Friday, May 31, 2013
Guan Eng Stresses Pakatan Rakyat Legitimacy of GE13 Results
In 2013, it is Lim Guan Eng telling Malaysian students abroad that a strong Opposition – by which he means Pakatan – is good for Malaysia. Guan Eng believing that Pakatan Rakyat is good is nothing new. However, there is a profound change from Guan Eng's rhetoric at home, where he has come close to suggesting that Pakatan is the rightful Government.
Speaking to Oxford University's Merton College, Guan Eng worked to stir in a few of his ceramah staples (for example, a reference to NFCorp, where Pakatan Rakyat lost its interest in due process in the name of politics) with a more moderate message about a concern both BN and Pakatan share: Malaysians abroad who do not return home.
"I reject the contention that the future prospects of the country have been negatively affected by the presence of a stronger opposition," Guan Eng is reported to have said, thereby undercutting again Anwar's claim that BN 'stole' GE13.
One might note that the value of an Opposition is not in its 'strength' but in its competence. A competent Opposition forces the Government to choose the best policies for the rakyat through clever politics, good proposed legislation and well-run electoral campaigns that effectively challenge the governing party's ability to stay in power.
We instead have Pakatan Rakyat.
But Guan Eng has told his audience that the election results are legitimate. This continues a trend established early on, in which PAS and the DAP by turns stepped away from PKR's most incendiary rhetoric and proclivity for illegal rallies and come to terms with the fact that Malaysia's elections were legitimate.
Some of this may be simple self-interest. The DAP expanded its stranglehold in Penang and was the clear GE13 winner amongst the Pakatan parties. PAS lost seats in the Dewan Rakyat but expanded its state representation in Terengganu while holding Kelantan.
PKR lost strength in Selangor, lost a seat in the Dewan Rakyat and – most importantly as far as PKR is concerned – Anwar is not now Prime Minister.
But some of this doubtless comes from the fact that PAS and the DAP have long experience in elections, and so understand the importance of working in the legal system. Election and court challenges, not street rallies, are how an Opposition becomes the Government.
PAS and the DAP understand this. PKR either does not or does not care.