Aug 21, 2008 By : M. Husairy Othman
THE precarious balance of power in Perak has been worsened with the detention of two state exco members by the Anti-Corruption agency (ACA)
for their alleged involvement in graft.
With only two state seats separating the Pakatan Rakyat state government and the Barisan Nasional, this sensational development has brought about knee-jerk reactions from both sides of the fence.
The offer made by Perak BN chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali last month for PKR and Pas state assemblymen to cross over and his prediction that the state government would fall by Aug 31 have only intensified the situation at hand.
Within amatter of hours, claims of a political ploy masterminded by BN were spreading through the grapevine, no thanks to rumours that both exco members were believed to be from Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
“With the Permatang Pauh byelection just round the corner, this is surely more than a coincidence,” said a staunch DAP member. “What do you think? Is it possible for them to abuse their powers after assuming office in less than five months? After all, it is an open secret that BN is desperate to regain control of the state.
They will not stop at anything.” His fear is very real as the Pakatan Rakyat state government has 31 seats, 18 of which are held by DAP, seven by PKR and six by Pas while BN has 28.
BN only needs two more seats to form a new government.
In the event that the duo are convicted, this will force a by-election in these two constituencies and pave the way for BN to form a new government if they win these seats.
While this might be the case, it must be noted that even if the duo are found guilty, they must exhaust all venues of appeal before a by-election can be held.
“For now, the case is only being handled by the magistrate’s court.
They can appeal to the higher courts and drag the cases for years. I will not be surprised if they plan to drag it until the next elections,” said a political obser ver.
Meanwhile, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said the arrests would not tarnish the state government’s image as they have not been officially charged yet.
“They remain innocent until proven guilty,” said a calm Nizar.
This might be so, but for the rakyat who have voted Pakatan Rakyat into power, this news will surely have shaken their faith in the state government’s pledge of an open, honest and transparent administration.
“Being caught red-handed with RM100,000 cash, how do you explain that to the people? This is definitely a trump card for BN and they should fully capitalise on it,” said an Umno l e a d e r.
Senior exco member and state DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham has described the arrests as victimisation of the Pakatan Rakyat state assemblymen and a bid to undermine the Pakatan Rakyat rule.
He said this could be BN’s ploy to lure Pakatan Rakyat exco members and state assemblyman to crossover after attempts to buy them failed.
His anger is understandable, but being a senior lawyer, he should al - low the law to run its course.