Is the Barisan Nasional (BN) offering RM25 million to each Pakatan Rakyat (PR) State Assemblyman and Member of Parliament to cross over to any of its component parties?

This is the claim of a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) divisional head here who alleged that the amount was offered by the BN after the general election in March last year.

However, a senior lecturer of the Social Science Studies Centre, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said the claim was illogical as it would be better for the BN to utilise such a large sum of money on projects that would benefit the people, particularly development projects that would give an edge to the component parties rather than buying two Pakatan Rakyat Assemblymen.

“Why spend RM50 million on two Assemblymen? It’s something that is irrational and a wild allegation by the PR against BN, and if, on the other hand, the BN did make such an offer, it would leave a negative image on the component parties,” he told Bernama when asked to comment on the claim by the PKR leader.

Ipoh Barat PKR division head Fauzi Muda, in his statutory declaration made before Commissioner of Oaths Yong Yoke Thye, here today, claimed that he had received an offer of RM50 million from the BN to bring in at least two Perak State Assemblymen, particularly from the PKR, to join Umno or become an Independent after the March 2008 general election.

Fauzi also claimed that he was recently offered RM5 million for himself and another RM5 million each to the two Perak State Executive Councillors (Exco members), namely the PKR Assemblyman for Changkat Jering, Mohd Osman Jailu, and the PKR Assemblyman for Behrang, Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, to defect.

He also claimed that the BN purportedly promised that the corruption charges on the two Assemblymen, that is, the charge for accepting a bribe to obtain an approval for a housing project worth RM180 million at Sri Iskandar, Perak Tengah, would be dropped.

The hearing for the bribery case on both the Exco members will begin at the Sessions Court here for three days on Feb 10.

Fauzi also claimed that the BN promised that Jamaluddin, who is the Chairman of the State Committee on Cooperative Development, Agriculture and Plantations, and Mohd Osman, who is the Chairman of the State Committee on Tourism, Human Development and Non-Governmental Organisations, would be retained as State Exco members if the BN were returned to power in Perak.

Sivamurugan said such a wild accusation would only give a negative impact on the PR if it were proven that the allegation was untrue, and also affect the credibility of the PR.

“The PR allegation shows that they are not prepared to accept the fact that there are leaders within the party who wish to defect. The allegation on the RM50 million offer appears to divert attention on the issue over the leaders’ intention to cross over to the BN,” he said.

He said it was strange that the PR created various allegations when there were moves by their own Assemblymen to cross over to the BN but did not make any allegation when there were BN Assemblymen defecting to the PR.

“The opposition must accept the fact that if they can woo BN Assemblymen to join them, the BN too can do likewise.

“The PR must be ethical when raising issues which are actually aimed at diverting the people’s attention from the real issues that they are facing,” he said.

Meanwhile, a political observer who wished to remain anonymous said it was illogical that the two Assemblymen were willing to defect after being offered RM5 million compared to the substantially higher offer previously.

“Why didn’t the two PKR Assemblymen defect shortly after winning the state seats when the offer was more than RM20 million, why now when the offer is only RM5 million, especially after being made State Exco members?” he asked.

For Sivamurugan, the claim made by the PKR leader reflected “their immaturity in politics” and the use of the statutory declaration showed “their obsession in politics to the extent that they are willing to ignore the ethics concerning statutory declarations”.

The claim by the PKR that the BN had offered to buy the two State Exco members cropped up following the controversy over the status of Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman as PKR Assemblymen.

Both of them, who could not be contacted since last week, had raised concern among the Perak PR state government, and yesterday, State Assembly Speaker V.Sivakumar claimed that he had received resignation letters from the two Assemblymen by fax yesterday afternoon.

Although both the Exco members emerged last night to deny the claim that they had sent the resignation letters, Sivakumar proceeded to hand over the letters officially to the Perak Elections Office this morning to inform the vacancy in the Changkat Jering and Behrang state constituencies.

In fact, Mohd Osman, through his representative, this morning lodged a police report at the Shah Alam District Police Headquarters in Section 11, denying that he had vacated his state constituency seat.

In fact, both of them were reported to be discussing with their lawyers to take the case to court.

For the Perak Pakatan Rakyat state government, their position is becoming more critical because the number of seats separating the coalition from the BN is minimal, and any defection by its Assemblymen would jeopardise the party’s position.

Currently, the Perak Pakatan Rakyat has 32 Assemblymen including the Bota Assemblyman, Datuk Nasarudin Hashim, who defected to the PKR last week while the BN has 27 Assemblymen.

Tomorrow, the EC will discuss the status of Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman and the Perak PR is now making preparations to face the possibility of a by-election in both state constituencies.

In fact the PR leaders, including PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PAS deputy spiritual leader Datuk Harun Din held a meetng with Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and it was said that preparations to face the by-elections were among the topics discussed.

For the people of Perak, the controversy had raised various questions on the position of the PR state government currently.