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MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Marry for love, not hate

Let us take a hypothetical situation. Let’s, say, Najib Tun Razak resigns as Prime Minister and, say, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah takes over. Also, say, many ministers, politicians, police officers, senior government officials, etc., are arrested and charged for corruption. Also, say, the new Prime Minister, Ku Li, reforms the police, judiciary, election commission, etc. Do you think all those who voted Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 would still do so now?

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Anwar takes some of the blame for defections in PKR after 2008 polls

(The Star) - Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has accepted some of the blame for the defections that have plagued the party after the 2008 election.

“I admit that I am partly to be blamed because I endorsed their candidacies,” he said.

“But, at that time we lacked candidates and some even declined to become one.

“Those who aspire to be our candidates, but have only the intention of becoming rich can forget about receiving the authorisation letters from the president,” he said at the closing of PKR's Eighth National Congress here yesterday.

Anwar predicted that the coming general election would be a “defining battle” for the country's political landscape.

“We are better organised now compared with the last time,” he said.

“Traitors have left and the cooperation with the DAP and PAS is improving, which is a good sign for us in our effort to capture Putrajaya.”

Anwar claimed that he had been handed a booklet purportedly issued by Umno, containing instruction to spread lies and slanders about him and the PKR.

He said this only confirmed his suspicions that Umno was fearful of him and was using everything it had to destroy the PKR.

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PKR party leader Anwar Ibrahim and party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail have promised us quality candidates in the coming general election.

By the way, my party, the Liberal Democrats of UK, also have the same structure. Nick Clegg is the party leader (and Deputy Prime Minister) while Tim Farron is party president (and MP). The only thing is both positions need to be contested, unlike PKR where Anwar does not need to contest his post.

Not a very good reflection of democracy at work. Anyway, even if there is a contest, I suppose no one would dare go against Anwar (or even Wan Azizah) lest they suffer the fate of Zaid Ibrahim.

But I am digressing (as usual). Let us get back to the issue of quality candidates.

A year ago, we launched the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) in London and one of our objectives (in response to Anwar’s statement regarding his dilemma in finding quality candidates) was to help find quality candidates and offer them to Pakatan Rakyat. PKR, DAP and PAS can, of course, choose not to accept these candidates and, if they do, they can decide where they would like to field them.

In the 1999, 2004 and 2008 general elections, the opposition did field independent or non-party candidates. So there is a history of the opposition being receptive to this practice. PAS, in fact, even fielded one non-Muslim/non-Malay female candidate in Johor (the first for the Islamic party).

This time around, however, which caught us quite by surprise, the opposition demonstrated hostility towards the idea. There were even allegations that we are agents of Barisan Nasional and that our agenda is to trigger three-corner fights to ensure that the opposition fails to form the next federal government.

In previous general elections there were quite a number of three-corner fights when PKR, DAP and PAS could not come to an agreement in some constituencies. So three-corner fights is quite normal. It even happened in the recent Sarawak state election and we can certainly expect it in the coming general election as well.

Anyway, because of the controversy that we attracted, I told Haris Ibrahim to drop the whole idea and let’s just sit back and let Pakatan Rakyat sort out the seat distribution and candidates issues on their own. If our gesture is not welcome it is no use pushing the issue.

What is important is that the message has sunk in. And the message is: we are not happy with the choice of candidates in the previous general election. And our unhappiness is not just regarding the crossovers but regarding the performance of some of these candidates as well. It appears that either they are not interested in serving the rakyat or they have no idea what the role and function of a wakil rakyat is.

Granted, some want to become a wakil rakyat just for the glamour of being called Yang Berhormat. I suppose this is why some people pay RM250,000 just to get titles and awards. They get an orgasm when the rakyataddress them as Yang Berbahagia. I suppose they are very bahagia with all these titles and awards. Nowadays, you can get titles and awards from the back of a cornflakes box. That’s how cheap they have become.

Another thing we told Anwar, which he agreed, was that, in 2008, most people who voted Barisan Nasional in earlier elections and who for the first time voted opposition, did so because they were angry, disgusted, etc., with Barisan Nasional. These were mainly protest votes and they wanted to send Barisan Nasional a message that they were unhappy. So they were prepared to vote even for monkeys or donkeys as long as they are not Barisan Nasional candidates.

This time around, these same people are not going to vote opposition for that same reason. They are going to gauge the quality of the opposition candidates compared to Barisan Nasional candidates and only if the opposition candidates prove better would they vote opposition.

I have been saying this for more than ten years since 1999. The opposition can’t build a relationship with the voters based on hate -- hate for Barisan Nasional. It has to be built on a relationship of love -- love for the opposition.

In 1999, the opposition did quite well. Many people hated Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. So they voted opposition. Then, when Dr Mahathir handed over power to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the voters went back to Barisan Nasional. And that is why Barisan Nasional did so well in 2004, the best in the history of Malaysian elections.

An enemy of my enemy is my (temporary) friend is not a lasting relationship.

The analogy I used in my argument was the Afghan Mujahideens. For generations they had been fighting each other. Then, when the Russians came, they united. And because they were united they managed to defeat the Russians (with some US help of course). However, once the Russians went home to Moscow, the Afghans turned on each other again.

A marriage of convenience is not always the best type of relationship. Even marriages founded on love face the risk of break-ups and divorce. What more marriages of convenience.

And we face two problems here. One is regarding the Pakatan Rakyat parties themselves, which the Malays would say: tidur satu bantal, mimpi lain-lain (share one pillow but have different dreams: READ MORE HERE). And the other is between Pakatan Rakyat and the voters (united by their hate for Barisan Nasional but not really in love with each other -- at least as far as the voters are concerned: who do not really like Pakatan Rakyat but hate Barisan Nasional even more).

So, Pakatan Rakyat still has a lot of work to do.

Let us take a hypothetical situation. Let’s, say, Najib Tun Razak resigns as Prime Minister and, say, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah takes over. Also, say, many ministers, politicians, police officers, senior government officials, etc., are arrested and charged for corruption. Also, say, the new Prime Minister, Ku Li, reforms the police, judiciary, election commission, etc.

Do you think all those who voted Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 would still do so now?

Okay, before you fly off the handle, I said ‘hypothetically-speaking’. You can argue that this can never happen. In theory it can, although we can argue that in reality it may not happen. It is extremely difficult to happen, of course, but not impossible. And since it is not impossible then in theory it can happen.

Let me argue it another way. It is extremely difficult for a plane to crash and only one passenger survives the crash while everyone else dies. But this has happened before, although very rare. And the fact that it did happen means it can happen. So, the possibility of a change of leadership in Barisan Nasional, which in turn triggers reforms, is not really a pipedream.

The question would be: would everyone who voted Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 still do so or would they go back to Barisan Nasional if this hypothetical situation arises?

I think most of you know the answer to this question. We all hate Barisan Nasional for a reason and if this reason no longer exists then there is also no longer any reason to continue hating Barisan Nasional. Nevertheless, there would be no change for those of you who love Pakatan Rakyat. You will still support Pakatan Rakyat come hell or high water. But is this the majority or the minority?

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