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Sunday, May 31, 2020

The case for the third force By Lt Col Ahmad Ghazali Abu-Hassan

A real third-force in Malaysia? – ANDY YONG 楊錦成

I received this via WhatsApp but I believe it is from The Malaysian Insight. 
I have some comments about this idea about the Third Force at the end here.

The case for the third force -  By Lt Col Ahmad Ghazali Abu-Hassan

THE purging of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his son and their key followers by Bersatu is a positive political development for this country.

Whether they intend to form another party or to fight back from within the Bersatu structure, that should not be our business with which to bother.

Dr Mahathir’s power base is shrinking and to get back into the game he needs allies. For PH, this is the time to shut the door on him for good.

Regardless of the circumstances or scenario, Mahathir and Bersatu should not be allowed back. There is simply too much venomous and filthy Umno DNA in them that could potentially further contaminate the coalition.

The recent collapse of the PH government was a blessing in disguise. 
The traitors and double dealers have been identified.

To ordinary people, we have learnt a great deal about the extent of greed of our political leaders have for power, their hypocrisy and their incompetence.

Take note of these party hopping personalities and remember: never ever trust and vote for them again. Never.

While the character, agenda and the incompetency of the PN government are well known to us, it is good to remember that PH was also not a trustworthy and credible government either. In certain areas, they were also following the same guileful paths taken by the previous BN government.

The promised reforms were not forthcoming. Except during the initial period of their administration when we were elated by a few false starts, the reform agenda appeared to have been thrown by the wayside.

  • Dr Mahathir’s failure to ratify the Icerd and the Rome Statute
  • his willingness to sit on same stage, sing same song with Umno and PAS
  • racially biased, incompetent decisions made by Bersatu cabinet ministers
  • which could have been copied straight from the Umno playbook
  • demonstrated well enough that Umno DNA runs deep within Bersatu.
Not to mention the now dust-gathering IRC report that failed to see the light of day, of the no longer heard of Parliamentary Committee for the selection of top public service positions, the IPCMC and the RCI for the Judiciary; to name a few.

How about the failure to move ahead with the investigations of the mess created by the BN government in dealing with some controversial issues that hint of their abuse of power?

Bersatu arguably was the main stumbling block and reason for PH reform failure.

The breaking up of the PH coalition and the subsequent formation of Muhyuddin-led PN backdoor government was undoubtedly and primarily due to the duplicitous and power-hungry frogs that jumped with him and Mohamed Azmin Ali to the other side.

However, Dr Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim are to be blamed equally. It was their incessant power struggle that created a schism exploited by Umno and PAS to ingeniously rattle and break up the coalition.

Muhyiddin and Azmin merely saw and grabbed the opportunity, to their advantage.

With razor thin majority, propped up by disparate coalition partners that are ever ready to stab him in the back; and the need to consistently buy support to prop up his government, Muhyiddin is standing on a fragile platform.

There is arguably no future for this coalition in the next general election. 
Unless Umno and PAS as two major partners are willing to play second fiddle to Muhyiddin’s Bersatu and continue to endorse him as PM. 
A highly unlikely scenario given the presence of cash flushed, power hungry, big wig Umno warlords waiting in the wings.

It must be remembered that to some of these warlords, their party’s relative standing and their positions in the government are crucial factors that might determine where they would eventually go after the election.

Given this scenario, the possible outcome of GE15 would most likely be uncertain. 
The election could narrowly go either way and a hung parliament would be a possibility.
However, it will also present to the people the opportunity to press for real reform to be implemented. 
We can no longer afford another false start.

In the election, PN or whatever coalition that would emerge would most likely be playing the usual 3R card to win the Malay votes, especially among Umno and PAS supporters.

PH on the other hand would most likely stick to the reform agenda. A convenient theme that worked for them well in the past, despite the lack of specific pronunciation of what it is and how it is going to be achieved, or whether they have the intention to execute it at all.

Both coalitions will be going into battle with heavy baggage on their backs. A post Covid-19 economic environment and how the economic downturn is handled by the PN government will considerably influence the voters voting preference.

For PN, the traditional handing out of goodies for votes and the nurturing of renter mentality may no longer be possible with empty coffers and lower oil prices. Potentially, the 3R card may be placed on the table as a desperate but dangerous option.
  • For ordinary people in the streets who are seeking the reform agenda, we have no choice but to choose the lesser of the two devils.
  • Fortunately our choice is much easier as both are the devils we know. 
  • However, a well-known ground rule is never to trust these devils.
Having experienced and discovered for ourselves 
  • the level of integrity that most of our politicians possess
  • their propensity to jump at every opportunity to grab power / positions
  • their forked tongue promises and 
  • their chameleon like appearance
we have no choice but accept the fact that the future of this country is a serious issue that cannot be left to the politicians alone.

This applies to politicians from both sides of the divide.

In the last election, we made a colossal mistake of throwing our support behind a political coalition that eventually let us down.

We had no leverage to fall back on and once they were in power, we were abandoned and they naturally set their own agenda to prevail.

For the coming election, there has been plenty of talk of the possibility of establishing a non-political people-centric third force  that will provide check and balance to the ruling government, with the leverage to tilt the political balance and most importantly, incorruptible and sincere to the reform agenda.

In this regard, we cannot leave things to chance. 
The third force must be properly organised. 
With its grand strategy and detailed plan clearly outlined.
The preparation must start now with involvement by the civil society groups and individuals that are concerned with the future of this country.
Would the rakyat care to get onboard? 

– May 30, 2020.

* Lt Col Ahmad Ghazali Abu-Hassan is a retired Royal Malay Regiment officer.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.


My comments :

First just to play a little of the Devil's Advocate. 

1. How do we know that the civil society groups and individuals who seek reform are themselves any better than the politicians? 

Just because they see the fault in the politicians does not automatically mean they themselves become angels? How so?

So what is the filtering mechanism to weed out the riff raffs from these civil society groups?

If you can support a person who abused his powers and got the Police to arrest, detain and torture a young woman for just writing a letter about his shenanigans then there is something seriously wrong with your value system. You need moral values.

And there are plenty of these amoral folks running around.

2.  The Third Force must be a political party. Because it must field candidates in elections.  If it is not a political party then it can remain an organised NGO but it must still field candidates in the elections - as organised Independents.

Because without winning elections the Third Force will not be able to achieve much.

We are a democracy. We vote. The majority of voters are Malay / Muslims.
If they are not on board then nothing will change.
Get the Malay / Muslims to change their thinking and then there will be change.
This is not impossible.
In fact it is becoming very possible.

Any Third Force that seeks to make changes must reach out to the Malays / Muslims. Among the educated, the intellectuals and the decision makers the Third Force can speak English.
But to reach out to the masses the Third Force must speak Malay.
Because the voting majority speaks Malay.
Can the Third Force do this?
If the Third Force only speaks English then it will not get anywhere.

3. The Third Force must be led by Malays / Muslims.
Otherwise it will not get the support of the voting majority.
Remember Rule No 1 - This is a democracy. Democracies vote.
The majority vote decides. The majority vote is Malay / Muslim.
Any Third Force must deal with this simple reality.

But to be a really effective Third Force it must fully represent ALL Malaysians.
From Sabah to Perlis. No one must be left out.
Race, Religion and the other Rs are not only irrational but they CAUSE DISASTER.

AGENDA 1 - The Third Force must immediately focus on advanced economic development for all. Some groups will be left behind a little but that IS NOT RELEVANT.

The poor must be helped - regardless of race.

Equal and easy access to education, health care, housing, food, transportation must be prioritised.
Access must be equalised, outcomes cannot and must not.
Outcomes must be decided by each individual person.

Injustices and corruption must be wiped out completely.
All this can be done in double quick time.

4. The Third Force can be English speaking and non Malay in its leadership.
In such event the Third Force  will only be "competing" with the DAP, Gerakan and other multi racial parties. And that is a very long shot. 

And an English speaking Third Force will not be able to attract the majority Malay voters as much.  An English speaking, non Malay led Third Force is therefore a non starter.

5. Alternatively the Third Force need not be a political party or an NGO.

Instead the Third Force can be just a platform.
The Third Force can be just a list of 'To Do' things.
The Third Force can craft and draft a basic Reform Package of say 10 Main Reforms and sell this idea to the people now.

The Third Force can help educate the voters to only vote for candidates / parties which can conform to the Reform Package.
This way the Third Focr only sells an idea.
It need not field any candidates.
Another long shot.

6. Or an existing multi racial party can be convinced to adopt a Reform Agenda promoted by the Third Force. Then the Third Force merges or joins the existing multi racial party. 

TIME IS SHORT.
THERE IS NO TIME.

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