OK, the much-talked about D-Day (16th September 2008) did not happen, but I’d like to ask: will the federal government change hands from BN to PR this year?
16th September 2008
Change of government didn’t happen, but Anwar insists:
We have a slight majority, it is in excess of 31. To the PM, please do not do more ISA arrests or impose emergency rule to stop the takeover.
But he would not name the defectors:
We name them now and they get harassed immediately. So I’m telling you now that I will choose to confide in the prime minister. And if he wants the list I will show the list at the meeting. Until the right opportune moment, we can’t declare. We know how the system operates.
He even said the numbers are increasing quickly:
It keeps increasing by the hour… seriously. I’m not joking. This morning, I received a signed note from another member. What do you want to know? You want to know if we have the numbers. We’ve the numbers!
He even said that the defectors included cabinet members and their deputies.
The PM said:
I would not entertain Anwar’s request to meet him until the list of defectors is made public. This is a waste of our time. It is a game of political lies by Anwar Ibrahim and the people are choosing to believe him. He has no substance but the people will continue to be fascinated by him. Why should I be pressured? It is mere dreams. If at all it is true, (Anwar) would have announced it by now. The whole world would have known. Do you think he would ask for a meeting with me to discuss a transition? He would storm into my room with hundreds behind him, shouting victory. This is Anwar’s style.
However, PR leaders said in that case they would meet the king. PKR Information Chief Tian Chua said this could happen within the next 1 to 2 days, but then clarified, “as much as possible, however, we will try to avoid dragging the king into this.”
According to the law:
(i) Anwar can approach the king with proof that he has the support of enough MPs to be the new leader of the government; however Anwar preferred to discuss the takeover with the PM first; or that
(ii) the king could order another round of general elections, if the outgoing or incoming PM recommended it.
15th September 2008
On the eve of 916, Anwar Ibrahim told a rally of 25,000 (some say 30,000) at the Kelana Jaya stadium in Petaling Jaya:
Tonight on the eve of Malaysia Day, we are ready to form the government tomorrow. We have the numbers to defeat BN. Tomorrow is D-day, we are ready to form the government. Pakatan Rakyat has submitted a letter to the PM today seeking a meeting for a smooth transition of power.
Apparently, earlier 3 MPs from Pakatan Rakyat (PKR’s Johari Abdul, DAP’s Loke Siew Fook and PAS’ Dr Hatta Ramli) gave the letter to the PM.
After the rally, Anwar told journalists:
I believe that the government will fall in the next few weeks.
However, the Prime Minister dismissed this claim, saying:
It’s a nuisance and preposterous. The people had become very uneasy with this “naughty” speculation that the government would be toppled. It’s better to so something worthwhile instead of indulging in unecessary coffee shop talk. The best thing to do was not to entertain such talk posted in websites. The current government will remain strong.
Other Barisan Nasional leaders echoed him.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said:
There’s no way there would be a change in government on Tuesday. It’s not going to happen. Parliament has to be in session and it’s not sitting currently, and there should be a constructive vote of no-confidence in Parliament such as by defeating a Bill. There were two attempts by the Opposition not too long ago but they did not materialise. So, it’s a waste of time talking about it. Anwar is always doing a con job to trick the rakyat. You can kid the people once, twice but not all the time.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Farid Wan Salleh said:
Anwar should stop playing mind games [playing the xbox 360 is allowed though ;-)]. For someone who aspires to be the future leader of the country, he must behave like one, and not like a politician hungry for power.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said:
Anwar’s goal to capture enough Barisan MPs to topple the government today was an unnatural political act. If they want to form a government, it has to be done through the democratic process of the general election, not through the back door.
PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaafar said:
The new “Pakatan federal government” will include Barisan members who have rejected their component parties.
12th September 2008
Anwar admits for the first time that Pakatan Rakyat might miss the 16th September deadline:
The process of transformation to a new government… is proceeding smoothly and we believe that Barisan Nasional will be replaced in a very short period. The date might be delayed from September 16… but the agenda is still going on. One complicating factor had been the government’s move to ship lawmakers overseas this week.
Today the PKR sent a delegation of 5 to fly to Taipei to contact “potential defectors” among the 49 MPs who went on the Taiwan trip. Members of the delegation:
(i) Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan MP), election bureau deputy head, flew in the morning;
(ii) Tian Chua (Batu MP), information chief;
(iii) Saifuddin Nasution (Machang MP), strategic director;
(iv) Low Chee Cheong, supreme council member. Another report said the PKR vice-president Dr Lee Boon Chye went instead;
(v) Elizabeth Wong (Selangor state executive councillor and PKR Wanita publicity chief).
The Taiwan tour officially ends tomorrow, and “about five to six MPs had already gone back on the 10th (Wednesday).”
10th September 2008
Anwar Ibrahim said the 16th deadline is still very much on track, even though many MPs are now abroad.
He also said there will be a “surprise” on that day (16th Sept), but did not go into detail.
8th September 2008
PKR Deputy President Dr Syed Husin Ali confirmed that Pakatan Rakyat does have enough MPs for the takeover, and tantalizingly, said that there are “several” among the 41 BN MPs who flew to Taiwan today for an “agriculture study tour” lasting 8 days.
It has been reported that up to 54 MPs will go to Taiwan, but the list of MPs is not available, only that there are 10 MPs from Sabah, 10 from Sarawak and the rest from the peninsular.
However, he added that:
(i) it is likely to be a few days after 16th September and that PR will wait until everybody’s back in Malaysia before unveiling all of them together.
(ii) PR is likely to secure 40 MPs rather than the minimum 31 in order to have a more stable government.
PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaffar also confirmed that PR has the numbers but the takeover date has changed.
6th September 2008
Anwar Ibrahim said he is on track to meet the 16th September deadline to recruit at least 30 BN MPs in order to topple the government. 30 is the number needed to unseat the government. He said:
…quite positive from the initial response from the MPs. We have seen some very positive signs, but we have also seen the desperate acts by the government, threats and using institutions to discourage them. The only issue now is that they are going to compel members of parliament to (travel to) China or overseas until after the 16th of September, so we’ll have to deal with that. Probably we’ll meet on the 17th because they’ll come back on the 17th.
Gerakan’s Acting President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said Gerakan will leave Barisan Nasional if it cannot play a “meaningful role” within the coalition.
5th September 2008
The PM said it won’t happen.
Some comments by Sabahan leaders:
PBS Deputy President Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said:
We cannot tolerate any more this kind of story (of forming the Government). Such a rumour has created political instability and fear among the people and even (affected) public safety. Based on the feedback from the grassroots, there is no sign of BN MPs, especially from PBS, crossing over as claimed by the opposition.
LDP President Datuk VK Liew said:
The Government formed through the backdoor is undemocratic. We in LDP don’t uphold and subscribe to such a government.
Upko Deputy President Datuk Wilfred Bumburing said defections won’t happen, but declined to comment further on the matter.
SAPP VP and Tawau MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui said:
We never discussed any defection.
Sabah Parliamentary Back Benchers Club Chairman and Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman said:
No Sabah BN MPs, including from Umno, have indicated their intention to defect.
28th August 2008
Many of the 24 Sabah BN MPs rejected the move to get them to sign a loyalty pledge to the PM. State Barisan Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Anifah Aman said the move proposed by Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal:
(i) was an insult to the Sabah MPs
(ii) the pledge should instead be signed by all Barisan MPs
(iii) various Sabah MPs including himself had repeatedly voiced their loyalty to the Barisan leadership
(iv) they had no intention of crossing over to join the opposition.
(v) some Sabah MPs said they felt that they were being treated like “cattle.”
Kalabakan MP Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh said:
(i) the loyalty pledge seemed to infer that Sabah MPs could not be trusted.
(ii) He would not be signing any such pledge
Karambunai MP Datuk Eric Majimbun said:
(i) neither he nor fellow SAPP MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui of Tawau would be signing such a pledge.
(ii) he questioned the the point of such a pledge, and said “this so-called pledge doesn’t make sense.”