Monday, September 22, 2008

Anwar's options: Oct 13 or the King

Anwar's options: Oct 13 or the King
By Shannon Teoh

Sept 23 - Today the ball is back in Pakatan Rakyat's court.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had served up his latest volley last Thursday, asking Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to call for an emergency sitting of Parliament to table a motion of no confidence in the latter's administration.

Abdullah duly rejected the idea the same afternoon but the PR leaders have decided to wait until today's latest deadline to expire before deciding on their next move.

PKR vice-president R. Sivarasa told The Malaysian Insider that while there have been unofficial discussions since Thursday, PR would only decide on a date for a formal meeting today.

Its leadership will decide on the latest move in a series of failed attempts to checkmate the Barisan Nasional government.

Anwar has seen what he now calls the "symbolic date" of Sept 16 come and go, then a request for an appointment with Abdullah go unheeded and now the attempt to convene Parliament today rebuffed.

Sivarasa revealed that there were now only two clear options to back claims that PR has in hand the 31 or more MPs it requires to command the majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

"We can wait until Oct 13 or go to the palace."

With Anwar having made firm statements about the urgent need for a new government to address the country's economic and democratic woes, it would be both unlikely and inconsistent to wait until Parliament reconvenes on Oct 13.

If they do indeed "have the numbers" as PKR often declares, then there is nothing to lose by going to the King.

If they have instead been stalling for time, this may be the riskiest gamble yet. The King could decree that they wait for Oct 13, or decide to inquire into the matter personally and force Anwar to reveal the identities of all, if any, defecting legislators.

Whatever PR decides on, an endgame is nigh. Either the King decides or PKR will go for a no-confidence motion on Oct 13, which would be no different from having one today, save for a three-week wait.

Hence, what DAP leader Lim Kit Siang said of the emergency session applies here as well, as it would serve "to resolve this issue once and for all. If Barisan Nasional has the majority Abdullah will continue to rule and Pakatan Rakyat will accept it.

"But if Pakatan Rakyat has the majority, let him announce that he will gracefully, orderly and democratically effect a transition of power."

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