So who do we support, the leader or the cause?


Justice may be delayed but it can never be denied. It took Galileo Galilei 350 years. It took me only five years. But finally Pakatan Rakyat’s death proved what I said five years ago that attracted so much condemnation from those who felt we must choose the leader over the cause.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Two days ago, The Malaysian Insider reported Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin a.k.a. Zam as saying that Umno leaders must choose between the party president (Najib Tun Razak) and the party (Umno).

Zam, Malaysia’s one-time Information Minister, is now the spokesman for GAM (Gerakan Anti-Najib), a movement headed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and endorsed and supported by the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat.

This is precisely what DAP, PKR and the PAS ‘progressives’ have been saying as well: that Pakatan Rakyat’s leaders must choose between the PAS President (Abdul Hadi Awang) and the party.

Actually, what they are saying is not new. I said the same thing myself many times and for so many years. I, however, have extended that dogma further than just choose the party over the leader. I have said we must choose the cause (not just the party) over the leader.

Yes, the cause is above everything else, I said. It is even above the party. Choosing the party over the leader is not good enough because sometimes the party, too, may be wrong. So this may not be just about the leader. We need to see whether the party is wrong as well and hence must choose the cause above both the party and the leader whenever necessary.

I took a very strong stand in late 2010, about two-and-a-half years after the March 2008 general election (which was more or less halfway through that parliamentary term) when I feared that Pakatan Rakyat was not delivering on its promises.

I have already talked about this matter often enough so I will not repeat those issues that I raised back in 2010. The point I wish to stress, though, is that when I felt that the cause was being betrayed (not just be the leader but by the party as well) I distanced myself from the party in the interest of the cause.

DAP and its leaders cannot seem to understand this. And it is evident when they announced that they are cutting ties with the PAS President, Abdul Hadi Awang, but will still maintain their relationship with PAS.

I found that a bit odd. Can I say that I shun Najib but will still support Umno? Can I say that the problem is not Umno but Najib and if Umno gets rid of Najib then it would be the perfect party to rule Malaysia?

Of course, there certainly are those who oppose Najib but support Umno and they tell us that they want Najib out so that Umno can be saved. But it all depends on what your perjuangan (cause) is, of course. There are also PAS members and leaders who support the party but do not support Hadi and they want Hadi ousted so that PAS can be saved.

I, however, treat the party merely as a platform, a platform to further the cause and meet the objectives of this cause. The end game is the cause. The game plan is to win the elections to further the cause because only once you are in power can that be done. And the vehicle is the political party that will contest the elections.

So we have the end game, the game plan, and the strategy: three different and separate things. Malaysians, however, tend to treat all three as one, sort of like a Trinity. And herein lies the problem.

My cause or end game is simple and has not changed much. My game plan and strategies, however, have changed many times in the past. In the beginning I thought that Islam has all the answers and if we wish to see a masyarakat madani (civil society) we need to turn to Islam.

Of course, at that time I was in my 20s and when you are at that age you tend to be idealistic. With the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and Anwar Ibrahim leading the charge in ABIM to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State, I was full of enthusiasm.

That burned out a few years later when the Iranian Islamic Revolution proved as bad or worse than the regime it replaced. And with Anwar by then in Umno and climbing the ladder — first as the Youth Leader and later as one of Umno’s Vice Presidents — I thought the cause could be better served through the Islamisation of Umno.

That, too, proved wrong when instead of Anwar changing Umno, Umno changed him. So I abandoned Anwar and migrated to PAS where I thought the cause would be more sincerely propagated.

Then, of course, came Reformasi and Barisan Alternatif in 1999, which PAS was very much a part of. And I was confident back in 1999 that we were going to see some success for the cause after struggling for 20 years without much success.

But that soon fell apart and the result was the 2004 general election disaster. I knew then that it was a hopeless aspiration so I decided to leave altogether and start Malaysia Today.

In 2008 it appeared like there was still hope after all when Pakatan Rakyat was formed. So I came back in the hope that the cause would now have a home, Pakatan Rakyat.

That proved wrong as well and in 2010 I no longer wanted to have anything to do with parties and vehicles. I saw so many flaws in Pakatan Rakyat and knew it was only a matter of time before Pakatan Rakyat would go the way of Barisan Alternatif, Gagasan Rakyat, Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah and the so many different alliances that were formed to bring changes to Malaysia but in the end all proved bullshit.

Well, today, Pakatan Rakyat has been officially declared over. PAS has announced it has ended its relationship with DAP while DAP announced the same even earlier.

My only consolation in this whole thing is that five years ago in 2010 I said this was going to happen. When I decided to leave and at the same time criticise the Pakatan Rakyat leaders I said that it is because the leaders are going to kill Pakatan Rakyat if they do not change.

Well, I was condemned and called all sorts of names. My friends left me and my family felt quite hurt about the whole matter. I told my family to have patience. Today (in 2010), everyone may be saying I am wrong, even those who claim to be my friends. In time to come I will be proven right when Pakatan Rakyat is turned to dust.

And that day is now upon us.

Justice may be delayed but it can never be denied. It took Galileo Galilei 350 years. It took me only five years. But finally Pakatan Rakyat’s death proved what I said five years ago that attracted so much condemnation from those who felt we must choose the leader over the cause.