Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Big party schisms lead to a dead end

Big party schisms lead to a dead end

From Terence Netto

Two political developments in recent days underscore the point that schisms in major political parties, accompanied by departures from the fold of the schismatics, lead to a dead end.

Zuraida Kamaruddin left PKR for Bersatu in 2020 after a long struggle in PKR to gain space and autonomy under the stifling autocracy of Rafizi Ramli.

She chose to follow Rafizi’s nemesis, Azmin Ali’s departure for Bersatu.

There she soon discovered that the latter cared little for her concerns for the unease of her large contingent of non-Malay supporters within the race-based Bersatu.

This led her to form Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) towards the end of 2021, to accommodate this contingent.

Several months after that move she applied for PBM to join Barisan Nasional.

On Monday, BN kept PBM, and six other parties that have applied to join the longstanding coalition, on a waiting list that will supposedly refine the criteria for joining it.

In short, BN was saying that “yes” the seven applicants can join them but they must serve a waiting period of uncertain duration.

Meanwhile, Azmin, winner of a tough contest for the deputy president’s post in PKR against challenger Rafizi in 2018, has had his hopes of becoming deputy prime minister in Ismail Sabari Yaakob’s administration effectively stalled.

Azmin had led the walkout of 10 MPs from PKR in February 2020 to make common cause with Bersatu in forming a new government that ended Pakatan Harapan’s reign as federal governors at just 22 months.

At least if he had wound up as DPM to Sabri, one could say that his bolt from the PKR stable had led to a high position on the totem pole of national political leadership.

It is believed that Umno is blocking his rise to that position and Ismail has no choice but to acquiesce, although Ismail had apparently agreed to appoint a Bersatu candidate to the DPM’s post.

Both Azmin and Zuraida now find that their departures from the PKR fold have been on a hiding to nothing.

Could their positions have been better if they had stayed on in PKR?

It can be argued it could not be worse, because now both are left high and dry in the positions they presently inhabit, and are saddled with the reputation of being traitors.

Compare their positions with that of two PKR stalwarts who were sympathetic to them in their struggles with Rafizi but chose not to join the cavalcade that decamped for Bersatu in February 2020.

Tian Chua and Sivarasa Rasiah loathe Rafizi but knew better than to join the caravan to Bersatu.

Tian Chua has been defeated for the divisional leadership in his bailiwick of Batu by the very person who he supported to take his place as MP for the constituency in the 2018 general election, P Prabakaran.

But he is still in the party, down but not out, as he put it after losing to Prabakaran in the PKR internal polls in May.

Sivarasa, the MP for Sungai Buloh, beat off a challenge to his PKR divisional leadership of the constituency, and is included in a committee to prepare the party for fast approaching GE15.

Both are on the margins of PKR, as different to the vital centre they inhabited in the long years of their residence in the party.

Marginalised though, their reputations, more importantly, are intact. That’s gold.

Which is far more than you can say for former PKR long stayers, Azmin and Zuraida.

Their reputations are shot and their prospects of upward mobility are stalled.

An embattled position in PKR would have been better than the dead end they now face.

Terence Netto is a senior journalist and an FMT reader.

1 comment:

  1. I, for one believe Zuraida and main belakang deserve to be where they are now.