PKR’s politics and a timely reminder to the wise public


This, I think should serve as a reminder to the people: the public has to be wise, discerning and critical enough to question and disagree even when the party of their choice is misguided.

Douglas Teoh

The recent Khalid vs Azmin spectacle has been an overwhelmingly disappointing episode for Pakatan supporters, including me.

Despite various attempts to explain away the conflict, it is really difficult to make (as former Bersih chair Ambiga Sreenevasan puts it) “an overwhelmingly good” case for this decision of replacing Lee with Anwar.

The reasons given by the Pakatan leadership remain unconvincing, its arguments vague and incoherent at best. For instance, if we refer to Rafizi’s recent apology/strategic explanation and the various media statements by Anwar, we realise that their arguments are lacking on various levels:

First, there is little-to-no explanation of how Anwar’s involvement in the state assembly will actually improve Selangor’s “already stellar” performance in the near or far future. This is very much unlike Rafizi and Anwar, whose arguments all this while have been based on sound numbers and logical reasoning. Apart from ambiguous comments such as “considerations, calls and circumstances”, nothing concrete has been laid out by Anwar at all.

It is also disappointing to note that Rafizi has to rely on fallacious strawmen to construct an enemy and justify what the “Kajang move” supposedly does. This is a terrible argument, simply because it is in no way related to the Azmin-Khalid conflict (which, through excellent media/PR skills of the Pakatan leaders, gets circumvented away). Worse is the fact that some other Pakatan leaders have passed the ball to BN to drop out, can be nothing but an act of sheer ignorance and irresponsibility.

Now, even if we do assume that the strawmen are in fact non-constructed and a very real threat (as Rafizi wants us to believe), it leads us to an even less desirable conclusion. If, by any chance, the Mahathir faction in Umno is growing strong, and would rely on unscrupulous tactics to control the Selangor state, it can only mean that the Selangor government’s capabilities is questionable.

After all, if we have a strong government and capable administrators, then surely these stellar performers would be able to foresee and plan ahead of time (and not spend RM4 million in the process)? Is there a bureaucratic hiccup somewhere that we’re not aware of?

So which of the following should we believe? That Umno-BN is an unforeseen, unexpected threat, and that Pakatan (due to its shortcomings in governing) has to pull in a deus ex machina in the form of Anwar Ibrahim?

Or should we believe that Anwar, Azmin, Khalid and PKR are less than capable to resolve their own house problems?

Either way, this points to weak internal politicking within PKR and an even weaker ability to separate between party politics and state affairs. While they are inevitably related to one another, I believe that the latter remains a more administrative consideration that requires wise decision-making capabilities for the good of the state and its people.

This, I think should serve as a reminder to the people: the public has to be wise, discerning and critical enough to question and disagree even when the party of their choice is misguided.

Let there be no mistaken assumptions: while Pakatan occupies the moral position opposite BN, it is still liable to errors (this one included), and is of course accountable to the rakyat. While Rafizi has apologised, his reasons remain vague – and the party must provide better answers.

Thus, the question that we, and especially Kajang-ites, should ask for the by-elections, is this: do we want to tell Pakatan and PKR to strengthen their leadership? Or are we going to give them a chance to prove themselves? Ultimately, it’s our choice to make, not theirs.