Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Can Pakatan Rakyat Unseat Umno-BN in the 14 GE?‏

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, PAS Research Centre 

After over a year of an election victory which he frantically needed, the Premier has yet to find his Midas touch. Worse still, some fear that he hasn’t any left perhaps while others arguably assert that he never had it before after all.

Let us have a closer look at the victor and then the challenger, Pakatan Rakyat.

For a nation embattled and embroiled with unending fundamental problems of "Nationhood" of late, that introduction was surely a mouthful to swallow. It doesn’t behove a writer who had always claimed to be a perpetual optimist to begin in this way.

But the fact of the matter is that the compelling truths are not allowing you to take consolation or liberty to remain oblivious anymore of the impending catastrophes.

Today, when the nation is on the brink of the crippling twin threats of racial and religious conflict, of a multitude of heart-rending and mind-boggling issues, the Premier is again on his default mode of deafening silence or his usual disappearing act.

What is demanded of a ‘transformational’ leader is not to simply deflect the problem-solving task to the Attorney General or the Muftis and much less, the IGP. Recent legal and religious issues where these named public officials were directly involved in managing issues, often times, left much to be desired and the rakyat gasping for their breath.

Solutions must at times, fundamentally and structurally address and redress critical conundrums of the Federal Constitution much as it might also call for a bi-partisan effort when necessary and appropriate.
Going forward, the likes of many stop-gap measures that are only ‘symptomatic’ in nature or the ‘BRIM-like’ pacifiers wouldn’t suffice any longer.

‘Doing more of the same’ especially in financial governance and economic activities of the federation wouldn’t propel the nation out of our perennial problems of gross corruption, endemic leakages and crony capitalism and hence the yawning inequality in both income and wealth.

The awards of major-mega projects in infrastructural development namely highways and in the power sector continue unabated through direct negotiation. Trophy assets of the government namely lands were remorselessly alienated to ‘cronies’ only to be flipped later and at enormous sinful profits.

That surely is instant wealth creation while the majority are again marginalised. Imagine an alternative scenario where these lands are leveraged to bring benefit to a larger group of recipients or rakyat through approaches like issuing REITs and others, carried out by the many GLCs for the benefit of the rakyat. By so doing you had executed wealth redistribution and you actually close the inequality and wealth divide.
Najibnomics has never been more than this set of economic ideas.

Simply put, Najibnomics is a set of economic ideas that are dependent on the realisation of speculative wealth through their monetisation in the stock market. Its modus-operandi includes but is not limited to, under-pricing of assets through privatisation of government land in high value areas (awarded to cronies) such as in Kuala Lumpur and then flogging them off onto the property and retail investors at inflated valuation.

While raging debates on the sphere of racial and religious antagonism continue unrelenting, the most recent survey by Merdeka Centre, revealed that the rakyat still place the issue of economics and cost of living, as the most important concern of the people across the population.

With the persistent rising cost of living as a result of the double jeopardy of ‘subsidy withdrawal and the concomitant increase of utility tariffs plus fuels’, little wonder that the approval rating of the Premier really took a nose-dive or a free-fall to 48%, the lowest ever.

So much for the predicaments of the Premier and his team in helming this nation thus far and we shall now turn our attention to the challenger, Pakatan Rakyat.

There is no denying the fact that the coalition politics of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) performed extremely well in the last GE. While the coalition of DAP, PKR and PAS admittedly failed to unseat ‘the longest serving government’, PR has always been jubilant and never failed to brag that the Federal Opposition, actually enjoys a bigger support, by way of popular votes in the entire federation and bigger still, when only the Peninsular Malaysia is concerned.

But over a year after the 13th GE and going beyond, the Coalition Politics of PR is showing pathognomonic or cardinal signs of not only a lethargy but more alarmingly an underlying weakness or an ailment.
The experience of the first learning curve of Barisan Alternative flies in the face of an ostensibly ‘fractured’ solidarity and camaraderie of leaders of Pakatan Rakyat.

After the unfortunate setback of losing the Teluk Intan parliamentary seat, the Pakatan Rakyat has serious relationship issues to grapple with.

The Pakatan Rakyat, unlike her nemesis which has to deal with a plethora of debilitating issues of the nation, being a federal government, has only one fundamental problem to overcome, notwithstanding other equally troubling issues in the Pakatan states namely Selangor.

But that particular one, however, is unfortunately the Achilles’ Heel of Pakatan Rakyat.

Being a member of the PAS Central Working Committee, this writer has no qualms to admit, in all earnestness and conviction that the issue of Hudud has come to be the Achilles’ Heel of Pakatan Rakyat.
Pakatan Rakyat needs no reminder that its Coalition is about the most viable and closest to any semblance of a ‘government in waiting’ ever witnessed by the rakyat.

The Common Policy Framework or the CPF of the Pakatan Rakyat, provides for a broad but critical guiding principle of a Federal Government.

It is entrenched in solid principles of Justice and Rule of Law that will amply uphold the Federal Constitution.
Its universal moral and religious foundations are most apt as to enhance a virtuous society that would make a ‘Social Market Economy’ a meaningful one, as to achieve a ‘Benevolent State – 'Negara Berkebajikan’ and a "Quality of Life and Justice for All" and a ‘Distributive Justice’ that addresses the perennial problem of Inequality.

PR as well doesn’t need to be reminded that the New Politics of a strictly ‘Two-Party System’ would never be correct for as long as this nation has never experienced a change of government at the federal level. It makes the claim of a two-party system a farce or at best, a pseudo-one.

That the Pakatan Rakyat is at a critical-cross roads is an understatement and going beyond this stage demands that each component party truly understands and embraces the demands of ‘Coalition Politics’.

There is no denying the fact that each and every top leader is fully aware of intriguing mutually exclusive demands of every party. Playing to one’s own constituency is a sure recipe for failure, while every leader is willing to admit that failure is not an option this time around.

While Hudud is admittedly the most precarious and complex of problems that Pakatan Rakyat would have to face ever, this writer is back on his optimist default mode that the issue is not insurmountable.
PAS, DAP and PKR must collectively 'bite the bullet' and 'take the bull by the horns' however acrimonious and bitter it may seem though.

Is Pakatan Rakyat ready to be not only better but different than her nemesis, in solving the perennial problems of the nation?

As it calls for a proper objective treatment of the subject, in a strategic and an intellectual way, notwithstanding the various principles to be adhered to, the writer hereby, pens off reminding himself and other leaders again that…

“If you want to have the things that you never had, you have to do the things that you have never done”.

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