Post GE-13: Embrace Factions within Parties and Unite in Common Cause

May 11, 2013

Post GE-13: Embrace Factions within Parties and Unite in Common Cause

by Terence Netto@

COMMENT: Factions are endemic to the politics of democratic parties. A survey of party politics in the democratic world would confirm this to be true.

Even in nations facing grave peril to their national security, there are factions within parties that are in contention with rival parties for the right to rule their imperiled polities.

Hence wise is the leadership of democratic parties that seeks to co-opt factions rather than ostracise or ban them. “Come, come, let us reason together” would be a more constructive guide in the placation of party factions than a hortatory “You are out of order, so put up or shut up.”

NONEThe best way to tackle the latest irruption of factional politics in PKR is to allow deputy president Azmin Ali’s side a full airing of their grievances against the top leadership of the party and against the style and content of Khalid Ibrahim’s stewardship as Selangor menteri besar.

In fact, if it’s true that there was no consultation within Selangor PKR in the prior commendation of an MB to the Palace, it’s best to admit the fault and assure the aggrieved that there would not be a repetition in the future.

Rather than ignore the fault, or worse, deny that there was one, this admission would help douse the embers of inter-factional strife and reduce the chances of their being fanned to a renewed blaze in another irruption sometime down the road.

Astute acceptance of the inevitability of factions affords wisdom in how to co-opt, cajole and divert them such that their periodic and inevitable irruption in a democratic party does not capsize but is contained by them, rather.

Bloodless Coup in Kelantan

Witness how Kelantan PAS has neatly done in Husam Musa, the star performer in the state executive council for at least half of the 23-year reign of just-retired Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

The faction jealous of Husam’s position – jealousy is ineradicable in democratic political party affairs – could not discharge their rancour while his patron, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, was around.

NONEThe Tok Guru was too charismatic for the envious to do anything about Husam (left) who was head and shoulders – intellectually and morally – above the rest of the state executive council.

They bided their time, waited until Nik Aziz helped Kelantan PAS win their sixth successive general election before he called it a day, the latter thereby implicitly refuting criticism that he would hold on to power forever.

Nik Aziz held on for such a long time (22 years and six-and-a-half-months) because only a leader of his aura was able to keep UMNO at bay.

Depend upon it that if new MB Ahmad Yaakob cannot find another Husam to refresh and rejuvenate the administration and policies of PAS in Kelantan, UMNO will be back in power in the state at GE14.

And why not? In a democracy, no party should be allowed to rule uninterruptedly for anything as long as a quarter of a century, as Kelantan PAS would have when it completes its current sixth term at the helm in Kota Baru.

It is in the nature of a democracy to refresh and replenish its leadership and the ideas that animate it periodically. Over-extended rule by one party is a negation of the democratic process.

The way the faction in Kelantan PAS that’s now in power did in Husam is a classic example of a bloodless coup. They dispensed with the courtesy of informing him of a meeting – that’s one hell-of-a-feat of cooperation or, as one might say, complicity – to appoint the members of a new state executive council under a new MB, and confronted Husam with a fait accompli of a new set-up without a role for him and then implied that it was the palace that did not want him.

Meanwhile, the Palace is keeping its counsel on the matter while Husam has discounted the story of Palace interference as inherently incredible.

A Display of Ingratitude

One can say that the way the victorious faction in Kelantan PAS has behaved towards Husam, to whom the party owes so much, is a finessed display of ingratitude.

But then wasn’t it the Greek philosophic writer, Plutarch, who observed that ingratitude towards their great leaders is a mark of strong peoples?

NONEThe Kelantanese are an extraordinary people; just their production of people like Nik Aziz (right) and Husam is enough to prove the point – that, together with their people’s tendency to cock a snook against the federal government, makes them a remarkable people.

The past 23 years they have constituted a faction against the federal government and in the past few days, a certain faction within that overall one has pulled off a putsch against one of their better products.

One is almost tempted to say that factions are the lifeblood of democratic politics; let’s have more of them. But no, that would not be wise or true. It’s merely that factions are inevitable and if some conduct themselves with as much panache as the one that blindsided Husam, well what can you say!

As for Husam, one of the bright lights of the Malaysian political scene the last 15 years at least, the man has been far too intelligent a politician not to go with the drift of things, and not to bow and accept the end of a season.

11 thoughts on “Post GE-13: Embrace Factions within Parties and Unite in Common Cause

  1. It is true that a tenure has its limit. 2 terms at most else power corrupts.
    Arab Spring evident spelt out clear. Pressure building on Spore which unlike HK that has tenure, Spore seemed wanting to hold onto legacy.

    That TDM failed to take Kelantan despite Kuli et. al. is a mark of Kelantanese Triumph. For us who have Kelantanese friends; men or ladies, they are remarkable people with remarkable charm; more from their ladies.

    Factions promote fearsome check and balance unlike Mahathirism.WIthin PR there are faction and will continue so even if they merge somehow but even with factions, the end in sight stay in sight and in unison.

  2. Let’s be rationale about the GE 13 results.

    First things first, you can’t win fighting against the government’s system and this has been proven many times already: the judiciary, free and fair elections, the Teoh Beng Hock’s case, to name a few.

    PAKATAN RAKYAT (PR) must first be magnanimous in defeat and accept the loss. PR should not waste any more time whining and lamenting the loss regardless of whatever excuse, reasons or causes that they have, with or without evidence. The ore they talk about them, the more the people will get fed up. They must now start analysing the reasons for their loss, close ranks and improve on their performance, show to the electorate that they can and will be better the next time them so that they stand a better chance to win GE 14 in five years time. At the meantime, they must look after the three states that they are in control of well and contribute towards further development and progress of the country.

    PR must re-strategise their fight in a general election, have a better five year plan for the coalition and the country, work towards winning GE 14 from now and not wait until the last minute.

    BN has recorded its worst performance in the last GE 13. Sooner or later, maybe in at the next GE, the increase will be big enough for PR to topple them unless of course if BN does something drastic and put in place all the demands the people have made for the past several years.If they also stop practising corruption, nepotism, cronyism, favouritism and pleasing demanding spouses and relatives must stop immediately.

    We recognise that the government must be seen to be more professional and fair when handling tenders for large scale projects that involve billions of RM of the taxpayers’ money. The government also must be seen to practise meritocracy in its real sense as soon as possible. Policies, such as the Revised National Education Policy 2013 – 2025, which have been proven to be unpopular with the majority, must be re-looked, and to change the policy and the system for a better one immediately to suit all Malaysians.

    People from all quarters, including some from the opposition alliance itself, are urging the PR leadership to accept the GE result and move on and I hope they would listen. There is no point talking about them anymore as it is a waste of time. One can shout ‘until the cows come home’ yet, nothing will happen after that.

    One of BN’s component parties, MCA, has announced that they will not accept any state or federal posts and many of their representatives have resigned their posts at headmen and people in charge of MCA service serving the new villages. In the case of the latter, this will make the people living in the new villages suffer. Many of those villages have economic activities including exporting products that contributes to the countries revenue and GDP and yet, many still do not have basic infrastructure such as good roads, public transportation, water supply, electricity, telephone lines and internet, to name some, where, in this era, they are all very important and necessary.

    One of the more senior opposition politician has said, “Accept the punishment. Acknowledge your weaknesses. Progress forward. Accept the verdict of the people. Move forward while focusing on policies which benefit the people and not those which bully them.”

    Steamrolling the government’s plans will also not do anything good to anyone.

    There are still a lot of work left to be done to meet the targets of 2020 so, let’s cooperate and do them together to achieve the aims for the sake of the country, the nation and the people.

  3. OK. While factions are inevitable in political parties, the outburst by Azmin Ali is totally uncalled for. His disrespect and contempt for his party’s president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah confirms previous stories of a fall-out between himself and DSAI’s wife as well as his daughter Nurul Izzah.

    To compound matters he has also admitted openly that he heads a faction within PKR. Having been given the task of heading the party’s selection of candidates for GE13, he seems to have manipulated the position to pick those who will be forever indebted to him.

    The selection of a Menteri Besar for Selangor is really a non-issue. Selangorians voted to give Pakatan a huge majority simply based on Tan Sri Khalid’s performance as their leader. Who is Azmin then to talk about nepotism, about Khalid’s conduct of State affairs and even of corruption. If there was or is corruption within the administration is Selangor, why did Azmin keep mum over the last 5 years? Maybe it is his UMNO mentality of not getting a share of the pudding for his cronies?

    If Azmin is really unable to work with his party’s leadership then he should part company and save us, the voters, the dilemma when GE14 comes around.

    And to PKR Wanita leader Zuraida, I have this to say, please don’t be arrogant, PAS and DAP have every right to make known their choice for MB as they have 15 seats each to PKR’s 14 in the newly-elected State Legislative Assembly. And no, me lady, PKR does not own the post of Selangor MB, no party does as confirmation of candidate is based on consensus, if you know what that means.

  4. agree with you Mr. Netto fully, except that not every faction created benefits the party. similar to biological evolution, factions arise with regard to the changing environment or challenges. those factions that benefit the party positively would be absorbed automatically, whereas those that undermine the very existence of the party would be excreted like the pus from an abscess.
    regarding the Azmin faction. there is more than that meets the eye.
    good luck to Anwar Ibrahim.
    how the maestro is going smooth this out?
    Malaysia needs a leader badly, Anwar would have fitted that role very well especially now. he would have followed the way of Mandela and invested in national reconciliation. Najib can’t even define what he means by that.
    his brand of reconciliation is wooing either PAS or DAP into the oversize bed of his at home. fat hope!
    the people?? he’ll spent taxpayers dollars to set up a commission made up of his cronies to look into it and churn out some fantastic acronym salad topped with mayonnaise and ketchup.

  5. This is not about Azmin or Khalid. The decision should be on the basis of consensus within PKR’s central committee. I am surprised this was not done. –Din Merican

  6. Husam stands taller than any of the new exco in Kelantan.He is even more capable than the MB himself.But in politics being good is not the only qualification.Posing a threat to a bigger faction will guarantee that you will be left in cold.Husam ‘s role in national politics will ensure his survival.

  7. I have said it before and I will say it now, but first, can someone tell me why DSAI has protected his aide more than his own wife & daughter?? I would do that if I have some secrets that only my aide knows but not anyone else??? Does that statement makes sense??? It’s not the first time this angst has surfaced between them, Dato Seri, Nurul n gang against Azmin & factions.

    As I have commented a long time ago, here in Dato Din’s blog, I don’t trust DSAI and Azmin, sorry guys, that doesn’t mean I don’t support PKR or the Opposition, in fact Allah SWT does work in mysterious ways, there’s always a blessing which we can’t see right now, but might later on, insha allah, things will go as decided by Allah SWT and remember not by us, for we mere mortals can only plan, pray & hope…..ooops!!! for saying the obvious, and ..Oouch!!! to yang terasa.

  8. Hak55, be rationale about GE13 results? So just because BN is corrupt and in control of the judiciary and all government apparatus then we must remain meek and allow ourselves to be bullied? Also you implied that Pakstan doesn’t know what it is doing. What kind of shit is that?

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