PETALING JAYA, 6 Feb 2009: The Perak Pakatan Rakyat should find out what internal shortcomings led to its eventual collapse on 5 Feb 2009, said Umno veteran Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad today.
“Perak had been unstable for some months before this. For example, the internal bickering when DAP’s Ipoh Barat Member of Parliament M Kulasegaran wanted to be mayor of Ipoh.
“There was also the controversy of DAP unsuccessfully wanting to rename Jalan Silibin to Jalan P Patto,” he said during a press meeting at his office in Putrajaya today.
“But the biggest surprise is why a high-ranking DAP member would leave the party. It’s quite serious,” said Shahrir, who is also Umno supreme council member.
Shahrir was referring to the assemblyperson for Jelapang, Hee Yit Foong, who left DAP to be an independent.
He said Perak folk have also been angry at the alleged arrogance of DAP assemblypersons, the cousins Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and Nga Kor Ming.
“So Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin shouldn’t feel too bad about losing his job. It is not entirely his fault. He should scold the DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) for being unable to control their own elected representatives,” Shahrir said.
Shahrir said it was technically not a direct takeover of Perak by the BN as the Pakatan Rakyat coalition collapsed due to resignations of three assemblypersons from its ranks.
“The one assemblyperson who crossed over to Umno was originally an Umno member anyway. The Pakatan Rakyat seemed to think it was okay when he crossed over to PKR,” Shahrir said.
Shahrir also said it was unfair for the Pakatan Rakyat to cry foul over the Perak government’s collapse when the coalition wanted to defeat the federal BN government by the same methods on 16 Sept 2008.
“They are talking of kuasa rakyat now. By this virtue, Nizar could not have become MB, since his party did not command the majority in the state assembly. He was appointed in accordance with the state constitution’s requirements for a Malay Malaysian menteri besar,” said Shahrir.
If the appointment was made on the basis of “kuasa rakyat”, Shahrir said the menteri besar should have been a Chinese Malaysian from the DAP.
Asked to comment on the anger at the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s takeover expressed by the public in Ipoh on 5 Feb 2009, Shahrir said: “You can expect Pakatan Rakyat supporters to get angry. But to assume that the majority in Perak do not welcome the change is presuming too much.”
When asked whether the BN could govern effectively when it was so lopsidedly Malay Malaysian in composition, Shahrir said the BN would need to ensure its policies benefited the majority of Perak’s population.
Shahrir, who is Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, said the situation in Perak was still unstable.
“But it will be easier on consumers and businesses now for the state to be under BN. There will be better coordination and less politicking between the state and federal governments. They will enjoy more impact from federal support,” he said.