KT By-Election – What Does It Mean For Pakatan Rakyat?

Despite chalking up an emphatic win over BN it still too early for PR to expect a smooth ride to Putrajaya. Hence, PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz was quick to urge his members to be gracious after victory. Nik Aziz is a veteran leader who fully understood the ups and downs in politics.

His advice is apt and timely. Ironically, this newly minted coalition was literally put together by the voters whom decided they have tolerated enough of power arrogance after handing over easy mandate to BN for decades. Before the 12th general election, these parties merely collaborated for their own expediency and to enable a straight contest with BN. Due to lack of time, seats negotiations in both Sabah and Sarawak went awry and resulted in the opposition dismal performance.

For a fact that the coalition was only recently established to share governing power in several states, its electoral performance in the last two by-elections is impressive. However, it is still work-in-progress on many fronts. With the decisive victory in KT, component parties in PR should fully appreciate their intertwined destiny. The coalition need not look far. The ongoing problems plaguing BN should serve as a good lesson on the need for sincere collaboration, mutual respect and inclusiveness.

Moving forward, it is pertinent for PR to transition from being an opposition front into a real alternative. It should position itself as a government in-waiting. It is easy for both Lim Kit Siang and Anwar Ibrahim to continue harping on UMNO weaknesses and arrogance. But is time for the two influential leaders to lead the formation of alternative policies and development strategy for Malaysia.

During this challenging economic situation, these alternative policies will be able to allow Malaysians to gauge their ability to govern if given a mandate at the federal level. Like the old Chinese belief, there are opportunities in any crisis. With unemployment numbers going up, PR state governments should work together on an immediate plan to avoid an economic hard landing.

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