The people are saying we need a “New Pakatan”

By N. Ganesan, National Adviser, Hindraf/Human Rights party

Pakatan will never make it to Putrajaya if they do not take heed of what the People are saying. And they are saying we need a “New Pakatan”.

Pakatan is whittling away their opportunity for getting to Putrajaya, little by little with every passing day. This is directly because of the wrong policy frame they have chosen. Their explicit policy of not addressing the socio economic woes of the poor, their implicit policy of entirely supporting the developers and the business community (so very clear in Penang), their policy of maintaining the same basic development policy platform as BN, their policy of playing one-upmanship with BN on that platform, their policy of ignoring the unique problems of the Indian poor in the 4 states in spite of the glaring nature of the problem, are just some examples of where their policy frame is getting them down.

On the political side, their decision to alienate and demonise Hindraf, to sideline Jeffrey in Sabah, to go in for three cornered fights, their implicit decision to sidestep PAS’ Islamic state agenda, the decision for Anwar not to contest for the top post in PKR, are all instances of decisions that aggravate their position. All of this is just not cutting it.

On the ground, the poor people see no real difference between BN and PR. The thousands that voted in Batu Sapi, Galas, Hulu Selangor and Bagan Pinang are not even middle class, they are poor. It is not difficult to see why they are a bastion for BN.

BN has a firm grip on these poor through purse string control over their local leaders, and through the media mind control over the people themselves, feeding them with a regular diet of propaganda. BN never really solved their problems and will never really solve their problems. So, they do what the power elites in most parts of the world do – deceive the people and control them with mind control.

These disadvantaged and minority groups now see nothing really different coming for them from PR even where PR is in power. So, from their standpoint, since they do not gain or do not see any gains from an unknown entity, they have no real motivation to go away from a BN whom they believe is doing things for them – rightly or wrongly.

As it stands in a General Election, PR only has a short campaigning period, and a whole host of promises about what they will do if elected. They can never match what BN can do with the might of their machinery during that period, besides what they do daily – with full 24 hour TV blasting through every household in the country with their hard hitting propaganda, all the newspapers working as their party organs and the country’s entire administrative structure ready at their call.

PR has nothing to match this might in a GE. The only way PR can challenge all of this is not in the event of the GE but well before it, during its tenure as a ruling party, to have policies that result in changes for the people and to use these as examples for things to come all over the country – plain and simple.

Ever heard of the Blue Ocean Strategy?

If the majority of the people, the poor, can see true benefits like improved employment, improved incomes, better housing, better educational benefits, better treatment on contentious issues between the state and the people, then all of this BN electoral might will not make a difference when it comes time to vote. That is something that UMNO cannot match because of the class structure of UMNO. The lack of such a program just hands the advantage to BN. The current Pakatan is competing iwht UMNO/BN in the red ocean.The result: more Batu Sapis, Galases, Hulu Selangors and Bagan Pinangs all over the country in the next election and every election thereafter – dashing all our hopes for change.

What all of the foregoing clearly means is that Pakatan cannot get to Putrajaya in their current avatar. If ever they are to get to Putrajaya, it will only be when they remake themselves in their policies and structures such that the people will truly believe they mean a difference to them. And get into the Blue Ocean space.

We need a “New Pakatan”

The “New Pakatan” must clearly take into account all the needs and interests of all the disadvantaged and minority groups, a new policy on the socio economic front for the development of the poor, a development policy that is bottom up, inclusiveness and increasing opportunities for all the minorities in the Peninsula and the people of Sabah and Sarawak. HRP and other opposition parties like SAPP, and marginalized factions in PR like Jeffrey’s group in Sabah and Sarawak have to be organically co-opted into PR and compromises have to be made by current PR warlords to allow these changes.

The structure and policies of Pakatan have to change if they are ever going to get anywhere near Putrajaya. The current Pakatan policies and structure will not make it. That is what Galas and Batu Sapi is really telling us once more. Will Pakatan take heed of any of these?

If people are just going to get old wine in a new bottle, the people will prefer to stay with the old wine. Change cannot be only rhetoric. Change must be real – CHANGE THAT TOUCHES THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE. Pakatan must truly represent the interests of the mass of people. It must stop saying it represents the people’s need for reform and change, while in reality pursuing the same policies and programs as the BN government.


1) Begin to demonstrate that change on the ground in the 4 states under its administration.

2) Begin to actively champion a minimum wage policy and the limiting of imports of foreign workers

3) Raise the income of the common man in the 4 states by implementing the minimum wage policy in areas under Pakatan’s jurisdiction.

4) Establish a clear policy and plan for providing quality housing for the urban poor

5) Establish new land development schemes and other rural poverty alleviation programs that are meant expressly for the rural poor and marginalized.

6) Find the finances by reallocating from the programs meant for the developers and business communities to these programs for the common man. Pakatan must stop saying they have no funds and must stop playing football with the Federal government on these issues as all of that is just counterproductive to their objective of getting to Putrajaya.

7) Immediately address the following issues relating to minorities:

a) Allay fears of the non-Muslims of the powers of the Syaria courts.

b) Include HINDRAF’s and CIGMA policies into the PR’s vision for the nation.

c) Stop Mandorist policies on the Indian problem and start genuinely addressing the issues of the Indian marginalized in the 4 states.

d) Incorporate HRP, SAPP and CIGMA into PR’s fold. Begin negotiations with them and make necessary adjustments to accommodate them.

If Pakatan does not get to work immediately on these issues, they will never make it to Putrajaya.