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07 May 2010

Kedah BN prepares for takeover or state polls


Kedah Barisan Nasional (BN) is bracing itself for a possible ousting of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government or fresh polls.

Umno leaders are convinced that the prospect of defections by PR state lawmakers is becoming more of a reality which will force the PAS-led Kedah government to hand over the reins either through its own collapse or state elections.

The confidence was expressed amid a backdrop of a growing uneasiness in the PR camp.

PAS Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak (picture) had recently said that it would dissolve the state assembly if one more defection takes place.

His statement was backed by Kedah PKR chief Datuk Johari Abdul who told The Malaysian Insider that BN has been “intensely approaching” PR lawmakers, particularly PKR’s, recently in a bid to “buy them over”.

BN needs just three more seats to form the new government after PR saw two of its lawmakers quitting the party recently to become independents.

“I see possibilities of a few PR lawmakers defecting. I see this because there are many who are dissatisfied with the party’s leadership,” Kedah Umno secretary Datuk Nawawi Ahmad told The Malaysian Insider.

It is understood that Umno expects two to three lawmakers to defect soon. Nawawi, however, did not divulge the names of the lawmakers who are purportedly unhappy with their parties and are ready to jump.

PR in Kedah holds 20 of the 36 seats in the state assembly. PAS leads the pact with 16 seats while PKR holds three. DAP has a sole representative in the state legislature.

Nawawi said should two more PR lawmakers defect, it would mean both PR and BN would have 18 seats each and this would force the state government to call for fresh elections.

“But if three of them defect, we would have one extra seat and would form a simple majority just as what had happened in Perak,” added the Umno man.

PR leaders in Kedah, however, are adamant that the defection scenario is unlikely.

“I have heard of this rumour of defections for so long up to the point of Umno lawmakers discussing on who will become the next MB. But I am not shaken by this. If it happens, I will dissolve the state assembly and we let the voters decide,” said Azizan.

Johari also expressed confidence that the defections will not take place.

“We have received reports about this. The MB is very well aware of it as all of those who have been approached by BN have reported this to him. It is impossible that it will happen,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

BN has 14 seats while the two independents, Mohammad Radzhi Salleh of Lunas and Tan Wei Shu of Bakar Arang, are tipped to be “pro-BN”.

The status of one of the BN’s 14 seats, Kota Siputeh, is still under the review of the courts after Speaker Datuk Dr Abdul Isa Ismail decided to vacate the seat held by Umno’s Datuk Abu Hasan Sarif after he allegedly failed to attend the state assembly for two consecutive sittings.

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