Hornbill Unleashed

June 22, 2017

Harapan should commit to the game they decided to play

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

“The only politician ever to have entered parliament with honourable intentions, was Guy Fawkes.” ― Terry Deary

Because Pakatan – what is it called now? – has decided to play the Umno game instead of rewriting the rules of the game, it is pointless worrying about the possible power former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad would wield in the coalition that is facing off against Umno in the next general election.

As I argued the former prime minister plays for keeps and if removing, the current Umno grand poohbah is the main goal than the former prime minister who has resuscitated the floundering opposition has to be given free rein in the possible destruction of Umno. That is the only tactical play.

My columns as some have argued, well that should be mocked, is apparently the antithesis of strategic thinking, what with all this talk about principles, egalitarianism and burrowing into the past so we do not make the same mistakes in the future.

Political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim’s caution that the installation of the ringleaders of the Najib refuseniks as the main leads in Pakatan Harapan would be similar in structure of Barisan Nasional, is unintentionally humorous. Anyone with any real interest and objectivity in Malaysian politics would conclude that Pakatan Harapan, even without Mahathir, is a continuation of alliance politics in which Barisan Nasional is the most successful incarnation.

The only reason why the opposition is a viable alternative is that the charismatic Anwar Ibrahim managed to split the Malay vote and cobble together an alternative alliance which was very much an improvement of the Barisan Nasional formula but not a rejection of it.

It is pointless talking about “consensus” because what was really going on was “compromise”. There is nothing wrong with compromise but the real problem is that all those compromises were at the expense of ideology that was supposed to have cured this nation of its “ketuanan politics”. After a while, when Pakatan Rakyat spectacularly imploded, the only dogma remaining was that Umno had to replaced.

Making a pact with the former prime minister and Bersatu is merely by “any means necessary” and to argue otherwise, to make the argument that the “reform” agenda is still on the table is mendacious, considering the fact that the Najib refuseniks have been blatant in their old Umno strategies of garnering the Malay vote, which is what the opposition claims in the utilitarian value of Mahathir.

The DAP’s Lim Guan Eng claims that the DAP opposes the possible monopoly of Bersatu of the coalition’s leadership roles but declined to comment on whether his party would accept Mahathir or Muhyiddin (Yassin) as the leader of the coalition because apparently jailed political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim is still Harapan’s favourite son.

Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in agreeing with Lim made a rather dubious analogy with what the Labour party’s Jeremy Corbyn went through before Labour’s big gains the UK general elections, henceforth called May’s Folly.

I would remind the young Bersatu leader that Labour lost the election, but more importantly, made gains because of its election platform and the fact that Corbyn appealed to a demographic that desperately wanted to change the system and give the middle finger to Theresa May.

Labour’s leadership crisis was a mixture of ideology and loss of confidence in the Corbyn leadership and not what we are seeing with Pakatan Harapan, which is a mixture of racial politics – the fear of Malay ketuanism – and the Non–Malay (Chinese) sabre rattling that they will not be brushed aside like the way how the MCA is in Barisan Nasional.

Furthermore this idea that the leadership line will be “exciting” for the rakyat is more reality TV horse manure. I have no idea what the strategists of Harapan are doing but they should have caught on to the fact that people are suffering from some sort of fatigue and most people have this “ a pox on both your houses” mentality.

The sooner Harapan puts forth its election manifesto that would be something tangible, instead of making it seem like the only thing Harapan can do is squabble over who leads a moribund alliance.

Let me be very clear. This is not what I want from the opposition. Clearly, I am in the minority. However since the opposition has chosen to take this path, what they should do to commit to it and not supply ammunition to Umno. You do not lead a “war” by consensus. You need a firm leader to inspire and lead the troops.

Or failing that a strategist who knows how the Umno game is played and can outplay his former comrades and split the Malay vote and redefine the political landscape much as how political prisoner Anwar Ibrahim did when he was ejected from the Umno paradise.

Since Pakatan Harapan has decided there is nobody in their ranks which could do this, they have had to settle on their former nemesis to lead this fight against the Umno hegemon. It is pointless bickering over leadership positions hoping that people will view this as some sort of “consensus” building and a new way of doing things. It is not.

I have argued that the only political personality at the moment that could get the Trump vote is former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad – “Trump used every bigoted trick in the book, from demonising Muslims to scaremongering about a ‘Mexican’ menace to warning about the yellow peril all because of a weak entrenched political establishment.

The de facto opposition leader is doing the same thing now – pointing out compromised trade deals made by a weak potentate and the threat of ‘foreign’ migration. As with Trump, he camouflages these with legitimate economic and social anxieties. And like Trump, he has a diverse coalition of ideologically disparate power groups working with him to destroy the establishment.”

Anwar Ibrahim’s move not to offer himself as a prime minister candidate is a shrewd one. At least one player is off the board but that still leaves a few contenders who realize – unlike many Harapan partisans – that this is a long game and if in the next general election the status quo remains, this would offer a new generation of power players a chance in the spotlight.

This is really the issue here. (1) Remaining relevant. (2) Securing power bases and maintaining voter bases. Put it this way. If Pakatan Harapan loses the election but manages to maintain its foothold and by some miracle, deny Umno its two-third majority, then the Najib refuseniks are over and PKR, DAP and Amanah (if it is still standing) can carry on playing their “consensus” games and throwing pebbles at the Umno hegemon.

However, if by some miracle Pakatan Harapan wins the general election, then depending on the role Mahathir played, this would become a real problem for Pakatan. The crown can only be on one head and opposition politicians who claim they do not want a “BN structure” may be relegated to junior partners in a Mahathir defined political paradigm.

If the goal of removing the current Umno grand poohbah is paramount then the opposition should just stop this nonsense and place the crown on Mahathir Mohamad and hope that some kind of change will be forthcoming if they succeed.

It is pointless asking him to fight with one hand tied behind his back , like what the opposition has been doing all these years. If you think that you can win this election without the former prime minster, by all means, put forth your candidates and get down to the work of winning over hearts and minds.

Which would you prefer?

The possibility of winning this election with the former prime minister leading the charge or losing the election because the former prime minister is embroiled in this consensus building horse manure?

Source : Malaysiakini by S Thayaparan.
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: