Suara Keadilan/edited by MEDIA PKR HULUSGR/SAS
Mentri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin this morning said the Pakatan Rakyat state government would lodge a police report over two KeADILan assemblymen, who have been 'missing’ and un-contactable by even their own families for the past five days.
He urged Behrang’s Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering’s Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu to come out of hiding, even if they had decided to defect to another political party.
Incoming Umno president Najib Abdul Razak is believed to be in the last lap of negotiations with both men to get them to defect, in a bid to make up for the recent loss of Bota assemblyman Nasarudin Hashim to the Pakatan component.
According to KeADILan information chief Tian Chua, the party’s main priority was the physical safety of the 52-year old Jamaludin and the 57-year old Mohd Osman.
“The fact that Barisan Nasional is silent means that Najib has not been able to convince them to jump ship,” said Tian.
“As far as KeADILan and the Pakatan state government are concerned, we can afford to wait because even if they defect, the Pakatan government in Perak won’t fall. Even if they stay missing, the Pakatan will still rule Perak. But as responsible Malaysians, we want to be sure that they are all right.”
Digging into the nation’s economic stimulus package
Umno has also begun pumping up financial incentives to keep its disgruntled state reps from leaving the Barisan Nasional coalition. 26 of the BN assemblymen in Perak are from Umno, and one from the MCA.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Zahid has promised all 27 that they will soon get development funds of RM300,000 each from the BN federal government.
Zahid also said each constituency would receive RM1 million in public amenity projects from the RM7 billion economic stimulus package announced in November by Najib, who is also Finance Minister and Deputy Premier.
"The allocation has been approved and will be distributed to the 27 assemblymen,” said Zahid.
However, his comments are likely to be questioned by both the public and transparency groups.
In fact, Transparency International Malaysia has urged the federal government to breakdown in detail how it plans to spend the RM7 billion package, rather than provide broad outlines.
It also asked why only 70 percent of the package has been disbursed, and why the balance 30 percent is delayed.
“The public need to be assured that the due processes of good governance are being observed to raise confidence and credibility in the governance especially at this time of economic and financial strain and stress,” said TIM president Ramon Navaratnam.
Malaysians have become more watchful after Najib promised Kuala Terengganu voters hundreds of million of ringgit in election goodies during a recent by-election. But he still lost the seat to Pakatan, sparking loss of confidence in Umno to grow amongst the Malay community.
Umno has grown too corrupt and elitist.
Meanwhile, Nasarudin has urged his former colleagues at Umno to follow him and join the Pakatan coalition, saying that the once-mighty Umno was too corrupt and could no longer command the respect of the Malay community.
Eight Umno branches in the Bota constituency have also shut down, and its members resigned to follow Nasarudin into KeADILan.
They handed over their application forms to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim at the Bota stadium on Friday night, where a huge crowd turned up to hear him speak.
Meanwhile, Nasarudin expects more Umno members to cross over.
“I believe they are matured enough to think for themselves,” said the 58-year old former Felcra chairman, who shocked Umno by resigning to join KeADILan a week ago.
“I have never seen such a large crowd not even for my ceramah during the general election last year. It is clear that the people support me and they are happy.”
Hijacked amid looming corruption trial
Nasarudin’s switch has thrown Perak politics into disarray.
Accusations and counter-accusations have rained down thick and heavy from both sides of the political divide, with Perak Umno chief Tajol Rosli quitting his post to take responsibility for the loss of the Bota seat.
Deputy premier Najib Abdul Razak, who took over from Tajol, has now come under fire for ‘hijacking’ the two missing KeADILan assemblymen - Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman - in an all-out bid to get them to defect to Umno.
“We believe that there are efforts by Barisan Nasional to persuade the duo to join them in exchange for a reward offered by a desperate Najib, including dropping corruption charges against them,” said Perak KeADILan chief Osman Abdul Rahman.
Both men are due to stand trial on Feb 10 on corruption charges over a RM180 million housing project in Sri Iskandar. If convicted, they face a maximum 20 years’ jail, and a fine of not less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
“We believe their disappearance is closely linked to the corruption charges they are facing. Since the beginning, we have been confident that the allegations against them are false and cooked up by Umno and Barisan Nasional as political blackmail,” Osman said.
“However, we hope that the two leaders are safe and will remain steadfast and true to the KeADILan struggle. We hope they will not be trapped by Umno-BN.”
Snap election unnecessary
KeADILan’s Tian said it is too soon to tell what will happen next, but he doubts the need for the Pakatan state government to call for a snap election.
Should Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman decide to defect to Umno, the Pakatan coalition would still have a one-seat majority of 30 to 29 in the Perak state assembly.
“We are confident of being able to continue ruling Perak well even with a one-seat majority. This is what happened in Kelantan in 2004, so it is not a problem. We are also confident a few more BN assemblymen will be joining us soon,” Tian said.
Although it has actively lobbied for anti-hopping laws and Nasarudin’s resignation, Umno-BN is nevertheless clearly guilty of the act it is condemning.
In fact, according to the BN-controlled media, Umno began discussions with the two KeADILan assemblymen a month ago.
“The first step is for them to become Independents and later join Umno,” a senior Umno politician was quoted as saying in the Star newspaper.