In light of the recent Penang government’s plan to enact “anti-hopping” law to prevent elected legislators from defecting mid-term, I am reposting an article I wrote which was published in Malaysiakini on 10 February 2009 after the fall of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat state government triggered by the defection of 3 state legislators.
The defection game is not for us to play. I used to think about Sir Winston Churchill when justifying defectors, but Umno representatives have not Churchill’s character nor wisdom to makegood ethical defection.
We will end up having leaders with no backbones or a Trojan horse – both are possible descriptions of Nasarudin Hashim of Bota.
While Anwar Ibrahim’s attempt was understandable under special circumstances, that Pakatan Rakyat need a conscientious crossover to form a federal government and reform election laws within a year or so before calling for a general election, it is just too risky, because ‘conscientious’ is not a common word in most Umno dictionaries.
Najib Abdul Razak’s thirst for power is much more than we have thought and than we can handle. Dr Mahathir Mohamad was spot on to say that the Umno leadership has stoop so low to even accept Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Osman Jailu, the two PKR reps who are under investigation for alleged corruption.
Instead of taking the best of the crop, Umno is willing to entice the most inferior of them to wrest Perak from PR. This is clearly many steps of regress from any good works of reform within Umno and BN to curb the corruption culture within their party and the Umno-led BN federal government.
Najib should not be happy for forming the BN majority in the Perak state assembly through defections because both election results and public polls in Perak and all over the country have clearly shown that Pakatan Rakyat has the mandate of the people who are already fed up with Umno and BN.
His perceived happiness during his announcement of the defections may be interpreted as our prime minister-in-waiting’s indifference towards public sentiment and that he is willing to set aside the wishes of the rakyat for his own political gain.
All the defectors have lost whatever personal or political credibility they have in the eyes of the public. The current sentiment is that Umno and BN are still in dire need of reform because of the deeply entrenched cultures of cronyism, nepotism, corruption and money politics while Pakatan Rakyat is seen as a relatively clean and people-oriented movement for change.
To defect from PR to BN – especially under such circumstances as to cause the collapse of a people-mandated state government led by a largely popular menteri besar – is seen as very irresponsible, disgraceful and immoral.
Because of the situation they found themselves in, Hee Yit Foong of DAP is suffering from the worst attack on her morality while Jamaluddin and Osman Jailu are probably judged with lower standards of morality because of their alleged corruption.
A quick check on Facebook comments just minutes after Najib’s announcement showed the people’s anger towards Hee and faulting her for PR’s loss, which is seen as a loss for the rakyat. To add salt to the wound, Hee was not needed by BN to form a majority in Perak with Nasarudin’s return to Umno less than a fortnight after he defected to PKR.
This means, what she did has not only brought defeat and shame to PR but she has became redundant in Umno’s plan for the takeover. Her two decades of contribution and her electorate’s support for her and DAP has been flushed down the drain by her immature action yesterday evening.
The truth is, a wrong has been done and it is frustrating but we have to learn to live with this. A friend asked me this afternoon what can he do in this Perak case? I wish there’s a quick answer to that.
Our determination to make a difference cannot come with a big act for a crisis situation, no, that is not the usual way. Everyone who wishes to contribute to our nation-building and the strengthening of our democracy must take small steps of involvement beginning with their own neighbourhood and community.
A revolution does not begin with loud shouts from the rooftops, but with little whispers on the streets. But this Perak crisis is definitely a good wake-up call, another wake up call, especially for those who are still apathetic about our country’s political situation.
Now is the time for Change. And, Yes We Can!