KUALA LUMPUR, 2 July 2009: While other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders today glossed over Kedah DAP’s pullout of the state government, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had a different view.
Lim, who is also Penang Chief Minister, said the situation in Kedah was “desperate” enough that the party’s top leadership would be meeting to decide whether to endorse or oppose the move.
He added that said the implications of DAP withdrawing from the Kedah PR government would have “large adverse national ramifications”, and needed to be studied.
He squarely blamed Kedah Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak for the breakdown in trust between PAS and DAP there.
“Kedah DAP has been unhappy with the lack of respect accorded by PAS to DAP in Kedah unlike the respect accorded to PAS in Penang,” Lim said in a statement today.
He singled the “failure of the PAS-led government not to give equal treatment to all Kedahans” as the reason for the pullout.
Lim said Kedah DAP chairperson Thomas Su had informed him that the demolition of an illegal pig abattoir and the imposition of the 50% bumiputera housing quota in the state were the main causes for DAP’s unhappiness.
“For Kedah DAP to pull out from the Kedah government, [this] signals the complete lack of communication and respect from the Kedah PAS-led government.”
Lim said he would “normally oppose such moves” if there was still room to correct the situation, but he believed things had become desperate.
No big deal
Other PR leaders, however, tried to minimise the Kedah DAP pullout, describing it as a “small problem” that would not affect the strength of the alliance.
Several said it was a normal problem in governance and administration, where misunderstandings were bound to occur.
PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the matter could be solved through negotiations and that things in PR were “still normal”.
He said he had talked to Azizan and had heard his reasons for the abattoir demolition, and what alternative solutions there were.
“The MB has informed me that he has given space and options on where the abattoir can be built. I think it can be solved through discussions.
“Pakatan will not fall apart. I don’t believe it will affect our larger agenda which concerns the rule of law in this country, freedom of expression, and the economy. There are always problems where people have differences of opinion.
“Barisan Nasional also has its problems, I [was] in BN a long time and there are many differences of opinion but they don’t become big news, because the difference with Pakatan is that BN controls the big media,” Anwar told reporters in the Parliament lobby today.
On the spat between PKR in Penang and the DAP-led state government over the sacking of Seberang Prai municipal councillor Johari Kassim, Anwar said he was leaving the matter to state PKR chief Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim to resolve the matter with Lim.
PR is maturing
Earlier, Kedah DAP’s pullout of the state government and the Kampung Buah Pala issue in Penang were discussed by the secretariat of the PR presidential council at a meeting in Parliament today.
The secretariat has proposed solutions to resolve both problems, and will forward these to the PR presidential council for approval.
Tian Chua (File pic) The secretariat meeting was attended by two representatives from each PR component party – PKR’s strategic affairs chief Tian Chua and elections director Saifuddin Nasution, DAP’s information chief Tony Pua and national Youth chief Anthony Loke, and PAS’s vice-president Salahuddin Ayub and research head Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
Salahuddin said the proposed solutions would be discussed by the PR presidential council at a meeting likely to be held this weekend.
“We want them to discuss it before the Manik Urai by-election. The decision of the meeting will then be conveyed to the Penang and Kedah governments,” he told reporters after the secretariat meeting.
Chua said the problems in PR states were “small” and could be resolved.
“Mostly, there are perception problems which we need to clarify, that it’s not true that just because of a problem in Kedah, the whole of PR nationwide is at the edge of collapse,” he said.
PKR’s Saifuddin also said the current problems were “part of Pakatan’s maturing process”.
“We are still united on the fundamental things such as the rule of law in this country. This is just one episode in the last 15 months of Pakatan working tougher,” he said.
DAP should leave
Barisan Nasional, meanwhile, has waded into the controversy by calling on DAP to leave the PR alliance.
Gerakan’s Youth chief in Kedah, Tan Keng Liang, said the lone DAP assemblyperson’s withdrawal from the alliance would have little impact on the state government.
Tan He also suggested for PKR to withdraw from the state government, and called for a “BN-PKR-DAP” unity government in the state.
“A unity government in Kedah can protect the rights of all Malaysians in Kedah. After more than a year, Kedah has seen extremist policies by the PAS state government which have not benefitted the people but have dampened economic growth in Kedah,” Tan said in a statement.
MCA information and communication bureau chairperson Lee Wei Kiat said not only Kedah DAP, but the national DAP should withdraw from PR.
He said PAS had misled everyone with their election slogan “PAS for all”.
“It was only a ploy to canvass for votes. I urge Chinese [Malaysians] all over the country to protest together with the Chinese in Kedah,” Lee said in a press statement.
“Kedah DAP’s withdrawal is just a political gimmick…it will not produce constructive solutions. If DAP really wants to oppose the action taken by PAS, the whole party should withdraw from PR, including Penang and Selangor DAP,” he said.