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23 May 2010

Pakatan dispels shaky Kedah government image

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Pakatan Rakyat tonight proved the Kedah government remained stable when all three of its PKR assemblymen spoke at a rally, dispelling the notion they planned to quit the coalition.

The three were touted to be among the next few from the party to defect, thus triggering the fall of the Kedah PAS-led government.

As promised and contrary to rumours that were spreading like wildfire this afternoon, the three turned up at the mammoth rally in Kota Sarang Semut here to address the crowd and quell all fears of their possible defections.

Sidam assemblyman Tan Show Kang led the charge and was the first speaker of the night when the rally started at 10pm.

Speaking in halting Bahasa Malaysia to the Malay-majority crowd of over 1,000 people, he expressed anger and dissatisfaction at the vicious rumours.

“I am tired and fed up and having to answer the same things over and over again. Let it end tonight,” Tan said.

He also said that he would no longer entertain the media’s requests for comments.

“How many times must I say I must not jump? I keep having to tell them the same thing — no. The media told me to hold a press conference so I told them ok, once and for all, we will end this.

“I will be here tonight on May 22 and this is the last time that I am going to say that no, I am not jumping and no, the Kedah government will not fall,” he said.

Tan stirred laughter in the crowd when he sighed and said, “This is not like a nice song which you can hear over and over again. If it were a song, I would not mind hearing it. This is the same silly question which I will give the same answer to. So why bother asking me so many times?”

An emotional-sounding Tan then declared to the crowd that his loyalty remained with PKR and the Pakatan Rakyat government.

“Tonight, I will answer all your questions.

“On March 8, 2008, I went around telling the people to vote us in, to support change, to support the PKR, PAS, DAP.

“Today, my message has not changed. Support us, we were stable then and we are stable now and we will be stable until the 13th general election,” he said, adding that he would put the phone down on the next reporter who questioned his allegiances.

Bukit Selambau assemblyman S. Manikumar echoed his colleague’s disappointment over the rumours of Kedah’s impending collapse, and called on all parties to stop speculating further.

“It is plain and simple that this was just the act of parties who want to twist the truth. They are trying to poison the people’s minds,” he said.

Manikumar said there were often disagreements among the PR assemblymen, occasionally even with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak, but this did not mean the arguments would lead to defections.

“I have fought with some of our assemblymen many times. But we only differ in terms of skin colour. Our goals are still the same,” he said.

Manikumar added that he could not forget the thousands who had helped him clinch the Bukit Selambau seat during its by-election last year.

“They worked with me, helped me, how could I abandon them?” he said.

Manikumar then pledged to Kedah folk that he would continue PKR’s struggles, and stay loyal to the party and the PR.

“I will fight for PR, wearing the clothes of PKR which I love so much.

“All those offers of cash rewards — please put it aside. My mother taught me never to be a slave to money,” he said.

Kulim assemblyman Lim Soo Nee, however, cast a different light on the issue and raised eyebrows when he chastised his own colleagues for failing to take stock of the recent spate of defections from the PKR.

He said the defections could have come from one of two factors — the push or pull factor.

“The pull factor is based on the disturbances coming from our opponents in the BN. We know their purpose is to topple the government.

“The push factor is even worse — it comes from those in our inner circle, spreading malicious lies and information that could cause us to split,” he said.

He added that the PR government had failed to take stock of its weaknesses by studying the reasons behind the defections.

“We should have conducted post-mortems to study the real problems why they left us. I feel sad that till today, we have not conducted such post-mortems,” he said.

Looking forward, however, Lim said the PKR and PR needed to learn from its past failures.

“If truly it was our fault that these people left us, then it means we must change ourselves. We do not want to just here and point fingers,” he said.

Nevertheless, Lim disputed claims that he would defect.

“My loyalty remains with PKR. Tonight should explain it enough,” he said.

PKR has been rocked with resignations since Election 2008, losing a total of 10 lawmakers including one who was sacked.

The party also lost another seat when it failed to hold on to the Hulu Selangor in a by-election last month.

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