PKR – Please don’t learn from Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

By batsman 

In any institution the question of being inclusive or exclusive is a very important one. Take for example, the attitude of our Defence Minister towards our brave soldiers. When he classifies non-Malays as unpatriotic, 2 or more things immediately kick into motion. The first is the prospects of existing non-Malay servicemen in our armed forces. If they are under a cloud of suspicion for being unpatriotic, what are their chances for promotion? Soldiers are supposed to fight to the last to defend their country. If one section is under a cloud of suspicion for being unpatriotic, how can the others fight alongside them? How can they be trusted with command anymore?

The second is of course, the armed forces now become split and suspicious of each other – one side suspicious of the patriotism of the other side and the other side suspicious of the prejudices and bias of the first in return. Our great Defence Minister has somehow managed to split the armed forces under his command into 2. Whether this is supposed to be a patriotic act or not or whether it is some sort of a great genius Sun Tzu type strategy is up to his even more intelligent bosses to decide. 

As for PKR, the question of whether to be inclusive or exclusive now influences its fate to a large extent. UMNO can afford to be exclusive since it has now cornered almost all of the nation’s resources for itself. In fact it needs to be exclusive since by being inclusive it is forced to share the loot among more people. However by appearing to be exclusive, it turns away fair minded people, so it must appear to be inclusive at the same time as being exclusive in reality. This happy state of affairs is most likely to be managed by Apco under the 1Malaysia advertising campaign, I suppose. 

As for PKR, it most probably cannot afford to employ a high and mighty consultant like Apco, so I hope it will accept advice from outsiders like me who in reality have no business to offer advice to anybody. Whether it does or throws such advice into the toilet, I suppose is entirely up to its top brass. 

The very fact that PKR joins the others in a pact called the PR testifies to the fact that it must be inclusive. This is necessitated by the stage of its struggle to win power. If it becomes exclusive even before it wins power, it will just turn into an exclusive personality cult, not a true national leadership that the rakyat pray and hope for. 

Similarly, its treatment of dissenters within itself must reflect its need to be inclusive. It must be extremely forgiving of dissenting voices. In fact it must even try and bend over backwards to accommodate complaints. Even when dissenters are screaming at the top of their voices in anger, PKR must be seen to open up their arms and continue to welcome these dissenters. This is because PKR itself is a very young party and all sorts of people have been attracted into its ranks. This is no time to use broad political methods to solve organizational problems or even acts of sabotage. Organizational problems must be solved by specialist units working on very specific and very isolated problems. Broad political measures such as “singing the songs I like to hear” or “fanatical songs of blind loyalty” or “outward shows of loyalty by attacking dissident voices brutally and mercilessly” if adopted will lead to serious and permanent damage. 

This is why I have always been suspicious of outward shows of loyalty that some commenters here in MT have shown by brutally attacking dissident voices in a fanatical manner. 

As I said, PKR is a young party. Most of those who have joined it are honest and faithful if somewhat confused and easily distracted at times. By attacking such confused voices in a brutal and unforgiving manner, PKR shows itself to be an exclusive club protected by outwardly fanatical supporters. 

Our own short but tumultuous and dramatic national history has shown that such fanatical protectors are often themselves saboteurs in the pay of the enemy. That is why it is important to read books such as Chin Peng’s account of the Malayan Emergency to glean lessons from it. 

Apparently according to Chin Peng, after May 13 1969 the CPM was flooded by new members. Some of these were Special Branch operatives. After a spate of sabotage and splittism, a purge was launched to try and eject the saboteurs. By employing political methods to solve organizational problems and acts of sabotage, innocent CPM members were killed and the rest were completely cowed and weakened. I believe it was this mistake (among others) that essentially destroyed the CPM. 

I think a lesson is a lesson whether it comes from communists or not. Is PKR broad minded enough to learn from the mistakes of the communists? 

No doubt there are all sorts of people who are within PKR ranks even now. Most will be decent people. Some will be opportunists who hope to gain from the tsunami. Some will be incompetent rejects from UMNO hoping for a new beginning in PKR. Some will identify with the moneyed classes. Some will enjoy kicking those who are down and out. Some will enjoy blaming the victims. Some will fear to be on the losing side even more than betraying justice so that the moment PKR shows signs of weakening, they will turn vicious to protect themselves from being associated with the losing side. All these people have to be weeded out using organizational methods and careful investigation, not by political methods of who makes the loudest noises by showing greatest outward loyalty and being the most fanatically protective of the party against those who have dissenting views. 

More than ever PKR has to show strong leadership committed to its principles and values as a party fighting for justice. 

If PKR were to make the mistake of learning from Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in one fell stroke, it will have split the party irrevocably and permanently. So please don’t learn from Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Please, Please, Please! 

And also please don’t just remain silent and unresponsive. Please take to the field and talk to your anxious supporters not talk to curious Australians. Please be inclusive not exclusive. Please be proactive not reactive. That is all.