Old style of new politics

The only exception where peace reigns, would be the Kelantan government which is totally dominated by PAS as well as the former Perak Pakatan state government led by Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin and his trusted ally Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham.

Muaz Omar, The Malaysian Insider

While Malaysians’ resentment towards the battered ruling government of Barisan Nasional remains high, the caustic relationship and out-of-sync governance among Pakatan Rakyat component members are not giving much confidence to the people either.

The tit-for-tat spat between PKR and DAP leaders over the handling of the resignation of deputy chief minister 1 Mohd Fairus Khairuddin as DCM, Exco as well as Penanti assemblyman has put both parties on a collision course.

The subsequent cat fights and barkings of PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali, PKR Penang chief Datuk Zahrain Hashim with Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua has dismayed the Pakatan supporters to the delight of Umno and BN.

This came about after some comments which smacked of annoyance by Guan Eng over the manner Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had handled the whole episode.

The elegant silence by Anwar on this issue has piqued Guan Eng who thought that he ought to have been kept in the loop on the updates of the situation at all times even though it is very much an internal PKR matter.

The public airing and display of disgust towards Anwar were not taken lightly and produced a blunt response from PKR leaders.

The elder Lim, Kit Siang entered the fray almost like a hero claiming that Anwar apologised is definitely not the whole truth and only intended to show that Guan Eng is in the right will further irate PKR leaders and supporters.

Pakatan has a long way to ensure some degree of mutual respect and conflict resolution process is put in place.

Prior to this, the dispute between Guan Eng and Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Razak of PAS over the decision by Kedah to log for timber in the water reservoir catchment area had been blown up.

The antagonistic stance of Selangor State Exco Datuk Dr Hassan Ali of PAS towards Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim remains strong and has been a thorn in Khalid’s side for his corporate-style effort to develop the state.

To the general public, the top most state and national leaders in Pakatan are unable to show a united front what more astute governance and visionary leadership.

The only exception where peace reigns, would be the Kelantan government which is totally dominated by PAS as well as the former Perak Pakatan state government led by Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin and his trusted ally Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham.

The stable Nizar-Ngeh partnership (even for a short while) would be something that the more experienced Guan Eng and Zahrain might be able to learn from.

All these niggling administrative haphazard as well as governance issues affecting the Pakatan component members at all levels has left a bitter taste among the hardcore supporters of the Opposition coalition.

Pakatan was voted in riding on the propaganda of politics of hope against politics of fear as painted by the opposition leaders of the BN.

However, while generally the state government's of Penang, Kedah and Selangor has proved to be a bit thriftier and slightly more accountable than their previous predecessors; these sensational outbursts by Pakatan leaders are recipes for disaster if not nipped early in the bud.

Pakatan is fortunate enough that prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has his hands full with the crisis in Terengganu and had to also deflect some of the criticisms against the appointment of certain quarters and dinosaurs into the Umno supreme council.

Had Umno been not too distracted, venomous attacks towards splitting the ideologically-diversed Pakatan further may had achieved some degree of success and put the coalition under even more pressure.

There are a lot of pull factors for Pakatan to stay united and work together for common benefit where the biggest incentive is a medium and long term consolidation and probably expansion of power.

This is a similar reason of the prolonged existence and continuation of the BN coalition for the short and medium term which is to retain power on the federal front where they have enjoyed for the past 52 years.

Both BN’s and Pakatan’s main cause of existence and their superficial camaraderie is based on the quest for power and influence.

It is with power that change may be affected with ease, which is supposedly what the people want.

However, will that change ever arrive in the fashion that we all hope for, when the basis of existence of both axes are for the sole reason of commanding political power?

It is not based on ideological pursuit but more on political convenience and compromise.

Hence, whether it is the old politics of new guards or new politics of the old guards; it should not be business as usual — corruption, excessive politicking and power abuse — as there is definitely no change in that at all.


Muaz Omar is a consultant with a regional stakeholders management firm based in Kuala Lumpur.