Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The events in Perak over the last few months—and especially the last few days—bring back some memories of what happened here in Sabah some years ago. Of course Sabahans experienced something a bit more serious than what Perak is going through now. We had home-made bombs exploding in several places in the then Kota Kinabalu town. And a state of emergency was declared and curfews were imposed.

I can still remember the time when I visited my friend in Tambunan during that crisis. I rode my bike there. When I reached the village, several young men ganged up on me. They thought this outsider came to do something bad to their church. By the way, Tambunan was, and still is mainly Christian, you see.

Politicians will always be politicians. Power is very addictive—once you have it, it's not easy to give it all up.

So now we have more or less come to another stalemate in Perak. There will probably be appeals upon appeals coming from both sides in the months to come.

Looking at the situation from Zambry's camp, it is too late now to withdraw from the fight. There is no option to go back to the people of Perak. Based on what's happened in Sabah years ago, if a fresh election is held now, the likelihood is that PR might win with a bigger majority. Even some of those who voted for BN last year might vote for the PR this time round. The case of the sympathy votes can be very surprising. Looking at how the BN bulldozed their way in to Perak, one way or another, a fair number of the voters will feel pity for the PR. BN, I'm sure, understands the repercussions of their actions this last few months. That's why the option of appealing to the people of Perak is no longer available to BN. The only way to cling on to power is by means of appealing to the courts instead. At least they have a better shot there.

Interestingly, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the people’s interest should come first in whatever decision made about Perak and urged all parties involved to find a quick solution. [The Star]

I wonder what the DPM meant by "people's interest should come first." From this lay person's point of view, it doesn't appear like the actions of BN are consistent with "people's interest should come first." By appealing to a higher court, it seems that instead of "find a quick solution", it's likelier that that's gonna slow things down substantially.

On the other hand, looking at the situation from Nizar's point of view, he is also making an appeal. But he's making his appeal to the people of Perak. Well, at least he's trying very hard to. And if a fresh state-wide election could be held, that, I think, would be the quickest and most convincing way to determine what the people of Perak really want.

But as I said earlier, it's too late now for BN to risk a fesh election. That option is no longer available to them. They can try anything in the books but a fresh election.

Clinging on to power with a razor-thin majority is no good for both the government and the opposition. The elected representatives will have very strong bargaining powers, because if they decide to defect to the opposing side, that can cause a massive impact to both parties. The majority that BN claims to have right now is a very delicate one at best. The "mandate" that they claim to have from the people is almost non-existence. They teeter at the edge of a cliff and a small mistake can cause a most painful fall.

A lot of questions hanging in the air. What has happened, for example, to those elected representatives who were accused of corruption? If they're found guilty, that can be disastrous to BN.

While all these politicians—from BN and PR—try their best to cling on to power, the people of Perak will surely suffer. For their sake, I hope all these comedies between BN and PR will end soon; so that for once someone could actually serve the people, rather than screwing them all over and over again.

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