It is utterly irresponsible for PM Najib to drop the responsibility on the Perak Sultan's lap. Logically and legally, what choice does the Sultan have if both coalitions agreed to give the mandate back to the people to choose the next government?
If the Sultan of Perak claims that his palace is above politics, there should be no reason for him to hold back on giving his consent for dissolution. By law, the monarch cannot refuse a request by a legitimate chief minister to call for a dissolution of the assembly and to force snap elections. This is an option often used by governments around the world.
Hence, the ball is not in the palace's court as claimed by PM Najib. He has this to say when only a day ago he had promised to become the people's leader:
Najib pointed out that the BN did not seize power in Perak because the change in government was made according to regulations and the law, which, if accepted by everyone, would clearly show that the present BN government could administer Perak as it had received a sufficient majority.
“Don’t forget that on Sept 16 last year, who had wanted to steal 21 of our members of parliament. But when he failed, and we succeeded in Perak, we were then said to be undemocratic. We have been accused of seizing power.
“It was the opposition who first tried to seize power but without success... we (the BN) did not start it,” Najib stressed.
The prime minister does not appear to fully understand what does it take to become a truly people's leader. If PR had failed in its bid to steal power through defections, it does not mean that it is acceptable to the voters for BN to engineer the same. I had said that Anwar's PR was to be blamed for his intention to grab power through defections.
Najib should understand that a truly people's leader/government should listen to the people. Not all angry voters are naturally PR supporters. Many of them are fence sitters who occupy the middle ground. This middle ground is what BN needed to stay in power and to restore its political influence.
By continuing to justify the power grab and to use the public institutions to help it to do so, BN is slowly but surely losing its support amongst Malaysians. The next time, it is only possible for the BN to hold on to power by using repressive force.
It is penny wise but pound foolish for Najib to continue governing Perak without first securing the people's mandate. The decision is going to cost his party, his leadership and the coalition a great deal of lost goodwill.
He should form a high level committee to audit the impact and implication of the power grab. Some of the actions taken to quash dissidents and critics are costly. The Bar Council has taken a vote to sue the government, the home ministry and the police. The judiciary has been compromised, putting a quick end to Abdullah's initiated reform. The police is worse tainted in the whole episode. The IGP is speaking like a politician or the chief bodyguard of the BN than a police chief.
BN should have realised that its opposition is formidable because it is facing the people, not just the PR coalition or Anwar Ibrahim. PR is put together by the people as a platform to voice out their grouses democratically that there must be a change of governance style in the country.
The directive to order Uthayakumar back to Kamunting is a bad one. It came after MIC had openly try to court, albeit unsuccessfully, the Hindraf chief leader to back the party. Samy was critical of the leader when it was clear that the movement would not want to have anything to do with MIC.
The decision to reverse the decision to release Uthayakumar will not be taken lightly by the people especially his supporters. It is clearly a political decision. The government is spooked that an uncooperative Uthayakumar can wield a strong force against the ruling regime. It is too late and too risky for the BN to detain him under ISA again. But, on what ground?
Najib's administration is slowly showing its nerve and insecurity. This is a dangerous attitude and this attitude may generate more errors which may eventually break the coalition. How much longer can the other parties tolerate their own destruction?