I encountered a fellow commentator on MT who labeled the Perak MB as “Patong DAP”. I am wondering just how many more “silent” readers are there with similar misconception of YB Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s role as the Menteri Besar of Perak.

After the March 2008 Tsunami, the residents of Perak gave a very mixed mandate to the political parties of Malaysia. On the parliamentary front, they elected 13 BN candidates out of the total of 24, but they elected only 28 BN representatives to the State out of a total of 59, thus allowing Pakatan to form the Perak State Government.


How did this happen? Admittedly, Pakatan Rakyat was not established until after the general elections. The results could have been different if this fact was known before the voting started but this will remain unknown now. When PR was created by PKR, DAP and PAS, they had the numbers to form the new Perak State Government. The people of Perak elected 18 DAP, 7 PKR and 6 PAS candidates together with 28 BN candidates.


So, from the 31 PR State representatives, DAP have 58% of the total. In a democratic country, they would be known as the dominant party and their leader accepted as the Menteri Besar of the state. In our democratic Malaysia though, this was not to be as the State Constitution states that the MB must be a Malay-Muslim. This can however be overlooked, as the Sultan of Perak possesses the absolute power to appoint whomever he likes as the MB, regardless of race and religion. Three names were submitted to His Royal Highness and YB Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin of PAS was selected ahead of Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP) and Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (PKR).


YB Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin of PAS is now the Perak state MB. Does this mean that he has the absolute mandate from the people of Perak? Does this mean that he can do anything he wants now that he is the selected (not elected) MB? Can PAS, now having one of their own as MB, go ahead and implement their promises? Is Perak a PAS bastion now? The answers are no, no, no and no.


As with a quasi-democratic country, certain rules governing the democratic system must be adhered to and one of the most basic of all is “the vote”. Needing to show a united front as PR, all issues henceforth require “behind-the-doors” qualification before they are debated and voted in the state legislature. With 58% of the vote, DAP becomes the power behind the throne regardless of who the Sultan selects as MB and as of which party he comes from. This is fact. Does it make YB Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s job as MB easier? No, but nobody ever promised him a bed of roses in the first place.


YB Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin’s role as MB is to act as a mediator between the three component parties of PR. He was selected in the first place because of his acceptance to the three parties concerned and because of his temperament. Malaysia is not ready for a Chinese MB yet (or Indian MB) and Lim Guan Eng’s position as the Chief Mninster of Penang has been forced onto them by the voters. What is the difference between a Menteri Besar and a Chief Minister anyway?


Does being selected by the Sultan make it easier on him knowing very well that he became MB not through the democratic process and also conscious of the fact that he is unable to do anything without DAP’s approval? For those who regard him as the “patong DAP”, think again. With only 6 party candidates, he can do nothing, implement nothing and will not be in a strong position to advise anyone of anything. With the MB post, at least he is being heard now. His signature and approval are required. His presence is needed at official functions and he may yet exert his influence on the state legislature. He can even recommend certain PAS proposals without having to put his hand up to attract attention. His words and actions will be on the mainstream media without having to work up a sweat.


Undeniably it will still be DAP at the helm but this is to be expected. Afterall, didn’t the people of Perak give the mandate to DAP? Even on the parliamentary front, Perak DAP has more representatives (6) than PKR (3) and PAS (2) put together. For all those attesting that PAS should be at the forefront just because the MB is from PAS, remember this: PAS does not have the people’s mandate in Perak. Additionally, RPK might have been the Perak MB now if he did not decline the offer to contest in one of the “safe” DAP seats under the DAP banner. Would any genuine MT reader be calling him a DAP Dummy henceforth?


Let’s put everything in perspective here. What is so wrong with DAP calling the shots in Perak? Will it be better if BN was the state government? Does anybody think that DAP is not trying to undo the “errors” of the previous state government? Can anybody be so naïve to think that all DAP actions are Chinese-orientated to only help the Chinese in Perak? Do you think they will retain the state government in a dominant Malay-Muslim state during the next Political Tsunami if they were to do that? Isn’t DAP part of a spoke of Pakatan Rakyat that is trying to save our country?


Regardless of who the powers behind the throne in Perak are, we must all work together as a united group to safeguard our rights as equal citizens of a country that has allowed its elected government to plunder the country and manipulate the democratic system to its own liking. YB Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin might be from PAS but he is part of a group called Pakatan Rakyat. Being a PR State MB is hard enough in BN country. Let us all support him and show the rest of the country that there is a better alternative to BN.


– Hakim Joe