Anthony Loke is right about ceasefire with PN - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | “He serves his party best who serves his country best.” ― Rutherford B Hayes
Loke’s idea of a ceasefire with the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government
to tackle the issues that the country is facing is the kind of rational
ideas that are lacking in this highly partisan political terrain. Of
course, Loke had to qualify this rather constructive idea with the
usual “personal opinion” caveat which just goes to show you that in this
milieu advocating for putting country before party – any party – is a
radical or controversial idea.
the thing; it is not really such a controversial idea in the first
place. In most functional democracies, ideologically disparate political
parties work together on major issues. The idea that any Pakatan
Harapan party ab initio cannot work with this PN government because this government has demonised the DAP or the opposition is ludicrous. The
fact is when the opposition buried the hatchet with the old maverick,
it paved the way for the Harapan, theoretically at least, to be able to
work with any Malay uber alles political entity.
of the matter is that Harapan-led state governments are already working
with the Federal authorities on numerous issues and all this political
theatre, while great for ginning up the base, is doing nothing to move
the country in a direction that would secure its future, albeit
tenuously, from the ravages of this pandemic. Indeed, what this
pandemic has demonstrated is that things need to change and if it is not
done with clarity of purpose, all this partisan bickering does is
exacerbate the situation instead of ameliorating it.
are taking great delight in the instability of the PN regime not
realising that ultimately what emerges from such chaos is not something
good, but rather a wounded grievance fuelled creature which would
further plunge this country into a situation which Malaysia may not
I maintain that we should support the policies of
the government that are working and proven beneficial to most
Malaysians. We should signal out policies and personalities of the new
government that are productive and good for all citizens of this
country. In other words, “support” should not be a given for any
government but instead, based on consideration of policies.
question is, can Harapan be a part of those policies, considerations and
discussions? Can Harapan as exemplified by the way Harapan states are
run, be part of the consensus of the PN government? Would this be
beneficial to the country even though it may not play well with the
We should also keep in mind due to the internal politics of
PN there are personalities and power groupings which would be opposed to
such consensus making between coalitions and would work behind the
scenes to sabotage any such initiatives. Furthermore, they would
attempt to ignite racial, religious flashpoints to derail any form of
consensus making and predictably, opposition political parties would
take the bait, and it would be business as usual which has proven to be
disastrous for the country.
So, this is not going to be a walk in
the park, and it should not be viewed with doe-eyed optimism. However,
the benefits of all parties possibly reaching some form of consensus and
working to move this country away from the geopolitical consequences of
this pandemic outweighs the reactionary fears that we should all just
retreat to our respective corners and eagerly await the next big general
election. Look, most political operatives do not want consensus.
They want strife and division. They want to stoke partisan issues so
they can score points on that imaginary scoreboard which keeps the
country in perpetual regression.
We should use this pandemic as a
testing board to form new ways of engaging and forming policy instead of
relying on a Manichean worldview of all or nothing partisan politics.
Loke working in a bipartisan manner with Umno’s Nazri on party hopping
is a good start. Time will tell if this is merely just window dressing, but Umno's Nazri Aziz
is right when he said: "The highest court in the country had
[previously] decided that an anti-hopping law cannot be done because it
will prevent an MP or an assemblyman from practising one’s basic human
“But we must think of a way. All of these were done by humans and as humans, we can use our brains to find ways to stop it.”
was on point when he said the current prime minister should be
magnanimous and have a sit down with all political factions. Any faction
which does not want to sit down and have a pow-wow because they think
they cannot work with another faction on racial and religious grounds,
tells us something about what they think of this country and how they
are putting their party first instead of the citizens of this country.
was also on point when he argued that subject to certain conditions,
“political parties may cooperate with the government without becoming a
part of the ruling coalition”. Nobody is arguing or should be
arguing that Harapan political parties need to be part of the PN
coalition – especially when there are elements who claim that they
cannot work with the DAP – when the DAP has bent over backwards giving
them everything they want.
What is important is that everyone who
voted for whichever political party has a voice in important policy
considerations, especially when we are in a pandemic that is wreaking
havoc on conventionality. Of course, all this depends on the PN
government and so far, they have done nothing to indicate that working
for the betterment of everyone is an agenda for the coalition.
prime minister should stop all this “Rukun Negara” nonsense. The
“opposition” should stop attempting to dispense the Bangsa Malaysia
kool-aid. Instead, what both should be doing is attempting to form
some sort of consensus, tenuous or fragile it may be, because this is
the perfect opportunity to attempt to work together for the betterment
Otherwise, we are in for a big fall. Some would argue, it is what it is.