ALOR SETAR, May 23 — Despite obtaining full attendance from all 20 state assemblymen at a rally to prove its solidarity last night, all may not be well for the Kedah Pakatan Rakyat government yet.
Kulim assemblyman Lim Soo Nee, one of the three Kedah PKR assemblymen who were touted as about to defect and topple the administration, raised doubts over the government’s stability when he openly voiced dissatisfaction against his party and the state leadership.
In his no-holds-barred speech during the rally, Lim, caused a stir when he expressed disappointment with his party’s and the government’s failures to study their many faults.
In one breath, Lim said he had no plans to defect, but in the next, hinted that all was not well with the PKR — especially in Kedah.
“I will be very frank here tonight. Perhaps what I may say may upset out mentri besar (Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak) but I will not let it stop me,” he told a crowd of thousands who fell into pin-drop silence at his words.
Lim said the recent spate of PKR defections had stemmed from two factors — push and pull factors.
“The pull factor is based on the disturbances coming from our opponents in the Barisan Nasional. We know their purpose is to topple the government.
“The push factor is even worse — it comes from those in our inner circle, spreading malicious lies and information that could cause us to fall,” he said.
Lim said that “he could not deny” that there were antagonists within PKR itself, working against the party and its members by spreading these rumours.
“I feel sad that we in Kedah have lost two of our assemblymen due to defections.
“Even more sad is that, until today, we have not even bothered to conduct post-mortems to discover the reasons behind their departures,” he said.
Lunas assemblyman Radzhi Salleh and Bakar Arang assemblyman Tan Wei Shu were the two PKR assemblymen who left the party to become BN-friendly independents.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) presently has 20 seats in the 36-seat assembly, with PAS holding 16 seats; PKR, three; and the DAP, one.
“It is wrong for our people to just defect because they are unhappy for no matter how unhappy you are, we can still sit and discuss things. But still, we cannot ignore that they were not the only ones who had left the party,” he said.
Lim pointed out that if one man were to lock horns with nine others, he should realise it was unlikely that he alone was right while the nine others were wrong.
“If one person alone has left PKR, it is different. But we are talking about so many of them leaving, after Election 2008. Surely there must be some sound reason,” he pointed out.
He said that although PKR had lost so many lawmakers, its leadership and the Kedah state government had failed to take stock of the defections by attempting to discover its weaknesses and where it had gone wrong.
“We should sit down to find out why these people had left. What did we do that caused so many to leave.
“And if their departures were due to mistakes that we had made, then that means that we have to change. We do not want to just sit down and point fingers at others,” he said.
Lim, whose words raised many eyebrows in the crowd, then called on the PR government to learn from its past mistakes.
“It is true that I am not happy, with the party and with the government, but then again it is better that I speak it out here than keep it hidden in my heart.
“Perhaps my other two colleagues (from PKR) do not dare to speak this truth but it is true that we are all dissatisfied with the party and the government. We feel that we are not appreciated sometimes,” he said.
At this juncture, several in the crowd began to yell at Lim.
“What do you want? Speak it out? What are you saying?” said one angry-sounding man.
Noticing this, Lim quickly wrapped up his speech and said that despite his grievances, he had no plans to leave the PKR.
“We have to voice our unhappiness for if we fail to do this and we just sit back and keep quiet, we will be no different from the BN,” he said.
Lim added that his presence at the rally was enough proof that the PR government would not topple.
His two other colleagues in PKR, Sidam assemblyman Tan Show Kang and Bukit Selambau assemblyman S. Manikumar, had earlier also assured Kedah folk of their loyalty to the PR.
In a midnight press conference after the rally, Azizan pointed out to the media that the rally had proven the strength and solidarity of the Kedah government.
“Remember to get your numbers right when you write, OK? We have 20 assemblymen. We have the majority and we are stable.
“I would like to say here that we will not dissolve the assembly. I see no purpose,” he said.
When questioned on Lim’s speech and his call for the state government to hold a post-mortem to study the reasons why its assemblymen had left, Azizan said: “Yes, we did not conduct such a post-mortem. But the state government can study his proposal.”
Speaking to The Malaysian Insider later, Lim said he was satisfied with having been able to let loose some of his frustrations against his party and the government.
“We cannot deny that there are some problems. We must fight to make sure we stay strong,” he said.
Without revealing much, Lim admitted that the reasons used by the PKR defectors over dissatisfaction with the party’s dictatorial-style leadership were not totally untrue.
PKR has lost 10 lawmakers — five MPs and five assemblymen — since Election 2008, including one through sacking. It also lost the Hulu Selangor Parliamentary seat in a by-election last month, reducing its numbers in the Dewan Rakyat to 25 MPs, which includes a PSM member elected on its ticket.