The Gamble Of Early Election

A Kadir Jasin

ONE of those resilient politicos, whose career I have tracked since the late 1960s when I became a reporter, is the DAP supreme leader, Lim Kit Siang.

I have not bumped into LKS for a long time. That’s because I had stop frequenting Raju’s. LKS was a Raju’s regular. I had since found a couple of good and more seasonably priced Mamak and Indian restaurants in the Petaling Jaya area.

Being a veteran, LKS’s political readings can be considered reliable although he might not often spell them out truthfully for political reasons.

But when he, on Nov. 20, he warned in Kota Kinabalu that the DAP’s political partners (PKR and Pas) and Barisan Nasional should not be too confident in thinking that the results of the next general elections have been mapped out in their respective favour, I believe him.

He was quoted by Malaysian Insiders as saying that both the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance and the ruling BN were labouring under two fatal assumptions based on the recent events.

“It is a great mistake for BN to believe that its hold on Putrajaya is secure and that it could win back the Kedah and Selangor state governments from PR based on its victories in the Galas, Batu Sapi, Hulu Selangor and Bagan Pinang by-elections,” LKS said.

He noted BN leaders were brimming with confidence after reading former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s comments that the ruling coalition could retake Kedah and Selangor. (Dr Mahathir was today reported as saying that it wasn’t yet the time to hold a general election.)

The Ipoh-Timur MP and DAP’s adviser said the PR was also at risk if it believed it is invincible and its march to Putrajaya was unstoppable.

“Pakatan Rakyat leaders must immediately take stock of the loss of public confidence in the PR, not only from the setbacks in Galas and Batu Sapi, but also from the internal turmoils and problems inside Pakatan Rakyat parties,” he urged.

“Pakatan Rakyat leaders must urgently address these problems to stop and reverse the erosion of public confidence as we cannot afford to be complacent or take lightly the serious challenge and threat posed by Barisan Nasional whether at the parliamentary or state assembly level,” he stressed.

The Spanner In Pakatan’s Work

THE PKR and, to a lesser degree, the DAP are facing internal problems. Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership of the PKR is being openly challenged by its Federal Territory chairman and the former BN Minister, Mohd Zaid Ibrahim.

Zaid’s status is unclear. He said he was leaving the party on Dec. 16, but the party said he did not have to loiter around. He should just vamos – Spanglish (Spanish-English) for depart quickly. Or as we say in the Malay language, berambus.

The DAP faces leadership struggle in Perak with the victory of cousins Ngeh Koo Ham and Nga Kor Ming over the faction led by V. Sivakumar and a similar bruising battle is foreseen for Selangor.

On the BN side, while the MCA and the MIC are on the mend, the Gerakan is mired in uncertainly with the leadership of Dr Koh Tsu Koon remaining under threat.

There’s also fear the grand coalition may become swollen-headed and offensive following its recent by-election victories. This could put off the voters all over again.

The Achilles heel of the PR is the PKR. The opposition alliance could buckle if the PKR tormentor, Mohd Zaid succeeds in forming his own splinter party before the coming GE. He may draw away the disgruntled PKR members and possibly entice a few from the DAP to join him.

If his party fields a sufficiently large number of candidates, he could draw away some PR votes. There’s a slim chance that PR may accept Zaid’s party or enter into a loose electoral pact to avoid an all out confrontation.