MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Harapan has only two options


“They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my childlike faith in practical politics.”

- GK Chesterton

For the record, as someone who agreed with Ong Kian Ming and Tony Pua on the subject of Muhyiddin Yassin’s olive branch, this idea of Ong’s that Pakatan Harapan needs to keep its options open is complete bunkum.

There is an ocean of differences between the olive branch deal and the big tent/options strategy that Ong and others are advocating.

The olive branch was a deal with a weakened leader which offered tangible long-term benefits to this country and which could have possibly slowly started the process of dismantling the ketuanan system in place.

It was a gambit that only a desperate man like Muhyiddin and his coterie could have agreed to and the fight to get those reforms through would be part of the process of building bridges with disparate allies and bipartisanship that political parties had for decades told their respective bases was anathema.

When Ong said it was understandable why some DAP leaders found it difficult to accept Muhyiddin’s offer for a CSA at the time because the latter was facing massive public backlash, this is an indictment on a voting public that has been weaned on partisan politics for decades.

Genuine leadership sometimes means going against public expectations for the betterment of the country and polity as a whole.

The fact that both Pua and Ong were disavowed, even though one assumes that they did not make these deals in the shadows, should tell rational Malaysians something about the way Harapan operates.

Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming

If they did make this deal in the shadows, that would have been impressive, to this writer at least.

So what are these options that Ong thinks Harapan needs? First of all, what is Harapan at this pivotal juncture?

Public meltdown

We have Amanah, DAP, Pejuang and an assortment of NGOs waging a political war led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Umno) against PAS in Kelantan, although Umno and PAS are part of the federal government. Amanah is twisting itself into a pretzel in this endeavour.

Meanwhile, PKR which is going through a very public meltdown because its internal election mechanism is apparently conspiring with anyone who would have PKR so that the prime minister in perpetual waiting, Anwar Ibrahim, may have a short sit on the throne in Putrajaya and of course, PKR is slowly losing its status as the anchor of Harapan.

DAP, who some partisans think that Ronnie Liu and his “Chinese-educated types” are in ascendance, have drunk too much of the kool-aid to understand that the gaslighting by the intelligentsia of the DAP has resulted in a class backlash against a party which claimed to be the most principled party in the coalition but which had no problem selling anyone down the river if it brought DAP closer to political power.

Not to mention only the most rabid partisan would be oblivious to the kind of racial politics this supposedly multiracial party practices.

So this is Harapan at the moment. For better or worse, everyone knows what Umno/BN is.

Everyone knows that the internal politics of Umno is the swamp from which every bad policy decision crawls out of. With all this, Harapan alone as a coalition against BN and PN is still the rational choice.

Who are the other opposition parties that folks who want to champion the big tent want us to believe would stop Umno/BN from coming back to power?

There is no point in listing them because they are in one way or another the product of Umno, including PAS. Let us not even talk about Sabah and Sarawak.

Pakatan Harapan chairperson Anwar Ibrahim

The big tent

Ong, like most political operatives, uses vague terms like “flexibility” and qualifiers like “… suggesting flexibility, it means being in government with PAS and Bersatu. That’s not what I’m saying,” so that nobody will be able to pin him down.

But honestly, what exactly do Ong and people who advocate for a big tent approach mean? Who is excluded from this big tent?

If Malaysiakini reporting is accurate, the DAP is part of the move to kick PAS out from Kelantan, which would be awkward if PKR decides to collaborate with PAS on some other level. And where does that leave the DAP in all of this?

Furthermore, the only reason to have this big tent is that the opposition does not want Umno/BN to come back to power, so this really means that there will be no common policy goals beyond the wanton accumulation of power.

Now on a state level, we have seen how destabilising such a strategy is, but more importantly, how a cunning adversary could bring down states where the federal opposition governs but only with the most tenuous of numbers.

Even if Harapan by some miracle manages to claw onto power with this big tent strategy, what happens when the dust settles?

You will get all these political midgets thinking they are goliaths because, without them, the whole house of cards crumbles.

The “opposition is not killing each other”. The reality is that the Malay establishment is killing PKR and further isolating the DAP.

In case some folks have not caught on, the adversary for Harapan is not Umno/BN. The adversary is the corrupt ketuanan system in which all these Malay uber alles parties are proxies and which the majority polity has suffered the worst under.

Harapan either goes at it alone and even if Harapan loses, lives to fight another day, or goes in with a nest of vipers, wins and then is left for dead on the political battlefield - which would be much worse than losing.

Those are the only two options that Harapan has. - Mkini

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum - “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.