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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A political arrangement to defeat BN



I am not sure I should continue to write about Opposition politics as I am the least qualified to do so. I do not belong to any party and there are aspects of winning an election that I am ignorant of.
But I cannot resist commenting on yesterday’s arrangement between Pakatan Harapan and the new party Bersatu (known by some as Pribumi).
Let’s be clear: any such alliance hinges on how to allocate seats in order to defeat another, much stronger party, usually Umno/Barisan Nasional.
It’s not at all about having common ideas, political beliefs, ideology or even sharing resources. It’s a basic political arrangement, and the goal is to defeat Umno/BN.
I would like to congratulate Bersatu (or Pribumi) and Pakatan Harapan for their courage and vision to sign a cooperation and collaboration arrangement yesterday. Its an important step in the right direction and the rakyat are happy to witness such development.
But Bersatu somehow feels that it’s not enough to have an arrangement just with Pakatan Harapan. They also want the freedom to talk to other parties. They are not thinking of Parti Sosialis Malaysia or Hindraf, of course, but of PAS.
Not only that, but when they talk to PAS they do not want Pakatan Harapan to be included in the discussion, because it seems that PAS is allergic to both DAP and Amanah.
This is unlike Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s usual way of doing things. In all the years that I have known him, he is always clear-cut in his approach and incisive in his actions.
He is not the sort that fudges on difficult issues. He is also very loyal to his supporters. His strength lies in his clarity of thought and strength of conviction.
Surprised Bersatu still wants to talk
That’s why I am somewhat surprised that Bersatu still wants to talk to other parties, and needs the “flexibility” to talk to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, who has said more than once that he supports Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s leadership.
Bersatu even attended what was described as a PAS mega-rally, at which only about 1,000 people attended.
All over the world, voters want clarity and a clear choice. Those who voted for US president-elect Donald Trump did not even bother to check his policies, resumé or his strengths and weaknesses.
They just wanted change. Similarly, British voters did not care about the consequence of Brexit; they just wanted out of the European Union.

It would be better if Malaysian political parties offered the rakyat similarly clear and simple choices: either they want Najib out or they can vote for those who want him to continue.
PAS knows the answer to that question, although the Number Two from PAS will not say so openly. In Malaysia, the Number Two does not matter; it’s what the Number One says that counts.
The people are waiting for the Number One in Bersatu to clarify things.

ZAID IBRAHIM is a former minister, in charge of law. This piece was originally published in his blog.- Mkini

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