All progressive forces that want a change – and this probably constitutes a majority of Malaysians of all ethnic communities – must unite against the present regime, says Toh Kin Woon.
Ever since the general election in 2008, when the Pakatan Rakyat comprising PKR, Pas and DAP denied the Barisan Nasional its two-thirds parliamentary majority and successfully won power in five states, the BN has been on a relentless campaign to demonise PR leaders, to entice its elected representatives to jump ship and to create dissension among the coalition’s ranks. The objective of the leaders of BN, especially Umno, is to weaken and destabilise PR in the hope that it will not be too strong a force to contend with in the next general election in 2012/2013.
Among the measures used include getting PR assembly members to leave the coalition through threats of being investigated and charged with corruption and the giving of bribes as happened in Perak; harassing PR assembly members and parliamentarians; the charging of Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy and recently accusations that Lim Guan Eng, the popular Penang chief minister of Penang, was a “racist”.
Allegations have been hurled against the Penang state government by pro-BN forces for discriminating against the Malays in the granting of contracts, in the allocation of stalls in markets and in enforcement action against illegal traders. State-level PR leaders have denied all these allegations and even issued statistics to counter them.
At the same time, a few PR MPs took the opportunity to attack Lim Guan Eng. One even went so far as to accuse him of being a “chauvinist and communist-minded”.
Despite these desperate measures taken by the moribund BN, and some PR dissidents, the electoral strength of PR has not been weakened, nor has its popularity plummeted. If anything, support for the opposition coalition has remained consistently high.
Road to Putrajaya
It is, however, appropriate at this juncture to remind all who are keen on a change of party in power at the federal level in the next general election of the need to be focused on the primary contradiction confronting the nation today. This contradiction is that of a nation being left behind in relative terms by a decadent and corrupt regime that continues to exploit race and religion to tighten its hold on power.
All forces that want a change, and I believe these represent the majority of Malaysians of all ethnic communities, must therefore unite to fight this regime. They must not be distracted from this cause by internal contradictions of their own or those created by the BN. Failure to identify the principal contradiction and to work together to overcome it will mean the progressive forces for change may not make it to Putrajaya after all.
Toh Kin Woon is an Aliran member.