Last week, in RPK’s ‘The man behind PKR ( Part 2 )‘, a most startling revelation was made.
“September the 16th of 2008 was supposed to be the day that Pakatan Rakyat takes over the federal government. But to do that Anwar has to first persuade at least 30 Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament to cross over.
Getting 30 Barisan National Members of Parliament to cross over was not that much of a problem. All it needs is money, RM300 million to be exact — to pay each Member of Parliament RM10 million as an ‘inducement’ to cross over. The problem would be: after paying them the RM300 million, which would have to be in advance, of course, how can they be assured that Umno would not up the figure by RM15 million and buy them back?
The bottom line would be: Pakatan Rakyat pays them RM10 million each and Umno also pays them RM15 million. They would receive in total RM25 million each and remain in Barisan Nasional. If they can be bought, then others can also buy them for a higher price. And they will take the higher price without returning the RM10 million you gave them.
John Soh’s bone of contention was that he would be the one who has to pay the RM300 million. If it works, well and fine. But what if it fails, as it did in Perak, and Umno counter-offers these 30 Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament a higher figure? The RM300 million would be money down the drain.
John Soh did not agree to fund the RM300 million take-over-exercise unless Anwar could ensure success. But how could Anwar guarantee success? These were 30 ‘for sale’ Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament they were talking about. If they can sell themselves to one side then they can sell themselves to the other side as well.
John Soh refused to fork out the RM300 million and that ended the September 16th dream to march into Putrajaya. And that also meant Anwar would have to face trial for Sodomy 2. The only way to escape Sodomy 2 would be for Anwar to become the Prime Minister, which was not going to happen now.
For weeks Anwar refused to talk to John Soh. He put the failure of September the 16th squarely on John Soh’s shoulders. When they finally met, Anwar and John Soh had a heated exchange of words. When Anwar said that John Soh was to be blamed for the September 16th failure, John Soh retorted, “If you are so confident it was going to work then why not fund it yourself? Bring back some of the billions you have stashed overseas and pay the RM300 million from your own pocket!”
What troubles me the most is that, to-date, Anwar has not issued a statement to refute this most damaging of allegations.
You may or may not remember but soon after the 12th GE, PKR starting talking about the possibility of BN MPs crossing
On 19th March, 2008, Malaysiakini reported that Anwar had announced that he would form the federal government, aided by defectors from BN, mostly from Sabah and Sarawak.
Two days later, on 21st March, Malaysiakini reported that Anwar insisted that defectors from BN would not be ‘bought’.
Honestly, at the time, I took great comfort in this report.
It meant that I could turn my attention to another concern I had in respect of this much-talked-of crossover of elected representatives : a fraud on the voters.
On 23rd March, I wrote to Anwar seeking the comfort of a statement from him that no BN MPs would be accepted without such MP first getting the consent to crossover from those who voted him into office. That letter may be read in full HERE.
I can confirm now that n0 such statement was ever made by Anwar.
The next day, on 24th March, Malaysiakini reported PKR youth chief Shamsul Iskandar as saying PKR was not offering money to buy over the BN MPs.
“They have come and met (PKR de facto leader) Anwar Ibrahim because they have lost faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. They are not crossing over for monetary gains…If they want to come over, we will accept them but we are against buying them over”, Shamsul is reported to have said.
A month later, Azmin is reported by Malaysiakini to have said that there was no monetary element in the talks with the MPs intent on crossing over from BN to Pakatan.
Fast forward now to 12th September, 2008, when RPK, Teresa Kok and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng were detained under the ISA.
For many of us then, a change of government might be the only hope of an early release.
With this in mind, I and several others accompanied Marina, RPK’s wife, to see Anwar.
He assured us that he had the numbers.
I asked if money was involved.
“Mana ada duit macam tu, Ris”, was the reply.
September 16th came and went.
No change of government.
RPK says in his post that September 16th was never going to happen because John Soh had already decided that he was not going to bankroll this mass crossover. This is how RPK put it :
“For weeks Anwar refused to talk to John Soh. He put the failure of September the 16th squarely on John Soh’s shoulders. When they finally met, Anwar and John Soh had a heated exchange of words. When Anwar said that John Soh was to be blamed for the September 16th failure…”
Yet, the Star reported on 22nd September that Wan Azizah said that more BN MPs were keen to crossover to Pakatan.
The same report quotes the current PKR Sec-gen, Saifudin Nasution, as saying that Pakatan had started its “countdown” for the takeover and things were moving according to plan.
“Our timeline is by the hour. Putrajaya is within reach”, Saifudin is reported as saying.
Is RPK’s post a pack of lies?
Only John Soh or Anwar can tell us.
Unlike John, though, Anwar does not have the luxury of elegant silence in this matter.
He must speak up, and speak up now, or live with the inferences that will otherwise flow.