numbers, defections seem near-impossible.

While Anwar needs 30 from the BN to form a one-seat majority government, the BN only needs eight from the opposition to en joy a two-third majority in Parliament again.

For Anwar to form a stable government, he needs at least 50 backbenchers to cross over and give him a 20-seat majority in Parliament. Otherwise his government will suffer from the same malaise — an unstable govern ment that is easily held to ransom by a clique.

It is not that Anwar is unaware of all of this. He has been hard at work trying to make the numbers and his emissaries have met back benchers and their point people.

Meetings have been held in Singapore, Indonesia and the Middle East — countries Malaysian leaders travel frequently to without raising suspicions.

“The meetings are aimed at finding out where East Malaysian backbenchers stand given the changed political landscape,” said a senior aide to Anwar.

A Sabah political leader, however, said the is sue was not just about changing political loyal ties for money or positions.

He explained: “Before there was only one political centre — Umno. Now there is Umno and Anwar. For the first time we have a choice and we can choose. We are the king-makers, we get VIP treatment and we have the ears of the prime minister and Anwar.

“Anwar is offering us 20% in oil royalties. It is an irresistible offer,” he said, adding that currently they only get 5% of “our own oil.”

“We are attracted to 20% but we are not falling for it just yet. Anwar was finance minister for eight years but he never offered us more then the 5%. Now he wants to give 20%. Why not 30% or even 50%?” he said.

“The political tsunami that hit the country recently has also woken us up,” said another Sabah politician.

“We are not na├»ve natives anymore to fall for the first sarong salesman that comes along. Don’t expect us to fall all over Anwar. He needs us more than we need him,” said the deputy minister in the State Cabinet.

It is clear that crossovers in the numbers that Anwar needs is difficult, almost impossible.

It is made more difficult, in the case of Sa bah and Sarawak, by the fact that both State governments are controlled by BN. Their MPs will not defect unless the State governments also fall to Pakatan Rakyat.

So why is Anwar persistent in saying he has the “numbers” to topple the BN government?

Political insiders say, it is to keep up the spir its of Pakatan Rakyat supporters who have fought long and hard so that Federal power is finally within reach.

Another possible reason is that Anwar is just impatient, as before, and is stepping on it at the cost of his credibility. (Baradan Kuppusamy)
Anwar: We want to rule with stability
The Star (25/4/08): Pakatan Rakyat will not form the next federal government if it does not have a comfortable majority of MPs on its side, said Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“I do not want a three or four simple majority. We need a comfortable majority because stability (of the government) is paramount,” he told reporters here yesterday in response to his earlier statement that the Opposition coalition could form the next government by Sept 16.

He said Pakatan Rakyat needed Barisan Nasional MPs from Sarawak and Sabah to join the Opposition alliance to make it a “national movement for change”.

“Now we have the numbers. If they (Barisan Nasional leaders) say we do not have the numbers, we will prove them wrong.

“They say there is no way the Barisan Dayak or Kadazan MPs will desert us (Barisan). We will see. The surprise will be coming, maybe in August,” he added.

Anwar reiterated that his priority now was to ensure that the five states under Pakatan Rakyat’s rule were managed well and that he was coordinating and forging a formidable Opposition alliance.

He said that as Sabah and Sarawak had delivered more than 50 parliamentary seats to the Barisan Nasional, it was time for the people of the East Malaysian states to demand bigger representation in the federal administration and government-linked companies.

He said there were many professionals in Sabah and Sarawak who had impressive credentials to hold positions in such companies.

Anwar said oil-producing Sarawak, like Sabah and Terengganu, would be given 20% oil royalty if Pakatan Rakyat took over the federal government.

Asked if he would support calls from within Umno that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should resign as the Prime Minister, he said that was for Umno to decide.

Earlier, Anwar launched PKR Mambong division at a restaurant along Kuching-Serian Road, and met with several Dayak leaders.
MP: Anwar is power crazy
The Star (25/4/08): Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is power crazy, the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BBC) claims.

BBC deputy chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said the Opposition figure head was trying his best to undermine the strength of the ruling coalition.

Bung Mokhtar said claims by Anwar that Barisan MPs were ready to crossover was a political gimmick that showed that he was suffering from a craze for power.

"He is just finding ways to get to power by making all sorts of claims"
- Datuk Bung Mokhtar

He said Anwar must accept the fact that Barisan holds the majority in Parliament and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition had lost the general election.

“The people have made it clear that they support the Barisan government,” he said when dismissing Anwar’s claims that the Pakatan Rakyat government had enough Barisan MPs to form the Federal government and it would be done by Malaysia Day (Sept 16).

The Kinabatangan MP said Anwar was using unethical methods to woo Barisan MPs so that he can take over the Government.

“He is just finding ways to get to power by making all sorts of claims,” Bung Mokhtar said after chairing the Sabah Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board meeting here yesterday.

He said Barisan MPs have pride and respect the wishes of the people and he did not see the possibility of them crossing over to the Opposition.

“The Opposition coalition is weak and is built on political convenience and this could collapse anytime when you compare it to long-term working relations between parties in Barisan,” he added.
Malaysia: stealing thunder
Oxford Analytica (24/4/08): Malaysia's self-proclaimed 'alternative government' is expected to set out its policy platform this week. Almost two months after elections transformed the political landscape, de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will be vying to steal the thunder permanently from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).

A ban on Anwar playing a formal political role has expired (the former deputy prime minister was toppled from power in the late 1990s amid charges of corruption and sodomy, the latter later overturned). Anwar now believes he will be prime minister within three years; he claims that he can hammer the final nail into the BN coffin with the defection of legislators from the states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Three opposition parties are working together to undermine the government further. They have diverse interests, but can together be expected to continue a focus on welfare and overcoming ethnic tensions. They have already vowed to rethink long-established and contentious rules that guarantee preferential treatment of ethnic Malays.

Malaysians are frustrated by the economy, inflation, crime and ethnic tensions. The opposition is operating from a position of unprecedented strength (it controls over one third of parliamentary seats and five states). But incumbent powers will be hard to shift, and moves to overturn the status quo may prompt a backlash.
Anwar playing a political game, says Najib
The Star (24/4/08): Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's claim that Pakatan Rakyat can form the next government by Sept 16 is part of his political gamesmanship, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"He can make all sorts of claims. He will make all sorts of claims. It is part of a political gamesmanship he is playing," the Deputy Prime Minister told reporters Thursday after visiting the 11th Defence Services Asia exhibition and conference here.

He was asked to respond on Anwar's claim on Wednesday, which was made during his two-day visit to Sabah.

Asked what measures Barisan Nasional is taking to avoid potential crossovers by Sabah and Sarawak MPs to the Opposition as claimed by Anwar, Najib said, "We don't expect that they will leave the ruling party."

He said hopefully, the MPs would remain loyal to Barisan because the ruling coalition has served the nation all this while.

"Barisan MPs won in the March general election under the Barisan ticket. They must be confident that the country's future is guaranteed under the ruling coalition."

Sabah and Sarawak hold 50 out of 140 parliamentary seats belonging to Barisan and the Opposition needs at least 30 MPs in order to form the government.

On Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim's proposal for Umno to set up a special commission to probe the reasons for the party's dismal performance in the elections, Najib dismissed it saying: "There's no need for such a commission."
Anwar agenda is fast move to PM (The Standard)
Malaysia's Anwar says he would be a much better PM than Abdullah or Mahathir (IHT 23/4/08)


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