What maketh a force? (UPDATED with Chinese Translation)

The bottom line is, the third force would become a reality only because of the attitude of Pakatan Rakyat in trying to monopolise the electoral process and not share the field with others.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

It looks like the issue of the Third Force does not want to go away. I wrote earlier that the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) is not a third force and it was never intended to become one. Nevertheless, many still insist that it is a third force in spite of these denials.

Be careful what you wish for lest your wish gets granted. If you keep talking about it too much and too often it may just become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What Syed Husin Ali said, however, does hold some truth when he commented that the third force is neither third nor a force. This was almost the same argument that was used to change the name of the opposition coalition from Barisan Alternatif (the Alternative Front) to Pakatan Rakyat (the People’s Alliance).

Why should the opposition coalition be called ‘alternative’? Alternative to what? Barisan Nasional (the National Front)? Alternative means second choice, second choice to Barisan Nasional. So the name Barisan Alternatif was replaced with Pakatan Rakyat.

The idea of a third force must be dropped. As Syed Husin said, it is neither third nor a force, yet. Instead it should be called Barisan Rakyat (the People’s Front).

It can still be a force, though, if it wants to. However, to be a force to be reckoned with, Barisan Rakyat must merge all the different ‘mosquito groups’. The political parties, movements and whatnot — such as Hindraf, groupings from West Malaysia, groupings from East Malaysia, and so on — should be brought under one roof.

Then, when this new grouping called Barisan Rakyat is as big as Pakatan Rakyat, both must sit down and hammer out an electoral pact.

Pakatan Rakyat is a coalition of three parties versus Barisan Nasional, a coalition of 14 parties. Soon, Barisan Nasional will enlarge its membership by allowing direct non-party membership. Barisan Nasional may soon become a bigger giant than it already is.

Pakatan Rakyat must also try to enlarge its membership. All the three parties in Pakatan Rakyat combined can’t even beat the membership of just Umno, let alone that of Barisan Nasional.

Pakatan Rakyat can no longer remain an ‘exclusive club’.

Pakatan Rakyat must reach out to Barisan Rakyat. It needs to invite them to become coalition members of Pakatan Rakyat. Only then can Pakatan Rakyat grow from being a coalition of three parties to maybe six, seven or eight.

If Pakatan Rakyat closes its doors and refuses to embrace Barisan Rakyat then they leave the others no choice but to form their own grouping or coalition. And this would mean a third force that they talk about would really emerge. But it will emerge not because those in Barisan Rakyat want it to but because Pakatan Rakyat closes it doors and treats them as the enemy and forces the ‘homeless’ Barisan Rakyat to build a home of their home.

The bottom line is, the third force would become a reality only because of the attitude of Pakatan Rakyat in trying to monopolise the electoral process and not share the field with others.


Syed Husin: Third force ‘neither third, nor force’

Public attention on rampant politicking during the just-concluded PKR polls prompted much talk about a political ‘third force’ coming into existence.

But for PKR’s NONEoutgoing deputy president Syed Husin Ali, talk will be talk because for now, the third force is “neither third, nor force”.

“Most people associate the idea of a third force with the Liberal Party in England, but the Liberal Party has existed for hundreds of years as a political organisation. It has its own force.

“We have yet to see this third force as a ‘force’ or a ‘third’ because there are differing views among those behind it, too,” he told Malaysiakini last week.

The veteran politician’s decision to not defend his post sparked vicious in-fighting in PKR and allegations of vote-rigging. This led to deputy presidential aspirant Zaid Ibrahim pulling out of the contest and eventually quitting the party, pledging to set up a new one.

Syed Husin said he understands that parties involved in the third force are not entirely independent.

“We know who is behind the third force and they may not necessarily be Pakatan-friendly,” he said, noting that this could have an adverse impact on the opposition coalition.

“I more or less know (who is involved) but one by one they have come out to say they have nothing to do with it, including Zaid, the one in Sabah, in the peninsula and in Sarawak,” he said.

Lawyer and prominent blogger Haris Ibrahim – another person said to be part of the third force – has also denied the claim, saying that his proposed Barisan Rakyat is intended to screen election candidates for Pakatan Rakyat.

However, Haris does not rule out the possibility of the 20 proposed candidates contesting independently if Pakatan does not accept them.

This did not sit well with Syed Husin, who said PKR does not need to be held at ransom.

“We have our own screening process and we have a larger group of potential (candidates). Of course we can make the decision to let others contest under our banner (as PSM candidates did in 2008), that’s not a problem (but) we make this decision, not someone else coming in to say ‘You must field this candidate’.

“If they say they have someone with potential, that person must show their strength because in politics numbers count. How strong is his support?”

Interestingly, Syed Husin said that a representative believed to be in the group behind Barisan Rakyat had met with him prior to the 2008 election to suggest a candidate for the Kota Damansara state seat.

“It so happened that I knew this person he was referring to, (so I said) ‘Do you know that he is a drunkard? Where is this screening? You come here to negotiate, to ask that someone else be sidelined. But if this is your candidate then sorry, goodbye’.” — Malaysiakini

READ MORE HERE: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/149034


Translated into Chinese at: http://ccliew.blogspot.com/2010/11/blog-post_5657.html