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No end in sight for Perak PR

“What doesn’t break you only makes you stronger”. The phrase serves as a guide for the ousted Perak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government as they move on from one gruelling battle to the next to regain power. And if anyone should think that the coalition no longer has any fight left in them, then they are far from right. The events of the Oct 28 sitting has done nothing to dampen the spirits of the PR brigade. In fact, according to the troop’s general, former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, they were now even more inspired to persevere. Next week, top PR leaders will congregate to discuss their next course of action, which Nizar says will encompass taking on their political foes “in a different realm this time”.

“Whatever obstruction the Barisan Nasional (BN) dares to impose upon us only makes us more and more determined. “In fact, we have become stronger, we have become wiser — it is from these trying times that we draw our greatest strengths from. They cannot break our unified front,” he told The Malaysian Insider today. Nizar admitted that support for the Perak PR was waning as many felt the ousted government should just lay down arms and wait for the next general election to launch its attack against BN. He has, however, chosen to look at the advice in a different manner, saying that such belief was born out of sympathy over the violent injustices inflicted upon PR assemblymen. “They are saying that because they are feeling sympathy for us. They are worried for our safety. They have seen what was done to us and they are aware of all the persecutions we have had to endure,” said Nizar.

He said PR lawmakers would not be disheartened by such comments but were instead proud that their supporters sympathised with them and were willing to accept it if their leaders loosened their ties and called it a day. “But we cannot stop this fight — it will go on. We want to change the political landscape, not just in Perak but in all of Malaysia. “Perak is very important because we can set the example for all the other states, which are now taking hard hits from BN,” he said. Nizar said that PR could not afford to take a break from the fight or even sneak a swig of water when the half-time whistle is blown. He knows the people may forget. They may forget how the government was “stolen”; how the PR’s Speaker V. Sivakumar had been forcible removed from the Speaker’s chair on May 7; how the police had supposedly manhandled the opposition before Wednesday’s sitting; and most important of all, they may forget how well the PR had done when they held on to government for 10 months last year.

This is why, Nizar said, the PR assemblymen had continued spreading their wings across the state through countless ceramahs and dinners, making sure the people remembered. “Yes, support is waning. But we need to prevent that. We need to remind the people of why we are fighting and whom we are fighting for. “We need to tell them, explain to them, keep them informed of the violence we have had to endure and why we cannot just give up and let go,” he said. Nizar noted that PR’s fight was not a selfish one, for they were not in the battle to regain control of the state. “What we want is to return democracy to Perak. To give the people back their right to choose their own government. I am not here because I want (Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr) Zambry (Abd Kadir) to leave the mentri besar’s room so I can sit there,” he said.

Despite his bravado however, it is clear that Nizar, like most of the other PR assemblymen, are tired of fighting. Not because they have lost their spirit but simply because they feel they have had no choice but to walk into most battles with their eyes closed. A former state executive councillor Thomas Su said that the PR assemblymen may seem strong on the outside, but were really humans inside, too. “It is quite scary to walk into something without knowing what the outcome would be. On Wednesday (during the sitting), we did not know what they had planned for us. We did not know how we would walk out of there — whether we would be safe or hurt.


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