Did we back the wrong horse?
My sleeps are deeply troubled by my thoughts on what the future holds for those of us that had put our hopes and aspirations for our future in the hands of Pakatan Rakyat.
We have done much for Pakatan. Was it not our votes that gave them Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Kelantan in the 12th general elections? And again was it not our votes that gave Pakatan the popular mandate in the 13th general election?
These votes were given by the rakyat to Pakatan, and not won by Pakatan from Barisan Nasional.
These votes were our way of telling BN that ultimately it is the rakyat that decide who should govern them.
And I use the word ‘ultimately’ with the hope that these politicians will ultimately come to their senses and understand that what they do today, tomorrow and in the time they have before the next general election will determine their political future.
What is now clear is that in the flush of electoral victory, reason and common sense have escaped many of the Pakatan leaders since the last general election.
You would have thought that securing the popular mandate at the last general election would have given Pakatan a secure path towards federal government by the next general election.
Nothing can be further from the truth. The way things are today for Pakatan, they have as much chance of winning federal government as a Malay would have a chance of being Penang Chief Minister for as long as DAP is the state government.
We are agreed that Selangor has been managed prudently by Khalid Ibrahim. PAS has ruled Kelantan and will continue to rule Kelantan for they understand the aspirations of its people well. Lim Guan Eng has financially restructured Penang by reviving industrial investments.
These are all individual achievements in each state by components within Pakatan.
Factionalism within Pakatan had already resulted in electoral blunders that had resulted in Pakatan losing Perak and then Kedah.
Blunders by Pakatan’s first tier leadership in the 13th general election meant that Perak, Terengganu and Negeri Sembilan are still firmly in BN’s hand.
Sabah and Sarawak delivered the federal government to BN. Pakatan was sadly deficient in understanding the political dynamics of these two states.
After the 13th GE it would seems that BN is more entrenched in Sabah and Sarawak than before, and whatever inroads made by DAP would by now have dissipated as BN consolidate their hold there.
And Pakatan is the antithesis of what it preaches about open, responsible and decent government.
Cronyism and nepotism are rife in DAP and PKR to the point that even Umno must take a back seat when it comes to family dynasties.
Losing the support
Religion that has been used so effectively by Umno to galvanise its strength among the Malays after the 13th GE has only created problems within Pakatan.
PAS’ insistence to focus on hudud embarrasses DAP and PKR, and all three within the Pakatan coalition have agreed to disagree of this issue.
And we cannot ignore the reality that within PAS the perpetual struggle between the ulama and the professional technocrats will always advantage Umno rather than Pakatan.
PAS, DAP and PKR prefer to preach to the converted when in Malaysia it is the fence-sitters who will decide who will govern at state and federal levels.
This Umno knows and is already working on increasing their standing amongst the Malays.
Race and religious centric deeds and actions – and nobody can do this as effectively as Umno – do matter in the rural hinterlands as this is where the next federal government will be decided.
Today whatever goodwill, trust and confidence the people had for Pakatan to win election at the national level – as reflected in the popular mandate they gave to Pakatan at the last general election – is being lost at a fast rate.
Islam that gives strength to PAS in Kelantan cannot be ‘sold’ to the non-Muslims and thus cannot give PAS a national profile.
DAP that has done well in Penang unfortunately also projects what the Malay abhors – the Chinese as a political and economic force – and thus again cannot gain a national platform acceptable to all Malaysians.
PKR is a mass of contradictions, opportunism and political immaturity that is played out in the public domain – from its party elections, defections, nepotism, factionalism and avarice – all a mirror image of what has happened and is still happening in Umno today.
All these have only reinforced public perceptions that PKR is not yet ready to do government at the federal level – maybe even at state level as evident in Selangor.
We perceived that nobody in Pakatan has the credibility to lead at national level. Whether real or imagined this is what the public perceives and in politics, perception translates into electoral support or not.
Too often Pakatan’s first-tier leadership has put self before party and national interests. Too often Anwar Ibrahim has failed to honor what he said he would do.
Too often DAP has talked itself up as a Malaysian party that is open and responsible – and yet what the party leadership is doing within DAP indicates otherwise.
PAS is torn between religion and politics, and you and I know that it cannot do both well.
But I can only speak for myself.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.
With Thanks to FMT