“Barisan Nasional tried very hard to dethrone the DAP in Penang in 2013 and 2018 but failed miserably even after throwing millions upon millions of ringgit, some of which ended with Anwar loyalists. The thing is, the present day Barisan Nasional administration knows nuts about the Penang psyche and failed miserably at learning ‘the art of the deal’ from Razak”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
اندا ڤرلو فهم كناڤ رازق برجابت تاڠن دڠن ڬرقن
There is an attempt to collapse the Penang state government, and a former PKR assemblyman is said to be leading the effort along with an operative from Barisan Nasional, linked to a government minister.
The state has a 40-member assembly comprising 33 Pakatan Harapan members and seven others – three from PPBM, two from Umno, one from PAS and one independent.
DAP occupies 19 seats, PKR occupies 12 and AMANAH holds the remaining two. It is highly unlikely that the state government will collapse even if all these reps are offered money.
A well-placed source claims the majority from PKR isn’t “pro-Azmin,” stopping short only of saying its “Anwar’s people.”
“I know five are with Anwar,” he said.
That leaves seven fence-sitters who Perikatan Nasional could influence. But another contact, also well placed, insists that there are six – six pro-Anwar and six fence-sitters.
I’m from Penang.
I spent 25 years on the island state since 1994 and know the Chinese and Malays there like the back of my hand.
I know of the various groups that undertook in “clandestine operations” to influence voters back in 2013 and 2018 and was with one of these groups prior to the 13th general election.
I know how they table talk and how they deal with opposition and government reps. They’re unique, as are the Chinese and Malay-Muslims in Penang.
Believe me, the Malay-Muslims are so divided, to this day, you can never get them to agree on anything, let alone with one another on a single formula for the state.
The Tanjung Tokong group will never agree with the Balik Pulau group. The Bayan Baru group will never agree with the Teluk Kumbar group.
The Bukit Bendera group will never agree with the Bukit Gelugor group. But the Chinese are united and will stay put with the DAP.
They will tolerate the party even if Chow Con Yeow were to suddenly stand stark naked on top of Komtar, singing, “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts.”
PKR knows this, as does AMANAH. It follows, not only is it very difficult to shake the alliance between PKR, AMANAH and the DAP in Penang, you can feed all the PKR reps whatever amount of money you want.
But the majority will stay put.
The thing is, these reps enjoy the support of Malay-Muslim clusters from all over the state, mainly from Permatang Pauh, Guar Perahu, Butterwrth, Seberang Jaya, Gelugor, Sungai Dua, Kampung Kastam, Teluk Kumbar, Bukit Bendera, Tanjung Tokong and Tanjung Bungah.
And we’re talking community clusters here, led either by community heads or ‘gang leaders’, or both, comprising die-hard Anwar loyalists with influence all over Penang.
Now, I’m not exactly an Anwar fan. But I get the idea why he decided to sack Dr Afif Bahardin and Zulkifli Ibrahim instead of trying to cajole them with money.
Afif was the Deputy Youth Chief and Deputy Chief of the Permatang Pauh division where loyalty towards Anwar is sky high.
Permatang Pauh, on the other hand, is a semi-rural area between Butterworth and Seberang Jaya in the east where Anwar enjoys considerable support.
Just so that you know, Seberang Jaya is also where Afif served as assemblyman since the 2013 general election.
By sacking Afif, Anwar sent a huge jolt to his clusters all around Penang, including Butterworth and Seberang Jaya, telling them “we have a problem, there are traitors among us.”
From the 10-odd years I spent on the island state under DAP rule and after having studied how Anwar operates there, that jolt was enough to rally all the pro-Anwar clusters behind the remaining PKR reps, reassuring them that “Penang is with Anwar.”
And from what I’ve seen, you can throw whatever amount of money you like to the leaders of these clusters.
They will simply take your money and promise to do whatever it is you want them to do. But the minute you mention that your mission is to collapse the state government, they will sabotage you.
It is precisely for this reason that the late Tun Abdul Razak “bought over Gerakan” – then an opposition party – in 1972.
Razak knew that the only way he could acquire Penang is if he invited Gerakan to join UMNO, the MIC, the MCA and several other parties from East Malaysia in a new alliance that later came to be known as Barisan Nasional.
Basically, Razak knew what the Penang psyche was all about.
The Najib administration, on the other hand, tried very hard to dethrone the DAP in 2013 and 2018 but failed miserably even after throwing millions upon millions of ringgit, some of which ended with Anwar loyalists.
The thing is, the present day Barisan Nasional administration knows nuts about the Penang psyche and failed miserably at learning ‘the art of the deal’ from Razak.