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[UPDATE, Jan. 6]
IT’LL be a three-candidate fight for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election among Barisan Nasional's Wan Ahmad Farid, Pas’ Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut and independent Azharudin Mamat @ Adam.][Original Posting]
THE Democratic Action Party appears to be further distancing itself from its Pakatan Rakyat partner Parti Keadilan Rakyat in the latter’s attempt to seize power via crossovers.
The Star Online quoted its Chairman Karpal Singh as saying today in Petaling Jaya that Pakatan Rakyat should only embark on capturing the Federal and state governments during the next general election, and not seize power via the crossovers of Barisan Nasional MPs.
He said the people’s choice during the election should be honoured, and the people would feel cheated if MPs or assemblymen hop over to another party.
“I must make it very clear that I have not at any one time been in support of Anwar’s (Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) stand on crossovers.
“In fact, as far back as March 23, 2008, I had gone to the extent of saying DAP would support the Barisan-led Federal Government to amend the Constitution to make party-hopping illegal by providing more than the eight MPs required by the Barisan to make up for the two-thirds majority needed to amend the Constitution,” The Star Online quoted him saying in a statement.
Karpal said he had also castigated Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam for wanting to leave PKR, saying that the latter was not elected in his personal capacity and had no right to join another party or remain as independent.
“He should resign so that his constituents can decide whom they wish to have as their representative in Parliament.
“DAP is against elected representatives betraying the sacred trust of their constituents through party-hopping,” he said.
According to The Star, Karpal was responding to a letter written by a reader of The Star, who questioned his principles for supporting Anwar.
He said the reader had labeled him as an unprincipled politician, and should check his facts before criticising.
Karpal said the reader owed him an apology as any criticism must be based on truth.
A few days ago Karpal had demanded that Anwar states his stand on the renewed pledge by Pas to continue pursuing the implementation of the Hudud Law.
These differences, coming as they do at the time when the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election is approaching, may not auger well for the Pakatan Rakyat although the contest for the Malay majority seat will essentially be between Umno and Pas.
Karpal Singh stance appears to differ from that of Lim Kit Siang who enthusiastically supported Anwar’s failed Sept. 16 takeover bid.
These not so subtle differences could also signal the move by Karpal to stamp his mark as the DAP’s chairman and elevating the importance of the post to the same level as Secretary-General, now held by the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng.
Traditionally, the Chairman’s post is ceremonial. But given Karpal’s strong personality, it is turning into a substantive post.
In a related development, The Star reported that several Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives have come forward to refute claims that cracks are appearing in the coalition due to the open sparring by its members recently.
They also dismissed claims by the BN that the split occurs on racial lines.
“Open criticism within us is very common as we are very democratic,” said Pas Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Maria Mahmud.
In Umno and BN they are not used to criticising their leadership or speaking up, so it may appear to be a problem for them, she added.
The DAP Pandamaran assemblyman Ronnie Liu concurred, saying that Pakatan Rakyat did not stop anyone from speaking up.
The PKR state executive council member Dr Xavier Jayakumar also dismissed the allegations, saying that the BN should not turn this into a racial issue between an Indian MP and a Malay Mentri Besar.
The PKR state assemblyman for Kota Anggerik and an exco member Yaakob Sapari said it was untrue that Indians have problems with PKR.