Thursday, April 4, 2013

As polling nears, Perak DAP reminds voters of 2009 power grab

Perak DAP reminded voters today of the power grab that toppled Pakatan Rakyat (PR) from the state in 2009 as it moved to reignite the anti-BN sentiment that rocked the northern state for over a year after the controversial putsch. At a press conference in Ipoh, state DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham told voters to “remain angry” at Barisan Nasional (BN) when they head to the ballot boxes this Election 2013, and punish the ruling pact for allegedly using illegal means to capture state power four years ago.

“They must tell all Malaysians and the world that they are principled people who were angry with BN for its power grab in 2009 and will remain angry with BN until BN is punished and justice meted out,” the Sitiawan assemblyman said in a statement.

“They will not be bought with the little goodies that BN recently showered on them which in any case are monies which belong to the people,” he added, noting that this was among one of the reasons why Perak folk have a “duty” to support PR in the polls.

Ngeh also reminded voters of those who dared to stop the current state BN administration from being sworn into government on February 6, 2009, at the Perak Sultan’s palace in Kuala Kangsar.

He said many had risked their lives by even lying across the road to stop the entourage of Perak’s royalty and BN leaders who were heading to the palace for the swearing-in ceremony at the time.

They are now being charged in court and face possible jail sentences. We must show solidarity with them,” Ngeh (picture) said.

During the tumultuous event four years ago, thousands of protestors had converged on the small royal town of Kuala Kangsar to stop the ceremony but were forced to fall back when riot police rained tear gas canisters on the group to disperse the crowd.

In one incident, emotional voters, their eyes still burning from the sting of the tear gas, carried a young schoolboy who had fainted in the melee to the door of the official vehicle carrying the Perak Regent Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, demanding that the prince call off the event.

But after successfully dispersing protestors, Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir was sworn in as the state’s 11th mentri besar, replacing PAS’s Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizarr Jamaluddin.

Ngeh said the next general election will be the crucial opportunity for Perak folk to tell Zambry and his team that his allegedly “undemocratic” power grab in 2009 was not acceptable.

He labelled Zambry and BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak as “chief criminals” in the putsch, insisting that neither leader deserved to lead any state government or the federal government.

“Democracy must be restored in Perak,” he added. “Laws must be enacted to restore the democratic norms which were violated by BN just to ensure their power grab was successful and preserved.”

Ngeh insisted that during Perak PR’s 10-month rule in Perak, the state had scored well, registering an investment of RM3.2 million, which he said was the highest in state history.

“Huge number of local as well as foreign investors was lining up to invest in Perak due to the efficient and graft-free PR Perak government,” he said, adding that many investors have even put their businesses on hold in hopes of PR being restored as the next state government.

But under BN’s leadership, Ngeh repeated allegations of illegal land grab by the ruling pact’s leaders, claiming that the government had approved 112,547 acres of land to cronies.

“Billions of ringgit of the people’s monies were lost as the lands were approved without any open tender. Deserving cases of the landless were however ignored by the BN government,” he alleged.

Opposition parties DAP, PKR and PAS won 31 seats in Perak’s 59-seat assembly in the March 2008 general election, allowing the loose pact to form a minority government after the polls.

In January 2009, BN’s Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim defected from Umno to PKR, increasing PR’s small three-seat margin over BN to four, changing the PR-BN seat tally to 32-27.

But in early February, Nasarudin returned to Umno, the same day that three PR assemblymen — two from PKR and one from DAP — left their respective parties to become BN-friendly independents.

Their defections effectively toppled the PR government in Perak and resulted in a year-long constitutional impasse that was coloured by numerous historic events, including the March 3, 2009, “tree” assembly, the fracas outside the Kuala Kangsar palace and a mountain of legal suits.

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