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Friday, November 26, 2010

Pakatan Rakyat: A Unity of Hatred?


Regarding what has been said by Raja Petra about the unity of hatred instead of love, Khalid said he doesn’t deny it. However, the lack of love more BN’s fault than Pakatan’s fault but given full opportunity, Pakatan will shine.

by Haider Yutim, Malaysian Digest

Recently, Malaysia Today blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin commented that Pakatan Rakyat was forged out of hatred for Barisan Nasional (BN). According to him, as long as BN continues to make mistakes people will continue to dislike them and this ensures support for Pakatan as the relationship between voters and the Pakatan is merely the unity of hate, and not the unity of love. He also said that a relationship based on hatred is a dangerous one.

To Raja Petra, as long as the party is not Umno or any of the BN components, they will continue to support them Pakatan. So how true is this?

Rakyat Revolts with Protest Votes

Let’s look back during day ever since BN suffered a near defeat in the 2008 General Election.

At that time we heard talks about “undi protest” from voters. Even some of the people I know said that they had voted for Pakatan because they were tired of the nonsense going on in BN. With the petrol price hikes and cronyism under Pak Lah’s rather weak administration, the people have somehow nearly given up on BN during that time. Some even protested because their favorite candidates who were suppose to contest for the elections were not named on the list, and instead replaced by the ones rumored to be favored by Pak Lah. As a result, a revolt in the form of protest votes occurred where the people of Malaysia rejected the politics of Umno and BN and the new coalition called the Pakatan Rakyat had succeeded in taking over the states of Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor, not to mention retaining seats in both Kelantan and Terengganu. They have also captured two thirds of the seats in parliament, making it hard for the ruling government to pass out bills in Dewan Rakyat.

If we talk about hatred, this situation is not just a new thing. Some of these hatred has been harbored more than a decade ago especially among Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s supporters. Back in 1998, Anwar was charged for corruption and sodomy, Social Justice Movement or Pergerakan Keadilan Sosial (now PKR) was formed. The party’s so-called agenda was to ensure the freedom of Anwar and to bring back justice which they say has been long gone in this country.

Supporters of Anwar at that time held many protests which turned violent at certain times. From the protests we’ve heard voices of hatred calling for Anwar’s freedom and justice. So from what we’ve seen here, we say that the PKR itself is forged by the unification of angry politicians and supporters.

Why the Hatred?

Most of the PKR members say they are sick and tired of the BN and are thirsty of the new ‘changes’ promoted by the Pakatan. A majority of them even say they hate Pak Lah’s administration. Ever since political tsunami during the 2008 general election, Pakatan had prevailed in by-elections after by-elections. A good example is where the opposition nailed Barisan in the Permatang Pauh election. Many have come up with various theories of why BN lost and Pakatan / Anwar won. Some say that BN lost because Permatang Pauh was Anwar’s stronghold. Some even continued to blame Pak Lah and his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin. They claim that the people have rejected Umno and now are demanding for changes.

According to others, however, the whole idea of Pakatan being a unity of hate is quite untrue. For example, this situation is not the same for PAS. There are people who support PAS because they love the party and its cause, which is to form an Islamic country.

A Trend for Change

Subsidies, charities, lower petrol prices, and lower prices of essential goods are among the things promoted by Pakatan. It has been a sort of trend for people, especially those in the urban areas, to want a change in government. They tend to want something after 50 years living under the same old government with their same old ways.

It is also known that voters, especially the young professionals are fascinated by the agendas and manifestos proposed by Pakatan. These manifestos promote a ‘better’ change for the sake of people. Voters now want something that can benefit the rakyat and actually care for them, and it so happen that Pakatan promotes these changes in their agenda. So it doesn’t come to a surprise that in spite of the hatred, there is a bit love for these new idealistic agendas. However, only time and opportunity has yet to reveal the full benefits of these agendas and for now people are unsure whether they are real or just something for them to exploit to gain support.

Reasons for Lack of ‘Love’

In an interview with Shah Alam Member of Parliament, Khalid Samad, he said that Pakatan is not going against BN because of its name but “we are going against them because of their policies which oppose truth and justice.” However, if BN was to reform (i.e. change their policies, their view towards the nation’s vision, their worldly agenda, changing their habits of manipulating politics for selfish reasons etc) then the question of them going against BN wouldn’t be relevant anymore.

But Khalid is convinced that BN is beyond repair and will never reform and until they stop adapting the same way of rule, people will continue to dislike them. According to Khalid, for now, the ‘unity of hate’ will still go on until people learn to ‘love’ the policies made by Pakatan but this will take some time. As for now people still haven’t experienced the real benefits of their policies, because the chances they have now are limited.

It is true that the Pakatan has control of certain states but they still have limited resources and funds to totally implement their policies as the central power is still controlled by BN. What’s more, the mainstream media is also controlled by the government and so far their reports are biased. BN party owned mainstream dailies like Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia, MCA-owned Star and MIC-owned Tamil Nesan only makes the Pakatan look bad and as if the Opposition are not doing their job right.

Regarding what has been said by Raja Petra about the unity of hatred instead of love, Khalid said he doesn’t deny it. However, the lack of love more BN’s fault than Pakatan’s fault but given full opportunity, Pakatan will shine.

Similarities to Taliban

In another statement, Raja Petra compared the similarities of unity of love in Pakatan’s coalition to the Taliban in Afghanistan where the only time the Talibans unite is when there’s a common enemy, for example Russia. So can Pakatan still remain intact and work together should BN be defeated, or as Khalid said, submit to Pakatan’s rule? Or will they instead quarrel among each other on who is to take control of the country?

In the same interview with Khalid, he assured that this will not be an issue as they have agreed on who has the most seat will be the one in the leading post. And to compare Malaysia with that of Afghanistan is inappropriate as the two countries have totally different historical backgrounds. In theory, people often say that everything will turn out well should a situation like this happen, but in reality it usually becomes otherwise.

Greed and the fear of being overpowered often becomes the factor for power struggle. However, let’s hope that the same situation does happen in this country should a transition of power does occur one day.

PKR’s Turmoil an Advantage to BN?

With PKR currently in turmoil and Pakatan’s loss in Galas and Batu Sapi, people would have thought that this will give an opportunity for BN to shine should an election be held soon. So does this mean people are starting to like BN once again? And does this mean that Pakatan will have a shaky rather than a solid future?
According to Khalid, the problem is just minor, and it occurred in only four branches among its hundreds of other branches. However, this issue has been highlighted so much in the media that people see it as a big issue. In Khalid’s upheaval in PKR will settle in less than a month, and should an election be held soon, the dust will be settled and Pakatan will be back in gear.

For BN however, they must work harder to gain back the love that has been waning among the rakyat. If they continue to make ‘mistakes’, the rakyat will surely harbor more hatred towards them giving more advantage to Pakatan. As for Pakatan, they must ensure that their agendas can truly capture the hearts of the people, because support based on hate would not guarantee a bright future.

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