I have seen many friends and acquaintances who were worried by the breakup of Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan).They feared the end of a strong coalition which could challenge the ruling regime, Barisan Nasional (BN) with United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) as its dominant party. The breakup came when Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) declared its intention not to work with Democratic Action Party (DAP) in Pakatan. You cannot have a coalition where the component parties refuse to work with each other. It means the end of any coalition.
Contrary to many worries, the Pakatan breakup appears to be unavoidable in my humble view. My reasoning is as follows:
- Pakatan is a coalition. It is only as strong as the collective strength of all members. The strength disappears when they cannot work together. Pakatan means little without the collective strength. We can not be too attached to the name. It is just a name.
- The objective of most Malaysians is crystal clear. We want a cleaner, fairer and more accountable government. In the absence of Pakatan, we have to move on and look forward to a new coalition or party that can deliver this objective of Malaysians. Where there is demand, there will be supply. Pakatan Rakyat Baru?
- PAS has not sat comfortably within Pakatan all these years. It was the late Nik Aziz who held PAS together and ensured PAS remained a key member of Pakatan coalition. While PKR and DAP are more about social justice, clean government and transparency for all in a multi-racial and religious Malaysia. PAS apparently existed only to advance its Islamic rule in Malaysia at least in the eyes of its current president, Hadi Awang. PKR and DAP are more moderate in nature.
- The fallout between the professionals and Ulamas of PAS is inevitable too. The professionals in PAS are moderate and very inclusive in their national agendas. The Ulamas, on the other hands, share the same thinking as Hadi Awang and prefer to take more extreme stance. They are really 2 different breed of PAS members. The professionals thrived during the leadership of Nik Aziz because he was a clean, fair and moderate leader. The same cannot be said about Hadi.
- A government formed by moderates and extremists pulling at two opposing ends may not last. It would certainly not be good for Malaysia.
The breakup of Pakatan is not necessarily a bad thing. I will go further to submit that the breakup of Pakatan may be a good sign for Malaysian politics in the long run. Why do I have the audacity to say that?
- Malaysians loathe the politics of race and religion that have been practised and exploited by UMNO government. Most Malaysians desire to live together as Malaysians irrespective of color, race and religion. Malaysians have a long history of peaceful moderation. They have never been the aggressor in the region and have been acceptable to adoption of different religions, languages and cultures over time. This can be traced back to as far as the Malacca Sultanate.
- UMNO government has inherited the 'divide and rule' administration based on race and religion from the British and wishes to perpetrate it to stay in power and to gain from its own corruption, abuse and injustice. UMNO has grown more extreme than what it used to be in order to secure its stranglehold on the people. The Malaysian desire is no longer in line with the wish of the extremist UMNO.
- The battle line for a new government of Malaysia is much clearer than before. It has been drawn by the sequence of events manoeuvred by the extremist UMNO over the years. It is the moderates against the extremists now!
- Only a moderate government which practices clean, just and transparent administration can fulfil the Malaysian desire. Its not about race. Its not about religion. Its about policies!
- We can find many moderate leaders in PKR, DAP and PAS's professionals.
- Many leaders in PKR, especially the newer generations, are moderate in nature. Nonetheless, PKR has a few ex-UMNO leaders who have unfortunately carried over the bad practices from UMNO. This smaller group may be the spoiler for PKR to be a truly moderate party. Anwar Ibrahim, as a key figure in PKR, must shed the shadow of Umno in PKR. PKR will grow stronger without the menace of ex-UMNO leaders in it.
- DAP has always been a relatively small party up to recent years when there were a flock of younger and moderate leaders joining the party. These younger leaders have captured the inspiration of young voters in the last 2 generation elections. DAP has lesser issue with extremist leaders due to its previously smaller size and generally moderate senior leaders. However, DAP must firmly deal with its state-level warlords and racial bigots to truly be a party for all Malaysians.
- The professionals in PAS in the name of Gerakan Harapan Baru, PasMa or any other name form a large pool of moderate and talented leaders.
- UMNO leaders are mostly extremists by nature who do not hesitate to resort to violence. There are very few true moderate leaders in UMNO. By now, we are absolutely certain that there is no hope to see UMNO or BN turning moderate for Malaysia.
We will continue to see the core of UMNO/BN claiming to champion racial and religious cause while they continue to pursue corruption, abuse and injustice. PAS Ulamas are likely to join force with UMNO, with PAS focusing on Islam and UMNO focusing on Malays. How can UMNO that claims to champion the rights of Malays for the past 58 year still be making the same claim today? That means UMNO has failed for the past 58 years and yet they want more time. It simply does not make any logical sense.
On the other end, we may well see the rise of a truly moderate coalition from the ashes of Pakatan. We can expect to see the moderates congregating to fight for Malaysia purely on clean, just and transparent policies. There is no necessity to resort to politics of race and religion in this new moderate force. This must finally spell the end of race-politics for the good of the nation!
Do we have enough moderate voters to turn Malaysia into a moderate and progressive nation? I know the answer is YES. That may still not be sufficient.
We know that this UMNO government has been gerrymandering and manipulating voters' list, including phantom voters, 'citizenship for vote', etc. We also know that this UMNO goverment will not stop practising these abuses any time soon. The next tough question is whether we have enough moderate voters to win the next election despite all these abuses of voters' list?
WILL THE MODERATES RISE TO THE OCCASION?
The moderates from all walks of life must stand up and be counted if they do not want their country to become Myanmar or North Korea. Spread the words of moderation. Help bring more Malaysians to the side of moderates. It is time for the moderates to regain this country from the hands of corrupt extremists. The time is now! Think moderate; Eat moderate; Sleep moderate; Vote moderates!
May the moderates rise and form the strongest coalition to challenge UMNO/BN in the next election.
Extremists and moderates are used in this article to largely mean the following:
Extremists have their extreme views on race and religion. Many of them join politics for the sole purpose of money. Corruption is accepted as a way of politics.
Moderates are inclusive and have a balanced views on race and religion. Many of them join politics for a sense of achievement and they have the will to do good to the society and country. They do not and must not join politics for money. Corruption is rejected.