“Crossing over” issue brought up in Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — History, well political history anyway, was made in Parliament today when a Barisan Nasional MP said for the first time that there was nothing wrong with BN MPs crossing over to the Opposition side.

Datuk Anifah Aman (BN-Kimanis) was speaking on the motion of thanks for the Royal Address. “If there is no more space in the existing bungalow house (BN), what is the harm in them moving to a smaller house (terrace house)?”

This was greeted with cheers from the Opposition side and nods from Sabah backbenchers. The apt analogy was his answer to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s (BN-Bagan Datok) question to him about whether Sabah backbenchers were tempted to cross over to the Opposition.

“I am not saying I am crossing over. There may be a handful who may want to move. This matter of crossing over is not a serious matter. What is serious is the fact that millions in the five states in Malaysia who crossed over to the Opposition,” he said to much laughter from the Opposition.

To a question from Datuk Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan), who lamented the poor infrastructure facilities in Sabah, Anifah answered that independence is meaningless if people cannot even enjoy clean running water and their children had to walk to school.

Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud) then continued with the bungalow analogy and asked if Sabah backbenchers would stay if improvements were made to the bungalows. “Would there be motivation not to move if more rooms are added to the bungalows and if a timetable is set for these improvements?”

Anifah said the solution was a little bit more complex than just the adding of rooms.”We are in the same bungalow but we don’t enjoy the same privileges. We are not only treated like stepchildren but now we are treated contemptuously with talk that we are going to defect.

“What is the use of additional rooms in the bungalow if we are forced to sleep near the toilet,” he said to more cheers. He added that the thing the government needed to work on was the prevention of Sabah from falling into the hands of the Opposition.

Full article here.

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Quite amusing really. Datuk Anifah seems to be a man of humour.

And what he’s said is quite true really. Well, some of it, at least. The “defection” of a mere 30 MPs would be a very small number indeed if we were to look at the numbers that “defected” to Pakatan Rakyat during the last general election.

And it is also true that in Sabah, their people are not getting the basic essentials that most of us in the Peninsula are taking for granted. The State governments of Selangor and Penang can afford to offer the first 20 cubic meters of water free, whereas in Sabah, they’re struggling to even get running water, much less worry about how much it costs.

I’m not for crossing over. I don’t think it’s ethical. But if it’s got to happen, then it’s got to happen. And nothing is going to stop it from happening. Call it the aftermath of the March 8 tsunami. Small wave, but significant.

If the 30 odd MPs from BN do decide to “hop”, then I take it that they are doing it with the rakyat’‘s consent. And if they have the blessings of the people they represent, then I guess it’s not too bad.

And if they’re really going to “hop”, let’s hope that they’re doing it for the benefit of the rakyat they represent, and not for the benefit of their own pockets.



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