Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An Insightful Malaysiakini Analysis of GE 13 Which Shows Where Pakatan Erred

In the wake of GE 13, the politics inside Pakatan Rakyat remain as bewildering and contradictory as ever.
Take, for example, an unusually insightful analysis published on Malaysiakini by Nigel Aw, taking Pakatan leaders to task for mistakenly focusing their efforts on making inroads into Borneo and Johor rather than on protecting their 2008 gains in Peninsular Malaysia.
Entitled "In haste for Putrajaya, Pakatan loses home ground" this analysis made three compelling points:
First, it noted that PR's strong focus on wresting parliamentary seats from BN's "fixed deposit" states "saw the opposition coalition lose its grip on constituencies that it already won in the last general election."
Aw terms Pakatan's campaign in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak as having only been "somewhat successful as half of its 22 parliamentary seats gained were from these 'BN fixed deposit' states."
But he also writes that "BN cancelled out Pakatan's gains in (the) peninsula by also capturing 15 seats from the opposition coalition there, thus Pakatan only made a national net gain of seven seats" and should have done better than just rising from 82 to 89 seats in Parliament.
Secondly, the article which appeared on Malaysiakini noted that "unlike in 2008 where there was a 'protest vote' against BN under then premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had done much to regain lost ground for the ruling coalition."
He attributes this to the absence of a "protest factor" in GE13, which explains why both PKR and PAS lost several semi-rural seats like Hulu Selangor, Kuala Selangor and Bagan Serai.
Thirdly, the analysis also blames Pakatan's loss of Kedah on "the lacklustre performance" of PAS' former Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak and Pakatan infighting in that state.
In total, says Aw, PAS lost seven parliamentary seats, and PKR lost eight parliamentary seats in the Peninsula, while DAP succeeded in retaining all of their seats that they won in 2008.
Inside Pakatan, the situation remains divided. DAP is now the largest Opposition party with 38 seats, up from 28 in the last general election. PKR now controls 30 seats in Parliament, one less from the last general election, and PAS controls 21, two less than the last general election.
Some Malaysiakini readers seemed to agree with Nigel Aw in their comments.
As clever voter wrote: "Put aside the problems of fraud and phantom voters, PKR must quickly focus on grooming its next generation of leaders. Certainly in hindsight the leadership will need to reach out better to rural and semi urban constituencies."
Anonymous_VV wrote that "pas is the spoiler with its hudud policy..pas never will learn that even the malays are not ready for hudud..."
So while Anwar Ibrahim was busy first tweeting victory, then claiming his loss was because of fraud, then refusing to accept the will of the rakyat, and then (what a surprise!) calling for mass protests on Wednesday, the continuing contradictions inside Pakatan were shown even as Lim Kit Siang urged Anwar to carry on as Opposition Leader.
Which is it then? Is Pakatan's policy to reject the vote which Lim Kit Siang seemed happy to accept and which Malaysiakini analysed in such detail? Or is it to side with Anwar in refusing to behave like a normal defeated Opposition politician in a mature democracy?
 It is not often that we at The Choice agree with Malaysiakini, but this time we would call the Nigel Aw analysis insightful. Pakatan would be well-advised to consider it carefully as well.

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