Has Pakatan run out of effective leaders of their own that they have to depend on Mahathir, wonders W H Cheng.
The results of the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections clearly indicated the people’s choice and dissatisfaction.
In disarray, Pakatan Harapan has taken the people’s views for granted.
Have Pakatan leaders learned from the outcome? Yes, blame BN over some cash inflows and vote-buying, but what about themselves?
As the two by-elections have given confidence to the once-bitten Umno-led BN coalition, the prospects of a snap general election being called either at the end of this year or in early 2017 seem to be closer to reality as BN leaders have been doing the ground work and dispatching their goodies since.
The major problem is that the people are disappointed with the way BN is running this nation because of widespread corruption, resulting in billions of ringgit lost from our nation’s coffers almost every year.
Afraid of its unpopularity and the increasing criticism of its administration, the BN is moving towards dictatorship to consolidate its power by strengthening several security-related laws and awarding more powers to the security forces. The objective appears to be to purge voices of dissent, quell freedom of speech and stem the influence of opposition figures in the hope that this would erode support for opposition parties.
The people wanted a change for nation and voted for opposition parties to send their representatives to Parliament and the state assemblies in the last two general elections. They did this in the hope they could build a foundation towards Putrajaya in the future.
Unfortunately, Pakatan Harapan has not shown any progress with regard to its common policy, political framework and ideology.
Coalition or just working together?
Pakatan seems like a coalition only for elections, where its component parties, the PKR, the DAP and Amanah, would gather during elections, and they would later disperse after the occasion was over.
Is such an opposition coalition an effective machinery to garner support? The parties are still going by what they are used to be called – the PKR, the DAP and Amanah.
From Pakatan Rakyat to Pakatan Harapan
The initial Pakatan was dissolved following the departure of Pas due to its insistence on hudud implementation. The moderates in Pas who wanted to remain in the Pakatan coalition later quit and formed a splinter party, Amanah, in order to continue their stance.
While leading the opposition coalition, the PKR was also reluctant to completely dump Pas due to its partnership with the Islamist party in the Selangor state government. Both the PKR and Pas have factions who are for and against the current loose formation in the state.
At the same time, a powerful faction within Pas also handed an olive branch to its once arch rival, Umno, to seek its help in paving the way for its hudud bill to be presented in Parliament.
All such moves had in fact thrown our people into a deeper dilemma and more confusion over the actual directions of these political parties and what their leaders’ actual stand is on many issues.
PKR-DAP-Amanah or PKR-Pas or Pas-Umno? Our people now seems to be overly confused over the intention of these kinds of political cooperation and of the parties that they had voted for in 2008 and 2013 respectively.
Umno unleashing its kill
In this situation, Umno seized every opportunity to put the opposition coalition and its component parties into disarray by first hitting Pas’ head against the wall over its hudud ambition. Umno has indeed been successful.
Umno then despatched Pas to disrupt the current framework in Pakatan by confusing some PKR leaders into supporting its cause and allegedly instigating the latter to pull out from the opposition coalition in a bid to force the dissolution of the Selangor state assembly to pave the way for a state election.
The attempt was never successful but it did a lot of damage in Pakatan and the Selangor state government. Perhaps as a reward for the ‘successful sabotage’, the Selangor Umno liaison chief was given a ministerial position in the recently cabinet reshuffle.
Not wanting to give up, Umno then initiated yet another attempt to destabilise the Penang state government by implicating Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in corrupt practices over the purchase of a second-hand bungalow and for alleged land rezoning.
Citizens’ Declaration and Sarawak clash
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been critical of the Umno-led government under Najib Razak since RM2.6bn was found in the latter’s personal account and the RM42bn 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
In pursuing his call for Najib’s resignation, Mahathir initiated a nationwide Citizens’ Declaration to gather support for his cause. To achieve this, he even resigned from Umno and joined forces with many opposition parties and civil societies.
Surprisingly, Pakatan leaders were quick to embrace Mahathir’s pursuit as one of theirs, thus accidentally putting the former prime minister into the position of a “de facto opposition leader’ – or should we call him an ‘effective opposition leader’? – of our nation.
It seemed as if Pakatan leaders had forgotten their de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and the parliamentary Opposition Leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
This situation irked many opposition supporters because it has been too awkward and confused. Has Pakatan run out of effective leaders of their own that they have to depend on Mahathir?
The recently Sarawak state election saw a PKR-DAP clash over several seats which also disappointed voters and opposition supporters who had hoped that the opposition parties could make some changes in the state. It is clear that the state Pakatan was in disarray as it could not agree over some seat allocations.
The people were left asking if similar clashes would be repeated come the next general election? The people are mature enough to realise that disorganised opposition parties would never be able to take on Umno and the BN effectively. At the end of the day, BN would still be the government of the day.
Pakatan is unable to stand together as one, with one common goal to change our nation for the better, and to be accommodating enough to embrace other opposition parties outside their coalition into their fold.
Many are now asking themselves again, to vote or not to vote? Will we be able to change our nation for the better come the 14th general election?