Sunday, 4 September 2016

New party, old issues

Brave New World (The Star)
20 July 2016

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Man, oh man! This new party being proposed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has really set some alarm bells ringing.

First and foremost, I think that if anyone wants to set up a political party, that’s their right to do so.
Go ahead, knock yourself out, have fun.
My concern is what this does to the already incredibly messy and chaotic political scene of the country.
The Opposition is in disarray. Top leaders are either locked up or being dragged through the legal process.
The promising Pakatan Rakyat has torn apart with PAS suddenly rediscovering its medieval roots.
The new Pakatan Harapan (PH) is still finding its feet and I do not believe it has captured the public imagination as how the Pakatan Rakyat did all those years ago.
Plus, now with PAS dancing to its own tune (figuratively of course, because I am sure the party frowns on dancing), it looks like three-cornered fights is going to be the order of the day.
If that is the case, then Barisan Nasional will stand to gain the most.
All this mess, and that is without taking into consideration any internal politicking in the three component parties of the PH.
I am certain such politicking exists, although I have no idea what they may be, being an outsider and all. But even without such shenanigans, things do not look good for the Opposition.
And into this situation a new political party may jump in. We aren’t even sure what this party is all about. It appears to be concerned with working with the Opposition to get rid of the Barisan Nasional Government.
Yet, at the same time, its figurehead is saying that it may not go up against Umno.
I’m sorry. What?
Maybe I am missing some subtle political point here but the last time I looked, the Prime Minister, his deputy and many other ministers are from Umno.
You want to get rid of the current Government leaders but not fight against Umno?
Can this be correct or was there a total misunderstanding and the news report I read was wrong?
Furthermore, I am most curious to find out just what this new party is all about.
What is its manifesto? Is it just to fight Barisan? Or will it have other things it wants to champion?
Perhaps it is going to promise to fix the institutional disaster that we are faced with today.
A disaster that can trace its roots to the regime of Dr Mahathir.
It would be interesting if it did want to champion this, seeing as how its de facto head does not have any inclination to admit that perhaps, just perhaps, he has to bear some responsibility for the situation we and he find ourselves in today.
Also there is a possibility that this new party is going to be a Malay party. Really?
Great, that’s just what we need; another party that reinforces racial politics. I suppose since its target demographic is Umno and PAS supporters, it wants to appeal to the Malay heartland.
Even if that is the case, it is a sad state of affairs that these people seem to think that the only way they can do this is by reverting to a political norm that has in the long term caused a divisive and divided society.
And how about their potential partners? How can the PH accept a race-based party when all three parties in PH are not race-based and have spoken out against such things in the past?
Furthermore, just what exactly is the relationship going to be between this new party and the PH.
Will someone like Dr Mahathir allow himself to be merely an equal partner or will he want to dictate everything?
There is no clue whatsoever as to how this new party will fit into the existing system.
All this does is add confusion to an already depressing state of affairs. And I do not know if it is going to help or not.
Let’s be frank, the reason I keep singling out Dr Mahathir is because without him, this new party will not exist.
He has been campaigning against the Prime Minister for a long time now and you must be na├»ve to think that this new party, whatever it may be, will be formed if Dr Mahathir didn’t want it to happen.
But how influential is he anyway?
In the last two by-elections, there seems to be no indication that his presence can make a dent in the Umno support.
Will his party do better? Who knows?
Yet, the PH are probably hoping that the Mahathir factor can help turn that particularly Umno-centric demographic.
They obviously decided that it is worth it to partner their former enemy to do so.
The question is, what if the Mahathir factor is not a factor at all? Will it then be worth it to have him in the same team?
Only time will tell.

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