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Pakatan Rakyat reps may join BN

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 Feb 2009: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today there is a possibility several Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives in Perak would join the Barisan Nasional (BN).

“God willing, it will happen,” he told reporters when asked to comment on talks that there would be Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons in Perak crossing over to the BN.

Earlier, Abdullah launched the Federal Territory Day Festival at Titiwangsa Lake here.

Bernama reports Abdullah, who is the BN chairperson and Umno president, as saying the elected representatives would want to join Umno because they had confidence in its struggle.

“[We will] accept them as it is their choice and they want to join us in the struggle…it will be a new experience for them and allow them the opportunities to serve through the BN,” said Abdullah.

Abdullah declined to state the number of assemblypersons joining the BN.

Asked whether the Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons in Perak would ultimately join, or had already joined, the BN, he said, “We will make the official announcement when all things are in place.”

The prime minister was also asked whether there was a possibility of Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives in other states crossing over to the BN.

He said the possibility was always there.

“If we want to increase party membership, we should open the party to those who want to join. We should not say that we don’t want certain people to join the party… We will accept them into Umno,” he said.

Missing PKR assemblypersons

Yesterday, Perak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) said two of its elected representatives — Behrang assemblyperson Jamaluddin Mat Radzi and Changkat Jering state representative Mohd Osman Jailu — had been uncontactable by the party and their families for four days.

Both state representatives were charged in the Sessions Court on 25 Aug 2008 for allegedly receiving bribes over the application for a RM180mil housing project in Sri Iskandar in Perak Tengah. Their case will be heard on 10 Feb.

PKR said it feared the two were being courted to join BN in exchange for having the charges against them dropped.

Media reports quoted Perak Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin today as saying the state would lodge police reports over the missing two, after consulting with their families.

On 25 Jan, Umno Bota assemblyperson Nasaruddin Hashim crossed over to PKR.

Following the crossover, Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali resigned as Perak Umno Liaison Body and Perak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairperson.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has since taken over the two positions.

The Pakatan Rakyat currently has 32 state seats in Perak, compared to the BN’s 27 in the 59-seat state assembly.

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