is not always what you see. Even if the great Houdini or David
Copperfield tried their hands at politics, all the 'magic'
in the world could not transform political perception into
reality, and vice versa. The perception was, until midnight
of March 8, 2008, that the invincible Barisan Nasional could
not be brought down. The reality is it can.
perception is that Barisan Nasional still won the 2008 General
Election with a comfortable margin. Sure, it lost its two-thirds
majority in Parliament. But it is still above the 112 seats
it requires to form a government with a simple majority. The
reality is, Barisan Nasional garnered less than 50 per cent
of the popular vote in Peninsular Malaysia. Only when the
votes from Sabah and Sarawak are added in would Barisan Nasional's
share of the popular votes increase above 50 per cent, but
even then only slightly above 50 per cent. In other words,
the ruling coalition versus opposition votes were split almost
50:50. But then the ruling coalition comprises 14 political
parties as opposed to the opposition's three. It was like
a football match of 14 players versus only three.
then the football match analogy would not be that accurate.
In this particular 'football match', the referee, linesmen
and water-boy also kicked the ball and scored a few goals,
every goal the opposition scored was declared foul, they tied
the legs of the three opposition players so that they could
not run but could only hop all over the field, and much more.
And even before the kick-off, they declared that the 14 players
from the ruling team had one million goals to their credit.
This one million goal handicap were the quarter million postal
votes and the estimated three quarters of a million 'phantom'
voters. The ruling coalition had safely tucked away one million
votes into the ballot box long before March 8, 2008. It was
already 1 million-zero before the football game started.
reality is, Barisan Nasional garnered less than 50 per
cent of the popular vote in Peninsular Malaysia. Only
when the votes from Sabah and Sarawak are added in would
Barisan Nasional's share of the popular votes increase
above 50 per cent.
in spite of all this - in spite of the one million vote advantage,
the mainstream media it controlled, the government machinery
at its disposal, the police on its side, the Elections Commission
as its fifteenth coalition member, the threats of Indians
and Chinese 'losing their voice in the government' if they
voted opposition, banning Raja Petra Kamarudin from speaking
in Penang, and much, much more - the best Barisan Nasional
could do was win only half the votes.
fought with catapults and swords against an army that had
helicopter gunships, rocket launchers, napalm bombs, night
vision telescopes, and satellite tracking devices at its disposal.
Even the Taliban of Afghanistan did not have that hard a time
when it sent the Russians packing back to Moscow. Yet the
opposition garnered 50 per cent of the popular votes, denied
Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in Parliament, and
captured five states. If it had been a level playing field,
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would no longer be the Prime Minister
Abdullah is not going to remain Prime Minister for long though.
The next general election, which can be called any time after
March 8, 2011 and before March 8, 2013, will be led by a new
Prime Minister. This new Prime Minister might be from the
ranks of Barisan Nasional, in particular Umno, but then again
it might not.
opposition needs just another 30 more Parliament seats to
form the next federal government. If 30 Members of Parliament
from any of the component members of Barisan Nasional, Umno
included, cross over, then the Barisan Nasional government
will fall. Sarawak and Sabah have more than 50 Parliament
seats. And there are another 80 plus in Peninsular Malaysia.
And all the opposition needs is just 30 from this more than
opposition needs just another 30 more Parliament seats
to form the next federal government. If 30 Members of
Parliament from any of the component members of Barisan
Nasional, Umno included, cross over, then the Barisan
Nasional government will fall.
if the rakyat (citizens) are not yet ready for an opposition-led
federal government but would like the Barisan Nasional government
to remain in office for awhile longer to give the opposition
time to prove it can manage the five states before being entrusted
with the job of running this country, the Prime Minister can
still be changed. And for that to happen, 30 Members of Parliament
from Barisan Nasional just need to stand up and support an
opposition vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister
as soon as Parliament is convened.
that happens, according to the Constitution, then the Agong
has no choice but to elect a new Prime Minister from amongst
the Members of the House whom, in His Majesty's opinion, would
command the confidence of the majority of the House. Though
this new Prime Minister must also be a Member of Parliament,
he need not be from the ruling coalition. He could also be
an opposition Member of Parliament just as long as he commands
the confidence of the majority of the House.
In other words, if the Agong is of the opinion that Tengku
Razaleigh Hamzah would command the confidence of not less
than 112 Parliamentarians, then His Majesty can appoint Ku
Li as the new Prime Minister. And Ku Li appears to be the
only Member of Parliament thus far who would get the support
of both Barisan Nasional as well as the three opposition parties.
will, of course, pre-empt this by offering Ku Li the position
of Minister of Trade. Abdullah hopes that once Ku Li is made
a Minister, and of a quite important portfolio on top of that,
Ku Li would not entertain any thoughts of passing a vote of
no confidence in Parliament against the Prime Minister. I
suppose even millionaire Princes have their price and probably
Ku Li's price is an important cabinet post.
Abdullah Badawi's son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, too
lost. On the first count he lost by 114 votes. He then
demanded a recount and this 114-vote loss mysteriously
transformed to a 5,000-vote win.
of all the rhetoric, Barisan Nasional knows it lost the 2008
general election. The final result may show that it won, but
if you exclude the one million 'stuffed votes', then this
would translate to a loss. Abdullah saw his majority slide
by 7,000 votes. If the postal and phantom votes are excluded,
then Abdullah would suffer the fate of Zam and Sharizat. In
actual fact, Abdullah should have been automatically disqualified
anyway since he never filed his 1999 election accounts. Any
way you look at it, Abdullah is an illegitimate
son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, too lost. On the first count
he lost by 114 votes. He then demanded a recount and this
114-vote loss mysteriously transformed to a 5,000-vote win.
The great David Copperfield himself has admitted that even
he is not able to perform this trick. Khairy knows he lost.
Every man and his dog knows he lost. Whatever you might say
can never transform this perception into reality.
could never have happened if Umno had not turned on Khairy.
Opposition votes alone could never defeat Khairy. It needed
Umno votes swinging to the opposition to be able to do this.
And this is what alarmed Khairy. Rembau was a safe seat. No
opposition candidate could have made it in Rembau unless Umno
too votes opposition. And this is what happened on March 8,
2008 in Rembau.
is clear. Abdullah and his son-in-law were not rejected by
the opposition. They were rejected by Umno. So, looking at
what happened in the 2008 general election, it is not a pie
in the sky for 30 Members of Parliament from Barisan Nasional
standing up to throw their support behind the opposition in
passing a vote of no confidence against Abdullah at the next
Parliament session. And the same simple majority would also
not have any problems in accepting Ku Li as the new Prime
Minister of Malaysia.
going rate is RM10 million per head. And although the
cost may total RM500 million or so, if they can get
at least half the opposition Members of Parliament to
cross over, then the price would be worth it.
is what lies in wait. And Abdullah and Khairy are frantically
talking to each and every Barisan Nasional Member of Parliament
to find out where they stand if such a scenario transpires.
They are not leaving the opposition Members of Parliament
out as well. Abdullah and Khairy are sending out feelers to
see if PAS would like to join Barisan Nasional and be part
of the ruling government.
If PAS agrees to cross over, then not
only would Abdullah be safe from a vote of no confidence,
but Kelantan, Kedah, Perak and Selangor would also fall back
into Barisan Nasional hands. Only one state, Penang, would
remain opposition. They are also talking to those from PKR
as well and offering millions to those who agree to cross-over.
The going rate is RM10 million per head. And although the
cost may total RM500 million or so, if they can get at least
half the opposition Members of Parliament to cross over, then
the price would be worth it and RM500 million would be peanuts
to retain the post of Prime Minister, unchallenged, and getting
back four of the five states under opposition control.
we should see the Selangor and Perak state governments getting
sworn in. PKR will lead Selangor and DAP, Perak. That would
mean two states would be led by PAS, two by DAP, with one
for PKR. [Editor's note: Since the posting of this article
on March 12, Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin of PAS has been named
the new Mentri Besar of Perak. The DAP-PKR-PAS coalition in
Perak has come to an agreement over the formula for the make-up
of the 10 state executive councillor (exco) posts, with DAP
taking six; PKR three and one for PAS. The 10 exco posts include
the two deputy Mentri Besar postions which will go to the
DAP and PKR.]
is only the beginning. Winning the five states and denying
Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in Parliament was
damn difficult but still relatively easy compared to what
lies ahead. We shall talk more about this later once all the
state governments settle down.
The problem now is money and that is the first thing we need
to address. And Malaysia Today is already talking to
various parties as to how we can attract investments into
the five opposition-led states. We shall show the rakyat
who voted for us how we run these five states in spite of
being denied any federal funds. Then, come the next election,
the rakyat will vote the opposition state governments
back into office not because of rhetoric, fiery speeches and
promises but because of performance and the ability to deliver.
If not, expect all these states to go back to Barisan Nasional.
The above article was posted on www.malaysia-today.net (Your
source of independent news). Raja Petra Kamarudin started
the Malaysia Today website and his blog to facilitate open
discussion on Malaysia's political and social scenes. A relative
of a former Malaysian King from Selangor and known for his
hard-hitting commentaries, which are often infused with humour,
Raja Petra is also the author of When
Time Stood Still and From
Prince To Prisoner.
Other articles by Raja Petra:
The Aftermath Of The 'Bloodbath'
Why We Are Voting Tomorrow
Guarding An Empty Field