Monday, January 14, 2008

Politicking amongst opposition parties

I have to smile at Raja Petra Kamarudin’s conclusion in his article titled The ten-year mood swings in his Malaysia-Today blog. He wrote (relevant extracts only):

If the Malays and non-Malays unite under a united opposition we can see a 50-50 split in the votes. Of course, Barisan Nasional will still form the government. But it will be without a two-thirds majority and with the loss of a few states.


Yes, let us force the opposition to unite. And if they don't then let us boycott the opposition. Let us show them we mean business. As Lim Kit Siang said, “The people are the boss.” So let us show them that we really are the boss by telling them what we want and by rejecting them if they refuse to listen to the boss. We want 80 opposition members in Parliament. And we will get it even if we have to vote against the opposition or by not coming out to vote just to teach the opposition a lesson and to show them that if we can't have it our way then we do not want it any way.

The opposition is arrogant. The opposition has a large ego. They think we need them so they can do what they like. It is time they learned that we do not need them but it is they who need us. Malaysia Today will soon launch a campaign called ONE OPPOSITION OR NO OPPOSITION. The civil society movements and NGOs will soon launch a PEOPLES' DECLARATION or DEKLARASI RAKYAT. If the ruling party accepts this Declaration we shall support them. Whomsoever accepts it we shall support them, never mind which party they are from. It is time we took back the streets. It is time we took back the ballot box. It is time the Wakil Rakyat learnt the meaning of wakil rakyat. It means we are in charge and they are merely our wakil.

... ... which brought one letter writer Aneel David Kannabhiran to rail at Raja:

Hello chief, there's no frickin' way in hell DAP are going to link up with PAS - neiher is PKR going to be seen as such [they may have a quiet 'nudge-wink' understanding with PAS, but they're not going to be OPENLY SEEN as supporting the Islamic State stand].

Further, the Barisan Alternatif idea was utterly destroyed by the BN smear campaign in GE 99, you think they'll not be once bitten?

So will RPK then say "ok - you all don't want to join together, WE'LL BOYCOTT YOU!" - so now what? Is he going to call all his blog supporters [who, judging by the number of comments and responses to his blogs, are in the thousands] to abstain from voting and therefore let the BN voters return BN into power?

Or is he and the "civil society movements and NGOs" he quoted going to stand for elections in all constituencies in a 3-way fight against BN and Opp, thereby splitting the non-BN vote, and thereby inevitably returning BN to back power?

And this is an example of "returning power to the people"???
What the bloody hell does RPK think he's doing?

While he arranges for his supporters to "boycott the Opposition", I for one will be boycotting his blog.

The editor of course has the last say when he posted: Since this article was published, PAS, DAP AND PKR have already come to an agreement on Penang, the most likely state to fall to a 'Chinese' opposition, and it has further been agreed that if the opposition wins in Penang DAP will be the Chief Minister.

Kaytee’s comments on firstly, the editor’s notes: they are not entirely correct. Malaysiakini told us that only DAP and PKR agreed on the 9th January 2008 to have a united front, and in Penang only against the BN in the general election.

PKR is yet to finalise any agreement with PAS in Penang as the one it has concluded with DAP.

Therefore the editor’s notes are, to put it politely, supportive spin based on incomplete data, for RPK’s seemingly bizarre but substantially brilliant propaganda. Well, why I say it is brilliant is something I want to examine together with you.

But at this stage suffice to say the so-called opposition ‘agreement’ is limited between DAP and PKR and confined to Penang only, because we are further informed by Malaysiakini that DAP-PKR seat talks: Perak, Sarawak the remaining obstacles, with the article's title being self explanatory.

The major stumbling block to any successful seat allocation talks between PKR and DAP has been the agreement between Lim (either Senior or Junior) and PKR’s de facto leader, an agreement voiced frequently and publicly by Lim Jnr, that the DAP shall be allocated the Chinese-majority seats, while PKR contest in mixed racial composition seats
. The latter unfortunately are usually BN stronghold seats.

While I have heard Lim Jnr declared this arrangement frequently I haven't yet heard Anwar Ibrahim denied it, which means it must be true. This is apart from both Lim Snr and Jnr's reputation as truthful speakers.

Tian Chua and the Chinese PKR (and perhaps even the Indian PKR members, whatever there may be left of them) think this arrangement stinks. They want a fair share of the Chinese-majority seats for a jolly fair chance. One would be reasonably safe to say that when Anwar agreed to the DAP on the formula that Lim Jnr has been stating openly, he (Anwar) must have forgotten to consult his PKR Chinese (and Indian) leaders.

Thus Tian Chua and the PKR Chinese leaders need to question their de facto leader for agreeing to the arrangement as if they don't matter or exist. Hmmm, the question this ‘arrangement’ between the DAP and Anwar Ibrahim raises can only be that Anwar has forgotten (or dismissed?) the Chinese members of his PKR.

Any coalition would benefit Anwar Ibrahim more than the DAP, who as an example, has to surrender to PKR one of its 20 seats it usually contested and originally wanted to contest in Penang in the coming election. It can’t form government with less than 20.

Of course this is not to say the DAP doesn’t benefit from a loose coalition because it’s always better to avoid 3-corner contests, as was successfully achieved in 1969.

But I reckon the DAP benefits least while PKR most from the arrangement. Inclusion of PAS in such a coalition, even if via PKR, is not good PR for DAP. Besides, throughout the world, it has been shown that an coalition comprising parties with such diverse political ideologies is only an unstable one at best.

Malaysiakini reported: One core issue in Perak appears to be the Chinese-based DAP’s insistence to contest in all three parliamentary and nine state seats in the Kinta Valley, much to the dismay of the multi-racial PKR.

It is understood that the PKR grassroots there had whispered to their party leadership that they were all prepared to go for three-cornered fights in the event DAP was unwilling to give up even a single seat in the Kinta Valley.

Well, perhaps this was what RPK had in mind when he wrote his conclusion in his article, to put some blame and pressure on the DAP?

So perhaps it has not been as bizarre as letter writer
Aneel David Kannabhiran thought it to be. No, RPK wasn't advocating capitulation to the BN if the ‘opposition’ refuses to unite - the 'opposition' in this case probably meaning only the DAP because I would dare say the PKR will 'somehow' voice its willingness to 'unite', but obviously in an arrangement very much against the DAP’s interests.

Thus I imagine he could have been hinting at not voting for an 'uncooperative' DAP.

Yes, by attempting to read between RPK’s lines I reckon he was saying if the DAP refuses to play ball, the opposition voters, even DAP supporters, should abandon the DAP and instead vote for PKR if there is a 3-corner fight.

RPK had said: Malaysia-Today will soon launch a campaign called ONE OPPOSITION OR NO OPPOSITION. The civil society movements and NGOs will soon launch a PEOPLES' DECLARATION or DEKLARASI RAKYAT. If the ruling party accepts this Declaration we shall support them. Whomsoever accepts it we shall support them,

OK, may I just ask who is this movement? Malaysia-Today? Bersih? And who will decide the ‘Declaration’? Who is expected to accept the terms, or else?

Well, one very easy answer I can provide straightaway for readers is that RPK is an extremely intelligent man and a brilliant strategist and propagandist, and I mean it as a compliment. RPK never writes anything without a planned objective. If it appears bizarre and self defeating, I examine it even more carefully ;-)

And why did I say Anwar Ibrahim is the main beneficiary of the movement to deny the BN its usual two-thirds majority? Afterall, isn’t that figure a long time dream of Lim Kit Siang? Wouldn’t it be a crowning swan song for the (de jure) Opposition Leader?

So, why is kaytee saying the de facto leader of the PKR will be the main and probably ONLY beneficiary if the BN is denied its two-third majority?

To be continued ...


  1. In the last GE, there were a few seats in Penang where the combined DAP, PKR votes exceeded that of BN, but BN won the First-Past-The-Post majority. Mathematically, avoiding a 3 cornered fight makes a lot of sense.
    The politics of Bolehland, with all kinds of racial and religious overtones, is another matter. About as complex as anything which occurred in Byzantium.

    PKR is trying hard to shed the stereotype (which quite a number of observers cling to...) that it is just a party of ex-UMNO wannabees, and move to a more multi-racial platform. Damned if they do, damned if they don't....

  2. PKR is a true multiracial party. If it is the main beneficiary of this then I give my full support.