October 11, 2009
My classmates and I met for a reunion lunch last Wednesday (October 7) at Original Kayu Restuarant in Section ss2, Petaling Jaya. At that time, we already felt that Pakatan Rakyat would face major political and bureaucratic obstacles in its attempt to win the Bagan Pinang by election. The chances of victory were rather slim, given 4,000-5,000 postal votes, the media blitz, and money that UMNO would pump in to prop up its candidate, Isa Samad, Calon Rasuah.
My classmates were of the view that the best PR could hope for was a reduction in the margin of victory. I was the only one who thought that the odds would be about even, but the result announced at 8 pm this evening showed that Isa Samad won with a majority of 5,435 votes. I was obviously too optimistic.
Yes, we lost badly in Bagan Pinang. UMNO-BN’s Calon Rasuah won by a landslide. It is true that we face many obstacles in trying to defeat UMNO-BN in their stronghold. But we as genuine democrats (in a country which practices politics of manipulation and voter intimidation) must respect the choice of the people of Bagan Pinang. It is obvious that corruption is still acceptable as a way of life for the people of Bagan Pinang.
We must learn lessons for this setback, yes only a setback, review our strategies and tactics, improve our machinery on the ground and boost our public relations. The public is perceiving Pakatan Rakyat as increasingly divided, indisciplined (i.e. incapable of managing some of our ego-centric ADUNs and MPs), and unable to govern.
Our strengths are in our conceptualization and articulation of ideas, but we have yet to execute them to good effect. Fortunately, there is still time to make appropriate changes in the way we conduct our campaigns and interface with the rakyat who want to see change, not business as usual, although in Bagan Pinang, it was the business as usual UMNO-BN coalition that retained the ADUN seat .
For today, take a breather. To those who worked hard in Bagan Pinang we say “terima kasih daun kali kalau boleh kerja keras lagi”. I dedicate this poem, Ulysses, by Alfred Lord Tennyson to you all , supporters of Pakatan Rakyat, and my dear friends in Barisan Rakyat Bloggers group for your hard work and dedication.
To my classmates (Class of 1963 Econs, University of Malaya) who are truly Malaysians, I thank you for your friendship, support and understanding over the years. With us as still united as we were in the 196os, we will be strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield. That which we are, we are.--Din Merican
Alfred Lord Tennyson–Ulysses