Pakatan Harapan is finished as a common political front in favour of ad hoc cooperation only

umar mukhtar

Umar Mukhtar

The Barisan Nasional is a master of coalition politics in Malaysia after more than sixty years of experience, first as Alliance and then as BN, compared to the graveyard of opposition attempts – Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah, Gagasan Rakyat, Barisan Alternatif, Pakatan Rakyat and the like.

The distinct features of BN compared to those failed attempts are that it is a registered entity and has agreed written terms among members, including punitive clauses for enforcement against wayward members.

Never in the sixty-odd years have member parties ran against each other in elections. At the most, disgruntled individual party members resigned to run as independents. This is because a member party running against the coalition’s choice of its representative party at that constituency calls for the expulsion of the errant party from the coalition.

Of course, Alliance and BN have always had a dominant member, UMNO, leading it in cracking the whip at the BN Presidential Council. And nobody wants to leave a winning team.

The Sarawak polls now see a derivative of the above where some candidates are chosen to run as direct BN candidates after having to resign from their BN component party so as not to antagonise another member-party not chosen to run at the respective constituencies. Whether this manoeuvring will work without negatively impacting the coalition’s solidarity is yet to be seen.

That is the kind of room that BN creates for itself in order to keep the coalition intact. Protests will always be there but maturity usually prevails over non-beneficial direct confrontations. Unlike PH members, who operate free-for-all due to the lack of coalition leadership and a common ideology. These are the vast differences between PH and BN.

That is why PH will never be a reality as a coalition front. It is finished. It may exist only in name as an opposition forum to choose ad hoc circumstances for cooperation whenever they appear in the political arena. But it is submitted that you don’t need a common front for that.

Attempts were made immediately after PRU12 to consolidate Pakatan Rakyat but they failed miserably because of the political immaturity and the lacking of balls of PR leaders. Zaid Ibrahim, then of PKR, only managed to cobble together the Common Platform document before he, too, gave up and left it to PR to fight unnecessary battles in their coconut shell.

PR broke up and looks like PH will too. The common feature of the self-destructive fights is DAP’s attempts to assert itself as the leader of both coalitions. They were disguised in many forms but all were noticeable as infighting for dominance by the strongest but minority component. As long as ‘kiasu’ leaders exist in DAP, effective coalition is but a pipe dream.

PKR Vice-president Nurul Izzah’s bravado over the matter is laughable. It is not just about the six seats, little girl. It’s about the thinking behind the move and the accusations and distrust thereafter. Unfaithful spouses may get back together again but the sex will never be the same. An outright divorce is a better option, right? Just move on and find another partner, if any.

The significance is obvious. For example, a PH-ruled Malaysia will have plural ministers for some key ministries, and ministers will continue their childish fights at ministerial level while the country suffers. Let’s not waste time with these jokers. We have enough problems as it is.

But we need a strong opposition and DAP is suitably qualified for that role. Just make sure that the Leader of the Opposition in parliament is a real one who can speak with authority, and not some floosie with a Japanese fan and a permanent look of a victim who is nothing but a proxy. Showtime is over. Let’s stop the country from bleeding.

‘Harapan tinggal Harapan’