In a previous post, a visitor asked: “Do you think Tan Keng Liang's move to continue to pressure Pakatan Rakyat to keep their promise on local council elections is good or bad?”
Then he thought better of it, since we all know Tan Keng Liang is Kedah Gerakan, and qualified his question:
“Assume Tan Keng Liang is not from Gerakan. Do you think his move to continue to pressure Pakatan Rakyat to keep their promise on local council elections is good or bad?” wakakaka.
But my response is, is there really any need to pressure Pakatan? After all, Lim Guan Eng has been the one to start the ball rolling, and Khalid Ibrahim saw fit to follow, so really, what need is there to pressure them?
The very same people who want (or pretend) to 'pressure' Lim GE are the very people who had claimed Lim was only grandstanding when he proposed local council elections - well, that's politics for you.
In fact it's UMNO and its apparatus the EC which need pressuring. If Tan is so keen, that’s whom he should be pressuring, if he has the gonads, wakakaka.
OK, admittedly the 3rd component of the Pakatan, PAS, has been lukewarm, but then PAS has never committed itself whole heartedly to local elections. Only the DAP and PKR were the ones.
So Penang and Selangor, namely the DAP and PKR led state governments can go ahead with council elections without Kedah or Kelantan, that is, if PM Najib supports that. But haven't we been told that PM Najib is not in favour - he's scared of the BN being shown the boot. The demoralising effect would be tsnunami-c (again), to say the least.
By the way, don’t expect the Perak MB to make a similar declaration (i.e. wanting local elections), unless of course Tan Keng Liang has the balls to urge/advise/pressure Zambry wakakaka.
Back to PAS – I can see why PAS is not so keen. Let me wander around (again wakakaka) before I explain.
In 1961, the ruling party which formed the Penang State government was Perikatan (predecessor of the BN) which was then made up of only 3 parties, UMNO, MCA and MIC. Wong Pow Nee (MCA) was the CM.
Yet when local elections were held in 1961 for the City Council of Georgetown, Penang, it was not the Perikatan who won. The Socialist Front (known to Penangites as goo t’au tong – parti kepala lembu) won 14 of the 15 seats, in any language a humongous landslide.
Because many sectors of Georgetown was the socialist heartland, places like Weld Quay, Beach Street, the Magazine Road - Bricklin Road area and the Campbell Road – Prangin area, Carnarvon Street, etc. It was Karn-neen-nare Land wakakaka. The MCA which depended on the middle class and above had a snowflake chance in hell of winning.
The 1st mayor was, according to my family, a Socialist Front man named DS Ramanathan, a Penang teacher of Sri Lanka origin. He was subsequently succeeded by another Labour man, Ooi Thiam Siew, who was quite urbane and spoke very eruditely in both English and Chinese (Hokkien, maybe even Mandarin) even though his cohorts were from the socialist heartland.
14 out of 15 seats won by the Socialis Front! This is what PAS fears because local elections by its urban nature can be and will probably be in the general case (except for places like KB) dominated by the Chinese pollies. Even in Kedah, places like Alor Setar and Sungai Petani could well see the town councils manned by mainly Chinese.
PAS doesn’t want this to come about because (a) it wants to appoint its own people, (b) it is petrified of UMNO making hay out of Chinese sunshine at PAS’ gloomy expense and (c) it is in the final analysis a Malay party inasmuch as it claims to be an Islamic party.
Just look at people like Hassan Ali of Selangor and even Hadi Awang, who were both pro Malay-unity in the immediate aftermath March 2008, though Pak Hadi Awang has lately embraced, perhaps grudgingly, more of Pakatan's multi-ethnic policies because he has been shown and accepted the ‘bigger picture’ [of PAS riding on Pakatan’s back to a true Islamic State].
That has been why PAS has been lukewarm towards local council elections. Equally it explains why Najib doesn’t even want to think about it, unless Tan Keng Liang can 'pressure' him wakakaka (sorry lah, can't help it) as he (Najib that is) realizes that he cannot depend on the MCA, what more when the man who, together with his brother, lost the Chinese votes for the BN (save in Johore) is now coming back in a hope to head his party again wakakaka.
Gerakan people like Tan Keng Liang are desperate, and really can you blame them when their party has been decimated and their party president is sadly and humiliatingly reduced to virtually carrying a briefcase for Idris Jala wakakaka (sorry for my wakakaka-ing, can’t help it lah).
Hence they pretend to ‘pressure’ Pakatan to proceed on with local council elections for 2 reasons, (a) to show how 'brave' they are in making Pakatan live up to its election promise (knowing full well that Najib is the real power and thus the culprit in denying such elections) and (b) just in case Najib does allow local elections, they can have a second stab at a meaningful political role as a people’s representative, even if only at the level of local governments. Better than zero role, I suppose wakakaka!
I don’t think the MCA will have a chance in both Penang but quite frankly Gerakan just may as there is still a soft spot amongst some Penangites for a once-upon-a-time Gerakan.