One down, two to go — Selangor and Kedah next

By Khalid Samad

FEB 19 — The above summarises the psy-war which the BN through its various channels is trying to put forward to the public. However, as can be confirmed through a cursory glance in the media, the Perak issue is far from settled. What may have originally been considered a simple issue by the BN has developed into something far more complicated than what it bargained for.

The statement by the “pretender MB of Perak” that he will refer the issue of being called up by the Special Privileges Committee to his lawyer is a sign that what is currently happening was not expected by the BN. It seemingly forgot that the position of the speaker and all the committees formed during the earlier sessions are still technically intact. They can only be disbanded and reappointed, if that is what the BN wishes to do, through a sitting of the state assembly.

It is quite clear that should the “pretender MB” and his exco refuse to attend, the speaker through the Special Privileges Committee can take disciplinary action against them. This may include being suspended from the assembly. Should this happen, BN will find itself in the minority and a “vote of confidence” for Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin be passed in the assembly. Should they decide to attend, they will find themselves at the mercy of the SP Committee and again be suspended from the assembly due to their accepting their appointments without first referring the process of change to the assembly in the first place. This would appear to be a classic case of "damned if I do and damned if I don't".

As we now know, the SP Committee has suspended the “pretender MB” for 18 months and his six excos for 12 months each from the state assembly. The decision was made in their absence. It will be interesting to see how they get out of this sticky situation. My guess would be, again, by a total disregard of any law, written or otherwise, by invoking the name of Sultan of Perak and by chanting the age-old Umno mantra of “Hidup Melayu!”

The proper way out of this mess, as has always been stressed by the PR, is for new state elections be held. As we are aware, even if the force their way out of this mess which they created for themselves, the stability of the state government hinges on the three independent state assemblymen whose eligibility to attend the assembly is itself in question. Based on their previous behaviour, they are far from dependable.

Similarly, in both Selangor and Kedah, for all the hype, the facts on the ground are that the BN has made little if any headway. If the strength of a political party is measured by the support it has from the public, it may even be surmised that the BN is continuing to lose ground in all three states. The current developments pertaining to Elizabeth Wong in Selangor has only galvanised support for her and the PR. There is even talk of ensuring that the BN candidate, whoever he or she will be should there be a by-election in Bukit Lanjan constituency, will lose his/her deposit! Such is the anger and frustration over the BN tactics and no amount of denial will convince the public that the BN was not in any way involved in the smear campaign. Such is the reputation of the BN.

For the two upcoming by-elections, the PR machinery is already moving. Umno however is bogged down with its upcoming party elections. There will be little time for them to do anything after that, given that the by-elections will be held a day after their general assembly. We hope to see a battle-weary, torn and tattered BN machinery emerging from the general assembly, weary from the backstabbing, money-grubbing campaigning which has emerged as their trade mark over the years.

Without wanting to sound over-confident, as I never believe in under-estimating my opponent, I feel that the Malay proverb "sepandai-pandai tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga" is very apt in this situation. All that the BN has managed to do is convince the public that it has not yet learnt its lesson and is therefore in dire need of another trouncing. In this matter, I believe we Malaysians will be very happy to oblige.

Khalid Samad is MP for Shah Alam. He is also head of the Shah Alam Pas division and also a member of the Pas political bureau which is the most powerful bureau in the party. His website is www.khalidsamad.com

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