Is the PR serious about becoming the next government of Malaysia?

By batsman 

With talk of the 13th GE being just around the corner, all political parties should be desperately gearing up for the upcoming electoral battle that is going to decide whether Malaysia finally gets to have an equally matched 2 party political system.

Unfortunately the component parties of the PR still appear to be frozen in limbo unable to take the leap to eternal glory. 3 years after the 2008 tsunami, component parties of the PR are still unable to come up with a shadow cabinet. Instead they are jealously guarding their own turf in the old ways and with the tenacity of old habits. With this, the Buku Jingga looks like just another excuse to engage in self-denial, to avoid coming up with a shadow cabinet and fail in their bid to become the next government of Malaysia. 

I wonder if in 3 – 4 short months when they do get elected into government, will they screw up the whole works with petty quarrels and old jealousies? Will they be able to form an effective working government or will they allow UMNO to play another successful dirty trick to re-capture the government without even going through the trouble of another GE while they quarrel furiously over who is to be Prime Minister or who gets the choice ministerial posts? 

All this is entirely possible unless the PR start to think of themselves as the next government of Malaysia and not just permanent opposition parties, fit only to govern a few states, but never the whole country. 

I admit I have never read C.H. Cooley, but this is what Martindale has to say.. 

“From Cooley’s point of view, social organization is inseparable from collective psychology. Public consciousness comprises the conscious and unconscious process of forming mutual ideas and attitudes to which names “fashion”, “tradition”, “institution”, and “tendency” are attached. At the bottom, social organization is a differentiated structure of thought and symbols. Social structure is a pattern of institutions. But institutions are, in turn, nothing other than definite and established phases of the public mind, ultimately akin to public opinion.” (Don Martindale – Institutions, Organizations and Mass Society) 

This means that what constitutes a particular society is nothing more than shared ideas, psychology, values and belief systems. For political parties whose platform is reform, this is critical. If the political parties themselves are unable to create a common set of ideas, values and belief systems, what reforms are they talking about for the whole of Malaysian society in general and the Malaysian political system in particular? When they continually avoid reformist public opinion that they coalesce, strengthen and firm up their organization and structures to get ready to be the next government of Malaysia? 

As an example of permanent opposition thinking, let me quote the example of DAP’s Tony Pua challenging NTR to defend 1Malaysia. NTR is the fisherman and 1Malaysia is the bait. Tony Pua is thinking like a leader of the fish in appealing to his shoal whether to decide to swallow the bait or not. 

If Tony Pua were to think like a member of the next government of Malaysia, he would be trying to be a fisherman in competition with NTR, not the leader of some fish species and the bait he would be using will be the policies of the PR if they were to be the next government of Malaysia. 

Unfortunately all these seem to be missing or lacking in substance. Instead, the opposition continues to challenge the fisherman over his 1Malaysia bait instead of competing with the fisherman himself. 

It is no wonder that UMNO has seldom used the lack of a shadow cabinet to attack the PR. This is because once there is a shadow cabinet, the PR will be starting to think of itself as the next government of Malaysia instead of being a permanent opposition. Besides, if there is a shadow cabinet, the transition to a full-fledged government will be fast and automatic, not delayed and giving time for UMNO to play dirty tricks. 

On the contrary, UMNO has always empathized those features and characteristics that split the PR and freeze it into the role of a permanent opposition including cultivating and manipulating the image of DSAI as a misfit to be the opposition leader and the next Prime Minister of Malaysia – throwing the PR into uncertainty and indecision. 

I think it is time for the PR to think of itself as the next government of Malaysia – with or without DSAI as the Prime Minister. The time for decisiveness and action is at hand. PR, please stand up to the plate. Translate reforms into reality through determination, belief in self and decisive action. 

The really hard question however is…. “Will the SUPPORTERS of the component parties of the PR allow these parties to forge ahead and become the next government of Malaysia or will they just cling on and hold back their parties in a clingy, insecure, small-hearted, small-minded fashion?”