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16 Sep--A New PM Or A Clown Prince?

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Anwar Ibrahim has declared that he has enough lawmakers in the bag to cross over to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition to form the new govenrment. He'd better get his numbers right otherwise he may just end up as the "clown prince" of Malaysian politics.

The maths is simple indeed. The King appoints whom he is confident has the majority support of the lawmakers in the lower house of parliament.

Currently, there are 222 Members of Parliament of which the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition holds a solid block of 140 seats and the remaining 82 go to the opposition. Thus although the BN has lost its two-thirds majority control of the lower house, it still has a comfortable majority of 28 MPs.

For the PR coalition led by Anwar to take over the reins of power, it must entice at least 30 to cross over to their bench. But that is not a good figure as at any time any of one them decides to crossover again (a double-cross in this case) it would result in a hung parliament. And Anwar can kiss goodbye to his ambition to be the new PM.

So he needs a good 40 or even 50 to crossover before the Agung can be sure that he has the confidence of the house to be PM.

Anwar has been saying with a straight face that he has the 30 required and his supporters say 40 would not be a problem. And 50 would not be impossible.

So where is he going to get his numbers? Sabah and Sarawak no doubt. But he still can't be the PM. This is because if he relies mainly on the East Malaysia lawmakers to cross over, his new governent would then be a bumiputra majority one but not a Malay dominated one.

So for him to get his numbers right, he must go back and fish in the Umno pond. That's a tough one. But maybe not so given the endless possibilities in permutations under the current circumstances. Who in Umno will cross over to Anwar's side? Well, all those whose career paths have been stalemated of checkmated are potential candidates.

If it is of any consolation to Anwar, his task is now made seat easier as the the Pensiangan parliamentary seat in Sabah, won unopposed by Barisan Nasional's Joseph Kurup on March 8 general election, has been declared vacant by the Kota Kinabalu Election Court Monday (8 Sept). One down and 28 more to go.

However, this may not be the case as under recent amendments to the election laws allow Kurup to appeal the decision at the Federal Court. And this could take years.

So is Anwar Ibrahim a clown prince? No one is laughing yet. In fact, BN is taking his threat so seriously that it has bundled 49 of its backbenchers off to Taiwan for a purported study tour. This is widely seen as an attempt to stop the much touted crossover, although of course, this is denied by the party. The size of the study tour group is interesting to say the least.

We have got just one week more. So who's going to be the PM or the clown prince? Who's going to have the last laugh? My guess is that Anwar didn't spend ten years in the wilderness, just to start this joke on 16 Sept. (By BOB TEOH/MySinchew)

MySinchew 2008.09.08

 

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