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An alliance in disunity

  • A disunited alliance without a common goal will be no match for Umno-PAS. Photo courtesy: AFP

Sin Chew Daily

The late night meeting between PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and 22 Umno elected reps was a strategy by Tun Mahathir to confuse his PH allies and split up Umno.

Although the PM's trick has somewhat paid off, it has not helped boost his approval rating in the least.

Currently there is hardly any likelihood for involved parties to set up a backdoor government because there is no way for Mahathir to accept Najib who is pulling the strings from behind Umno.

In the meantime, Umno and PAS are brimming with confidence that they will not be pegged down by PPBM.

And since a consensus is beyond reach, PPBM can only keep working with PKR, DAP, Amanah and Warisan to run the country.

Tun Mahathir should be contemplating how a PH coalition that has lost the public faith will stand up against the fierce onslaught from Umno-PAS.

A disunited alliance without a common goal is no match for Umno-PAS.

Umno and PAS have managed to set aside their past grudges, not unlike the ice-breaking handshake between Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim prior to GE14.

The massive recent rally jointly organised by Umno and PAS at Kampung Memali in the Baling district of Kedah, site of the infamous Memali incident, saw the overwhelming participation of some 3,000 Umno and PAS members as well as local villagers and the victims' families.

The clash between the police and local residents at Kampung Memali in 1985 broke out when the police laid siege to the village houses to arrest PAS preacher Ibrahim Mahmud but met with strong resistance from local residents. As a result, 18 people were killed, including four policemen.

Families of the victims have opted to forgive Umno because they all share a common goal, and it is this consistent goal that has galvanised Umno and PAS grassroots to come together.

The Muslim grand unity slogan chanted by Umno and PAS has gradually restored the morale of their members as well as supporters. On the contrary, PH finds itself completely lost in disunity.

While it is not easy to set up a business, it is much harder to sustain it. After PH won the election through popular support, it has become arrogant and disconnected from the people, reneging on its election pledges and committing one mistake after another.

The PH presidential council has started to conduct a postmortem on its by-election defeat in Tanjung Piai.

Tun Mahathir said PH had identified its weaknesses and would take the steps to rectify the problems in a bid to win back the voters' hearts.

Nevertheless, we don't have any idea whether Tun Mahathir actually knows what the weaknesses are because shortly before the by-election he protruded himself as a spokesperson for Malay rights believing that this could help him win some Malay votes. In the end, more Malay votes were lost in Tanjung Piai.

After the by-election, Mahathir announced that a summit would be held in Kuala Lumpur from December 18 to 21 to rebuild the Islamic civilisation. He is going much further this time, moulding his own image as a leader of the Islamic World!

Instead of spending big money on a summit, the prime minister should instruct his economic affairs minister Azmin Ali to turun padang to help solve the problems of Felda settlers. There are as many as 52 Felda constituencies across the country and it is obvious that solving the people's plight is way more practical than anything else.

To avert the destiny of being a one-term government, it is imperative that the prime minister adopt a multi-pronged approach, but above all he must strive to establish a PH consensus which will form the basis for the coalition's common goal. Only with a direction clearly mapped out for the country will the government be able to draw up effective economic and educational policies.

While PKR and DAP are pursuing a New Malaysia, PPBM has embraced a racist discourse. The new government has failed to come up with any fresh policy despite having been in office for one and a half years, save for the 2030 Shared Prosperity Vision that actually lacks a core philosophy. How to share prosperity if no prosperity is being created?

Secondly, government leaders must put aside their prejudices and strive to unite all PH component parties. Any attempt to break up the alliance will only strengthen Umno-PAS.

Azmin has smelled an opportunity to ascend to the country's top post, and will seize every chance to challenge his own party's leadership. Factional conflicts within PKR has resulted in the Melaka PH state government's motion on senatorial appointment being overturned.

Meanwhile, DAP leaders have irked the party members and supporters over the issues of Seni Khat, Lynas rare earth plant and LTTE, among others. PH will not win in mixed constituencies if DAP has lost its fundamental support base among Chinese Malaysians.

Thirdly, the PH administration is generally perceived as being more engrossed with politicking than fixing the country's ailing economy, unable to come up with an economic stimulus package while the entrepreneurship development minister is more keen to promote China's super drone than addressing the problems faced by the country's SMEs.

It is essential for the prime minister to set up key performance indicators (KPI) for his ministers so that they can seriously get down to work.

Finally, the PH government must enlist the help of talented people and inspire young government members to become more innovative. We cannot deliver the country out of the current doldrums if we allow ourselves to be tied down by antiquated mentality.

There are indeed too many weaknesses on the part of the PH government. The key is whether the government is willing to institute the changes.


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