Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pragmatism, Chinese, Barisan Rakyat Unity

Election 2008 : History And Voting Style
Election 2008 had just completed. Barisan Rakyat, in which the civil organisations and certain citizens term the PKR , DAP and PAS parties managed to deny Barisan Nasional two-third majority for the second time since 1969. The success is more pronounced with 5 states falling into the hands of Barisan Rakyat. Now, this is happening for the very first time in history. In 1969, only 2 states were taken by non-BN parties.

There must be some reasons that Barisan Nasional had lost so many seats. The main reason is, of course, as everybody knows, the "no confidence" in the Pak Lah Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Hadhari Administration. This guy here created two major historical moments in Malaysia within two terms of his leadership.

1) Biggest win for a single political coalition (BN) in Malaysian history : Election 2004.

2) Biggest loss for a single political coalition (BN) in Malaysian history : Election 2008.

Other than Pak Lah's poor performance, is there any other reason? I would say it has something to do with the citizens. In 1969, seats were cut out in the form of racial proportions. Malay areas would have PAS contesting as opposition. Non-Muslim areas will see Gerakan (opposition back in 1969) or any other non-Muslim parties contesting. Victory was easily assured because of such grouping in constituents.

After 1969, most constituents have a somehow balanced racial distribution due to government's plan execution of integrating the Malaysian community. However, this posed a problem for parties with ethno-centric outlook. Barisan Nasional looked better for having all parties representation with all sorts of ethnicity within its coalition. If there are three-cornered fights, it would be easy for Barisan Nasional to win. Such scenario was common. Yes, it was, until 2008.

Barisan Rakyat made sure each seat will only have one representative from the opposition party. People have woken up. They have discarded the divisive racial and religious mentality and collaboratively opted for the opposition parties during election. People have realised that they need to do something useful to save the nation.

Minussing PKR, which is a multiracial party in its outlook, 2008 witnessed non-Muslims voting for PAS and Malays voting for DAP. Previously, such an incident somehow looks taboo and unable to happen. Perhaps, I have underestimated fellow Malaysians. It is time for the Malays, Chinese and Indians to hold hands and work together. Blaming each other's religions and races will bring us nowhere. We have to sit down and talk and kick out anyone or any parties that seek to use divide-and-rule strategy on the people. Question the leadership.

Breaking Barisan Rakyat Unity Using PAS
Malaysiakini posted PAS wins big with gentler image: analysts . I would believe this as true. Some important excerpts to justify :

a) Hadi Awang said there would not be any dramatic changes for non-Muslims in the new PAS-ruled Kedah, unlike when it took over Kelantan in 1990, and it intended to respect minority rights.

b) "Whatever we (restrict), it will be in consultation with the various races living in these states," he said. "Whatever is allowed by their religion we will not interfere in but what is banned in Islam, we will forbid for Muslims."

c) "Being the party of Islamic scholars, PAS will now have to tread a much more moderate line in ensuring that they can form a coalition with the DAP," he (Husam Musa) said.

According to Malaysia Today, someone has started to spread rumours to break the newly-found Barisan Rakyat unity. I have heard from somewhere that certain mainstream media lapdogs machinery have started to function. Yet again, will Malaysians be divided?

In The aftermath of the 'bloodbath' , Raja Petra wrote this piece :

Now, with regards to the talk floating around that Tok Guru Haji Abdul Hadi Awang has announced that Kedah is going to introduce Hudud laws; this is not true. Tok Guru confirmed he never made such an announcement. The trouble is, many of you wear these 'boycott the mainstream media' T-shirts yet you still read and believe what the mainstream media spins. Would you become terrible offended if I shout 'Bodoh punya orang!'? I really don't know what else to shout under these circumstances.

Let me repeat what I have said many, many times in the past. PAS does not have 150 seats in Parliament. In fact, PAS, DAP and PKR combined do not have 150 seats in Parliament. Read my lips. “PAS NEEDS 150 SEATS IN PARLIAMENT TO CHANGE THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY OR OF THE STATES!”

Anyway, 150 seats or no 150 seats, PAS does not intend to introduce Islamic laws, PERIOD.

Pragmatic Should Be the Word
For those not in the know, PAS only contested in 60 parliamentary seats, of which, not all were won. That is not even half of the two-third majority (150 seats) needed to form a government.

I believe PAS understands that it has to work with other parties (DAP and PKR). PAS is pragmatic enough to adjust itself. Now, there is no Islamic State. Its Manifesto for 2008 is Welfare State (Negara Berkebajikan), which, in a way is feasible and fair to people not from the Muslim community as well.

Reading the statements above, PAS is practical enough to consult non-Muslim communities before implementing any form of law or making any final decision. It is only concerned with Muslims. Hadi Awang has said it. There is always DAP and PKR to rely on.

We should all understand PAS has survived all this while because there is still support from Muslims. They believe that this party can fight for their cause. It is similar to DAP. Although there are people who speak about its irrelevance, we have to know DAP exists until this very day because there is support from the public. We can't just simply "deny" PAS and DAP and think they would disappear into thin air. That is not really sensible. I think DAP may be willing to be pragmatic but the problem rests not with the party but its supporters.

The latest method from certain lapdogs is to break the understanding between PAS and non-Muslim supporters. The way of doing it is easy. Since the mainstream media is controlled by Somebody, Somebody would play all these classic 1980s (28 years ago) stuff, painting PAS in an extreme way to the non-Muslims. For the Muslims, certain Malay papers could be made to paint DAP as this chauvinistic chinese party who will demand for everything and suppress the Malays. Standard divide-and-rule approach. The idea may be old but who knows it may work?

Anything minor or potentially exploitable will be capitalised. For instance, the Menteri Besar of Perak decision. Actually, the truth is, PAS havs just nominated a candidate for Menteri Besar. Due to the nature that the Perak state majority can only be established through the combination of 3 opposition parties, each party would provide a candidate for the Sultan of Perak to choose and DAP only said they would discuss with PKR for decision on a related issue.

Somebody actually tried to make it look like PAS and DAP cannot agree on anything. The point is, the spin doctor failed to realise PAS proposing a candidate and DAP discussing with PKR on this issue doesn't mean they are disagreeing. It is not logic to paint it that way. Of course, this show is catered for the non-Muslim audience of which a portion may be stupid enough to think DAP does not want PAS candidate to become the MB of Perak therefore a decision has yet to be made.

The Chinese often said the community is pragmatic. From the way I see it, this may not be the case. If they are far-sighted enough, they would have seen through the trick easily. Indians are more open to PAS and Malays to DAP than Chinese with PAS. To change one's fate, one has to collaborate with others. Perhaps it is high time to write about the kiasi and short-sightedness of Malaysian Chinese. Should add one more term too : "Not Pragmatic".

No comments: