Friday, September 5, 2008

Sabah, Sarawak Barisan MPs deny defecting tomorrow

Sabah, Sarawak Barisan MPs deny defecting tomorrow
September 5th, 2008

Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) Parliamentary Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Anifah Aman has denied widespread speculation that some BN Members of Parliment (MPs) from Sabah would defect to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) starting from tomorrow.

“There is no such thing…no Sabah BN MPs have indicated their intention to defect,” he told Bernama here today.

Anifah, who is Kimanis MP, was asked to comment on the rumours circulating around the country through the Short-Message-Service (SMS) and the Internet that Sabah and Sarawak MPs would leave the BN within the next few days.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was quoted as saying recently that the Sept 16 deadline for a high number of BN MPs to defect to Pakatan Rakyat remained on target.

A defection of 30 BN MPs will allow the PR coalition to take over the federal government.

Meanwhile, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) deputy president Datuk Eric Majimbun described the sms as a mere rumour meant to arouse interest in discussions of the current political situation in the country.

But, when asked about rumours that a number of Sabah BN MPs would go on abrupt vacation this weekend overseas, the Sepanggar MP confirmed receiving a call from “someone” who arranged for the group trip.

He declined to dilvuge the details of the calls and the identity of the caller, saying that “he will not be able to make it”.

“I am preoccupied with my programmes to give alms to my Muslim constituents during this Ramadan…so I need to be in my constituency,” he said.

United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) Deputy president Datuk Wilfred Bumburing concurred that the SMS might be a rumour to confuse the people.

Bumburing said he would also be in Sabah during this weekend but kept mum about the overseas trip.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president Liew Vui Keong said if the opposition led by Anwar want to form a new government, they should do it through elections and not by claiming some BN lawmakers will join them on Sept 16.

He said that only victories through elections made a party eligible to form a government as was done by the BN that had been voted by the people through the democratic process.

“They are a party irresponsible and unhealthy by claiming that they will form a new government through the participation of BN members in the opposition.

“All these are political play acting to draw the people’s attention because in fact, they are incapable of governing a new government,” he said, adding the opposition’s move to boast the claim was irresponsible because it could create anxiety among the people and foreign investors and this could cost the country.

Liew who is Sandakan Member of Parliament was sure that none of his BN colleagues would join the opposition on Sept 16 as claimed by Anwar.

On Anwar’s suggestion for Sept 16 be declared a public holiday in the five states governed by Pakatan Rakyat to commemorate the formation of Malaysia, Liew said it was up to the coalition to make the decision.

“The five states are run by them and they have the right to make whatever decisions. What important is they do not go against the Federal Constitution,” he said.

In KUCHING, the four state BN component parties are confident that none of their MPs are likely to cross over to the PR come September 16 as they will not trade “principle for short-term gains”.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) President Datuk Seri Dr James Masing said today the opposition, especially Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), were mistaken if they thought BN MPs could be bought over to leave the coalition to form a new government to be led by Anwar.

“It (defection) is unlikely. I have spoken to all six PRS MPs, who are elected representatives of principles and will not trade principles for short-term gains,” Dr Masing, who is also Sarawak Land Development Minister, told Bernama here.

“As far as PRS is concerned, we are not moving anywhere. We are moving with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is national BN chairman,” he said, adding that the opposition must respect the decision made by voters during the March 8 general election.

He said Anwar, who had earlier claimed that he would become prime minister by September 16, should respect that mandate as much as his win in the Permatang Pauh by-election on August 26 was being respected by the BN.

Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) deputy president Datuk Peter Nyarok said the party, including its four MPs, had pledged their support to the BN leadership under Abdullah at the national level and Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, the state BN chairman.

“There is no question of it (jumping ship). We do not support Anwar and will not not cross over at whatever cost,” he told Bernama, adding that SPDP stood by the BN, which won 30 out of the 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak during the last election.

Asked if such claims were possible, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Tan Sri Dr George Chan said everyone had dreams.

“Everyone has dreams. I have dreams. He (Anwar) has dreams. It’s impossible,” said Dr Chan, who is also deputy chief minister.

SUPP, the second largest state BN partner, won six parliamentary seats but lost Bandar Kuching in the recent polls.

Sarawak BN backbone, Parti Parti Pesaka Bumiputera (PBB) vice president Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman said he was confident all of PBB’s 14 MPs and 35 state assemblymen would remain loyal to the BN.

PBB youth chief Fadillah Yusof, who is also MP for Petra Jaya, said the move by the PR to lure BN MPs to join the opposition was evidence that they did not subscribe to their own principle regarding “hak rakyat” or the people’s rights.

Fadillah, who is also deputy minister of Science, Teknology dan Innovation, said the opposition’s attempt would only bring about a negative impact that would not benefit the country as it gave an illusion of of political instability despite the prevailing stability being enjoyed by Malaysians.


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