Have we learnt nothing from the Bota fiasco?

Posted on June 26, 2012


Haven’t a clue of what I mean by the Bota fiasco?

Does the name Nasarudin Hashim ring a bell?


How soon we forget!

On 25th January, 2009, the Malaysianinsider reported that Nasarudin Hashim, the UMNO state assemblyman for Bota, Perak, had announced his decision to quit UMNO with immediate effect and cross over to PKR.

The same news report quoted Anwar as saying that Nasarudin’s decision was “critical, reflecting the sentiment of his voters, primarily the Malays in his constituency” and was “the beginning of a new wave”.

What followed was more like a tidal wave that swept Pakatan out of power in Perak!

The following day, Malaysianinsider reported that Anwar had predicted that there would be a slew of defections by BN lawmakers occurring fortnightly from February onwards.

Another Malaysianinsider report of the same day has Najib responding to Anwar’s prediction.

“These are all rumours … I don’t think so”, Najib is reported to have rebutted.

Knowing what we know now, we can well imagine now that Najib must have been tickled pink by Anwar’s prediction, given what was then in the pipeline.

10 days after announcing he was ditching UMNO to join PKR, Nasarudin announced his return to UMNO.

This followed the announcement by Behrang Assemblymen Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering Assemblyman Mohd Osman Jailu, both of PKR, as well as Jelapang Assemblyman Hee Yit Foong of DAP, that they were quitting their respective parties to become independent BN-friendly MPs.

And the collapse of the Pakatan state government in Perak facilitated by these cross overs from PKR and DAP!

Prior to Nasarudin’s return to UMNO, a Malaysianinsider article entitled “Bota crossover looks like a Pakatan coup against itself”, in my view, pointedly summed up the disaster that Pakatan had fallen into.

“Last week’s 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”.

Yesterday, Malaysiakini reported that Anwar accepted the application forms of 300 former members of Gerakan, the Indian Progressive Front and MIC have to join PKR.

At what appears to have been a well-attended ceramah in Nibong Tebal, Anwar is also reported to have apologised for having picked Tan Tee Beng to contest the Nibong Tebal parliamentary constituency in the 2008 general election and went on to assure that this time around, Pakatan would only choose those who are qualified, good, and are firm in defending the principles of a clean and fair government for the people”.

This assurance is timely and, I hope, can be taken to mean that even as we read reports that Anwar is in talks with MIC and Sabah BN leaders who may be contemplating crossing over to PKR, even if these leaders should ultimately crossover to PKR, they will not be fielded as Pakatan candidates in the 13th GE.

In a letter to the FMT entitled “It looks like Anwar never learns?”, P Dev Anand Pillai articulates fully my concerns.

“There has been rumours that certain MIC leaders are in talks with the PKR Supremo about a possible cross over before the impending general elections. It looks as though PKR has not learnt its lesson…When the PR coalition talks about the unworthiness of politicians who jump ship, it becomes a joke that they court possible cross overs!…The young talent in the PKR is what Anwar has to tap, if he does not understand that,then he is not ready to become the next Prime Minister of Malaysia…Untrustworthy politicians from the MIC are the last thing that must be in the mind of the PKR Supremo…Has Anwar lost it? Wouldn’t he of all know that such characters cannot be trusted? Despite knowing that he is entering into dangerous territory by courting this morons…If Anwar can’t comprehend this then he has lost the plot”.