Pakatan wary of 1969, says MB
Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the opposition Pakatan Rakyat is treading very carefully towards forming the federal government, lest certain quarters be provoked to completely suspend the country’s system of democracy.
He said the suspension of Parliament and the state of emergency called – and since then still technically in place – after the wins by the opposition in the May 1969 general election offer sombre lessons for those seeking drastic change.
Khalid said that while Anwar Ibrahim, who is parliamentary opposition leader and PKR de facto head, harbours strong ambitions of leading the change of government, he is also painfully aware that such moves could lead to a change in the very system of governance itself.
“We are (still) working towards it. Anwar is very careful – we have to be very careful. Because any rushed action may end up in curtailing the democratic process. We do know Malaysia had that experience in 1969,” he told MalaysiaIndru editor Ji Wi Kathaiah in a recent interview.
“It is not in our interests that by seeking to acquire government, people are deprived of democracy,” he added.
“He has got an idealism such that if you can get to rule the federal government, it would be better,” Khalid added in reference to the five Pakatan-led states.
“But I am of the opinion that we have to be careful, that by taking over government, you do not trade in democracy,” he stressed.
Sept 16 deadline missed
Anwar, formerly the deputy premier and finance minister, has declared he had enough supporters from the ruling BN coalition to topple its government.
Pakatan Rakyat, which controls 81 parliamentary seats, needs another 31 MPs for a simple majority to form the federal government.
Since then, Anwar has missed the Sept 16 self-imposed deadline. While asserting that Pakatan still has several other options to explore, he conceded several days ago that he was running out of options in trying to upset Barisan rule.
“I am not saying we have no options left, but I’m saying it’s getting to be much more difficult,” Anwar was quoted as saying.
Khalid said while he has decades of experience as a captain of several government-linked companies and in corporate takeovers, politics is a whole new ball game with many more risks to consider.
However slim the chances that the Barisan government would repeat its crackdown on dissent as seen about four decades ago, they still warrant caution on the part of Pakatan, said Khalid.
“Well, you calculate the probability. You may say it is a small probability. But however small it is… I’m among those who are not seeking to wrest control of the government at all costs. The people have to come first, and everything else should follow.
“Of course, we have a situation where once we do it, we have to go back to the people and decide whether you want us to be in power or not. There may have to be elections as early as possible in order to gain legitimate recognition of this new government.
“But of course, in politics, the game is fluid. I do not have any experience in this. Logically, I can think. But politics is not logical. Taking over a corporation, I can handle. But taking over a government, you are handling different groups of people” he said.
In the one-hour interview, Khalid also spoke on the latest developments surrounding the Wives of Selangor State Assemblymen and MPs Charity and Welfare Organisation (Balkis), the state of the ten ‘exco bungalows’, and plans for state officials and elected representatives to declare their assets and liabilities.
He also spoke of the state government’s plans to create a system of checks and balances at the level of local government to minimise corruption.
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