Is there hope for PR?

Pakatan Breakup

Fa Abdul, Free Malaysia Today

Even the greatest lives have experienced despair. When this happens, we need hope to pull us out of the trench.

When Anwar Ibrahim first chanted “Reformasi”, he gave us just what we were yearning for – hope. With that first chant, ordinary Malaysians started a mental journey, anticipating changes for the betterment of our beloved home.

Anwar became our hope for a better future. Many looked at him as a godsend, a leader who finally had the guts to challenge Big Brother.

That hope united all opposition forces and grew into something even greater. It made us crawl out of our tiny boxes and hold each other’s hands. It made us march through the streets in true solidarity. It gave us courage to stand up for ourselves.

And soon it wasn’t about Anwar anymore. It was about you and I. It was about every ordinary Malaysian yearning for justice and liberty.

Yes, Pakatan Rakyat gave us hope.

Sadly, we are now asking ourselves: Is there hope for Pakatan?

I recently attended a forum organised by the civic group Lensa Anak Muda Malaysia (LENSA). The topic was “Is There Hope?” and the panellists were PAS Youth chief Suhaizan Kayat, DAP Youth chief Teo Kok Seong, PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Ahmad, political activist Mandeep Singh and student activist Luqman Nul Hakim.

I thought this forum was well timed because the decision on Anwar’s case was near. What if Anwar gets himself behind bars once again? What if the component parties are not able to find a common ground on PAS’ insistence on hudud? What if the leaders of PR continue to grumble over their disagreements? Is there, indeed, hope?

In between my yawns, I got my answer. It was a big fat “yes”. According to all three youth chiefs, there is hope that Pakatan Rakyat will remain intact. They claimed that their presence at the forum, together, should be taken as solid proof of unity and solidarity. “To know the future of a country, you need not look elsewhere, just look at us,” one of them said. “As long as we are united, there is hope for PR.”

I don’t buy that. After two and a half hours of listening to them, everyone who attended the forum deserves to get a better answer than “Yes, there is hope.”

How do you see hope when your leaders are bickering with one another?

Throughout the forum, the three youth chiefs kept giving two assurances. First, it is normal to have a bit of a “storm” in the party. “Democracy is noisy,” one said. Second, there are no big issues in PR; 90% of the party members are happy. They pleaded with the public to focus on the 90% and not the 10%.