Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cracks appearing in Pakatan Rakyat

DAP member and columnist, Selena Tay writes:
Is something amiss in Pakatan Rakyat? Perhaps so, due to recent events. This article is therefore an attempt to diagnose the problem by reading the warning signs.

As everyone knows, the key to solving a problem is first of all to acknowledge that there is a problem. Once that is clear, then everyone can work together towards solving the problem before it becomes unsolvable.

Now the reason why this columnist senses that there is a problem is because Pakatan seems to lack direction and purpose after the GE13 defeat.

It is true that the momentum and build-up towards GE13 was tremendous and therefore defeat was a great disappointment but still somehow one has to move on and continue with the struggle for a better Malaysia.

As mentioned in this columnist’s previous articles last year, Pakatan has to focus on the immediate issues at hand and that is to concentrate on being a good opposition watchdog.

As the next general election is still very far away, it is futile to have one’s attention diverted by thoughts of capturing Putrajaya.

Focusing on the immediate issues, for example can also mean helping the rakyat cope with the current water-ration exercise that we have been forced to endure.

It is good that DAP’s Balakong state assemblyman, Eddie Ng Tien Chee has rented a lorry tanker to distribute water while PAS Unit Amal is lending a helping hand by providing the manpower to do the distribution. This is a good example of working together for the good of the rakyat.

Back to the problems in Pakatan. There is certainly a rift in Pakatan due to two incidents which can be labelled as ‘The Two Surprises’.

The first surprise no doubt is the resignation of PKR’s Kajang state assemblyman, Lee Chin Cheh to pave the way for Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to contest that state seat in Selangor.

DAP and PAS were definitely surprised by the move. PKR should have sounded out their coalition partners before the move was executed.

Then Selangor PAS Youth announced that they will not help in the Kajang campaign only to backtrack later by saying that they will help in the campaign but will not give their consent to Anwar becoming Menteri Besar should he win the seat.

The reaction of Selangor PAS Youth is all down to being served with the surprise although it is certainly not an excuse for their reaction, said PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad.

However this bickering is all so unnecessary and portrayed PAS and Pakatan in a bad light.

BN leaders of course seized upon this opportunity to comment that “Pakatan lacks cohesion as DAP and PAS are angry with the strategy initiated by PKR’s Rafizi Ramli”.

The water deal

As for the second surprise, it is none other than PKR’s Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim signing the water MoU with the federal government. Signing the MoU is a good move if it puts an end to the rakyat’s water woes without the price of water being increased tremendously.

But then again, after holding out for so long, why the sudden rush to sign?

It is indeed a lightning move by Khalid. And as in the first surprise, this too was done without any early warning to the DAP and PAS lawmakers, and they had no clue that this signing was going to take place. It is certainly not good to keep one’s coalition partners in the dark.

And the third indication that cracks are appearing in Pakatan is the activities pertaining to the Kajang by-election because as of now, PAS and DAP seem slow to help.

Although campaigning can only be carried out after Nomination Day on March 11, ‘small works’ should have been done by the end of last month.

‘Small works’ refer to meeting the people of Kajang, finding out their woes and generally getting a feel of the place by chatting to people in the coffee-shops and the warungs.

All these should have been done by the grassroots members of PAS and DAP without wearing the party uniform. This informal walkabout is useful for obtaining information pertaining to the Kajang folk.

Till today, ‘small works’ have not been done despite this columnist persistently sending quite a number of text messages to PAS and DAP leaders urging them to take action and get going on the ground to meet the people.

A PAS Central Working Committee member has even texted back to this columnist saying: “Still haven’t receive instruction from top leadership to turun padang,…sigh”.

Very lax indeed. This lethargy on the part of DAP and PAS certainly points to some rift in Pakatan.

Although the rift is not major as yet, problems should be ironed out with roundtable discussions before it reaches a point of no return.

A Pakatan Rakyat Convention will be held in Selangor this Saturday, March 8 which is a significant date.

Pakatan must rejuvenate after losing momentum, direction, focus and purpose post-GE13. Otherwise the fledgling two-party system will collapse and democracy in Malaysia will regress.

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