Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mahathir: Danger of defections is real

Thursday May 8, 2008


PUTRAJAYA: There is great danger in Pakatan Rakyat taking over the Federal Government, as there are signs of component parties in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak crossing over, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said when the Barisan Nasional had two-thirds majority in Parliament, it was not worth for any component party to crossover unlike now they had nothing to lose as crossing over meant still being in the Government.

Stating that Pakatan Rakyat was a force to be reckoned with, he added that PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s threat had to be taken seriously.

“I, at first, wanted to dismiss this possibility, but on studying the situation I feel there is great danger,” he said, adding that members lacked inherent loyalty to the party and are only interested in personal gains.

Dr Mahathir said people in Sabah were used to being under Opposition rule while state Barisan leaders like Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan had great support when he was in the Opposition.

“So, can you say they will stay loyal to Umno, I don’t think so. Even here in the peninsula, I see quite a number of the people who will crossover when there is something to gain.

“If this Government loses its power, it is no longer the Government, and it will not be in a position to dole out all kinds of cookies; the clout is gone,” he told reporters after presenting the keynote address on National Sovereignty during the Perdana Leadership Foundation’s Discourse Series yesterday.

Dr Mahathir claimed that Pakatan Rakyat was gaining support because people felt powerless especially when only Umno could change the leadership but now no division dared to hold an EGM to amend the party election system.

“If the 30% support ruling is not changed, no division will nominate another apart from Pak Lah (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) as the president and he will win uncontested in December,” he said, adding that the earlier zest to change the leadership had died down and that the “hand kissing” had started again.

Stating that Umno was no longer democratic, he added that his wish to meet Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak after the general election to discuss current affairs did not materialise until today.

“Najib said he had to get permission from the PM, until now he has not seen me; apparently the PM does not trust his deputy,” he said.

On the performance of the Opposition so far, he said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was smart by not antagonising the people while earning their respect.- The Star

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