23 June, 2008

Abdullah and the Chorus Line

As expected Barisan Nasional party leaders, Cabinet Ministers and assorted beneficiaries of the Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi flip-flop regime lined up metaphorically behind him to shout their support for the leader over the intransigence of Dato Yong Teck Lee and the Sabah Progressive Party.

The SAPP's motion of no confidence will not bring down Dato Abdullah's Government even if the opposition were to throw in their votes behind SAPP. The likelihood is that the opposition will not. They know it would be an exercise in futility. In any case the Speaker will not allow the motion or debate on it. So it looks like the SAPP is going to get nowhere.

But Dato Seri Abdullah and the Chorus Line should not gloat. They should realise that every time Dato Seri Abdullah demonstrates his grip over UMNO and Barisan Nasional, everytime the Chorus Line trotted their piece, they evoke disgust among the public.

UMNO may have 3.5 million members but even if all of them voted there would still be constituencies where they would not win. Their success depended much on non-member supporters. Dato Seri Abdullah had no way of bribing or threatening them.

He could not summon them to be told to support BN candidates or himself.

These people had become alienated from the BN. And the muzzled ordinary UMNO and BN members had also been alienated.

Assuming that Dato Seri Abdullah could control the 3,000 UMNO branches, the 200 UMNO divisions and the 2,500 specially selected representatives at the UMNO General Assembly there would still be more than a million ordinary members of UMNO who could not be bribed or threatened.

Every time Dato Seri Abdullah came up with ridiculous policies and commit administrative and political flip-flop the Chorus Lines, the Supreme Council and the Division heads may shout their support but the majority of the rank and file would become more disgusted. And they would resolve not to vote for UMNO or the BN.

- Dr M


Prime Minister Ahmad Abdullah Badawi won parliament backing on Monday for a government decision to sharply raise fuel prices, despite mounting public calls to quit over the measure.

Deputies of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition closed ranks behind Abdullah as an opposition bid to turn a parliament debate on inflation into a no-confidence vote fell through.

A government motion on price increases was approved with 129 lawmakers voting for it and 78 lawmakers opposing it, giving a temporary respite to the premier who is also battling a challenge to his leadership from within his own party.

A loss of the vote would not have brought down the government or overturned the price hike. But it would have been a major embarrassment for Abdullah, who has faced calls from his own party members to step down for returning the Front to power with a vastly reduced majority in the March 8 elections.

Meanwhile, Lim Kit Siang has submitted an emergency motion to the Speaker on RPK's allegations.

The explosive statutory declaration submitted by Raja Petra Kamaruddin is set to be even more fiery now.

The Attorney General and Inspector General of Police have served notice that they will be calling up RPK. So will the three persons implicated by him.

Tan Sri Gani Patil has said that the allegations were "highly inflamatory" - which means if the allegations cannot be proven, even if there is a qualification of being "reliably informed", the consequences can be heavy.

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