If what Anwar has done in PKR and Pakatan is testimony to what he is capable of doing, then he is not acceptable to the Malays.
26/11/2012: The thing with a general election is this: politicians stand in front of us minus their arrogance, minus their latest Mercedes, minus their mansion in their gated community, minus their secretaries, aides, friends and all the trappings that money can buy to humbly ask you for your votes.
And no matter who they are, in politics there will come that moment when doubt enters their mind and they will nervously ask themselves if maybe this will be the time when karma will hit them in the face.
Will they raise their arms in triumph after the returning officer have declared them the winner or do they gamely extend their hands to their opponent to congratulate them for their victory even as they desperately look for an exit to go commiserate with themselves for their loss?
But before they arrive at that moment in time, there is still a life to be lived and an election to be won by these politicians. The nation is their oyster! And what they have done or promised to do to our nation bears reflection – be it Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Rakyat or the Independents – before you decide whom to vote for.
Today we are a nation in a flux. There are verbal and physical political scuffles, racial unrest, religious turmoil and, some say, our economy is in free-fall while others insist that we are poised for growth.
The ebb and flow of political rhetoric emitting from within BN and Pakatan is deafening and impossible to ignore and the 13th general election hangs like a cloud threatening to bring floods to low-lying areas or much-needed rain for farmers – take your pick!
Over all this presides Najib Tun Razak. He is confident of electoral victory and why should he not be? He makes Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s attempts at reforms look unimaginative. His pace in announcing, initiating and implementing reforms is robust but his disregard for fiscal propriety is worrying.
But in an election year he will do what he must to try and ensure that a public sated with BN largesse will reciprocate by casting their votes for BN.
BN believes that electoral victory is at hand, but Najib is still unsure if BN can retake Selangor and so for now he waits to find a way to do so before calling for the games to begin.
Has Pakatan enough push?
For the opposition, the Internet chatter and a perceived surge of support from the people point to a glittering final furlong in the run-up to the 13th general election. But all that glitters is not gold.
Pakatan claims it is in ascendancy politically – not yet totally able to fully dominate all that it surveys but there are reasons to think that Putrajaya beckons.
After all, Pakatan ceramahs are well attended and the juggernaut of Anwar Ibrahim seems to cut a swathe even through the rural areas where Umno dominates.
Johor totters invitingly towards its side of the divide and the defections of once Umno stalwarts is heartening. Surely, Pakatan says, the people of this nation have had enough of a BN government.
Pakatan says it is time for change. DAP, PAS and PKR will overcome their distrusts for each other and work for their common good – that of trying to take political power from the Umno-led BN.
But in politics trying is never enough. In politics what matters are the numbers that you methodically accumulate. Vote by vote, constituency-by-constituency, state-by-state, one MP at a time marshalling them all into a momentum of sorts that moves in tandem towards ensuring ultimate victory at the polls.
This is no easy task. It requires organised manpower, adequate financial resources, an electoral machinery in synch with the tasks demanded of it by its political masters and yet able to gauge and accommodate the nuances of a fickle electorate.
Put all this together and you will have the general election handed over to you on a plate. Huh… easier said than done.
Now who, between BN and Pakatan, have done that? Both sides of the divide are desperately positive that their side will triumph.
Both sides are desperately optimistic that they have the numbers to ensure that enough of their MPs will be elected to enable their side to form the government.
Of course, you need to be optimistic and positive… but desperately so? Why desperately so?
Let me tell you why.
Is Pakatan really ready?
Pakatan has asked that we give the opposition alliance the mandate to form the government, but who from Pakatan will govern our nation? Or more to the point, who do we want from Pakatan to govern us?
Who will be prime minister, deputy prime minister and who shall be in Cabinet? Who will be the menteris besar and who will be governors and datuk bandars? What are the policies they will implement? How will the sharing of power between PKR, DAP and PAS be reflected in reality?
Surely not with three deputy prime ministers and enough ministers to field five football teams (and reserves) without outside help.
All these questions we have asked of Pakatan leaders but they have yet to answer to our satisfaction. We ask and Pakatan tells us:
“Let us get into government first and then we will see! We will know what to do.”
How can they know what to do in Putrjaya when they do not know what to do with PKR and Anwar – or are they in denial that there is a problem with PKR and Anwar?
They know that it is Anwar who calls the shots in PKR, not Azmin Ali. If Azmin talks about Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s “promotion” into Cabinet, then it is Anwar who wants Khalid to be in the Cabinet.
Then what of Selangor? Who does Anwar want to be menteri besar of Selangor? If Pakatan is unable to resolve this at state level, then the matter of who will become what at federal level only portends ill for Pakatan – what more for our nation.
This is but one issue that Pakatan has failed to address. There are others.
Umno’s game plan
Meanwhile, BN declares that the Pakatan coalition has failed even before it talks of forming the government. The temptation to embellish this with my own thoughts is overpowering, but my instinct tells me that I must not do so. And so I shall be quiet.
Pakatan and BN are not yet able to articulate clarity of purpose and how they intend to achieve these purposes and certainly none has yet to clearly state what good government entails from its perspective.
And so we the people can only be desperately optimistic that our hopes and aspirations of politics without greed, corruption and arrogance will also be that of BN and Pakatan, but the prognosis is grim.
The three political entities under the Pakatan banner are now in a race with each other to protect their own vested interest in their own backyard with hardly enough effort put into working together to overcome BN.
BN is desperate no more. If what Anwar has done in PKR and Pakatan is testimony to what he is capable of doing, then a government with Anwar at its head is not acceptable to the Malays. And so for the Malays, it is again Umno.
What Umno is doing now is to reassure the Malays that they will go back once again to what the Malays are comfortable with – the status quo of the Malays in charge of government. Everything else will flow from there.
For the non-Malays, there is still DAP, PKR, MCA, MIC, and for those in Sabah and Sarawak a multitude of political choices.