It’s a Long Road

By Hakim Joe 

I am no political analyst and neither have I studied political science. However, it does not take a rocket scientist to be able to substantiate the fact that it is going to be a long and difficult time until the next federal elections.

For Pakatan Rakyat to be able to mount a substantial challenge against the incumbent it must presently preserve and later accelerate the momentum it created from the 2008 Political Tsunami but things are not going to get easier as they approach 2013. In fact, they will start to become more problematical as BN keeps on tightening the screws. It will be as what RPK said, “No Holds Barred” where every pressure will be exerted to make Pakatan look bad. 

DSAI is facing sodomy charges (again) and it could be a long time after the next federal elections before he will be released, if convicted. Let’s be very honest here. The possibility of a guilty verdict is very real indeed, what with the calibre of distorted jurists we have sitting on the bench.

He is 52 years old and another 7 years would make it 59 in 2016. Of course he could get himself released if Pakatan wins the next federal election but the question is not whether he will be capable of helming the coalition but whether the coalition members will permit him to doing so then.

The reasoning is because someone will have to take control of the coalition if DSAI is indeed incarcerated, and between then and the election date, he (or she) would have total control of the party apparatus. If winning the next federal election becomes a reality, this person would automatically be the next PM. Would this individual then step down as PM to allow DSAI the opportunity to lead Pakatan again? I think not, after all we are talking about politics, dirty politics. 

Let’s not discuss the impending premiership here just yet. If DSAI is found guilty, who will step up as the next Opposition Leader? Both Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh could but this will give UMNO the ammunition to label the Opposition as Non-Malay (even to the extent of calling them anti-Muslim) and this could somehow alienate the vital Malay voters. Yes, the Malay votes (are essential) because the combined Chinese and Indian votes can only be substantially influential if the Malay votes were split. If the Pakatan’s Malay supporters leave en masse for UMNO because they do not like the “new” Opposition’s racial inclination (through birth), the Chinese and Indian votes thence become inconsequential.  

Nik Aziz is no good either as it will in turn alienate the Chinese and Indian votes. Accepting PAS is a new notion that has yet to take root henceforth a veritable catch-22 situation. If what we need is a caretaker leader, Wan Azizah fits the bill to a T. Datuk Zaid Ibrahim could be acceptable but he needs to join Pakatan first before this option can be seriously contemplated. Stating so, members at grassroot levels might not readily accept him because of his lack of party seniority.  

The in-fighting and uncoordinated policies can be quite disconcerting and unnerving, even to hardcore party loyalists. It portrays a divided coalition even when it allows the three partners equal standing. Unless further party decisions are harmonized to demonstrate a united front, this lack of mutual understanding could lead to a disaster. Squabbling within ranks in either party is also extremely distressing. The individual leaders of each coalition member must rein in their members respectively or the 2008 Political Tsunami will be nothing but a fleeting memory to be recorded in history as an anomaly. 

The Pakatan coalition, and especially PKR, needs a stable of loyal, devoted and “untouchable” people that can stand as valid and respectable candidates. Admit it, the group that they have now is just not up to standard.

One can argue that the party under DSAI is just one year old but just remember this, “Opportunities Await No Man”. It merely took a few bad apples to overturn the Perak State Government. Need I say more? Get rid of the few corruptible “would-be frogs” before they can even consider thinking of doing a jumper or put them in positions that can do no harm. Not easy getting individuals that puts party first before self but they are out there nonetheless. Put in the effort to identify them and things will start to become easier. 

Fighting with the Royals is a big no-no. Ultimately, these are the people that Pakatan will need to cooperate with, if ever they get themselves elected to be the federal government. Malaysia is afterall a Constitutional Monarchy and there is still a large portion of Pakatan supporters and public that deems it an insult to question the monarchy, regardless of what they did or how wrong it is. Isolating this group of disgruntled people can only bring harm to the coalition. 

Start recruiting new members now. Start putting on a “show of force” in the states that are currently under Pakatan control and infiltrate those under BN control. Get a team of able statisticians to determine just where the resources need to be concentrated on. Get a team of dedicated legal experts to determine the legal issues in pertinent to it and get a team of honest fundraisers to obtain more contributions. Let the people do the work. Let the grassroots get involved. 

Set up a shadow cabinet with its appropriate study groups. Listen and the supporters will tell you what they want. Ignore them at your own peril. Always remember that it is their votes that put Pakatan where they are now and more importantly, it is their votes that will determine if Pakatan stays relevant or not in the next federal elections. Never be so proud and deem to be so clever that friendly advice can be disregarded.

Because we stand from afar, we remain untainted by politics and henceforth are able to view the entire perspective more clearly as compared to those of you that are involved in the thick of things. Just because we contribute a little, it does not mean that it is insignificant. Just because we are not politically savvy, it does not mean that we are politically ignorant. Just because some of our suggestions might not go to well with the Pakatan hierarchy, it does not mean that they are incorrect.  

Determine and reinforce the policies and the type of governance that Pakatan will eventually abide by if ever elected as the federal government. This can be accomplished by the introduction of such reforms into the states that are currently under Pakatan control. Use it as an example to show the other state constituencies just what they could expect from the Opposition and from this foundation, build it up. Equality, Impartiality, Integrity, etcetera and most importantly, fulfil your election promises. 

Like what is being stated on the first paragraph, these are but a few vital expectations that must be fulfilled before the grander intentions of becoming the federal government can be seriously considered. Failure to take into account the voters’ requirements will isolate their choice at the polls.