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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Third force a godsend for BN


BN will be smiling its way to the polling booths because the new political force may work to its advantage.
COMMENT
Almost all politicians who were expelled from their parties or who left because of internal strife have the tendency to re-brand themselves as the “third force”.
These politicians claimed they represent the voice of the disgruntled members and the fence-sitters.
The latest to jump on the bandwagon is Jati, headed by Hasan Ali, who was expelled by PAS for allegedly not toeing the party’s line.
Selangor PAS, helmed by Hasan, has been a “torn in the flesh” of the state Pakatan Rakyat government, with Hasan persistently harping on Islamic issues, and always going against the wishes of the PAS national leaders.
With his expulsion, he formed Jati, which he claimed to be the third force that can sway the votes of disgruntled members and fence-sitters.
But what Hasan has in mind is to swing the votes to the Barisan Nasional (BN). This is understandable considering that he had wanted to be part of BN when Pakatan took over Selangor in the 2008 general election.
Whether Hasan will succeed in influencing the disillusioned PAS members and the fence-sitters is open to question. But the fact remains clear: PAS and its partners PKR and DAP do not see eye to eye on many issues.
The internal feud has put Pakatan at a disadvantage as the 13th general election looms and this gives BN the upper hand: it can steal the votes of those uncomfortable with the arrangement of the loose alliance in the opposition front.
The third force – Hindraf – that threw MIC, the strong partner in BN, off-balance in the 2008 general election, had fizzled out and subsequently several other politicians have emerged claiming to represent the new force.
Thus with MIC and all other BN parties getting their act together again, the emergence of the new third force, if it is led by expelled leaders from the opposition parties, can help boost BN’s chances at the polls.
Stormy relationship
Hasan, though not a force himself, can help BN with his allegations by creating doubts in the minds of frustrated party members and waverers.
He can exploit the “internal” crisis plaguing PAS in its stormy relationship with DAP and PKR as they squabbled on many controversial issues.
For example, the row over Israel, the infighting between the intellectuals and the conservatives on the position of Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak, and the expulsion of Hasan himself are fodders for the BN.
Before Hasan, former MCA president Ong Tee Keat was also toying with the idea of forming a third force when he lost the party leadership to Dr Chua Soi Lek.
However, Ong was not much of a political heavyweight with the Chinese community and soon his third force faded away.
Zaid Ibrahim, who left PKR in anger, took over a dying party – Kita – and tried to reinvigorate it as a third force but it was in vain. The subsequent quarrel and split left the party floundering.
As more and more politicians lay claims to leading a third force, the BN is smiling because the so-called new force is actually weakening the opposition parties.
Although the leaders of the third force claimed they are not working hand in glove with BN, the incontrovertible fact remains that all their actions are undermining their own parties. Whatever they say in their ceramah or press conferences will definitely hurt the chances of their former bosses.
In short, BN is the one that stands to gain from the political posturing of the leaders of the so-called third force.

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