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Married and Miserable August 14, 2009

Posted by malaysianstory in A New Chapter, PKR Selangor.
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First it was over the pig abattoir in Kedah. The issue led to the Kedah DAP pulling out of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and snubbing the leadership of PAS in the state.

In stepped PR supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and almost like magic, the pig and abattoir issue flew out of the window and PAS and DAP were holding hands again.

Now, it is in Parti Keadilan Rakyat-led Selangor where DAP decided to return confiscated beer to an outlet in Shah Alam, incurring the wrath of the State PAS.

Involved in the controversy is DAP stalwart Ronnie Liu and Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Hassan Ali and they had been exchanging barbed comments.

While these are developing, Penang, the other state under PR rule, a similar situation is unfurling and this time, it involves Jeff Ooi, the chief of staff of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Ooi sparked a controversy when he remarked that Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) as an extremist movement. The remarks came about when Ooi wanted to justify why he insisted on the removal of one Mohd Razali Abdullah from the State’s One Stop Centre Committee which deals with investments in Penang.

At a glimpse, the controversies do not seem to involve major issues which could not be resolved amicably among the three political parties in the PR.

But upon scrutiny, these problems are symptoms of a bigger and inherent ideological polarity which in the first place should not have brought either of the parties, especially PAS and DAP on the same platform, let alone venture into any union.

Most PAS and DAP leaders when pointed out about their ideological polarity choose to explain that while they acknowledge their differences, they are together for a common cause facing a common enemy.

The common cause they pronounced as having been the binding force are universal values including human rights, freedom, justice, fairness, equality and so forth.

The common enemy is quite obvious – the Barisan Nasional (BN) – and their mission is to break the domination by the ruling coalition on the nation’s helm for the past 52 years since independence.

To members of the PR, the BN hegemony must be broken at all costs and that objective supersedes everything else.

To glue the incongruous “marriage” between PAS and the DAP is the PKR, a motley crue of ex-Umno, ex-MCA, ex-Gerakan, ex-MIC, ex-NGO stalwarts, lawyers, social activists, academicians and whoever had an axe to grind with the establishment and yet uncomfortable to be with PAS and the DAP.

In fact, even former leaders of the DAP too had joined PKR.

The PKR was established to fight for the alleged injustice against Anwar after he was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Umno president in 1998 and subsequently jailed for abuse of power and sodomy.

The courts had since overturned the sodomy charges (although the judges admitted that the sodomy incident had occurred, please refer to judgement). Fast forward, Anwar is still stuck with his sodomy issues this time allegedly with his aide.

It is through the combination of sympathy and Anwar’s political agenda that had brought PKR together and his manoeuvrings that motivated the collaboration between his party and DAP and PAS in PR.

But the collaborations was not a pre-electoral pact, very much unlike that of BN in which, the latter stood in the 2008 general election on a common manifesto and the voting populace knew of the power distribution between the component parties.

Though the PR was wooing voters without any pre-electoral pact, it managed to deny the BN for the first time in the history of Malaysian elections its two-thirds majority.

Though Anwar and the other PR partners would claim that they managed that due to their ability to endear themselves to the electorate, the bigger contributor to their success was attributed to the disillusionment felt by voters, including those who were staunch BN supporters, towards the then BN leadership under Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

After a heady success in the 2004 general elections, it got to his head and Abdullah lost the plot.

Now with the leadership cleared of Abdullah, despite some of his lingering excess baggage still prevalent in the BN, and with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak seemingly keen to get the coalition out of its slumber, BN looked quite ready to take the battle to the PR.

To contribute further to BN’s revival is the fact that the PR marriage is starting to disintegrate.

While it was fine to work together against a common enemy and fighting on a common ground when outside the government, the cooperation is now being severely tested as they have become part of the government – controlling four states between them.

Whipping public sentiments based on hatred and anger towards the BN can only work for so long. Their ability to rule and cooperate as a Government will be judged as they enter into their second year of governance.

With the mantra of fault-finding fast losing its appeal, the PR is hard-pressed to present itself as a capable alternative to BN.

This in itself exposes the components in PR as each party is expected by party members to now deliver what had been promised to be their raison d’etre.

With that PAS is expected to shine its Islamic badges and put forth its theocratic promises. PAS is actually forcing the DAP to stand up and defend its secular existence.

The problems from the diametrical ideology professed by both parties reached its zenith as reflected in the case of the beer seizure by the local authorities from a convenience store in Shah Alam.

DAP’s Ronnie Liu who is also the State Exco for Local Government in Selangor decided to step in and ordered the local council to return the beer.

Selangor PAS condemned Liu for being insensitive to the fact that the convenience store is located in a Malay-majority area and as such the sale of beer and alcohol should not be allowed.

To compound the issue, Selangor PAS is now demanding that the Selangor Government impose a total ban on the sale of alcohol in Muslim-dominated area and this is being opposed at this stage by both its partners PKR and DAP. For the record, PAS is the minority partner in the Selangor state government.

Accusations that the DAP and Ronnie Liu in particular, are intoxicated by power are being bandied about by pro-PAS supporters.

Given the development, it is doubtful that the matters could be resolved amicably though it may be swept aside later.

Any dreams of PAS and the DAP enjoying a lifelong marital bliss is akin to the expression when pigs fly.

For now, power does seem to be intoxicating enough for both the DAP and PAS.  Bear and other alcoholic drinks are no longer necessary.



1. Beng Hock - August 16, 2009

Hey Mr Writer you think the Pakatan Rakyat cannot work? I think you are very lost in your own corrupted world. The coming by election would be an eye opener to you. If you have a weak heart please get your doctors nearby cos if you expect PR to lose the you should be very disappointed and I am worried that your heart might not be able to take it like our Klang’s x-YB!

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