November 7, 2009
Is Pakatan Rakyat wasting a historic opportunity?
by Tunku Abdul Aziz
A mere footnote at the bottom of a page of Malaysia’s political history or a tome on political change that recreated and revitalised a sick and openly corrupt society into a vibrant and prosperous democracy for all? Pakatan Rakyat must decide quickly where it wants to be.
On present showing, it has not a ghost of a chance to ever breach and occupy the still impregnable Putrajaya citadel, in spite of the credible March 8, 2008 electoral onslaught. It does not have to look far to find out why it is in such a sorry state. Lim Kit Siang’s warning of a “one-term miracle” could well become self-fulfilling and Putrajaya would be just a gleam in the eye if his words are not taken to heart.
Pakatan Rakyat leaders must come to terms with the reality that is Barisan Nasional. We may despise its politics of immorality, of corruption and injustice, but even the most rabid alternative political practitioners must readily concede that it is still a formidable organisation with an armoury of unsavoury tricks they have to contend with.
Remember Perak, and the bad after taste that lingers on and on. Pakatan must wake up from its euphoric pie in the sky self-induced dream that the one-off massive voter handouts would be there for the asking at the next general election. There will be no repeat performance until and unless it gets its act together.
The electorate owes PR nothing. The truth is that Pakatan Rakyat owes its supporters everything. PR leaders must lead by putting the larger interests of the nation above individual parochial party issues with their tendency to be unnecessarily divisive, emotive and controversial.
Are these issues really so fundamental that they are incapable being discussed rationally without adding to the fragility of a coalition that is apparently about to be torn asunder?
I wrote some time ago about the difficulty of reconciling the conflicting claims of the many different ideological and doctrinal sacred cows represented by the PR partners, but they must direct their intellectual energies to finding a solution to what the people of multi-racial Malaysia will and will not put up with.
They must open their minds to the larger, and therefore, more relevant social, economic, political, religious and cultural concerns of our people than to insist on playing the same old race and religious cards with their declining appeal to right-thinking people. These are barriers to overcome.
If PR is, as it seems, incapable of even getting to the most important item on the new national agenda, then it is offering nothing better to the people of this nation than what BN has been doing for half a century and more. More of the same is an unworthy option for a long-suffering people who deserve better.
PR leaders must, in all good conscience, ask themselves whether they can lead this complex and difficult nation if they themselves are apparently incapable of agreeing on basic fundamental principles of cooperative engagement to deepen their commitment to values of justice in its widest sense for every Malaysian.
If PR leaders feel that they have neither the will nor the stomach for the sacrifices they are expected to make in order to take the new national non-race-based agenda forward on the long march to Putrajaya, they should come out with a straight answer that should leave the people of this country in no doubt where they stand.
There is no place for personal agendas in the national scheme of things; certainly not where it is a matter of saving the people from a particularly rotten and unjust system of governance.
Pakatan Rakyat has a great deal to offer by way of a commitment to a clean corruption-intolerant administration and it deserves to be given a chance to govern Malaysia. It cannot be worse than the UMNO-dominated administration. But then the political game is not about sentimental nonsense. It is determined solely by the dictum “Perform or Perish”, and the PR state governments must prove to the satisfaction of the people in those states, and by extension the nation, that they can be trusted to govern good, and to govern well.
This coalition, even if it were made in heaven, could still come a cropper. PR leaders have themselves to blame in the event. — mysinchew.com