Friday, June 20, 2008

Yong Teck Lee’s Genie

Friday, 20 June 2008
By TAY TIAN YAN/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily

Datuk Yong Teck Lee holds no official position and the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) led by him has only two MPs and four State Assemblymen, with there’s nothing note worthy about them.

It was the people's view in the past. However, from now on, everyone is going to re-evaluate Yong as he dared to provoke his boss. The people are now watching him with their eyes and mouth wide opened. He is playing an important game but no one knows what he is actually up to.

A “little” SAPP is going to move a motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister in the Parliament. Is Yong bold or foresighted?

Is he taking the opportunity to raise his bargaining chip to exchange for more capitals or does he really want the Prime Minister to step down?

It looks like a folktale but after the magic lamp has been found, everything is no longer the same.

The “powerful” BN could immediately expel SAPP from the coalition according to the usual ritual so that it would disappear from the political arena forever.

In the past, severe disciplinary action would be taken against any BN elected representative including deputy ministers and ministers if they said something contrary to BN's (read Umno’s) stand.

Disciplinary actions have been taken against Datuk Ong Tee Keat from MCA, Datuk S.Sothinathan and K. Devamany from MIC, as well as Gerakan's S. Paranjothy although they only came out with some unpleasant remarks which were not threats to BN coalition or it's leaders.

And now, what action should be taken against SAPP which wants to move a motion of no-confidence on the Prime Minister?

The question is: does BN, no, Umno dare to take any action against SAPP?

It looks like the coalition would lose only two seats in the Parliament if SAPP is being expelled from the coalition. Losing two from the total of 140 seats will not be a threat to its regime.

However, no one knows whether Yong is supported by any power and what is the motive behind his strategy. Even worse, whether it is actually a trap?

If BN takes any action against SAPP, would it trigger a domino effect that makes other member parties leave the coalition like SAPP?

Have Ghapur Salleh and Anifah Aman (Sabah Umno), Bernard Dompok (United PasokMomogun Kadazandusun Organisation), Joseph Pairin Kitingan (Parti Bersatu Sabah) and Joseph Kurup (Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah) come to an agreement to leave the coalition with Yong being the vanguard?

This time, taking tough action against SAPP will not bring any great effect.
There is not much time left, Abdullah can only take soft action. He tries to persuade the coalition's member parties in Sabah and meet their requests. It will certainly be surprising if Yong and Abdullah can come to a compromise within a few days. However, it has created a shock effect that showed Sabah BN and Anwar can actually do it.

If Yong sticks to his guns, then no one can predict the magnitude of the earthquake which is going to hit Parliament Monday.

A minor below six-magnitude would be SAPP or Pakatan Rakyat moves a motion of no-confidence on the Prime Minister but being denied by the Speaker before the motion is being debated. If this happens, it will not harm Abdullah's status but it still damages his image and reputation.

While a medium below seven-magnitude earthquake would be the Speaker allowing debate and vote for the motion but Pakatan Rakyat and coalition's Sabah member parties failed to obtain majority support.

Abdullah will then keep his regime but he will be the first Malaysian Prime Minister to face a motion of no-confidence. It will harm his prestige and affect his status in the future.

A strong above seven-magnitude earthquake would be Pakatan Rakyat, Sabah, Sarawak and even Peninsular MPs vote for the motion. Even bolder assumption, all anti-Abdullah Umno members join the move to vote for the motion. The motion will be passed and Abdullah will have to step down.

Abdullah can seek for approval from the Yang di-pertuan Agong to dissolve the Parliament and hold a general elections. Or Pakatan Rakyat will propose a candidate as the new Prime Minister and a vote will be conducted.

From now on until Monday is the climax of the competition. It is also the peak for negotiations. It is hard to tell what kind of genie has been released by Yong from the magic lamp!

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