Bota crossover looks like a Pakatan coup against itself

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 — Last week coup of getting Umno’s Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim to defect could turn out to be a tactical mistake as it has ironically threatened the very survival of the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak if this weekend’s events are anything to go by.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s triumph in snaring Nasarudin has now made the electoral pact lose its “moral standing” and unable to complain about Umno’s move to entice Pakatan Rakyat state legislators wary of their future or disgruntled with their own leadership, critics said

“All is fair in love and war. Pakatan drew first blood with Nasarudin and Umno now seems to be getting back at them. They can’t complain. They started it first,” an Umno warlord told The Malaysian Insider.

Pakatan Rakyat have claimed that two state councillors, Jamaluddin Radzi of Behrang and Changkat Jering’s Osman Jailu are widely speculated to be joining Umno in a bid to get off corruption charges to be heard this month. Senior PKR officials also said Umno wants to embarrass Anwar for engineering Nasarudin’s defection.

The federal opposition has taken great pains to paint Barisan Nasional and Umno leaders, especially future prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as unscrupulous in enticing Jamaluddin and Osman into Umno in their bid to overthrow the Perak government.

But those charges do not appear to stick following Nasarudin’s jump into the opposition.

“Najib would have appeared unscrupulous if Umno tempted PKR lawmakers to join Umno. But Anwar made that move first and it looks like a tactical failure that has blown up in his face,” an Umno veteran said.

Umno had been accused of negotiating with Pas to form governments in Perak and Selangor in the aftermath of the dismal performance in the 2008 elections but Pas lawmakers refused the alliance.

However, Anwar has been pushing his agenda of capturing Putrajaya before the next general elections by way of defections from the ruling Barisan Nasional, predicting some 30 MPs would defect to help him form the federal government by last Sept 16.

He has failed thus far but the prospect of defections have prompted political leaders from both sides to propose anti-hop laws to prevent governments collapsing if lawmakers cross over at the drop of a hat.

If the two state councillors do move to Umno, the Perak government’s majority will go down to just one instead of five. Pakatan Rakyat sources are further worried as one DAP lawmaker has indicated of jumping to the MCA due to disagreements with the state party leadership.

“What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. There should be no double standards that say only Barisan Nasional is low enough to get people to defect. Both sides do it,” a Perak Barisan Nasional veteran told The Malaysian Insider.

“It’s politics. Pure and simple,” he said, pointing out both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional have been engaged in a pyschological battle in Perak by claiming defections from both sides.