MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Will Anwar listen to vox populi of PKR?

“Governments have always tried to crush reform movements, to destroy ideas, to kill the thing that cannot die. Without regard to history, which shows that no government has ever succeeded in doing this, they go on trying in the old, senseless way.”

- Emmeline Pankhurst

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad made a bold statement when he said: “They (PKR members) want us to reject political interests by shortcuts, reject cooperation with powers that have repeatedly rejected reform, social justice, as well as multiracial spirit, and betrayed the mandate of the people”.

As the anchor of Pakatan Harapan, PKR has also demonstrated that it is the weakest link. It is pointless relitigating the failures of Anwar Ibrahim and PKR.

What is of vital importance now is, can PKR coalesce around an electoral narrative that resonates but more importantly ditches the schisms and personality politics that are the foundational politics of Umno?

Rafizi Ramli’s convincing win of the deputy president post presents a challenge for not only Rafizi but also the movement within PKR that views coupling with the Malay uber alles political establishment as the only route to federal power.

Rafizi has made many bold statements as to how PKR should reform and how winning federal power should take a back seat, to PKR establishing itself as a genuine alternative to the Umno/BN formula.

It remains to be seen if his commitment to his rhetoric translates to action that would shake the foundations of PKR.

The reality is that there is a strong whiff of personality politics when it comes to Rafizi.

This would not be such a bad thing if the majority polity considered him such but like most Malay political personalities embraced by the non-Malay polity, Rafizi has to balance the expectations of the Malay polity with that of the non-Malay voting base.

Not only has Rafizi had to be a supportive lieutenant to Anwar, but the PKR president also has to concede that the elevation of Rafizi as his deputy is a repudiation of his failed stratagems and those of his supporters.

Rafizi Ramli, unofficial winner of the PKR deputy president post

If Anwar and Rafizi are to lead the charge for Harapan in the upcoming general election, they would both need to articulate a people-centric political narrative that eschews the Harapan talking points of Najib Abdul Razak and “corruption” but instead relies on genuine utilitarian reforms.

This would mean not engaging in a culture war that Umno/BN/PN wants but which unfortunately gains traction because the non-Malays in Harapan are always targeted to expose the supposed lack of racial and religious bona fides of PKR.

Keep in mind that the Malay uber alles political establishment wants to alienate PKR.

It wants a multi-racial political organisation to fail because this would confirm that the only avenue for federal political power in this country is through race-based political parties.

Rally around Anwar and Rafizi

Harapan needs to take a hard look at itself and admit to mistakes and propaganda that did nothing to reform the system.

In fact, it caused more problems.

With this win, does PKR have a younger leadership that does not buy into this bangsa kool-aid nonsense but understands that racial and religious politics should be dealt with realistically and strategically, instead of attempting to gaslight Harapan supporters?

These young leaders should not be proxies for the old guard.

And these young leaders need to have an agenda that the leadership in Harapan subscribes to.

So right now, everyone in PKR is talking about reaching out and working together, which sounds nice but is pointless.

What everyone in PKR should be doing is rallying around Anwar and Rafizi and pushing both to come up with a political narrative that is not only different from Umno/BN but also demonstrates that Anwar, as the leader of Harapan, is open to reform.

And this is the key. Is Anwar open to reforms?

Obviously, PKR members understand that something is rotten in the state of Denmark when it comes to the party.

They understand that playing the same game as Umno/BN is not going to get them anywhere.

Rafizi resonates with them because he is articulating a strategic decision but so far has not articulated an ideological one.

How is Rafizi, especially in a position of influence, going to counter the religiosity and racism of the Malay establishment under the guise of Malay rights?

How would he balance needed reforms and the corruption of entitlement programmes while adhering to an egalitarian framework?

This is important because if he destabilises PKR, it would just further erode the political party as a viable option for the Malay polity.

Two big questions. Is Anwar open to reforms that his party wants and what are those reforms that Rafizi thinks will save this country?

The answers would tell us if Harapan has a chance in the upcoming general election. - 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.

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