Malaysiakini : “I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.”- Harry S Truman, former US president
COMMENT | Does anyone have any idea what is going on with Pakatan Harapan's leadership?
you are not a toxic Harapan supporter, you, like the rest of us on
planet real, are wondering how a construct like Perkatan Nasional still
manages to squeak along when the opposition is formidable - if only
because the current regime is in a political quagmire with allies it has
to appease all the time held to ransom by various squabbling Umno
is pure comedy gold, right here. We have BN secretary-general Annuar
Musa babbling about seat allocation for the next general election
referring to the Umno coup of Perak as a "framework". This means that
Bersatu was screwed over in Perak and they will be again in the next GE.
Umno vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin has dismissed all this talk
of a grand coalition and reminded everyone that such a "coalition of
coalitions" was "intended to ride on the strength of the largest party,
Umno". In other words, Umno intends to screw over Bersatu in the next
Annuar also warned against efforts to dismantle the "No Anwar
and No DAP" policy alluding to mysterious figure(s), which just goes to
show you the kind of mess Umno is in. Forget about the mystery figure(s)
for a moment and realise that there are some in Umno who are sick and
tired of the political instability.
This is not to mention the
dire economic straits this country is heading into with a PN government.
Political stability achieved through cooperation among political
parties that represent the majority of their communities worked well
before, so why not now, is their thinking.
this milieu, Anwar Ibrahim should be playing for keeps instead of
sniffing around looking for allies to prop him up. Instead of trying to
take this government with another counter-coup, he should be positioning
the coalition as an alternative to failed Malay uber alles politics.
he has been staging counter-coups that do not materialise and making
sure his Umno or whoever his allies are, know how desperate he is to be
anointed as the chosen one.
Warisan president Shafie Apdal is
right when he said that Harapan needs a change of direction and
leadership, but unfortunately, he is not it.
Shafie, like Anwar,
says the right things. Unlike Anwar, who for better or worse, managed to
cobble together a disparate coalition and who had a cadre of young
leaders who, again for better or worse, handled opposition business
while he was a guest of the state, all Shafie has is the imprimatur of
the old maverick.
The opposition needs a decisive leadership
do not even hold Shafie's latest loss against him. He gambled and lost,
which is much better than allowing power to be manipulated out of your
hands as Anwar did. What he did, although deleterious for Malaysia
because of the pandemic, was a demonstration of political guile and
one-upmanship that is the only language the Malay political
The opposition does need decisive
leadership. It needs leaders who are willing to offer an alternative or
if not that leader, who is willing to bet the ranch on dislodging PN
even if it means losing.
As someone who has been critical but
supportive of Anwar, all he has done is embroil his coalition in messy
attempted coups that are destroying the credibility of the opposition
but even worse, fracturing the base and creating a political quagmire in
How long can you expect people to vote for your
coalition when they see no action on the part of political operatives to
carry out the mandate of the base?
Do you know what leadership
is, Warisan? Instead of behaving like petulant children and disappearing
from the whole bloc vote fiasco to "demonstrate dissatisfaction with
Anwar", it would have been something if Shafie and Warisan demonstrated
some cajones and made some noise in Parliament by supporting the bloc
vote initiative by Amanah.
This way, we could see the kind of
leadership Warisan is capable of, instead of the politics as usual,
which the Harapan base claims it wants to move away from.
and Shafie would have demonstrated that they have what it takes to give
the finger to the PN regime, instead of doing what the PN regime wants,
which is to fracture the opposition further.
If Warisan and
whoever else did not like Anwar's last-minute instruction, then they
should have just said "the old man does not know what he is doing",
disobeyed and justified their behaviour after. After all, this is what
the base wants, and sometimes the leadership needs to be reminded of
What did Harapan political operatives do? They
obeyed Anwar and then like spoiled little children whine about it in the
press later. Everyone attempting to lay the blame somewhere else
instead of standing by his or her actions. Is this leadership?
Youth chief Mohd Azis Jamman says that in politics we must be decisive.
Of course, but what decisive manoeuvres has Warisan made beyond
buttressing the PN narrative that the opposition cannot lead this
country? Warisan made the same mistake as Harapan by making this about
personality instead of policy.
In addition, asking for a change of
leadership but not naming who you think is suitable for the job is
disingenuous. If Warisan wants to make a play for the leadership role,
well and good.
However, Warisan has done nothing to demonstrate
that it can lead, beyond snipping at Anwar and parroting talking points
from the old maverick. Power is always taken, never given, which is what
Anwar for all his intellect and international standing has never
grasped but folks like Mahathir do.
Because this is Malaysian
politics, the only possible leader of the opposition is Malay or maybe a
"bumiputera". Therefore, the talent pool is already constrained, not to
mention that the said leader must not spook the Malays because a
liberal Malay leader is not allowed.
Anwar is his own worst enemy
and unless the state of play changes, the next GE could be the end of
Harapan, as much as it could be the end of PN.