Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Malaysia's opposition says 16 lawmakers planning to defect

Malaysia's opposition said Monday that up to 16 ruling party lawmakers are prepared to join its ranks, as it works to seize power with the help of defectors.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has said he is moving towards forming a new government after elections that saw the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition -- led by the United Malays National Organisation -- suffer unprecedented losses.

"We have up to 15 to 16 lawmakers from BN, including UMNO MPs, who want to join Keadilan," Shamsul Iskandar Mohamad Akin, the youth leader of Anwar's Keadilan party, told reporters.

The government, which would lose power if 30 of its lawmakers switch sides, has reacted swiftly to the threat, accusing the opposition of "buying" over its members and threatening a new law to prevent defections.

Shamsul said Keadilan was not buying up lawmakers, or even encouraging them to defect, and that they had voluntarily held talks with Keadilan to discuss crossing over.

"They have come and met Anwar Ibrahim because they have lost faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. They are not crossing over for monetary gains," he said.

"If they want to come over -- both lawmakers and members -- we will accept them but we are against buying them over."

Abdullah is under pressure to resign after the coalition was humiliated in March 8 polls, losing its two-thirds majority in parliament and conceding five states to the opposition.

Shamsul said most of the lawmakers planning to defect are from the eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo island.

However, so far no politician has declared a shift to the opposition, and a Sarawak lawmaker who was reported to have defected insisted last week that he remained with the ruling coalition.

Barisan Nasional will have 140 lawmakers in the new 222-seat parliament, against 199 in the outgoing 219-seat parliament. The opposition alliance won 80 seats from just 19 previously.

Anwar's Keadilan party, which is formally headed by his wife, will be the biggest opposition party in parliament, but Anwar is barred from standing for public office until April because of a corruption conviction.

Source: AFP via MSN News - http://news.my.msn.com/regional/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1304897

PKR Youth chief claims Umno MPs ready to join PKR

KUALA LUMPUR (March 24, 2008): Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) expects to welcome “15 or 16” newly-elected MPs with open arms in the near future, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin revealed today.
He told a media conference that the MPs were from all over the country, including “many Umno division leaders, especially those in troubled states like Selangor, Perlis and Terengganu” who are planning to jump ship.
He said he had received numerous calls from grassroots leaders and the main factors influencing their decision were because they were disappointed with the Umno leadership and the performance of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Asked when the MPs would be making their stand on joining PKR, Shamsul Iskandar said that it would be “soon” and that “maybe they’re waiting for Anwar to be in Parliament”.
“We believe the people’s mandate was one asking for change, so the betrayal of voters does not arise,” said Shamsul Iskandar.
He added that PKR will accept defectors if they “can accept our agenda” as stated in the party’s manifesto.
The PKR Youth also rebutted Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s allegations that PKR was trying to buy over Umno members and questioned Tengku Adnan’s integrity following his implication in the brokering of judges as portrayed in the Lingam video-clip last September.
“We will give Tengku Adnan 14 days to provide evidence of his claims. If he fails, we demand an open apology or we will institute legal action against him,” he said.
source: thesun: http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=21151

Anwar’s game plan strikes fear in UMNO:
Can Anwar become Prime Minister in next few weeks?
30something - that's all the MPs Anwar Ibrahim needs to add to his camp to be the probable Prime Minister

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 – If there is one name that has pushed Barisan Nasional leaders out of their comfort zone and caused confusion and anxiety, it is Anwar Ibrahim.
When he said on Tuesday (March 11, 2008 -ed.) that the Opposition should be referred to as the government-in-waiting, he was not referring to five years down the road. He was referring to the next few weeks or months.
He knows that if he manages to convince 30 Members of Parliament to cross over, the government of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will fall.
Since the PKR-DAP-PAS alliance that he cobbled together won big on March 8, taking 52% of the popular vote in Peninsular Malaysia and snaring 82 of the 222 seats in parliament, Anwar has become the most mentioned name in Umno circles.
Along the corridors of powers and in Umno circles, there is a belief that the former deputy prime minister will not rest and settle for second-best, not with the momentum of being a reformer on his side.
He knows that the troops of the BN war machine are demoralised and its leaders still reeling from the psychological scars of Election 2008. He will go for the kill, rattling the coalition’s cage, creating the impression of an inevitable wave that some fickle-minded BN MPs will be tempted to abandon the BN ship and join the Opposition.
An Umno division chief from Pahang, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information, said: “The talk on the ground is which MPs Anwar is going to approach to join PKR. Everyone says that Sabah and Sarawak MPs are being targeted. But I think everyone except the PM and DPM are targets.’’
Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, in a letter asking Abdullah to resign, noted that a move has been made to woo BN representatives to join the Opposition. The fear of crossovers is palpable. – MORE

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