Saturday, February 14, 2009

After Perak letdown, DAP goes on the stump - Malaysian Insider

Teng addressing the crowd at the gathering in Malacca last night.
By Baradan Kuppusamy

MALACCA, Feb 14 — Within days of losing Perak to Barisan Nasional, the DAP has dusted off its old playbook, and has begun a series of dinners and rallies to whip up support from the party faithful as it comes under attack from its political rivals.

Party leaders are using these rallies to explain the DAP's and Pakatan Rakyat's position and stand, as well as to explain what happened in Perak.

The party faithful and curious members of the public have been packing these gatherings wall to wall.

In Malacca last night, nearly 1,000 people packed a DAP rally to hear former Perak exco A. Sivanesan explain how Pakatan Rakyat leaders were hounded and pressured with offers of up to RM10 million to defect.

DAP leader and Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim spoke about how the Perak speaker had vacated the three seats of defecting assemblymen but the Election Commission had exceeded its powers to refuse to hold by-elections.

He spoke in simple terms, explaining the law as it exists in Perak now, the powers of officials and how the public mandate has been hijacked by the BN through subterfuge.

He however scrupulously avoided dragging in the Perak palace except to to say that the decision of Sultan Azlan Shah to dismiss the PR government and swear in a BN government without a confidence vote in the legislative assembly or call fresh elections was unfair and unacceptable coming from a man of learning and experience.

"We question his actions but we don't question the institution of the monarchy," he said to loud applause from the majority working-class Chinese crowd.

It was left to Malacca Pas deputy commissioner Adly Zahari to raise the thorny issue of derhaka and whether Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin had indeed committed treason by refusing to resign as menteri besar.

Adly explained that Nizar had humbly "begged to disagree" with the Sultan by saying saya mohon derhaka but the mainstream media is portraying the words as an insult to the Sultan.

"Derhaka is begging to disagree, not insulting by brushing him off or refusing to resign," Adly explained. "It is a humble way to disagree."

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was presented as a Machiavellian wheeler-dealer — the man who engineered the defection and the ouster of the PR government.

There was grudging admission that the PR was now faced with a formidable enemy in Najib, unlike the retiring Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is seen as easy going and unwilling to roll up his sleeves for a fight.

Teng told The Malaysian Insider that the road shows were vital for the DAP and PR to reconnect with their support base after almost a year in office as the government in five states.

"It is almost like a general election… I feel energised to reconnect, to explain what we have done and the new challenges we face in the form of defections, collapse of the Pakatan government and how far things would go," he said.

"There is anxiety and anguish among our grassroots and it is important we all reach out and reassure our supporters," he said.

While all the speakers slammed the defectors — Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, Osman Jailu and Hee Yit Foong — as "frogs" who from now on must be ostracised and condemned, they were careful to make a difference with PR supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's campaign to persuade BN representatives to defect.

Teng and Adly said unlike BN, PR was not buying defectors or promising posts to win over BN MPs.

"Besides, Anwar has promised that within one year of seizing power through defections Pakatan would hold fresh elections to seek a new mandate," said Teng.

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