Warring States period in Malaysian politics

Warring States period in Malaysian politics
PHOTO: The Straits Times

On the chaos now reigning over both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, Umno veteran leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah believes this could shake up the existing political alliances in the country, as anything is possible in politics.

Ku Li is indeed quite right. The current state of Malaysian politics resembles that of the Warring States period of ancient China where there were no strong and convincing leaders while factional chiefs were struggling to seize control of their states.

Persatuan Ummah Sejahtera Malaysia (PasMa) is going to be registered as a political party, while PM Najib's bother, CIMB Group chairman Nazir Razak is planning an NGO with Umno's moderate leader Saifuddin Abdullah.

The political forces that we now have are no longer able to take charge of the highly intricate, diversified and conflicting values of our Malaysian society, resulting in more and more chaos. Along the way towards a complete overhaul of existing political forces, things could change for the better but could also become worse.

On the positive side the conservative forces would be capped as forward-looking values hold the reins.

Take the "collapse" of Pakatan Rakyat for instance, it definitely wasn't a good idea if it were to take place shortly before the 2013 general elections.

But given the fact that the conservative ulamas are now in full control of PAS, it will be very difficult for the pact to charge its way ahead, and so the "demise" of Pakatan is not a bad thing after all. At least this might spawn a more promising new political environment.

The Islamic party has already been led into a dead end by the conservatives, and if DAP ad PKR are still clinging onto it, they too will be destined to fall.

It is a good thing that DAP has finally come to terms with this reality. Quoting PKR's strategy director Sim Tze Tzin, the party is also well aware of this.

If the three parties making up Pakatan Rakyat were to carry on with their old model of co-operation, there is no way they can ever seize Putrajaya come the next general elections.

So they must free themselves from the existing shackles and hopefully the potentials for further breakthrough could be liberated.

This will mean the establishment of a new alliance of democracy and liberty that will include the Left Coalition (Gabungan Kiri) and will work closely with NGOs and other organisations instead of tying itself down to political alliance in a bid to exploit new growth areas.

Before the relationship between DAP and PAS gets clarified, the current situation does not augur well for both DAP and the opposition front because the hudud issue will continue to haunt their fundamental support base, in particular Chinese electorate.

Perhaps in the absence of the old pact, the party can finally unload this smothering political burden.

Personally I believe DAP has given this strategy an entrenched and thoughtful consideration, including the assumption that it is unlikely for Najib to call a snap election.

Other than the Mahathir and MIC factors, the holy fasting month is never a good timing for electoral campaigns.

With DAP and the Erdogans within PAS gradually falling into place after Eid, even a snap election after a month or two will not catch them unprepared.

Meanwhile, DAP is not worried about PKR abandoning the party to keep the Selangor administration intact because the party is still holding a trump card in its hand, the DAP-dominated Penang state government.

If PKR were to lean towards PAS, the party would have to give up the right to participate in the Penang government.

Moreover, the PAS clerics have already offended Anwar Ibrahim and Wan Azizah over the hudud issue and as such, PKR is sentimentally more inclined to stick to DAP.

Umno also has some reservations at this juncture about exploiting the opportunities to co-operate with PAS to seize Selangor because this will put Najib under tremendous pressure from other BN component parties.

For the time being PKR is expected to engage both rival entities in the pact in hope of retaining Selangor administration.

However, if some of the PAS reps eventually quit their party in support of PKR-DAP, then this risk will be instantly expunged.

For the sake of his chief minister seat, Azmin Ali will have to keep reinforcing his postulation that "Pakatan Rakyat is still alive."

Even if the state legislative assembly is to be dissolved to pave way for fresh elections, PAS will still be the hardest hit, not DAP or PKR, because the rapid urbanization in much of Selangor will leave no space for PAS' conservative ideologies.

Hadi Awang is going to serve his "punishment" any time.

Given the fact that the Parliament is not ready to debate his private bill on hudud, I believe Hadi has come to see this cruel political reality; and this does not give him any good reason to abandon Pakatan.

Such a dilemma will pose a good opportunity for Mat Sabu et al to launch a decisive strike back by roping in more of their supporters to quit PAS for a new party.

"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." Hopefully that progressive force could be put together as soon as possible to save the country from further downslide.

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