A Sarawak BN leader recalls that its MPs were ready to defect in support of Sept 16, 2008, takeover of the federal government.
KUCHING: A leader of a component party within the Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) today revealed that five MPs from Sarawak were prepared to defect to the opposition before or on Sept 16, 2008, in support of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s plan to take over the federal government.
The leader, who requested anonymity, told FMT: “I was directed by an Umno leader to contact 10 MPs from PBB, SUPP, PRS and SPDP to defect to the opposition.
“Five of the MPs agreed to jump ship on condition that an Umno leader would be appointed as the interim prime minister to replace (premier) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.”
The leader was responding to a WikiLeaks report which said that Anwar’s plan to take over Putrajaya, with the support of BN legislators, was real.
“Five more were interested, but they wanted to wait and see before making any decision,” the BN leader said, adding that there were several BN parliamentarians who had been unhappy with Abdullah.
“I had a number of meetings with the Umno leader, who told me that Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah would be appointed as the interim prime minister in the unity government for the next two or three years.
“Anwar would be appointed as deputy prime minister,” he said.
According to him, the Umno leader claimed that apart from Sarawak MPs, the plan had also received the support of MPs from Sabah and other states.
‘My job to explain our policies’
However, the plan failed to materialise as some Umno MPs who were considering defecting had leaked the plan to the then prime minister.
Two weeks or so before the Sept 16 deadline set by the opposition to form the new government, about 40 MPs, mostly from Sabah and Sarawak, were sent by the BN backbenchers club to Taiwan to “study” agriculture.
The move derailed Anwar’s plan.
Using this “failed” attempt, BN went all out to demonise Anwar including calling him a great “liar”.
WikiLeaks last week quoted former Sabah chief minister Salleh Said Keruak as saying that more than half of the 25 MPs from Sabah were ready to abandon BN and join the opposition.
However, Salleh denied the story.
Said Anwar: “I don’t want to comment on the issue of Sept 16 anymore. You have seen how many MPs were transported to study agriculture in Taiwan.
“My focus now is to turn Pakatan Rakyat into a formidable force.
“They can attack me in the court, they can attack Mat Sabu (deputy president of PAS) and Lim Kit Siang, (DAP national adviser), but our job is to explain our policies to the people.
“We want to win the next general election,” Anwar said.