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Thursday, August 18, 2011

It is Pakatan that will replace Umno-BN

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:01 PM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Coming across Kadir Jassin’s article on PAS, which I found an interesting read but exceptionally biased, I felt that certain points raised by him warrants a rebuttal.
Should one day Pakatan Rakyat take over the reins of the nation, PAS is definitely not expected to take over the role of UMNO as Kadir expects (scroll below for his write-up). On no account should PAS even entertain that thought. God forbid.Why should it? First and foremost, it is already clear UMNO is a losing proposition, so why should PAS be so silly as to drink from a posioned stream?
PAS should also not be expected to lead the Pakatan Rakyat.  This country’s administration should be equally shared by Pakatan Rakyat parties, with the power sharing divided depending on the number of representatives in Parliament.

Why should PAS take over the role unless it has overwhelming representation in Parliament? If Pakatan Rakyat wins, the people expect a serious change in the country’s administration, a major remodelling and the removal of obsolete entrenchment of power-sharing within the BN administration.
Given the country’s demography, political history and the on-going trends, a Malay party will continue to lead, according to Kadir. But this is exactly what we should eliminate. Why continue to mimic the same structure of the BN administration?
PAS could only hope to rule the country if it leads Pakatan the way UMNO has been leading the Alliance/BN since independence, according to Kadir. Nowhere in the equation is PAS expected to take over UMNO's role or has the ambition to be the dominant party. Where did such a bizarre idea come from?
Again, an equal partnership whether it appeals to liberals or is abhorred by hardliners is the point. The goal is to ensure a fair and effective government that embraces a free democracy and good governance based on a multicultural stratum. That would be the least that PR owes its voters.
It is expected that Malay parliamentary representation would not erode as PKR and DAP can also appeal to the Malay electorate although both adopt a multiracial policy. As such, there is no question of loss of Malay power which BN has been trying so hard to sell to the public.
Najib failed to turn the tide for BN following the 2008 tsunami
There is no doubt that the Pakatan Rakyat’s presence is felt throughout the country, with so many BN stronghold seats surrendered to Pakatan in the last election. The chances are bright it can capture up to 100 parliamentary seats in the next election.
Najib’s failure is due not so much to perception but chiefly to unchecked corruption, racial conflicts and religious strife. If the Fourth Floor Boys were bad during the Badawi era, Najib's current ring of 'operators' are considered to be even worst. And in terms of actual output viz-a-viz governmental performance and achievements, it is even more negligible than Badawi's.
Najib can continue to kid himself about the virtues of perception, but its not going help him one bit. In fact, it is fair to say that no other Prime Minister has brought so much disgrace to Malaysia. The ongong international media scandal is a prime example. Yes, Mahathir Mohamad and Badawi indulged in glowing publicity for themselves too. But neither men got caught, perhaps neither were foolish enough to throw such huge chunks of money at unscrupulous foreign media tricksters.
Very fairly, if Najib were to step down today, he would go down in history as the WORST-ever PM and it would be a well-deserved rebuke. Right now, he really has got nothing to prove anymore and it is already clear with his latest Parliamentary Select Committtee 'scam', he will never and can never change his spots. He is already too comfortable, he is already so wealthy, he already has everything. The only concern now is how to keep the conduits of wealth open to his family and those of the UMNO elite. And this is the sad truth that UMNO members have to swallow.
PAS leadership and policy changes, with the non-ulama now dominating the leadership and the Islamic State objective morphing into a Welfare system, have strengthened the party. It has 'universalised' the party's appeal. Squabbles with other Pakatan partners are mostly connived and played up by the BN, who want nothing more than to strain the relationship amongst the trio with the ultimate aim of destroying the coalition.
But unlike UMNO, PAS is consistent with its beliefs which might sometimes ruffle feathers at PKR and DAP, but so far Pakatan has always managed to settle the differences in an impeccable manner, much to the annoyance of the BN. Can it really be so idyllic? Put it this way - all three are so motivated now that all their MPs and ADUNs are focused only on winning against the BN. With such an attitude, give-and-take comes easily, even naturally.
The JAIS-DUMC church issue is far more complicated. After days of trying to ride the political wave, PAS moved to give JAIS 'face', telling Selangorians to be patient and urging the department to take immediate action if it finds proof that Christians were proselytising to Muslims.
The latest development is that PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali has announced he has evidence UMNO was behind the JAIS move to raid DUMC. This of course has created another upheaval in the UMNO press, although Malays themselve - like the non-Malays - were already bracing for it. When will UMNO ever learn?
PAS stand on the JAIS issue is neutral pending the JAIS report, which MB Khalid Ibrahim expects after Adil Fitri. It is wise for PAS to be cautious as there are trumped-up efforts to ensnare the party. An ugly showdown with its coalition partners on a sensitive issue is on the cards if it is not careful, thanks to UMNO pressure.
And it is unkind of Kadir to remark that this kind of political posturing among Pakatan parties could render the alliance ineffectual and cause it to lose the support of the voters. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what the hullabaloo is all about concerning the DUMC issue, and neither would die-hard Pakatan supporters suddenly abandon the coalition. In fact, the revelation and proof of UMNO's involvement will swing more Malay fence-sitters over to Pakatan.
It is the peope who decide
Since PAS’s announcement that it is now focusing on a welfare state, there has been a concerted effort by BN to blow it out of proportion, as BN knew many PAS supporters were hardliners who supported a puritanical approach to Religion. This may cost PAS some of its supporters, but it is a risk that only its leaders can evaluate and justify. That this conservative party has finally 'done it' and the tremendous cheer it raised when it made the landmark announcement is a strong indication that PAS leaders have decided wisely.
According to Jasin, without the rural support, PAS runs the risk of losing Kedah and even its stronghold, Kelantan. Such plans as limiting gambling activities, the selling of liquor and curbing entertainment, are popular with rural supporters. Time will tell, whether such a thing will erode PAS' crucial support, but it is not expected that PAS supporters will suddenly vote BN in retaliation.
Jasin also suggested that the DAP and PAS may abandon the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, with DAP taking this course of action in order to entrench its position in Penang, while PAS could hope to continue to rule Kelantan and Kedah on their own.
To even suggest that Pakatan will break up on this basis is too far fetched, except in the wildest dreams of the ruling coalition. This is the trouble with UMNO and the BN. They forget that it is the people who decide and the people expect the Pakatan Rakyat to stay together in the interest of the nation. And the people want Pakatan to take over the federal government.
The Pakatan administration
If PKR, DAP and PAS split up for the sake of furthering their 'personal' interests, let's take a bet - I say, the people will vote them out. If Pakatan crumbles because they can't get along, the people will look for another Pakatan, any coalition that can give challenge and remove the BN.
This is now the new dynamic, and PKR, DAP and PAS are smart enough to smell this shift. Sad to say, UMNO and BN have still not wised up to it.
The demand by PAS to contest up to 80 parliamentary seats shows the party’s growing confidence, and not to be misconstrued as a resolve to be the replacement for the PKR as the dominant Malay partner. And PKR has always fashioned itself to be a multi-racial and not the Malay arm of the coalition. Even DAP wants to go multi-racial and not be stuck as the Chinese arm of the coalition. All three can be guaranted to fight boisteriously for seats and why not? So what? It is their right and so long as it doesn't endanger their sacred promise to the people to overthrow the BN, let democracy prevail in Pakatan itself.
So let us not rush into a debate of whether PAS can rule this country until it happens. Frankly, PAS has 20 years of experience ruling Kelantan, and with the present federal administration being run like a circus, even a 12-year old child can run this country better.
Besides, PAS won't be running the show alone. It has the PKR and DAP sharing in the daily running of the country, and if the Pakatan Administration fail to implement changes to the satisfaction of the people, they too will be removed five years later by discontented Malaysians.

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