Do we go with a third force? Let me walk you through this

The People’s Parliament

At the time of writing up this post, my ‘Enter the Third Force’ post had elicited 82 comments in this blog and another 26 comments at the MalaysiaToday link.

Many have been critical of the idea of a third force.

Equally, many have voiced concerns about the possibility of such an initiative literally handing constituencies over to BN arising from 3-corner contests, or diluting Pakatan Rakyat’s pull with voters, or even confusing voters in some constituencies.

This criticism is good. It means we are thinking. This is what we need.

I want to address the issue of sufficiency in numbers of quality candidates here, but let me first quickly say that the initiative that we have in mind envisages a close level of co-operation between Pakatan Rakyat and the third force.

The third force is not in competition with Pakatan Rakyat.

As I said in the earlier post, we are working on a common aspiration : to kick BN out come the 13th GE.

As such, no question of 3-corner fights arise.

More on this later.

For the moment, lets forget about the state seats and turn our focus to the parliamentary seats.

Presently, there are 222.

A redilineation exercise  is due by next year.

We do not know how many new parliamentary seats will be created through that exercise.

So lets just stick to the existing number of 222 for our present discussion.

BN hold 137, Pakatan have 76 and there are 9 independent MPs.

In the 13th GE, Pakatan must not only strategise to defend their 76 seats, but most also look to field another 146 candidates to take on BN and the independents in the other constituencies.

Those of us working on the third force initiative would not have even bothered with this effort if we thought Pakatan had the requisite number of candidates to field for all 222 seats come the next GE.

Do they?

Do they have in their ranks 222 good, honest women and men to offer as candidates come the 13th GE?

To the extent that they might not, that is where the third force hopes to augment the Pakatan Rakyat by making available indepependent candidates who will, without joining any of the parties, stand on a Pakatan ticket.

It has been done before.

Wee Choo Keong of MDP stood on a PKR ticket in Wangsa Maju.

Dr Jeyakumar of PSM stood on a PKR ticket in Sungai Siput.

We need to know early if Pakatan Rakyat have enough good candidates to field in all the seats.

If they have enough, good.

If not, the third force would like to make available candidates to supply the shortfall.

Anwar, to his credit, admitted that he made mistakes in the selection of candidates in the last election.

We’ve seen the whore and the cash vendor from DAP cross over to BN.

Hassan Ali of PAS has been causing havoc in Selangor.

All three Pakatan parties have had their share of nightmares in the selection of candidates.

When do we get to find out if Pakatan have got 222 candidates of unquestionable integrity to field in the next election?

On the eve of nomination day?

Why is there the need to hold close to the chest the identities of candidates?

They used to tell us that if the details of candidates were known early, those candidates would be approached by the other side with enticements!

Isn’t that the very candidate that we do not want to have?

Another reason is that if it is known too early who the candidate is, other hopefuls will not work for the party or may even work to sabotage.

Are weaknesses in the party rank and file reason enough to keep constituents in the dark as to who is being offered by Pakatan until the eleventh hour, by which time there is little time to source another candidate from civil society?

Let’s forget for the moment the 146 seats held by BN and independent candidates, and turn our attention to the 76 seats presently held by Pakatan.

Are they all MP material?

If any one of the 76 is your MP, can you say that they have lived up to your expectations?

Would you vote for them again come the 13th GE?

And if you would not, are you not entitled to know at the earliest if he or she is being replaced and, if so, by who?

Would they stand up to a benchmark?

Could we set a benchmark?