KUALA LUMPUR: May 15, 2008
Sabah Umno deputy chief Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal has come out strongly to condemn political crossovers as immoral.
"Crossing over is not impossible. But what (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim is doing is immoral.
"It's the basic fundamental of democracy - the people's right to chose - that he's trying to wipe out. People have given their mandate.
"We don't buy over their people. We can afford to, but we don't," Shafie said.
Shafie's condemnation was echoed by Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek who slammed politicians who tried to persuade members of opposing parties to switch sides, labelling them as "political prostitutes".
"It is the peak of immorality and is similar to prostitution. Leaders who try to plead for crossovers are political prostitutes," he said after visiting New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad at Balai Berita yesterday.
Shabery said only those who were addicted to prostitution would use such methods to achieve political satisfaction.
He said he had heard the views of party members, including those from Sabah.
"Nobody said they wanted to jump parties."
He said Sabah MPs had issues they wanted to bring up in Parliament.
"Although their views have a certain sting, they were well received by other members and the government will pay attention," he said.
"Just because they have a strong stand on certain issues, it does not mean they are going to leave the party," said Shabery.
He agreed. "They (Sabah MPs) are raising concerns of the people on the ground.
"You can't conclude that they want to cross over just because they raise them.
"But I won't say that they won't (cross over). But my advice is they should not do that.
"How can we be sure that it will be a better world if we jump over? Is there any guarantee we'll be treated better just by promising us 20 per cent oil royalty?"
When asked about promises made by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to provide water and electricity supplies besides increasing development in Sabah, Shafie said: "When Anwar held the position of deputy prime minister and finance minister, he gave the same promises but failed to deliver or improve the situation in Balung or my constituency."
Shafie said BN members had pride and were not "cheap politicians".
"Our leaders are not swayed by money or status."
On rumours of offers of up to RM30 million being offered for BN reps to cross over, Shafie said: "That is immoral on the part of the person offering it and on the part of whoever has the intention of accepting it.
"It means they are looking at RM30 million and not the people's needs. That is not worthy of a person who was elected.
"If an MP no longer believes in the party he or she stood for, then switch parties in the next election but don't hop because someone is paying you to.
"Not being responsible in this case amounts to treachery."
On whether he could vouch for the loyalty of Umno MPs in Sabah, Shafie said: "So far, I believe in them, unless they're lying.
On the strong statements by Sabah MPs about crossovers, including that there was "no harm" in doing so, Shafie maintained that they were only raising concerns of the people on the ground.
Asked to comment on Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman's comments that there was no harm in crossing over, and Datuk Seri Ghapur Salleh's warning of the tsunami hitting Sabah next, he said: "It's not a question of betrayal but a question of the trust the people have given you.
"When I stood as a BN candidate, I convinced voters that BN is the right platform to fight for development, and the people voted for it.
"Voters believed that BN can deliver, but when what is promised is not delivered... It's just a reflection of sentiments on the ground."
On Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee's statement that something must be done before September or BN faced the risk of crossovers, he said this reflected the views from the ground.
"Come to Sabah and listen to the ordinary folk. They're asking for more development."
Questioned why the talk revolved around crossovers if the complaints were about development, Shafie said: "Because Anwar is the one raising it, the one trying to woo BN MPs over."