Friday, November 28, 2008

There will be change of gov't

PKR has revived its ambition of toppling the BN federal government, saying its failure to take over as promised on Sept 16 did not mean it will fail to do so forever.

If (the power transfer) is not tomorrow, it will be the day after tomorrow; if it is not in the near future, it will be in the 13th general election (due 2013),” PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali declared today.

Opening the annual congress of the party's Youth and Women’s wings this morning, the party’s No 2 conceded a lot of people were “disappointed” when the much-talked about Sept 16 plan did not take place.

However, he blamed the powers-that-be for allegedly using underhanded tactics and asserting pressure on BN lawmakers who were purportedly planning to defect to the opposition, such as monitoring their movements through the police Special Branch.

Anwar says he is in ‘no hurry’

Syed Husin also claimed these purported defectors were offered a big sum of money for them to stay within the BN although they had given an undertaking in black-and-white that they would defect to the opposition.

“(Opposition alliance) Pakatan Rakyat’s attempt to meet with the prime minister (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) to discuss the transition of power was also rejected.

“In view of all these obstacles, the power transfer has yet to be carried out. However, this does not mean it will never happen,” he told 900 delegates gathered at the indoor Stadium Malawati in Shah Alam, Selangor, where the three-day congress is held from today.

Syed Husin also criticised a small group of party members who were taken in by the 'propaganda' mooted by certain media to believe that Anwar had lied to them on the take over plan.

"Not many people believed this propaganda. Unfortunately, I see a small group of PKR members, including Youth and Women, believed this cheap propaganda," he pointed out.

He added that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail would elaborate on the matter in their speeches at the parent body’s congress tomorrow.

The Youth and Women’s wings meetings, are bing held simultaneously today.

The national congress is the first since the opposition party's powerful showing in the March polls.

From one parliamentary seat in 2004, the multiracial party gained significantly from widespread voter disillusionment and resentment to win 31 parliamentary seats.

Under Pakatan, which includes Chinese-based DAP and Islamic party PAS, the opposition won 81 parliamentary seats and took power in five states.

After the general election, Anwar repeatedly claimed that he had secured enough BN defectors to form the federal government through a simple majority.

However, he missed the declared deadline of Sept 16 and has recently played down the possibility of a takeover, saying that he was in “no hurry” to topple BN.

‘Beware of the racial card’

In his speech, Syed Husin also called on the people to be wary of certain quarters bent on stirring up racial sentiments after the last general election.

He said these tactics were targetted at the leadership in the five states ruled by Pakatan.

“This small group of people claim that Malay supremacy is under threat just because they see a slight increase of the non-Malay role (in the administration). They see from their narrow-minded perspective that only the Malays from Umno can defend Malay rights.

“They have forgotten and dismissed the fact that Malay leaders from Umno were those responsible for taking away Malay rights and robbed this nation of its wealth,” he charged.

Touching on the two PKR wings, Syed Husin said their representation among the party’s elected representatives is not as high as the party had hoped it would be.

Among its 31 MPs, only three are from the Women’s wing and four from the Youth wing, he said.

He said he hoped to see more women representatives in state assemblies in future.

Lessons learnt

At a press conference later, Syed Husin conceded that the party has learnt a lesson over the Sept 16 plan and emphasised that the plan was still on the party's agenda.

"It's very much on (the agenda). We talk less about it but we do more about it, the lesson we have learnt is when we talk about it, it alerts a lot of undesirable elements (to the plan).

"Not that we shouldn't talk about it, (it's just that) we don't talk much about announcing the date or announcing the takeover," he told reporters.

"Sept 16 was the beginning of the process, it was not the beginning or end of everything. It's the beginning of the process and the process is still going on, it could happen at anytime," he said.

According to Syed Husin, the party has received over 100,000 new membership applications over the past few months after the last general election.

He was also asked to comment on PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin's statement yesterday that some Pakatan-led state governments did not accommodate the Youth members in the government-linked companies (GLCs) in order for them to play a more significant role.

Syed Husin has earlier in his opening speech called on the Women and Youth members to be more active.

"I was not talking about accommodation (of Youth into GLCs). I was talking about activities within the party and the masses, you can't accommodate everybody to the sort of things that you mentioned, certainly we encourage our members to be more active on the ground," he told reporters.

On his speech on a small group of grassroots leaders who were "dominating" the decision-making process at the divisional and state level, he said: "These are some legacy of leadership that is not good. It's now slowly being improved upon."

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