Two PKR reps may quit party

(The Star) – The defection of Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim to Pakatan Rakyat has sparked speculation that Barisan Nasional is trying to get at least two Pakatan assemblymen to quit in a tit-for-tat move.

Over the past 48 hours, there has been talk that two PKR assemblymen would quit the party to become independents.

It is not clear whether “negotiations” towards this have been finalised but on Tuesday, Perak Umno chief Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali gave a strong indication about what was coming when he said that the “game has just begun.”

Taking a shot at Pakatan, the former Perak Mentri Besar tried to level things when he raised the episode involving DAP Buntong assemblyman A. Sivasubramaniam, who quit the party but only for eight hours last year.

But this did not stop Pakatan from firing back, with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin claiming that three more Umno assemblymen would be crossing over to Pakatan.

Two who were linked to such a move – Lintang assemblyman Datuk Ahamad Pakeh Adam and Pengkalan Baharu assemblyman Datuk Hamdi Abu Bakar – have openly stated their dissatisfaction with Perak Umno.

Hamdi, however, told The Star yesterday that he would remain with Barisan despite his frustrations.

A PKR insider said two PKR assemblymen would likely quit the party due to the “Ngeh-Nga” factor.

He was referring to the “dominating styles” of DAP state executive councillors Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and Nga Kor Ming, who are cousins.

“This time, it is going to happen. I have been told many times that they were unhappy,’’ he added.

However, Ngeh and Nga denied having problems with the two PKR assemblymen but said in fact they were in good terms.

With Nasarudin’s defection, Pakatan now holds 32 of the 59 state seats, with Barisan holding 27.

If the PKR duo decide to join Umno, it would be a razor thin gap with Pakatan holding only a one seat edge over Barisan.

A senior Umno politician said the party’s discussions with the two PKR assemblymen began a month ago.

“The first step is for them to become Independents and later join Umno,” he revealed.

He, however, admitted that with Nasarudin’s defection, things could change.

“Their (the two PKR reps) spirits might be renewed. Besides, (PKR de factor leader Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim is also coming to Parit soon,” he added.

The situation in Perak is also said to have forced Tajol Rosli to bring forward his plan to quit as state Umno chief.

According to a Perak Umno assemblyman who attended a meeting chaired by Tajol Rosli yesterday, the ex-MB informed them that he was taking full responsibility for Nasarudin’s defection and would step down on Sunday, instead of his initial March deadline.