Rumours of fresh polls in Kedah due to the defection of four of its assemblypersons were scattered in the wind last night when the quartet vowed publicly they would struggle with Pakatan Rakyat until, at least, the next general election.
At a rally held at state PAS headquarters in Kota Sarang Semut, they reiterated their loyalty to their parties, despite rumours circulating via SMS yesterday that they would snub the event.The event attracted about 2,000 supporters, and very many reporters, with some journeying from as far as Kuala Lumpur to cover the occassion.
Stating that they were “extremely distressed” by the countless phone calls by people wanting to know if the state would be dissolved, the quartet said they have rejected any further queries over the matter.
During their 15-minute presentation, many of their criticisms were aimed at the media and bloggers who had been highlighting the issue, especially after a similar situation occurred in Perak last year.PKR's Sidam assemblyperson Tan Show Kang, who was the first to seize the stage, warned reporters that this would be the last time he would answer questions about defections.
“Sorry, lah … if anyone from the media were to call me to ask me if I was going to jump, I will turned off the phone,” warned Tan, whose Bahasa Malaysia slang was so hilarious it drew incessant laughter from the mostly Malay-Muslim crowd despite his seriousness.
“If you keep asking the same thing over and over again, people do not want to hear, lah, it is like a broken record. How many times do I have to say I do not want to jump?” he queried.
Speaking in perfect Malay, Bukit Selambau PKR representative S Manikumar said calmly that his statements had often been twisted by the media, and he was made to look as if he was dissatisfied with the party and state leadership.
“When I was asked about defections, all I said was: 'If it happens, this should be analysed thoroughly. It could be because of the assemblyperson himself, problems with the leaders, or the state government.'
“But my words were twisted,” he lamented further.
“I am not publicity-crazy. I always discuss matters behind closed doors. We must learn to compromise, as many people threw their support behind me during the elections so that I could become their representative.
“But the media wants to sell its papers, so the news comes (out) that Manikumar wants to resign,” he explained.
Kulim (PKR) assemblyperson Lim Soo Nee, dubbed the most likely candidate to jump ship, complained that he was even woken up at 1am in the morning by a reporter who demanded to know if he was going to resign from PKR.
“This is madness. I have explained countless of times, but they (reporters) continue to ask. I am not going to entertain them anymore, because the more you entertain them, the more excited they become,” he said.
“I am most famously known as a (potential) 'frog' but this issue has been going on for a long, long time.
“We have a lot of work to do. Please, do not call me anymore about this,” he pleaded.
Reporters at the side of the podium, meanwhile, were seen smiling as Lim vented his frustrations.
Kota Darulaman assemblyperson Lee Guan also criticised the media for speculating that he would abandon his fellow-Pakatan colleagues, of whom he stands as DAP's lone representative.
“In the media (Chinese), we were even given grades - 1, 2 or 3 – and this was how the chances of us jumping ship or defecting was measured.
But luckily I was marked only 'grade 1',” he joked.
“This is an old-time story, because BN is no longer in power. It's been only two years, but they do not know how to be an opposition,” said Lim, an ex-army personnel.
Kedah PKR chief Ahmad Kassim, who was the second last person to speak before the event ended at 12 mid-night, warned that the state would not hesitate to take legal action against rumour-mongers for spreading lies.
“We have given them enough chances, but this is our last warning: Say the names of the persons who are going to defect, whether by SMS, blogs or whatever, and we will take action,” he threatened.
The night closed with Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak making cynical references to humorous encounters with “frogs, monkeys and crabs.”
He advised reporters not to be fooled by the 'lies' spread by Umno.“If Umno (acts) stupid (by spreading lies), do you have to be stupid, too?”
Azizan reiterated his stand that it would be silly to dissolve the state assembly, as PAS would still have a majority even if their PKR and DAP counterparts were to resign.
The wild rumours were still making their rounds in the northern state and beyond because Umno has yet to accept the reality of their defeat.
“In a democratic system, one loses or wins; since Merdeka, we have been losing, but we are patient. Now we've got a chance to rule, but Umno is using all kinds of immoral and shameless methods to bring us down,” he added.