Saturday, August 9, 2008

Take Anwar’s Threat Seriously

Present govt must sit up and address people’s grouses or lose their loyalty: Dr Mahathir

PUTRAJAYA: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has asked the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government to take the threat made by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim seriously in that Pakatan Rakyat will form the next federal government in the near future as it had convinced more than 30 BN members of Parliament to cross over to the opposition front.

“Well, I think it is a possibility that you can’t dismiss lightly. Now, these politicians are interested in how much they get, they are not interested really in serving the nation.

“People who feel that they did not get what they wanted presently and they are offered positions, the urge to to cross over especially when there is no inherent loyalty to the party.

“I feel very strong (about it), it can really happen. I first wanted to dismiss this possibility but on studying the situation I feel that there is great danger. Of course, if this government loses power, it will not be in a position to dole out all kinds of goodies because at that time, the clout is gone,” he told reporters after delivering a keynote address on ‘National Sovereignty’ at the 7th Perdana Discourse Series at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, here.

Asked if this was his greatest fear, he replied that if the crossover were to take place, then Malaysia would experience “a lot of conflicts”.

“We see the response of the Malays, for example. They have come up with a list of demands for this and that in response to the demands made by the others.

“They think that the solution is to abandon this concept of democracy, that they should go back to the feudal style of government. There is already talk among them … I don’t know how serious it is but the fact that it is being actually voiced (out) is very disturbing,” Dr Mahathir said.

Asked if there was a possibility of anarchy in the country, he said: “Probably, but not great anarchy but certainly instability where the government of the day would not be active in attending to the progress of the country.”

To another question on where the opposition would obtain the 30 MPs, the former Prime Minister pointed towards Sabah and Sarawak.

“If we take Umno, MCA and MIC, they have their roots here (in the peninsula) but not in Sabah and Sarawak. Although you have Umno in Sabah, it is transplanted from here to there. They are used to smaller parties. So can we be sure that they will remain strongly loyal to Umno? I don’t think so,” he added.

He said even in the peninsula, there could be MPs who could cross over since they knew that they could be in the new opposition-led government.

Dr Mahathir said this crossing over would not be a problem if BN had won by a two-thirds majority in Parliament as even if a BN MP were to cross over, he or she would not be able to gain much since the MP would still be with the opposition.

He felt that Pakatan Rakyat was a force to be reckoned with not because it was strong or the people loved the opposition but because of “the feeling of disappointment.”

(Penang Chief Minister Lim) Guan Eng, for example, is quite smart. He is not antagonising the people, instead he is winning their respect.

“You see in the last election, BN voters and supporters voted for opposition, thinking that this will send a message to the BN. Apparently, the message is not properly read and if the governments headed by the opposition show good governance, (are) concerned about the people, not greedy, not corrupt, then when the next election comes those who voted for them will continue voting the opposition,” he said. - Bernama

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