PAKATAN Harapan, despite often bragging to be better than the ruling Barisan Nasional, does have very serious issues to overcome, with the continuing saga of seat allocation being among the most pressing as the 14th general election approaches.
For example, DAP reportedly planned to give the Ayer Hitam seat to Parti Amanah Negara (PAN) to contest against the incumbent, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, but changed its mind to put its representative instead, as candidate.
Meanwhile, Selangor seat allocation is still unresolved among Pakatan parties. A more important question is, how will Pakatan take the country forward when its candidate for prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) admitted that he will serve two years, until Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is able to assume the job? If Anwar still can’t after two years, then what? Continue on as PM or pick another candidate?
His son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz might be a possibility though this will spark another firestorm in Pakatan. Also, two years means nearly half of a term in office. That’s precious time wasted supporting a leader who is there warming the seat for someone else, what more to expect him to achieve something meaningful that Pakatan, and especially the people, can be proud of.
It is also perplexing to hear Anwar, who has, for years, been struggling to rid himself of sexual misconduct charges that has dogged him from the Mahathir era, claim that the former leader is a changed man and committed to the reform agenda.
Some PKR supporters have even come up with an explanation why Pakatan accepted Dr Mahathir by saying he is the “reformasi movement’s saviour”. That Dr Mahathir is suddenly a changed man and a “reformasi saviour” sounds like an excuse in the interest of political expediency.
Framing their explanation this way is reminiscent of the welcome for Anwar when he established PKR in 1999 and joined the opposition after his sacking from Umno.
In short, Pakatan has taken “damaged goods” to be re-marketed to the people. At the same time, Pakatan will also have to focus on holding on to Selangor and Penang, where currently questions of integrity shadow both Pakatan chief ministers.
PKR deputy president and Selangor Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, realises that the Ijok land issue, which is criticised by former Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, is a new blow to Pakatan. Khalid, who was sacked by PKR in 2014, is asking why the Selangor government had decided to give back 880ha of land in Ijok to two developers whose contracts were revoked in 2009, during his administration, before being sold to other parties. The biggest question is, how come the settlers were paid for their land, not based on current market prices. How can one call it a win-win situation when the settlers were paid RM421.4 million, while others got RM758.6 million!
Alarm bells must be ringing loudly in Pakatan office too when Khalid was quoted as saying he was willing to cooperate with former state MB, Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo, Tan Sri Abu Hassan Omar, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib and Pas on Selangor matters.
Then, there’s the conviction of Rafizi Ramli because of the NFC Feedlot issue for which the court sentenced him to 30 months’ jail for breaking banking secrecy regulations. Rafizi is famed for his many allegations against the government that are either unproven, baseless or downright lies.
In Penang, things are not peachy either as the DAP-led government is embroiled in controversies involving the undersea tunnel project linking the island with the mainland, not to mention the case of Lim Guan Eng’s bungalow that was purchased below market price.
DAP is also seen as a party that is not people-oriented as the party’s senior leader likes to change seats from one election to another. This is like admitting that he is not being effective in serving the constituency, so he will not be getting another term.
Lim Kit Siang, for example, hopped from Bandar Melaka to Petaling, and then back to Kota Melaka before going to Tanjong, then to Bukit Bendera, followed by Ipoh Timor and Gelang Patah in 2013.
What did the people in those constituencies get in return for his ‘services’? Perhaps MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai can ask that question as the latest round of gossip alleges that Kit Siang might contest in Bentong, though the DAP leader denies wanting to contest against him.
The opposition often questions the integrity of BN leaders, harping on issues they claim are detrimental to the rakyat and country when most of the claims are politically motivated and easily viralled using social media.
Pakatan leaders themselves cannot claim to be free from fault when judged on what they say and what they do, which raises doubts about their ability to govern effectively. And, that is just in Selangor and Penang.
Maybe this explains why opposition supporters are initiating the “undi rosak” (spoilt vote) movement because they have lost confidence, given what’s happening within Pakatan. It is no surprise then to find Pakatan supporters losing their conviction in their leaders’ integrity.
The allegation that a billionaire is financing the opposition to replace BN rule with a Chinese-led administration cannot come at a worse time. One still remembers the urging of “using the Malays to screw the Malays” by a DAP supporter not too long ago.
Azman Abdul Hamid and Ahmad Fairuz Othman are NST journalists who are taking a closer look at the country’s political developments in the run-up to GE14