Tuesday, 17 February 2015

What is Pakatan's Future with Anwar in Jail

Sin Chew Jit Poh

12 February 2015


So, Anwar Ibrahim is going to go to jail. His chances of being in government again are effectively over but I think he will still be an influential player in Malaysian politics. But right this moment, I think the most important thing to remember is that a wife will lose her husband, children will lose their father and grandchildren their grandfather. My thoughts go to Anwar’s family.


Apart from the personal issues of this case, what of the political? The key question is what will happen to Pakatan? Much has been said that Anwar is the glue that holds the coalition together. And that once he is locked away, Pakatan will just crumble away.


This may be true but I don’t think if Pakatan breaks up now that it will be because of Anwar’s conviction. I think that the problems are so deep (especially between the DAP and PAS), that no amount of superglue is going to help.


Can Pakatan survive? I am not sure. If they continue with politics as usual, then I doubt it. They will need to have a paradigm shift away from the usual horse trading and empire guarding. Pakatan players, especially the younger ones (the old ones are probably fossilised in their ways), need to go back to the spirit of 2008.


They need to once again focus on the big picture. The big picture is that we need the democratic process to be vindicated with a peaceful change of government. There was a time when the Pakatan was able to find common ground for the coalition and then just concentrate on that common ground.


Now it’s all about pushing their party interest first. It’s about wondering who is going to be Prime Minister, how many cabinet seats each party will have; in other words it is politics as usual. This may be OK if the players are able to work together civilly and always with the bigger picture at the back of their minds.


If not, if they work on the basis of personal and party interest, then the coalition will crumble. Our dreams of a proper Malaysian democracy will die. The Barisan will dance with joy. And Anwar and his family’s sacrifices would have been in vain.

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