Gerakan Party and its DAP, PPP and PAS allies (yes, PAS was part of the bloc that had an election understanding, though it was not a coalition in the mode of today’s Pakatan) overturned the Malaysian political world, where people saw the vulnerability of the Perikatan just a mere 12 years after Merdeka, perhaps in the same way many Asians saw the less-than-invincibility of the British after it was trounced drastically by the Japanese during WWII.
May 13 had to occur for a very shaken UMNO. Both Selangor and Perak were slipping through its hands. The inevitable, for these two states, as well as a Gerakan-turned-BN controlled Penang, to slip from BN hands had to wait for another 40 years.
Note: I have not mentioned much about Kelantan and Terengganu as control of these two states were generally within PAS’ reach and have certainly changed hands. As many suspect, the politics of Sabah and Sarawak had more to do with the UMNO central government keeping them out of Catholic hands and the threats of secession. Sabah’s Donald Stephens converted to Islam becoming (the late) Fuad Stephens but Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Sarawak’s (the late) Stephen Kalong Ningkan remained Christians.
The 1969-Gerakan and its allies DAP, PPP and PAS won handsomely on 10 May 1969 for two reasons, namely (no, it had nothing to do with Hindraf leading the way as hubristic Uthayakumar, bro & supporters would constantly us, wakakaka), namely:
(1) The voters (not just Chinese and Indians but Malays as well) were thoroughly fed up with the UMNO-led coalition of Perikatan, and ready for a change.
(2) The opposition had a no-split vote understanding. This was slightly different from the current vote ‘anyone except BN’ which developed into ‘vote Pakatan’, a frightening prospect for UMNO and its kutus.
After Lim Chong Eu took Gerakan into BN, the 1969 political supernova was followed by 40 years of weak opposition, played mainly by DAP and PAS.
Today, it’s easy to criticise Dr Lim for his action with the advantage of 40 years hindsight, as Terence Netto of Malaysiakini had done in his article He read the tides well, but not deeply. Dr Lim had to consider the well-being of Penangites in the wake of a horrendous May 13 and the very likelihood of a Perikatan federal government (running the emergency NOC) sabotaging his fledging government, as today’s UMNO is attempting ceaselessly to do to Lim GE’s Pakatan state government of Penang. The only difference is that today Lim GE has the advantage of living in a more globalised and ‘internationally smaller’ world and thus indirectly enjoying its ‘protection’.
OK, back to the last 40 years of Malaysia – The BN government with increasing oil revenue, profligate spending and unexplainable and obscene lifestyle by many BN leaders (leadership by terrible example) led to unfettered and deep rooted corruption. Everyone, from politician to policeman, wants not only to get rich but obscenely rich, and pretty pronto too. And why not for the poor mata-mata, when they could see plainly some fat cats living in palatial mansions, like a once railway gate keeper or a dentist?
When the law was found to be not suitable for UMNO’s requirements, it raped the Constitution at will, changing its Articles as and when it liked. Then, Lim Kit Siang’s greatest wish was humble, to only deny the BN its 2/3 majority so as to stop the violation of the Constitution. Today, Lim’s ambition has grown beyond the magic 2/3 majority.
The inevitable consequence of the 40 years of Dark Interregnum since 1969 witnessed continuous and increasing UMNO avarice, arrogance and aggression. Their political leaders rode roughshod over everyone including their non-Malay allies. Ketuanan
Thus the voters wanted to change the government.
At the same time, the opposition were ready with a political memorandum of understanding a la 1969, namely, not to split votes. The difficult job of seats sharing was nonetheless achieved, though recently doubts have been raised as to PKR’s real membership numbers.
08 March 2008 was exactly like 10 May 1969. Pakatan was the equivalent of Gerakan and its ‘friends’ of 1969 (DAP, PPP and PAS).
But what about the coming 13th general election? Can Pakatan maintain the two following factors, namely:
(1) The voters will be ready and want to change the federal government.
(2) The opposition has a no-split vote understanding.
Let’s discuss the second factor first. I believe it is achievable. In fact, it’ll be more than just not splitting votes as the several by-elections since 08 March 2008 have shown that the Pakatan allies could actually marshal votes for each other from their respective supporters.
The only spoiler to the no-split vote strategy will be mosquito parties like Uthayakumar's HRP. Yes, I believe they may deny Pakatan (especially DAP) a few seats. Mind you, HRP does not have the sort of numbers they imagine to be commanding as many Indians have already returned to the BN fold, wakakaka, so its deliberate intention to damage DAP's prospects may not be that effective or significant.
What about the first factor? Obviously we have been aware of Najib’s campaigning, though UMNO has been careful to assure its heartland it hasn’t abandoned its ketuanan Melayu policy by frequent spurts of bigotry, through its (pretend) maverick politician-leaders, civil servants and the insidious seditious Utusan and other mouthpieces.
On the Pakatan side, I see its Achilles heel, lamentably the fallout from the PKR's shameful scandalous party polls, where complaints against vote rigging were blatantly ignored while complainants were labelled as traitors. It took no meaningful or sincere actions until eons later for Anwar Ibrahim to come up with a promise to deal with each complaint, a promise of action grudgingly brought about by the very serious threat from the damage done to PKR unity, though I believe like his reformasi call, it’s nothing more than just lip service, again.
If one can forgive the second terrible trio of Dr Wan Azizah, Dr Syed Husin and Dr Molly Cheah, can one the principal terrible trio of Anwar, Azmin and Saifuddin?
Today PKR is a house divided, very very much divided. As Jonson Chong warned Dr Wan Azizah: If the president still does not take some serious action to remedy this situation, then I’m afraid the party’s days may be numbered with or without a new line-up. And let me unequivocally state that I am not addressing the de facto leader on this matter because I no longer recognise the validity of that position.
And as I wrote in my previous post: Jonson's last paragraph requires urgent attention but I doubt Dr Wan Azizah has the will, willingness and wibawa (authority) to take action.
Alas, PKR has proven itself to be nothing more than a cult party. I fear its effect on Pakatan will be the same as Gerakan joining BN in 1972. It may bring upon us another 40 years of Dark Age.