Tuesday, February 3, 2009

No by-elections, says EC - so what happens now? - Malaysia Today

Feb 3, 2009 By Raja Petra

Pakatan Rakyat started out with 31 seats in the Perak State Assembly against Barisan Nasional’s 28. This means if just two Pakatan Rakyat State Assemblymen cross over, Barisan Nasional would have 30 seats against Pakatan Rakyat’s 29. This would also mean Barisan Nasional will form the new Perak state government with a majority of one seat.

While Barisan Nasional was working on these two ‘candidates’ to cross over -- the Changat Jering and Behrang State Assemblyman -- one Umno State Assemblyman crossed over to Pakatan Rakyat. Now, Barisan Nasional needs three Pakatan Rakyat State Assemblymen to cross over instead of just two.

Today, the Elections Commission rejected the resignation letters of the Changkat Jering and Behrang State Assemblymen. This means they can now join Barisan Nasional -- so Barisan Nasional will now have 29 seats against Pakatan Rakyat’s 30. All Barisan Nasional needs is just one more cross-over from Pakatan Rakyat and they will form the new Perak state government.

This not only can happen. It most likely will happen.

Pakatan Rakyat has no other choice. It has to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and call for fresh state elections. Note one thing here. It is not actually Barisan Nasional versus Pakatan Rakyat. It is Umno versus Pakatan Rakyat. From the 29 seats that Barisan Nasional now has, 28 are from Umno and only one from MCA -- with NONE from the other 12 Barisan Nasional component members.

However, to dissolve the Perak State Assembly, Pakatan Rakyat must first obtain the consent of the Sultan of Perak. Will the Sultan give his consent? Many feel the answer is no. Therefore Pakatan Rakyat will be ‘locked’ with a one-seat majority that may turn out to be a one-seat minority in the very near future.

If fresh state elections are held, Pakatan Rakyat may sweep at least 40 seats, leaving Umno with just 19 seats. MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP will not win a single seat. That is why Umno would not want fresh state elections, or even two by-elections. If they allow this to happen they will get wiped out and Pakatan Rakyat will increase its margin of seats even more. With a 21-seat majority it will be impossible for Barisan Nasional to continue dreaming about taking over Perak.

Where do we go from here? I wish I knew. I, on the other hand, am off to my lawyers to see whether they can keep me out of jail and the Kamunting Detention Centre.

Till later. In the meantime, I hope Pakatan Rakyat can see the logic of dissolving the Perak State Assembly so that fresh state elections can be held. That would be the only way to hold on to Perak.

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