Media conference statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, 20th November 2010:
Two fatal political assumptions - for BN to think that its hold on Putrajaya is secure and can win back Kedah and Selangor as well as for PR to believe that it is embarked on an unstoppable movement to Putrajaya with invincible control of the two states
Another sign of the closeness of the 13th general elections is the RM3 billion 2011 election budget presented by the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Hassan to the Sabah State Assembly yesterday, with RM1.1 million allocation for every Barisan Nasional state assembly constituency to enable the BN Sabah State Assembly members to woo voters in their constituency with public funds.
This is political corruption at its most blatant and, although political or “grand corruption” has been identified by the Government Transformation Programme RoadMap and selected as one of the primary focus of the National Key Results Areas (NKRAs) to combat corruption, who believes that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) would seriously check let alone wipe out such political corruption?
In his Sabah state 2011 budget presentation, Musa cited the Barisan Nasional by-election victories in Batu Sapi and Galas as signs that the people had continued confidence in the Barisan Nasional to remain in power.
The Galas by-election is in Kelantan and was a state assembly by-election. What has it got to do with the Sabah 2011 Budget presentation if it is not an election budget to sound the gong for full preparations for the 13th general elections expected to be held early next year?
In his interview with Bloomberg, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir said Barisan Nasional is capable of wresting one or two states from Pakatan Rakyat on the ground that the opposition is in disarray.
Mahathir was however of the view that although BN would be returned to power in Putrajaya, it would likely fail to regain its two-thirds parliamentary majority.
This has prompted responses from BN leaders claiming that they have started to turn the political tide since the March 8 “political tsunami” in the 2008 general elections, expressing confidence that BN could not only regain two-thirds parliamentary majority but also recapture Kedah and Selangor state governments from PR and not ruling out making a bid for Kelantan and Penang state governments as well.
There are at present two fatal political assumptions – one for BN and the other for PR.
It is a great mistake for BN to believe that its hold on Putrajaya is secure and that it could win back the Kedah and Selangor state governments from PR based on its victories in the Galas, Batu Sapi, Hulu Selangor and Bagan Pinang by-elections.
The Ijok by-election held in April 2007 is a salutary example, where the Pakatan Rakyat candidate Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim lost badly to the Barisan Nasional candidate – but in the general elections held less than a year later, Khalid not only won handsomely, but Barisan Nasional also lost state power not only Selangor but also three other states, Penang, Perak and Kedah while continuing to be in opposition in Kelantan.
However, just as it will be a fatal political assumption for BN to think that its hold on Putrajaya is secure and can win back Kedah and Selangor in the next general elections, it is also fatal political assumption for Pakatan Rakyat to believe that it is embarked on an unstoppable movement to capture federal power in Putrajaya with invincible control of its present state governments, particularly Kedah and Selangor.
Pakatan Rakyat leaders must immediately take stock of the loss of public confidence in the PR, not only from the setbacks in Galas and Batu Sapi, but also from the internal turmoils and problems inside Pakatan Rakyat parties.
Pakatan Rakyat leaders must urgently address these problems to stop and reverse the erosion of public confidence as we cannot afford to be complacent or take lightly the serious challenge and threat posed by Barisan Nasional whether at the parliamentary or state assembly level.
PR leaders should not regard the present four PR states of Kedah, Selangor, Kelantan and Penang as completely invincible and should take serious stock of the present political situation both at state and national levels, and take the necessary actions to restore public confidence to regain the momentum of public support for political change under PR, and in particular ensure that the Pakatan Rakyat state governments of Kedah and Selangor can withstand an all-out Umno/Barisan Nasional onslaught.
Warning alarms that PR state governments in Kedah and Selangor are in danger must be heard loud and clear.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor