|Vigilant in Selangor
SHAH ALAM (Feb 13, 2009): Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is now vigilant in Selangor as it is learnt that Barisan Nasional (BN) is trying to get at least seven PR assemblymen to either cross over or quit their parties.
The case of "missing" Port Klang assemblyman, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)'s Badrul Hisham Abdullah, had sparked talk that BN agents are on overdrive to reclaim the state it lost in the general election – buoyed by their success in wresting Perak last week.
However, Badrul Hisham called a press conference yesterday to rubbish claims by Klang PKR information chief Aziz Johari that he had met with a Klang Umno division leader.
He said the rumour was spread by certain people to create confusion in the PR government in Selangor and he had met the party's top leadership to explain all issues that had cropped up about him.
Asked whether he had been offered to cross over, he said he had not received any offers and he had not thought of jumping to another party, Bernama reported.
On claims that he was "missing" lately and difficult to contact or hardly met constituents, Badrul said: "I am in my area."
On other claims that he did not receive state allocations and was involved in a "khalwat" case, he said: "No, I did not do it."
At the same time, it is learnt that BN, particularly MCA and Gerakan, is milking the discontent of State DAP leaders among themselves as well as with the national leadership and with senior State Assembly officials. At least one executive councillor is being courted.
Senior PR leaders claimed that apart from offers of money, one or two members were also being “blackmailed” with corruption charges for alleged abuse of power.
The BN, which has 20 seats as opposed to PR’s 36, need only obtain nine defectors to form a simple majority in the State Legislature.
A meeting held at the official residence of Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim last night was geared towards identifying representatives, including Members of Parliament who may have some beef with the leadership of their respective parties and to iron out outstanding issues.
The three-hour meeting was a cordial affair where everyone present agreed on the need for open and frank communication so as to allay any misunderstanding among the leaders that will confuse and worry voters.
Except for disgruntled Kapar MP S. Maniackavasagam and several representatives who were overseas, all assemblymen and parliamentarians attended the dinner meeting.
It was decided there was no need to sign any oath of allegiance because ultimately "the allegiance is more towards the voters".
It was also agreed that such meetings should be held more regularly to straighten out issues and to avoid confusion, as well as to keep everyone in check, said a source.
As chief executive of the State, Abdul Khalid also heads PR in Selangor. He had told a news conference on Wednesday that the meeting would also discuss how allocations to assemblymen could be better spent.
Of late, there had been murmurings among several assemblymen over the amount and method of disbursement of the allocations.
Bukit Lanjan assemblywoman and executive councillor for tourism, consumer affairs and the environment, Elizabeth Wong of PKR said she is confident one will not see a repeat of Perak where the PR government fell following the resignation of one DAP and two PKR assemblymen from their parties, and throwing their support behind BN.
She accused BN of waging a psychological war to make PR politicians suspicious of one another.
“I am not unduly worried as from what we see in Perak, it is clear to all that anyone who jumps or causes the State Government to fall will be hounded till the end of the world.”
PKR’s Seri Setia assemblyman and Abdul Khalid’s political secretary Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad dismissed these overtures as BN propaganda.
“They are using the media to propagate this hype but we are quite certain we will not see a repeat of Perak,” he said.
Sungai Pinang Assemblyman, DAP’s Teng Chang Khim, said the only attempt to woo him was in March last year when he was not appointed as an executive councillor.
“Rumours of me crossing over to Gerakan had been there since 1996 but I can tell you that I am not crossing over to the BN,” he said.
He admitted he has differences with several DAP leaders but said it is wrong to say that he is being marginalised by the whole party.
He also said that PKR, DAP and PAS have a “very good working relationship”.
“We have had four BBC (Back Benchers’ Club) meetings since October and the attendance has been good. Even Badrul Hisham was there.
Teng said in the case of the alleged blackmails, he was confident the assemblyman concerned would rather thrash it out in court than earn the wrath of the people by jumping ship.
Updated: 11:09AM Fri, 13 Feb 2009