Wednesday 12 August 2009

Should Pakatan Rakyat Agree to Disagree?

There is much talk these days of internal strife within Pakatan Rakyat. These talk generally comes from people who does and does not matter. (Lest I upset anybody–put yourself where you think you deserve to be). They make their comments from information based on what crumbs they obtained from government control media, talk in the kedai kopi and hastily scribbled messages over the net (careful here brother and sisters–the SB is looking over your shoulder!) Let us be clear on a few things.
PR is a coalition that celebrates diversity – in religious, racial and political beliefs. What do you expect? We have a past UMNO Prime Minister that left the party until what he perceived were wrongs was made right. Do you think this past Prime Minisiter and the past Prime Minister that came before Najib would ever be able to sit and converse in a civil manner? No they will not be able to. Do you think the past UMNO Ketua Wanita and the current Ketua Wanita would be able to sit and chat over a teh tarik. No they cannot. We are talking about a party established over 50 years ago having problems at the highest level – out in the open for all to see.
Why have there not been problems between UMNO, MIC, and MCA? At least to the naked eye we see no hostility between these parties. I will tell you why. MCA and MIC are without meaningful representations within Barisan. Like sheep they follow the herd. If there dare to dissent they will be sent to the corner complete with a “DUNCE” cap on their head…and then there is detention class if there is more dissent. You have that ridiculous situation of MIC preventing a deserved entry by IPF into Barisan simply because that Samy son of Velu (not MIC per se but Samy Velu in his individual capacity) said “NO”. And he continued to say “NO” until realizing that Pandithan was no longer a threat because he had not too long to live – he then said something to the effect of “Let us bury the hatchet”…yes we will right into your back!
In as far as MCA is concern – they have their hands in the Nation’s pocket as deep as UMNO. Birds of a feather ……need I say more?
In PR they call a durian a durian. Of course it is difficult for PAS to work with DAP. Hell PAS cannot work even with UMNO - their previous partners in the years gone by. PAS are Malays. UMNO are Malays. PAS are Muslims. UMNO are Muslims. So what is the problem? They cannot see eye to eye on too many issues and for these Malays and Muslims to sit together and discuss matters relating to their race and their religion is almost impossible. Not even (as UMNO has so often pleaded) for their own vested interests or Malay unity. 
So where does that put DAP and PAS in the scheme of things. Will there ever be consensus on what will arise in the governing of our country? There will be times when there is consensus and times when that is impossible to achieve. What matter, and this have been proven over time, what matters is the willingness to talk to each other openly, agree to disagree and then together with Keadilan – come to a consensus on what needs to be done and what can be done taking into consideration each other’s point of view and the realities of a multi ethnic situation. In as long as they are able to do so –and they have been able to do so  - then the goodwill and trust generated through the last election will flow on to the next. What will come after that is for time to tell.
Realistically dissent and disagreement on many issues will from time to time dominate this coalition. At times in the heat of the moment there will be need for our leader to take the wisest course of action – step back and allow for tempers and personalities to cool down – then in a calm and focus manner – sit down to work out what is possible and acceptable to PR and the people.
If we think this through carefully we will need to acknowledge the possibility of disagreement on many issues and make space and functionality adequate to allow for time and common sense to be the decider of any disputes – that agreeing to disagree amongst ourselves should be the solution and not be part of the problem. That we will agree to disagree to ensure that in consultation with each other, we will hope to find solutions to the problems we have and move forward upon settling them.
What we need to fear is an attempt by PR leadership/ decision-making process to emulate the situation in UMNO/Barisan. That no dissent is good news – until you lose 4 states as Barisan did, until you lose a sitting PM as UMNO has, until you have forces within UMNO that can no longer be silent, then all hell break lose after the fact. It’s to late.
So let there be healthy dissent within the coalition of the willing against a coalition of desperate people. Let us move forward and accept that healthy dissent is good. That strife within Pakatan Rakyat is a given fact of life. Let us agree to disagree and move forward.