Baradan Kuppusamy, themalaysianinsider.com,
Feb 5 — Despite rising public sentiments to hold fresh elections, the Barisan Nasional was cleared to form a new state government in Perak using defectors after the Sultan of Perak decided today not to dissolve the state assembly.
The Ruler also asked Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to resign together with the executive council members.
Sultan Azlan Shah also ominously declared - if they refuse to resign the post (of Menteri Besar and State Executive Councilors) would be considered vacant.
As BN goes ahead to form a government with the slim majority it has it would be a government clearly against the wishes of the majority of the people of Perak,
In comments over the Internet, in Yahoo chat groups and in messages left at the Sultan’s own website, the people are clamouring for a fresh state election as the only meaningful and democratic way to resolve the stalemate.
The Sultan’s website has suddenly spiked with scores of visitors leaving behind highly emotional appeals to His Highness, in the Buku Pelawat, urging him to dissolve the state assembly and call for a fresh election.
It is not clear whether the comments at http://books.dreambook.com/duli/duli.html are orchestrated or genuine but the comments, dating from last night, are reflective of general public sentiment in the country for a fresh election.
Most people are simply against the BN using PR defectors to increase its majority and form a new government without going back to the voters again.
They view such a move as against common sense and simple natural justice.
But the BN is set to do just that and the Sultan by not dissolving the state assembly has paved the way for a government without the consent of the people.
The question is how long such a government would last in the face of a public backlash and contempt and how such a government can claim to represent the people in an atmosphere of hostility.
The words of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah would prove to be prescient in this instance.
“Angry voters nationwide will reject the BN even more vehemently in the next general election if snap polls are not held in Perak,” he wrote on his blog today.
Even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Umno would only tarnish its image by accepting the defectors.
“We are alienating further the very people we should be trying to win back in the next election,” Razaleigh said.
While it might be true that people forget easily and while it is true that in Sabah in the early 1990s defection changed the government in favour of the BN which still rules the state, the situation in the Peninsular is wholly different.
Today’s Malaysia is an awoken country. The people have woken up from the long political slumber. Peninsular Malaysia is hugely different from the Sabah of 1994. Even in Sabah and Sarawak, people are waking up to a seriously damaged country.
The people are roiled and in an ugly mood and they have shown their power in the March 8 general election.
While it is true that it was the PR opposition led by PKR supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that made “defection” a household word, they had packaged it in the language of change and that had rung a bell in the hearts of many Malaysians.
On the other hand the BN as the incumbent ruling party is mired in the “old, bad” ways and for it to engineer defections to overturn a freely elected government is seen by the people as repugnant.
Right or wrong, logical or not, this is the public perception and perception is the be all and end all — the final arbitrator of a public dispute.
The individuals who have crossed over and those ready to cross over in the weeks ahead are marked people — marked for derision, contempt and public scorn.
They will not be able to even walk freely in their constituency let alone work and perform their duties by their constituents.
To illustrate how much the public tide had shifted on March 8 and how angry the public would be at the betrayal of their mandate just look at the winning majority of one of the defectors — Jelapang representative Hee Yit Foong.
In 2004 she won by about a 300 vote majority but in 2008 the majority shot up to over 12,000 – a huge shift in public sentiment that the BN would “alienate” by stealing the state government.
The BN is clearly going against the public tide because the voters who gave her such a huge majority are still out there and ready and willing to punish her and the BN for betraying their trust.
This is what Razaleigh is worried about. That by not seeking a new vote the BN is irreparably damaging any little chance it had to recoup the March 8 losses.
“It is totally unjust and un-democratic for MPs to switch parties and claim that they still represent what the people voted them in for,” said Jonathan Cheah in the Sultan’s Buku Pelawat
Another writer, Ahmad Said, in demanding a fresh vote said: Patik berpendapat cara begini adalah amat adil untuk semua rakyat. Biarlah rakyat yang membuat keputusan sekali lagi setelah melihat Pro dan Kontra dari kedua-dua belah pihak. (I believe dissolution is the best and just way for all the people. Let the people decide after considering all the pros and cons).
Zainarah wrote: “As rakyat of Perak, I implore you to consent to the dissolution of the Perak state assembly and return the mandate to the rakyat to elect a government of our choice, and not have a government that is foisted upon us. I pray that you will have the Rakyat’s well being uppermost in your mind when you make what must be a difficult decision.”
In posting after posting the message is the same: Dissolve the assembly, let the people decide. Or face the consequences.