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Fixation Over Pakatan's Cracks is Unwise for Barisan Nasional



PM Najib said the Opposition coalition is forged through the members hatred for Barisan Nasional. He predicted such coalition is not sustainable. He is partly accurate. Dap, PKR and PAS are cooperating to seize the federal government from Barisan Nasional.

The aim of defeating Barisan Nasional is strong enough for the three major parties to put aside their party's agenda for a moment. The fact that the newly minted coalition has achieved very little in integrating their political platforms is going to be a flash point for the parties should they succeed in capturing Putrajaya in the next general elections.

The process of forming a government and a new cabinet is expected to take some time because it is obvious that they have not reached an agreement on even the simplest structure of governance. However, it may not be a bad strategy for the three political parties to set aside some of these fundamental issues until they have really captured the federal government.

Early disagreements over matters such as number of cabinet seats, portfolio, present race and religious centric policies, socio-economic policies, governance structure etc. may be too premature and counter productive to the fragile coalition.

However, it is important for PM Najib to note that their 'hatred' for Barisan Nasional, particularly UMNO, is a strong catalyst for the Opposition parties to work together too. This is not the first time the Opposition parties had collaborated with the aim of challenging the hegemony of the ruling regime. They had tried numerous times since 1969. The ! seed for a two coalition system had borne fruits only in 2008.

One of the most important factors which will dent PM Najib, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and A Jalil Hamid's hope to see the Opposition pact breaking apart is the voters' sentiment and anger towards Barisan Nasional and UMNO. Pakatan is a platform forged by the voters to teach the ruling coalition a lesson. Its electoral success is beyond the dictate of any Pakatan leaders or parties.

The desire for change was people driven. The change was not about making Anwar Ibrahim the next prime minister. It was not about making Dap the head of a coalition government in Penang. The change was moved by the people's desire to see a better future for Malaysia.

Hence, without fixing the wrongdoings of the ruling regime, it is pointless to harp on the fragility of the Opposition coalition. The biggest enemy for Barisan Nasional lies within the coalition. The coalition cannot get away with an easy two-thirds parliamentary majority without addressing some crucial issues facing the country such as corruption, lack of financial prudence, mediocre economic growth, middle income trap, compromised public institutions, rising inflation and cost of living et cetera.

This is why I said that PM Najib is only half accurate. Pakatan is not going to break apart before the 13th general elections. Even if the coalition does break apart, voters are not going to automatically support the Barisan Nasional. In any democratic elections, Opposition parties are here to stay. In this case, their main objective to unseat the Barisan Nasional is a good enough reason to hold the pact together, for now.

It is pointless for some leaders of MCA and Gerakan to continue harping on Hudud or the spat between two Indian leaders in Dap because their senseless statements and allegations are going to expose a lack of political acumen and political! capital to reverse the fortune of their respective party's fading support.

MCA and Gerakan should be bold enough to admit that the Barisan Nasional formula needs major revamp. Ex-PM Abdullah Badawi had hinted at the formation of a Barisan Nasional council and convention to address the coalition weaknesses and sadly it never materialized.

Hopefully, another wake up call at the 13th general elections will help sink in the message that Barisan Nasional is in need of a major overhaul.

Barisan Nasional and its hired bloggers should not take this criticism negatively. As a proponent of two-coalition system, I do not want to see a hegemonic coalition being replaced by another of the same kind. We should encourage healthy a competition between the two coalitions.
Posted by Khoo Kay Peng
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