Yours Is Yours

By Tay Tian Yan (Sin Chew Daily)

I have came across a term “status quo ante bellum” when I was studying political science. It means “the way things were before the war”.

The term comes from Latin. There were wars everywhere during the Roman times. The causes of a war were complex and sometimes, a war just happened without a reason, nor a necessity. And for sure, the wars plunged people into misery and sufferings.

Most of the time, the loser lost everything while the winner as well suffered great loss.
Intelligent people started to think, instead of causing destructions to both sides, it is better not to have a war.

Thus, diplomacy among countries started to be promoted to resolve disputes through peaceful diplomatic means, in order to avoid war.

"Since the chance of winning is remote and no benefit can be obtained from the election, why to fight then?"

No war, it means to maintain the existing situation. This is where the English word “status quo” comes from.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that BN may not contest the Penanti State by-election. Yes, this is the spirit of status quo.

Since the chance of winning is remote and no benefit can be obtained from the election, why to fight then?

The best decision is to maintain the status quo; yours is yours, why on earth do I insist on?

The reason is just as simple as that. However, it requires a great deal of courage to do it.

Once Najib has made the decision, it means he has broken the traditional thinking of the ruling party. Over the past half a century, from Party Perikatan to BN, it has been carrying the “big brother” mindset. And by-elections were tantamount to a slaughter festival that sacrificed the opposition party in order to highlight the hegemonic power of BN.

Of course, BN was always the winner in the previous by-elections. As a result, the opposition party simply did not contest in some by-elections. It was better to save human and financial resources and just let BN win since their chance of winning was remote.

Today, BN must also have the same attitude; it may choose not to contest the by-election if they cannot win. The price of not contesting is always smaller than the price of being defeated.

Penanti has always been a strong area for Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. It is natural and right not to contesting and let Keadilan to maintain the status quo. If BN insists on fighting a lost game, it means another defeat for the ruling coalition and makes the total score to become 5 to 1.

It would be very embarrassing and it is going to harm the morale of BN and the dash of Najib.

In fact, BN’s think-tank had advised the party not to contest the Permatang Pauh by-election and just let Anwar win. But the then BN did not want to lose face and determined to contest the by-election. As a result, the party did not only suffer a great defeat, but the then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi’s position was directly affected.

Najib’s choice is right.

There is nothing wrong with Keadilan to create a by-election either. I do not agree with some saying that this is a political trick meant to show Najib the ability of the Opposition and it is a waste of resources. They have no choice, but to have a by-election. (By TAY TIAN YAN/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)