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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

faux PAS @ bagan pinang

If politics is the art of convincing people to follow one's beliefs, ideologies and principles, than the Bagan Pinang by-election should teach PAS, and the Pakatan Rakyat, some basic things in politics.

Allow me to firstly tell what happened to me some 4 years ago in London.  I was walking along Old Bond Street, pushing a pram with my daughter inside. From about 10 meters away, a Malay man, followed by 3 other men, rushed towards me. He gave me a warm "hello, apa khabar" greeting and extended his hand to "bersalam" with me. He then introduced me to his 3 friends. We chatted for a while. He later pinched my daughter's cheek before saying he had to move on as he could not really stand still for too long in the cold winter. He then said bye-bye with a smile and left.

The thing was, I did not even know who he was. We haven't met before. And yet he was so friendly. It was as if making friends out of a total stranger was second nature to him.

What has this got to do with Bagan Pinang? Well, that man was Tan Sri Isa, the victor in the recently concluded by-election. It was so clear from the start that he was such a personable man and well liked by the folks in Bagan Pinang. His character alone was sufficient to win the state seat for the Barisan Nasional.

When a local boy with such personable character is put down as a candidate, it would always be a mountain to climb for PAS and the Pakatan Rakyat. Added to that the mighty machines of the BN;  the mainstream mass media controlled by the BN and the various authorities who were more than a little bit bias towards the BN all the time; the lopsided application of rules and regulations by the authorities (the BN could campaign in the army camp while the opposition could not, for example)  and the number of postal voters in the area, the odds were heavily stacked against the opposition from the word go. Never mind that everybody knows what the good Tan Sri had done last summer. Or every summer for that matter. The folks are not going to be swayed by some "technical matters".

Permatang Pauh had shown that when facing  a popular and charismatic local boy, the opponent should not go about town ridiculing the local boy. Or bad mouthing him. That is like you coming to my house to tell me that my son is a corrupt man or that he was a sodomite. If you did not get a tight slap from me, you would be lucky. Unfortunately, the BN was given a really tight slap in Permatang Pauh. And now PAS had its derriere  kicked for doing exactly the same thing.

The Pakatan Rakyat has shown that it is a force to be reckoned with in the general election last year as well as the many by-elections it had won. But it has yet to show the people that the motley crew that it consists are capable of working together as a viable alternative federal government.

It bears aspiration to win the next general election. All good and well. However, if the Pakatan Rakyat is devoid of any common stand on the fundamental issues, the people are going to see the Pakatan Rakyat as a marriage of convenience and nothing more. It is on this front - where a coalition is judged by the perception of the people - that the PR's Achilles heel lies.

The seemingly chaotic ideological warfare within the PR at best reflects a progressive democratic processes and practice. At worst, it is a sign of a coalition which is devoid of any sort of basic aims and goals. In Pakatan Rakyat, this ideological differences are on a different plane altogether.

PAS made a promise by joining the PR and its election manifesto. This is admitted even by YB Khalid Samad, a PAS stalwart himself. However, there are people within that party who have deliberately gone against that very promise. The radical and "fundamentalistic" stance taken by PAS in recent times have served ammunition to the BN, particularly UMNO.

The non-Muslim voters are of course wary of PAS' pragmatist approach towards the country's socio-political landscape. And not without substantial reasons too. The beer issue in Shah Alam. The Michael Learns To Rock issue after that. Than recently, the Beyonce concert issue. Then we have Hassan Ali establishing a moral police force with the power to arrest in Shah Alam. He then even questioned the Selcat, which was a state legislative machinery established by the Pakatan Rakyat government itself! These are but instances where PAS had opened its mouth wide to show its fangs to the absolute horror of the non-Muslims - and Muslims alike - in this country.

Added to that, the not too discreet "khalwat" between PAS and UMNO under the pretext of a "unity government" is a bitter dish which has to be swallowed by thousands, if not millions, of voters who had voted for PAS in the belief and trust that PAS was a permanent part of a coalition which was going to oppose the BN and UMNO, not to work with them. 

The result of all these self defeatist posturing by PAS is there for all of us to see. The non-Malays have shunned PAS in Bagan Pinang. The Malays themselves, have not really warmed up to PAS save for some hardcore PAS members in the area.  The fence-seaters jumped to the BN side of the fence. It was nothing short of a debacle.

So what is what in PAS? Which is which? What does PAS stand for? What is PAS fighting for? What? Those are the questions which the PAS has to answer. Those are the questions which the PR has to answer too if it has serious ambition of ruling this country. Added to that the PR must also deal with the theatrics of MPs like Zulkifli Noordin, who have proven time and time again, to be a trigger happy lone ranger on a rampage. The people expect the PR to settle all these issues once and for all. Lest political boredom would set in and the people might get numbed and go into a deep political slumber of the 70s, 80s and 90s The PR could then kiss its ambition a long goodbye.

In Bagan Pinang, sources from within the PR told me that PAS was almost going it alone. From the start PAS had disagreed with the choice of the candidate. The advice by the MP for Teluk Kemang, PKR's Datuk Kamarul Baharin Abbas that a local boy should be fielded was not followed by PAS.

During the campaign period, the focus of PAS machinery was to discredit Tan Sri Isa by, among others, reminding the people of what he did in UMNO and highlighting the projects which he had apparently abandoned when he was the Menteri Besar. That obviously did not work. Hence the seemingly chaotic and unfocussed campaigns run by PAS.

The only momentum gained by PAS was when Tok Guru Nik Aziz and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim came to town. PAS should really look at itself in the mirror why these two persons are really liked by the crowd. Is it any wonder why? The spiritual leader of PAS is well liked by all and sundry, Muslims and non-Muslims because he makes sense all the time. So is the case with DSAI. If PAS could stick to the PR's agenda, all the time, surely it would win the crowd all the time.

However, sadly, that is not the case.

It is obvious that an opposition coalition is a viable alternative to the BN. The 2008 momentum must be maintained if ever the BN is going to be shaken off its pedestal and if the country wanted to see a 2 party system at work.  However, the political blueprint of the coalition must be prepared and agreed upon by all the players.

It is time that the PR sit down together and solve the differences of ideologies within its organisation. A common stand on fundamental issues must be agreed upon. There must also be an irrevocable undertaking by the players to conform at all time with the blueprint as and when it is ready. Any players, individual or in group, who deliberately go astray should be dealt with promptly, and severely.

Once and for all, PAS, DAP and PKR must be asked, "are you with the PR or not?" If so, you are in. If not, well, you are out.

Otherwise, Bagan Pinang could be the start of the demise of the Pakatan Rakyat.

18 comments:

Kris said...

Well said. Here's hoping they heed the advice else it will be too late to wake up and smell the roses...

Hamba said...

The opposition's main problem is that they are stuck in BN's model of politics. The opposition doesn't know any other kind of politic except the one being used by BN and UMNO which is RACE BASED POLITIC! PR need to wake up and smell the BP sewage breeze! You can't win with race politic. That's UMNO and BN trademark and they excel in it! Focus on Malaysian Malaysia! It doesn't matter if DAP coined it, just show what can malaysian achieve with it, Justice and equality for all Malaysian! PAS, PKR and DAP need to shed their race image pronto! PR right now is showing that they are exactly like BN ( complete with similar BN component ) but just on the other side of the fence. Malaysia don't need another BN clone. What we need is a party or a coalition that fight on the Malaysian Malaysia platform, not race. Tackle issue on Malaysian benchmark or norm, never on race nor religion. If the issues touches on religion then immediately refer it back to the constitution as the basis of argument then jointly declare it so and if it requires justice, fairness and humanity then never even touch or connect it to religion at all and cohesively say it not about religion but Malaysian Malaysia. Our constitution is the highest law, so use the constitution as basis of the coalition existence. Give no leeway for UMNO and BN to use race and religion issues. Start thinking outside the box and stop behaving like Dr jekyll to UMNO and BN's Mr Hyde. Both are two face of the same coin that the rakyat no longer need!

Singam said...

The PR don't have to go very far to develop a common manifesto. All three parties are signatories to the People's Declaration. If they were sincere in their declarations about adopting it, then use it as a common platform upon which to build a solid coalition.

CK Peng said...

Hi Art,Once again hat off to you for putting it down so crips and clear. I fully agree with you that Non-Malay especially Chines shown up in Niz Aziz and Anwar Ceramah but decided to vote BN to send a strong signal that, " Hey, we are the boss!" Not the crazy politician like Hassan Ali.

I read some news that Indian in the Estate are so poor that they did not have money to buy paper and they can't access the alternative media!! But then how PAS managed to win those 3 areas in the last election! This time the Indian vote gone to BN. There are many reasons but Hassan and PAS Political Stunt in Selangor is really spoiling the mood of the PR supporter.

The voter has send out a strong signal to both side. PR and BN. We are the Boss and we vote who we like most! If you do funny stuff, don't count on our support.

So whichever political party please do your house keeping properly. UNMO do not be happy too early, if no reform by next election. There is still real chance of losing. MCA is almost gone case. No solution still and they still busy infighting. The Chinese is sick and now they have 15 seats maybe they will left to 5 by next election.

PKR need to attract more professional and people with clean record into their rank not all the frog from other party. DAP need to engage the Malay and the India more.

Lastly PAS has to decide whether they are having Nizar or Hassan Ali as their mascot. Sorry they can't have both. Jeff Ooi written in his blog some time back that PAS should fire Hassan. I fully supported it. Why PAS want to keep him. I really don't know. Go ask around in Selangor. I think everyone will be happy is Hassan just get lost.........

CK

ygbenor said...

It is sad when you loose on something all sorts and sundries of reasons will be said.I am sure the PAS election director for Bagan Pinang had thought of the pitfalls and strategies for the by election. He may have missed some or did not emphasised on some issues more than the other. But to say that its the end of the road for PR is unthinkable. Its good to loose some so as to give PR the wake up call. This will make the PR members to find a middle path for all their squabbles and fight harder to win.

Leithaisor said...

Alamak... if I did not know better, I'd say you were reading my mind, or perhaps I was stealing your thoughts! [Cue "Twilight Zone" theme...]

I posted some comments twice on Nat Tans jelas.info blog on the same subject.

Beg your indulgence to allow me to repost the lengthy comments here, with the typos, errors and grammatical mistakes intact:

[On Oct 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm]

“For Pakatan, I believe the time has come for the component parties to put its eggs in the Pakatan basket, and not their own”?

How true.

But what say the likes of Hasan Ali and the two Nasharuddin’s - the PAS Deputy President and the PAS Youth chief?

Hasan seems to be more interested in an ultra-Islamic state agenda which some have said is a hypocrite’s heavily-personal-agenda driven attempt to win favour both with the ultra-Islamists and also certain parties in UMNO. Certainly he does not seem to care what PAS Shah Alam chief Khalid Samad says, much less what the Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim and what Pakatan leader Anwar say. Apparently he even thumbed his nose at Hadi, so what chance is there that he cares about the listen to the views of the PKR / DAP members, and the views of the minorities in Selangor?

Where Pakatan’s image and chances of gaining the popular vote are concerned, he is a mega-liability in Selangor in particular, and in the nation in general. But does Hasan care? Indeed, there have been some who opine that he is working to undermine Pakatan’s chances for the sake of his own personal agenda. How true is that?

And the two Nasharuddins have certainly done their share of damage, so narrow minded has been their Islamic state agenda. Sink-or-swim come the next GE will depend on this critical factor.

PAS has a horrible history of having their eyes on the Islamic state to the exclusion of the rights of minorities and even the matter of keeping their word to DAP during a previous GE. Pakatan, and in particular Anwar’s tremendous skill managed to cotter together Pakatan Rakyat for GE 2008, and win over those who still had in mind PAS’ history. But no sooner had the GE 2008 dust settle than PAS revert back to its old tricks, including the UMNO-PAS talks which Hadi was so gung-ho on. Voters from the minorities are not the “mudah lupa” sort. We remember such antics.

What does PAS truly stand for? What will/can PAS do about the likes of Hasan and the Nasharuddins? Answer that satisfactorily, and convince the voters, or Pakatan will sink during the next GE. Not “may sink”, but “WILL sink”.

And you can be sure Najib and UMNO are well aware of that..

[continue as next comment...]

Leithaisor said...

[On Oct 13, 2009 at 3:00 am]

To me, Bagan Pinang is more likely an anomaly than indicator of voting trends nationwide.

And Moon-Rocket Feng Shui? I think I’d better reserve my comments rather than offend those who believe in such matters.

Bagan Pinang was a do-or-die situation for Najib, what with the UMNO GA just a few days after the by-election and Pakatan winning 7 out of 8 previous by-elections since March 2008. Even Batang Ai is a questionable win for BN.

Najib was desperate enough to field a candidate who had already been found corrupt by his own party. No amount of “technical”, “second chance” rubbish can fool anyone, not even UMNO die-hards. But I think Najib had his back to the wall,pushed there by members of his own party who were threatening to boycott if Isa was not fielded.

Can you imagine Dr M ever allowing such rebellion,much less give in to the demands of the rebels? How weak does that show Najib to be within his own party?

Then there is the massive postal votes boost which benefitted Isa together with what Salahuddin reprtedly said was a different electoral roll being used. And despite the government saying about no campaigning by any party in military camps, Isa was still photographed shaking the hands of soldiers in one of the camps.

But the proven corrupt Isa did win against PAS’ Zulkefly.

No doubt, all the candies dished out made a large impact on the desparately poor rural Indians who formed about 20% of the electorate. Never mind that the goodies were paid for with the rakyat’s funds, and more importantly, the goodies were the Indians’ due in the first place. For folks who live with so little, anything like the windfall surely engenders gratitude. If i had been in their place, that’s what I’d probably have done.

And the Chinese? Even PAS’own campaign manager Salahuddin admitted today that the Chinese were teaching Pakatan/PAS a lesson. As a Chiness, I have already stated before my feelings about Hasan and the two Nasharuddins, and their ultra-Islamic state agenda, with the allegations about Hasan’s hidden personal agenda.

Then there is PKR’s infamous Zulkifli Nordin, with his continual lop-sided rantings.

DAP has also had its failings - I personally found Guan Eng’s handling of Kg Buah Pala highly incompentant, and his actions too alooft and proud. Jeff Ooi should also be more careful with his words and attitude. I cannot help but comparing these two with the humble but firm Nik Aziz.

Let’s not forget that many Malays still view such humility with great esteem. A lot of good, a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice can easily be undone by a few careless haughty words.

I cannot find reason to disagree with those who say that Pakatan’s 3 component parties have become too arrogant and over-confident, especially DAP and PAS.

Those who have voiced such opinions as me - that Pakatan needs to buckup or face disaster - are not alone. Kit Siang himself said essentially the same thing today.

But all that being said, I’d still place hope in Pakatan, that Anwar, Kit Siang and Nik Aziz can revamp the coalition back into a Pakatan every Malaysian can and should vote for.

Hopefully they’d give the likes of Hasan Ali, the two Nasharuddins, Zulkifli Nordin and Guan Eng stern dressing downs, and issue them ultimatums to toe the line, get their acts together, stop their nonsense, or GET OUT.

As you yourself wrote, Nat,

“For Pakatan, I believe the time has come for the
component parties to put its eggs in the Pakatan
basket, and not their own.”

Anonymous said...

PAS DAP and PKR must be dissolved to become one PAKATAN RAKYAT as what RPK proposed.
Otherwise PR can stop dreaming about becoming an alternative to BN.

azzamakhsyari said...

good analysis bro.
PAS should learn this thing.
but lets move on to the track...
Dats result is actually good because PR wants UBN to go down and down.
With Isa Samad, I dont think UBN or specifically UMNO will become stronger.
As all my frens wish...MAMPOS UMNO!

Anonymous said...

Hasan Ali single-handly destroy and reverse the hard earn trust and support from non-muslim won by PAS since 308. The loud mouth media-seeking cheap publicity guy has erase the goodwill and hard work built by other moderate PAS leaders and done damage to PAS. If not for TGNA and DSAI, the result would have been worst.

Antares said...

The fact that I personally would rather see the grotesquely corrupt and insufferably arrogant Khir Toyo regain his seat as Selangor MB than put up with Hasan Ali's fanatical Islam should be taken seriously as negative feedback on Pakatan Rakyat's limp-wristed tolerance for such absurdist politics as espoused by that other brainless shoot-yourself-in-the-footer, Zul Noordin. In the case of Ibrahim Ali, he betrayed PAS by winning an election under the PAS ticket but almost immediately broke away and is now more an Umno mole than anything else, just like his evil twin Hasan. I would stand up and applaud the day Pakatan Rakyat flexes its muscles and kicks out saboteurs from within its own ranks. It's one thing to allow everyone the freedom of expression and belief - but when you're a lawmaker and your public pronouncements can impact on thousands of lives, you really have to watch your mouth!

PM said...

Thanks Art and all for a good posting and comments. Interesting reading and true to the point. Good lesson learn by PAS.

We should thanks the voters for teaching PAS a lesson.

A true Malaysian said...

You are the wise one, Art. My salute to you.

donplaypuks® said...

You can't win 'em all.

But at least it proved PM najib, the Wooden Cabinet and UMNO/BN only pay lip service about combating corruption! That's a plus point for Pakatan to whack them over until the next GE.

dpp
WE are all of 1 race, the Human Race

Patricia said...

Brilliant title, Art! Says so much in just that one line. And I couldn't agree more with what you say here.

If PKR does not read the writing on the wall, BN will win by default at the next GE: people will be too confused to know what to do!

Anonymous said...

yes,more and more chinese will vote for BN if PR dont eliminate
pengacau like Hassan Ali and those
pemuda PAS that always like to haram this and haram that.
we dont like others to decide for us what to see, wat to eat ,wat to do!

Anonymous said...

the recent 'cow-head' is a religious issue & pas is a 'parti agama' which
owns 1/3 of PR ..aiyoo-ooo...TAKUT !.

Anonymous said...

Well i must say i totally agree with u Mr Art :) If PR doesnt get their act together & with PM Najis making small in road every day via the media on '1 Bangsa' crap which i believe has won quite a lot of young voters (who is crucial in next GE), i think PR will not win as big the next time GE