Even as a DAP supporter I didn’t dare dream of the (to use Uncle Lim’s word) tsunamic force that has swept Malaysian politics. Makkal Sakti.
On landing after a night flight, I rushed impatiently to the Net to check Malaysiakini but as I had anticipated, the online news was chockablock with other excited, estatic and eager surfers. It didn’t allow me to catch up with what had happened since I left Penang last night.
So, I visited my blogging mate’s site, Lucia Lai’s Mental Jog, and found out that it’s confirmed - DAP in a loose coalition with PKR and PAS have taken Penang. Lucia also kindly provided a Malaysiakini alternative access, which I gratefully used.
Kelantan remains under PAS with an even stronger majority but alas, UMNO has hung on to Terengganu. But PAS has taken over Kedah, a victory denied to them in 2004 by some creative gerrymandering which Steven Gan prophesized ;-) in a Malaysiakini editorial that year.
Remember then of the predicted PAS victories that were to transform the northern (Peninsula) Malaysian States of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu into a ‘Green Crescent’. Well, it’s in a large fashion realised in this election.
Another long awaited political transformation has at last being realised, Lim Kit Siang’s ‘Tanjong’ project, carefully not mentioned in this election to avoid giving Penangites any impression of the DAP being arrogantly presumptuous. The DAP takeover rule of Penang is of course conditional on the continuing support of PKR and to a smaller extent and indirectly (via PKR), PAS.
Lim Guan Eng has been proposed as the new CM, but the enduring, endearing and enviable perseverance has been that of Uncle Lim, a man who never says die, despite being incarcerated under the draconian ISA and suffering the humiliation of public rejection in 1999 (because of his supporters’ anger at his association with the then dreaded PAS).
The tribute must go to him, to his inimitable courage, strong leadership and unfaltering dedication.
I am also thankful Penangites has provided courageous Karpal-ji a beautiful but undoubtedly (advanced) swansong to his admirable political career. A wonderful tribute too to this fantastic Khalsa warrior. We hope he stays on to do battle for the entire 5 years of his paliamentary term.
I read with glee that Perak and Selangor have fallen to the loose coalition of DAP-PKR-PAS. My uncle had told me that political status would have been the case in 1969 if the May 13 riot didn’t, hadn’t occur.
It has taken 40 years for the water level (of the people’s preference) to settle down from its erstwhile turbulence.
As had been the case in 1969, so today’s (or more correctly, last night’s) victory has come about because of unity and understanding among the opposition parties of DAP, PKR, PSM and PAS (even though DAP was quite careful not to publicise this after the 1999 drubbing).
A visitor (PKR of course) to my blog wrote (spelling errors corrected by me) “Ktemoc, I'm sorry, the man you hated most is the most credited today. He has rallied the opposition, united them, campaigned for them in a punishing schedule and his party wiped out MIC from existence and also won an impressive record by being the only party which made the most of the giant killers apart from DAP which killed Penang Chief Minister. Be polite and leave your hatred and look forward.”
As I have stated before, only anwaristas would use the word ‘hate’ or ‘hatred’ ;-). I don’t hate anyone but I do not deny I didn’t trust Anwar Ibrahim, and I still do not even now ;-) Lets’ wait and see, OK?
Firstly, allow me to congratulate his wife Dr Wan Azizah for being returned with a very comfortable majority and his giant-killer daughter, Nurul Izzah for knocking off former Women Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
Secondly, I’ll be gracious and acknowledge his political skills, charisma and drive in forging a new (loose) alliance that has brought about this stunning victory against the BN, where as in 1969, the ruling party has been effectively denied its too-much-taken-for-granted-and-highly-abused 2/3 majority.
But in the post-election euphoria let us not forget the humongous contributions and graciousness of Lim Kit Siang, who had taken a then politically marginalised Anwar Ibrahim into his (Lim's) party's company, conference and confidence – remember those DAP strategic workshops where Anwar Ibrahim (the only non DAP leader) was invited as a special guest?
Uncle Lim took a remarkable step in embracing Anwar considering the then UMNO Education Minister had been the man who initiated a policy that led to Uncle Lim eating Kem Kamunting nasi kari for a couple of years. I confess that personally I wasn’t too impressed by Uncle Lim’s move but obviously he knows better ;-)
And yes, we must no longer refer to DAP-PKR-PAS as the ‘opposition’ – maybe only at the ‘federal’ level (and in some States), because these three parties have effectively, through Makkal Sakti, earn the privilege to lead their fellow citizens in several States, in three as collectively the ‘ruling party’.
That’s right, they are now no longer the Opposition in a number of States – they ARE the governments ;-)
I recall my uncle telling of the politico-religious difficulties the DAP had faced in Selangor in 1969 on the issue of a Chinese or rather a non-Muslim MB. The MB was and still is also the advisor to the State Sultan on many issues, one of which is Islamic affairs.
It doesn't mean a State can't have a non Muslim MB with a deputy Muslim MB to look after Islamic issues, but breaking in the State's Malay Muslims to such a concept will take time. In the shorter term, some compromise may be needed.
In 1969 the DAP-PPP-Gerakan loose coalition didn’t have a suitable Muslim candidate to offer as the MB of Selangor. The evening of May 13 1969 effectively ended the DAP’s pondering.
But today there is PKR and even PAS who may offer a Muslim to the alliance for the States’ top jobs.
In this regard, I would encourage the DAP to be gracious – goodness gracious, I’ve used this word thrice (no, 4 times if you include ‘goodness gracious’) but it’s the most appropriate expression for what I am writing about – [now here’s Malaysiakini’s chance to get back at me for teasing it about its too-frequent use of ‘helm’].
I believe the DAP should allow a PKR man (Muslim of course otherwise it defeats the purpose) to be the Menteri Besar, especially of Perak. Such a move will benefit everyone (except UMNO), in that it:
(i) assures the Malays in Perak and Selangor that the positions of both Islam and the Sultan as head of the religion in the State continue to be upheld
(ii) neutralizes any potential for UMNO to exploit religion as a weapon to pry open the current pact between DAP and PKR, or worse …whatever …
(iii) consolidates on the goodwill between DAP and PKR and even PAS
(iv) forms a (hesitant) first step towards erasing the ethno-religious division that has been the cancerous malaise in Malaysian politics
(v) perhaps even prepares the DAP and PKR for a stronger and more formal political coalition.
The current informal pact or unity between DAP and PKR will be the greatest challenge for the noveau ruling parties, and mark my word, UMNO will be working very hard to destroy the informal coalition. Tun Razak did that effectively in 1970.
If PKR's Khalid Ibrahim, with the agreement of the DAP, becomes the new Selangor MB, he could surrender his Bandar Tun Razak federal seat to Anwar Ibrahim after April, killing two birds with one stone - freeing himself from federal responsibilities to concentrate on the political leadership and management of Selangor State in partnership with DAP, and allowing Anwar Ibrahim to return to Parliament.
In my next post I’ll discuss the BN ;-) but that’s all for now.
My congratulations to DAP, PKR, PAS and PSM.