By Zaidel B
MARCH 17 — I find it rather interesting on the insistence of Pakatan Rakyat politicians saying that unlike in Barisan Nasional, in Pakatan Rakyat all parties are equal.
They then go on about how it is a true coalition of the Rakyat’s hopes and dreams.
Today we see DAP and PAS politicians hugging each other, calling each other brothers/comrades and campaigning side by side.
Heart-warming it may seem, but rather absurd when you think that just 2 years ago there was no such thing as Pakatan Rakyat.
The thing is, before the elections many people have forgotten that DAP vehemently denied that they were in any form of alliance with PAS.
Just before the elections, though the opposition parties agreed on fielding one candidate for each seat, DAP were fighting with PKR over seat allocations in which percentage of non Malay voters were high.
But that was before; back when “Middle Malaysia” was yet to be concocted and DAP wasn’t focusing on the Malay votes.
“DAP is sad at the dishonest and desperate tactics employed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in trying to link PAS and DAP as working together for the coming general elections. DAP has no links with PAS following the withdrawal of DAP from Barisan Alternatif in 2001 and has no plans of any form of co-operation unless PAS drops its Islamic state ideology,” said Lim Guan Eng in Petaling Jaya on 18th January 2008.
But enough of hypocrisy, let’s us trace back on how it all started and where it has come today.
As mentioned above, before the 2008 elections there was no Pakatan Rakyat, so where did Pakatan Rakyat come from? Well, after the ‘Bersih’ rally there was this thing called the ‘Deklarasi Rakyat’.
It was a manifesto sponsored by influential bloggers such as Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Haris Ibrahim, a declaration in which listed the changes the ‘rakyat’ want to see happen in this country.
They were willing to campaign and vote any politicians who supported this declaration regardless of what party they may come from. It so happened that the majority (if not all) of the politicians who signed to the declaration were from the opposition camp.
It wasn’t a common political manifesto; rather it was an understanding of fighting for the same cause, fighting for the ‘rakyat’, the people’s declaration.
It is suffice to say that Pakatan Rakyat started off as a movement by the people. Truly noble.
March 8, 2008
Then of course, the political tsunami happened and overnight BN lost the majority of seats in five states. Since none of the opposition parties had the commanding number of state seats (with the exception of Kelantan) a coalition government needed to be formed hence ‘Pakatan Rakyat’ was born.
But rather than a coalition that shares the same ideals, Pakatan Rakyat is more of a coalition of convenience and this is particularly true when it comes to the case of Perak. DAP wanted their man to be the Menteri Besar of Perak but since the Perak’s constitution states that the MB must be a Muslim, DAP opted for Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, a PKR adun who was formerly a DAP member.
But after consultation with the Perak Mufti (who is now despised by PAS) they picked Nizar Jamaluddin who was an Engineer and had much better credentials. DAP which disagreed with this decision decided to boycott the inauguration of the new MB and only after a public outcry was the boycott called off.
It is interesting to note that, the candidate from PKR which DAP endorses was the one that jumped to BN and resulted in the fall of the Perak Pakatan government.
While on the other hand, Nizar Jamaluddin the candidate that the Sultan chooses would later ask permission to commit treason to His Royal Highness. Ooh, the irony.
September 16 and karma
Tun Dr. Mahathir once noted that if the current state governments did a good job in governing (PR govt) then BN would find it very hard to wrestle back those states as people now can see that there was an alternative other than BN.
In fact, many predicted that Malaysia would move to a two party democracy where there’s a good culture of check and balance. If Pakatan Rakyat had concentrated in being an effective opposition in parliament and a good governor in the states it would be an ideal situation, they could prove to the people their mettle.
But sadly, Pakatan Rakyat is being led by someone who doesn’t plan on being the opposition leader for long; it was led by someone who wanted to march into Putrajaya a.s.a.p. Someone who started the whole Sept 16 fiasco.
From Tian Chua chasing BN lawmakers to Taiwan for a karaoke session to Anwar Ibrahim announcing in front of thousands of his supporters “We have the numbers!” uncertainty engulfs the nation.
Anwar Ibrahim calculated that the Malay votes would swing back to UMNO in the next
general election and the fact that many of his old UMNO allies are in parliament today he just had to do it now.
A democratic coup, he wanted to get 30 BN MPs on his side, march to Istana Negara, have the Agong declare a new majority and appoint him as the Prime Minister.
In the end as we know it, only one Lawmaker publicly announced to the democratic coup, and that was Ibrahim Ali, but he also stated that he would only jump to Pakatan Rakyat if he is appointed as the new Prime Minister.
So when the Perak fiasco happened, PR now had lost the moral high ground. The exact same way (in regards to Sept 16) was used to topple the PR government in Perak and adding insult to injury, it was Anwar Ibrahim who first declared victory upon securing the jump of UMNO Adun from Bota, Perak.
Karpal Singh, the DAP Chairman who was furious at the whole event uttered the famous phrase, “Anwar Ibrahim has created enough trouble for the country, Anwar Ibrahim harus bertaubat. I wonder if he is a fit leader for the Pakatan Rakyat.”
Thus begins the transition from Pakatan Rakyat to Pakatan Riot.
Rakyat to riot
If you notice, PKR now has 7 posts for vice president in the next election. They also have dubious posts like political head bureau, information chief, communication chief, strategic chief and various other chiefs.
Now the reason for the large number of posts in the central committee is to compensate influential newcomers like Jeffrey Kitingan, Zaid Ibrahim, and Chua Jui Meng into the fold.
Now when you do that, you’re bound to have the old guards, the 1998 PKR loyalists
unhappy. Hence the friction we see today.
Since the ideological divide between the three parties is so big one can’t help but wonder how they are going to march to Putrajaya. At first all of these seem small as they all had one thing in common, the euphoria of Sept 16 but once the excitement has calmed down and when practical thing comes into question this is when trouble arises.
For a government in waiting, or so as claimed, to unable to provide a shadow cabinet is something quite absurd. If you can’t decide now on who is going to be the Deputy Prime Minister, something that fundamental, then you are not a ‘government in waiting’.
This is not some BN conspiracy, it’s common sense!
From power struggles in Kelantan between Husam Musa and Nik Aziz’s family, the absence of a common stand in the Allah issue, exodus in PKR, Kampung Buah Pala revolt, the insignificance of Pakatan Rakyat ‘framework’ policy to Anwar Ibrahim’s personal court case indeed the road to Putrajaya now seems further than ever.
If the ‘De Facto Leader’ had concentrated on governing the states, concentrated on being a good opposition in Parliament Pakatan Rakyat would have seem as the alternative that Malaysians never had.
It will not hold the promise of Putrajaya in the next general election but it sure would give them a lot more respect and a better foundation. But instead, Pakatan Rakyat chooses to follow the ambition of their “De Facto Leader” who had steered them to more political drama rather than governing.
The recent support for the Sodomy II Reformasi rally should be a good indication on the general feeling of the people, in which everyone is tired of dramas and empty promises. People want their politicians to work, to govern and not to hold ceramah on a daily basis.
Just as Pakatan Rakyat’s victory was credited to this very charismatic politician, its downfall, which seem quite imminent by the way things are going should also be credited to him and perhaps it is wise for Pakatan Rakyat to start thinking for an alternative in terms of leadership before riot takes over the rakyat.
I guess in the words of Karpal Singh. “In fact I think Pakatan Rakyat requires another leader, a good leader.”
Zaidel B or Sinatra_Z is an electronics engineer and he blogs at Catatan Seekor Lipas.
Spot on, an articulate writing, better than Art Harun...