BN-PR divide now much wider than in 2008

Fourth anniversary of 12th GE gives occasion for politicians to reflect on changes that have happened since

PPP president M Kayveas says the two-party system was born only in name, but not in practice, as Pakatan has failed to convince the people that it is a viable alternative to BN.

Hawkeye, Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: The political divide has grown ever wider based on feedback from Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat, as both sides observe the fourth anniversary of the 12th general election.

Historic repercussions were felt on the nation’s political landscape when the once-mighty BN lost its long-held two-thirds majority, and five states fell to the makeshift alliance of Pakatan.

The catchword “two-party system” was born following the the stunning results which saw economic powerhouse states of Selangor and Penang becoming Pakatan’s bastions.

Pakatan also took Kedah as well as Kelantan, dubbed the “cradle of Malay culture”, while the former tin-mining state of Perak fell back to BN after a spate of defections in 2009.

Politicians from both sides were sharply divided in their views on whether the country has progressed or regressed since March 8, 2008.

One area which has tremendously benefited is the social media network as representatives from both sides engaged in healthy exchanges online about the significance of that day.

Almost every well-intentioned politician now has an account on either Twitter or Facebook.

PPP president M Kayveas says the two-party system was born only in name, but not in practice, as Pakatan has failed to convince the people that it is a viable alternative to BN.

BN is imperfect, but if one were to analyse the situation closely, Pakatan is proving with each passing day that it is not a strong alternative to the coalition as it lacks in “quality leadership”.

There are unabated quarels among themselves and each time, they blame it on BN, looking for scapegoats everywhere except by looking at themselves, on how they can change to better the country, he said.

Permanent impact

Kayveas, who grew up in the rubber estates, said there was no denying that BN has brought progress to the country.

“Many Commonwealth nations upon gaining independance from the British, are still struggling today despite various international assistance.

“Malaysia is remarkably different, and it cannot be denied that BN has made a permanent impact on the country, for good or bad,” he said.

Citing Selangor as an example, Kayveas claimed that the state’s basic services are in a deplorable stage where solid waste go uncollected and social amenities are lacking while traffic congestion is notorious.

“At least during BN’s era, one can see some progress whether it is cited as negiotiated, open or restrictive tenders.”

Some of his views were echoed by Gerakan’s Pulau Tikus seat coordinator Rowena Yam, who said that the two-party system is a natural progression for any developing country.

However in Malaysia, there exists a contradiction in the interpretion over the freedom of expression, particularly from Pakatan.

According to her, each time PKR, DAP and PAS are embroiled in their respective internal squabbles, they issue gag orders.

Each time, they feel threatened by the media reports or by opposing politicians, they file libel suits or threaten to do so.

Freedom of expression

Pakatan does not subscribe to its own preaching, such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion or basic human rights needs.

“When they quarel among themselves, they issue gag orders without realising that it is the right of the people to know what is going on along the much advocated transparency lines.”

Yam also noted that the politicking level has gone up so high that people are now wondering who is managing the country. Pakatan leaders disagreed with the views of Kayveas and Yam.