If I were in Umno I would do exactly the same. I would use the immense wealth that Umno possesses to buy over the prostitutes in Pakatan Rakyat. Anyway, is that not what we want Anwar Ibrahim to do? We want Anwar to form a new federal government by enticing at least 30 Parliamentarians from Barisan Nasional to cross over to the opposition.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Many ask why I have been very silent the last 48 hours. Well, that is because I sudah menyampah. Why scream now? If we want to scream make sure we do it before the ship sinks. Once we are in the water we should save our breath for breathing -- if we can keep our heads above water, that is. If not, then quietly drown and die with some dignity. At least you will be remembered for someone who died in style.
There is a time to talk. There is a time to act. Now is no longer the time to talk. So can all those people who keep sending me messages via SMS about ‘you must do this’ or ‘you must do that’ please stop doing so. You are just wasting your money. I don’t even read them. I just delete them without reading any of them. Stop telling me what I should do. If you feel something should be done, go and do it yourself.
Okay, I am down with a bad flu so I am in a very bad mood today. Even my wife is staying out of my way. I have not been sleeping because every time I do I start coughing violently. This article, for sure, is being written with me in a most foul mood indeed.
In spite of the flu I drove up to Ipoh on Thursday but came home that same night because I had to go to court the following morning (yesterday). I am sure many of you who met me in Ipoh noticed I was not my usual friendly self. Sorry if I appeared sombong but I was feeling real bad on Thusday.
To add to that list of aggravations, I am in the midst of preparing for three court cases next week -- my sedition, criminal defamation and ISA hearings. Yes, I am going to be locked up in three different courts almost the entire week. And chances are, I might be sent back to Kamunting to spend the remaining years of my life under detention if I lose.
I wrote the following pieces in the run-up to Thursday:
Constitutional Monarchy, rule of law and good governance (5 Feb) (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/17646/84/)
How to bring a government down (4 Feb) (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/17609/84/)
If fresh state elections are held in Perak (4 Feb) (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/17586/84/)
Santa Claus is coming to town (2 Feb) (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/17494/84/)
No two ways about it: DISSOLVE the Perak State Assembly (2 Feb) (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/17494/84/)
Live by the sword, die by the sword (31 Jan) (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/17434/84/)
I just love this country (27 Jan) (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/17284/84/)
As you can see, I have already said what I wanted to say. There is nothing more I can add about an event that is already a fait accompli. Nasi sudah jadi bubur, as the Malays would say.
About a week ago, a few of us sat down to discuss the impending collapse of the Perak government. It was suggested we speak to the Pakatan Rakyat leaders, which we did. Our recommendation was that they dissolve the Perak State Assembly and hold fresh state elections while Pakatan Rakyat still has the majority in the Assembly. Once Pakatan Rakyat has lost that majority it will be too late. No way will the Sultan agree to the request to dissolve the Perak State Assembly once you no longer command the majority in the Assembly.
But the Pakatan Rakyat leaders would not listen. They still have things under control, they remarked. We did not think so and we told them this. But who are we to ‘teach grandmothers how to suck eggs’, as Malaysians would say? If we are so smart then how come they, and not us, are the party leaders. We would be sitting in their chairs, instead, if we are cleverer than them. Politicians do not think much of you if you do not hold any party positions. They only respect those who hold positions in political parties and government, not those outside mainstream politics.
Everyone is an expert on hindsight. Only good leaders have foresight. And our leaders lack just that, foresight. They are very clever when it comes to reacting to situations. But they know nothing about pre-empting. Why react, especially when it is too late? You must be able to pre-empt before it is too late to do anything. This is what our leaders lack, the skill to pre-empt.
When the Rulers of Perlis and Terengganu ‘interfered’ in Umno’s choice of Menteri Besar, we hailed them as great Rulers who are full of justice and wisdom. When the Rulers agreed to allow Pakatan Rakyat to form the Perak and Selangor state governments, they are the best Rulers in the world. Whenever things go our way we are full of praise. But as soon as the decision does not favour us they are haprak Rulers.
The Rulers are a disappointment. We are disgusted with our Rulers. Our Rulers sold out to Umno. Malaysia should abolish the Monarchy and turn the country into a Republic. And so on and so forth. That is what is on the lips of many Malaysians. But if the Rulers had favoured the opposition, even though they did so in violation of the law and the Constitution, we will hail the Rulers as amongst the best in the world.
Actually, the Perak and Selangor Rulers were worried that the Pakatan Rakyat state governments of these two states would not last, in particular in Perak, which had a very slim majority. That is why there was a week’s delay in swearing in the Perak and Selangor state governments.
And can you blame the Rulers? DAP had said it will not sit at the same table as PAS, let alone form a coalition government with it, if PAS does not openly and publicly declare it will abandon the Islamic State agenda. PAS, on the other hand, said it shall not openly and publicly declare such a thing. That means DAP and PAS can never form a coalition.
The Rulers of Perak and Selangor then called all the State Assemblymen and women from DAP, PKR and PAS and asked them, one by one, whether they agree to the formation of coalition governments in Perak and Selangor. The coalition can only be formed if all three parties -- DAP, PKR and PAS -- agree to it. Even if just one of the three do not agree, then Pakatan Rakyat will not have enough seats to form the governments in both Perak and Selangor.
The DAP, PKR and PAS State Assemblymen and women indicated their agreement. But this still did not satisfy the Rulers. You can say one thing now, but what is there to prevent you from changing your minds later? So the Rulers asked the DAP, PKR and PAS State Assemblymen and women for both Perak and Selangor to sign letters confirming this agreement. Only then will the Rulers agree to swear in the new state governments.
It was, in a way, a contract of sorts. The Rulers wanted all the DAP, PKR and PAS State Assemblymen and women from Perak and Selangor to sign a contract stating that they agree to the formation of a three-party coalition and that there are no dissenters from amongst the ranks of DAP, PKR and PAS.
Then the fight broke out. DAP, PKR and PAS could not agree on how to share out the EXCO positions, the racial quotas, who should hold the posts of Menteri Besar and Speaker, and so on. In Selangor, some DAP State Assemblymen organised demonstrations. In Perak, they threatened to boycott the swearing-in ceremony. Even the trivial matter of the wearing of the songkok during the swearing-in ceremony became a hot issue and almost brought the coalition down before it could even be formed.
The Perak and Selangor Rulers had their doubts. They doubted whether the DAP-PKR-PAS coalition, now called Pakatan Rakyat, could last. DAP, PKR and PAS had very little in common and were always squabbling over minor issues. And they argued about party and racial quotas just like Barisan Nasional. Pakatan Rakyat is as racist as Barisan Nasional. It appeared like there is very little difference between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional.
Nevertheless, the Perak and Selangor Rulers decided to give Pakatan Rakyat a chance. Let Pakatan Rakyat prove that not only it can do a better job but it can also keep the coalition going. If the coalition breaks up, then a decision would have to be made, later, what to do about it. In the meantime, allow Pakatan Rakyat to prove it can last at least one full term until the next general election.
Then we began to hear grumblings. This State Assemblyman was not happy and wanted to resign. That State Assemblywoman was not happy and wanted to resign. Barely one year into the marriage and the marriage appeared to be breaking up. The Indians complained about not having enough Indian quotas. The Chinese grumbled about having the most number of seats but not being able to become Menteri Besar. The Malays grumbled about the ‘Chinese’ government not looking after the Malays.
It was all about race and about so-and-so being neglected and not being looked after better. Suddenly it was no longer about the rakyat. It was about your personal interest and position and about the quotas your race is being denied. Pakatan Rakyat was nothing but Barisan Nasional by another name.
What happened in Perak is good. I hope it will teach Pakatan Rakyat that it has to get its act together. The DAP lady’s crossover was triggered by something very trivial and goes to show she is more concerned about herself than about her party or about the rakyat. Everyone got a new Camry except her. So she sulked (merajuk) and left the party. If she had been given a new car she would not have sulked. A mere car brought the Perak government down.
If this is what brought the Perak government down, then it deserves to fall. The Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak used to be a non-Malay majority government. Now, it is an almost entirely Malay government. 27 of the 28 State Assemblymen are from Umno. Even if the three ‘independents’ join the new government it will be 29 Malays against only two Chinese. And there is not a single Indian State Assemblyman/woman in the new government.
What took 52 years of transformation has been destroyed in a mere days. Today, we are back to an entirely Malay government in Perak. And a DAP State Assemblywoman helped achieve this. A Chinese made the restoration of maruah Melayu (Malay dignity) possible. She should be given the next Ma'al Hijrah award and be accorded Bumiputera status.
I can only say that this serves Pakatan Rakyat right. They had it coming. When personal interests and racial issues override everything else, you deserve to fall. And there are many low quality wakil rakyat still in Pakatan Rakyat -- DAP, PKR, as well as PAS. Expect more to cross over. The RM25 million dangled in front of their faces is just too difficult to say no to. After all, not everyone is in politics to serve the rakyat. Many are in it for their personal interests. And RM25 million is an attractive proposition.
Next time, get better candidates. Some of the Pakatan Rakyat wakil rakyat are so low standard I would not even trust them to baby-sit my dog. I would not deny there are some good wakil rakyat in Pakatan Rakyat, some even better than those from Barisan Nasional. But all we need are 30% bad ones to bring the party down, especially when you are barely surviving with a 10% majority in Parliament or the state assemblies.
Okay, Umno bought over our wakil rakyat. So what? If they are not for sale then Umno could not have been able to buy them. It is like prostitution. If there are clients then there will be prostitutes. It is the law of supply and demand. If there are no takers then there can be no givers as well. Simple!
We all know that Umno has tons of money. And RM10 million is nothing to Umno. If the Pakatan Rakyat people are so unprincipled then whom do we blame? Why blame Umno? Blame our people who worship money and pray to the Ringgit. Blame Pakatan Rakyat for fielding low quality people to contest the elections.
You can take the man out of the kampong but you can’t take the kampong out of the man. Low quality people can’t suddenly become high quality just because they are now wakil rakyat. They will still remain low quality and will kowtow to money because they have no maruah (dignity). That is, after all, what prostitutes do. They open their legs for money. And many in Pakatan Rakyat are prostitutes while those who manage prostitutes and called pimps.
If I were in Umno I would do exactly the same. I would use the immense wealth that Umno possesses to buy over the prostitutes in Pakatan Rakyat. Anyway, is that not what we want Anwar Ibrahim to do? We want Anwar to form a new federal government by enticing at least 30 Parliamentarians from Barisan Nasional to cross over to the opposition. Najib did in Perak exactly what we want Anwar to do at federal level. So, why the sudden outrage? What if three State Assemblymen in Negerl Sembilan cross over and Pakatan Rakyat gets to form the new Negeri Sembilan state government? Would we still express outrage?
Let’s face it: we lost. Let’s just lick our wounds and learn from this bitter experience. Our leaders were stupid and we paid for this stupidity. We chose poor quality people as candidates. We knew that Umno was trying to buy over our wakil rakyat. We knew they would eventually succeed. But we just stood and watched without launching a pre-emptive strike -- such as dissolving the state assembly when there was time to do so and when we still had the power to do so.
That is the long and short of it. Let us lose like gentlemen. Sure, they did not play fair. The Sultan should not have forced the MB’s resignation or appointed a new MB from Umno when Nizar did not resign. Sure, there are questions of whether it was legal to do what the Sultan did. But he did, fair or otherwise. And the Sultan could not have done so had we been cleverer. We left the door open and they walked in. We should take the blame for that rather than moan and bitch. And, next time, lock all the doors. Thieves are thieves and will always be thieves. But we were sloppy and that allowed the thieves to get in. There is no denying that.
We lost the battle. But we are yet to lose the war. That is the big picture. So focus on the big picture and see how we can eventually win the war. That is more important. And how do we turn defeat into victory? How can we menang dalam kalah? We can turn defeat into victory if our leaders are clever. My only worry is whether they are clever enough to do this. Let us see.