Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Worries about potential defections were believed to be a main reason that Abdullah promised on Saturday to increase funding and improve administrative policies for Sabah, a poor eastern state where complaints about government neglect have simmered for years.

Abdullah and other top officials in Umno, the biggest party in BN, were scheduled to hold a two-day retreat later this week to discuss measures to safeguard their hold on power.

Some Malaysian government lawmakers who were planning to defect to the Opposition might change their minds now that the prime minister has announced policy changes to win their allegiance, Opposition leaders said today.

Officials in the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) nevertheless voiced confidence that enough members of Parliament will still switch sides by September to topple Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government.

Syed Husin Ali, deputy president of the PKR, insisted that the "core people who are fully

committed" about defecting will not change their minds because they realise Abdullah's reforms were not enough to tackle their grievances.

"There will be a few people who will be influenced by this. There will be some marginal effect," he said, adding that the crossovers would be announced in September "by the latest."……AP

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