Draw a timetable for PR’s registration

(The Edge) PAKATAN Rakyat's (PR) decision to get itself registered, finally, is welcome news for people wishing to see a two-party system established in the country.

The decision was long overdue, so its announcement came as a bit of a surprise.

If anything, the recent spate of squabbling between PR leaders suggested the coalition partners were more ready to take a step back rather than forward.

But Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's announcement of the PR decision still has many people wondering if the plan will ever materialise. Is a well-constituted, duly registered new composite party really at the top of PR party leaders' priority list?

The elastic nature of the deadline for registering the party — before the next general election — comes across as lacking in conviction. It's as if the decision was arrived at in a hurry, forced by prevailing circumstances rather than the result of measured deliberation.

The next election is two to three years away. Unless Barisan Nasional (BN) decides to cut short its term and call for a snap poll, a lot of things can happen in the mean time that would not pacify the sceptics.

Perhaps the PR secretariat should soon release a timetable of their proposed pre-registration work, as without such a timetable the emergence of a new entity would remain tentative in the eyes of the public. A set timetable also would go a long way towards defusing the suspicion that the announcement was nothing more than a foil for all the negativity surrounding the squabbling within the coalition.

With the Permatang Pasir by-election just around the corner, it is clearly in PR's interests to show that the bonds that hold the parties together are still strong and the coalition is not in danger of disintegrating, and that the visible cracks are but superficial.

Despite Anwar's statement that all issues besotting the relationship between the parties have been resolved, the public would need more evidence of PR's readiness to move forward. What better way to prove that readiness than by publicising the timetable?

Otherwise, all of PR's pronouncements would only serve to highlight the enormity of the challenge facing the coalition in taking their collaboration to a new level.

The doubters may also point to the seemingly unwieldy PR cabinet committees as having yet to prove their worth. Well functioning cabinet committees certainly would help convince them that a new composite party is truly in the works.

The doubts are understandable, as the task of melding the strangest of bedfellows that is PR into a composite party is seemingly insurmountable.

But if PR can claim that it is a worthy rival to BN, its leaders should be clever enough to overcome the odds and create a viable alternative to BN.

It is a test the PR leaders must pass to have any chance of being given the reins of the country. It's a real test of their creativity and ingenuity, not to mention patience.

While it has been easy for PR politicians to pinpoint BN's weaknesses and transgressions, it is an entirely different proposition to come up with solutions to the country's myriad problems, particularly on the social and economic fronts.

In short, it's easy to ask questions but can PR come up with proper answers, too?

And that's what the coalition has to do to convince the majority of the people that the country has a better future in PR's hands.

It can prove its mettle by first coming to a compromise on the inherent differences that define the component parties. For, before anything else, it needs to address the perception that PR has been nothing more than a marriage of convenience, devoid of passion and long-term plans.

It must concur public perception the parties have been ganging up on BN due to the excesses of its leaders, not so much by its policies and principles.

For PR to convince the people that it can rule the country effectively, it is imperative that the three parties demonstrate their ability to agree on being one in thought and action.

They can start by agreeing on a logo to match BN's scale. The challenge: distill the spirit of PR's vision of the composite party from the eye motive of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) emblem, the rocket of the DAP and the full moon of PAS.

Perhaps PR should organise a logo design competition with the brief: "Watching the rocket shoot to the moon." Note that it has been 40 years since another trio made the first moon landing, via Apollo 11.