Monday, May 16, 2022

More pragmatism, less ego needed for opposition comeback in GE15

At the end of the day, politics is a numbers game.

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When DAP’s Lim Guan Eng during the party’s recent congress came out with guns blazing about outright rejecting any cooperation with Perikatan Nasional (PN) ahead of the 15th general election, I was stumped.

Has Lim forgotten that the Melaka and Johor elections have shown that it was the Bersatu-led PN that has emerged as a formidable force? In Melaka, Bersatu won two seats and 24.3% of the popular vote. In Johor, PN bagged the highest number of votes among the anti-BN bloc.

By contrast, PKR, the dominant party in PH to which DAP is playing second fiddle, won zero seats in Melaka and only one seat in Johor. In Johor, had there been straight fights in all 56 seats and if all the votes that went to parties opposed to BN had gone to a single party, BN would only have won 21 seats – eight short of the minimum to form the state government.

Plain and simple, politics is a numbers game and going by the Sarawak, Melaka and Johor elections, it’s not doom-and-gloom for the opposition. They just need to get their act together and come together as a united front and there’s a chance that BN will be shown the door again in Putrajaya come the 15th general election.

I can understand why Lim is adamant about rejecting any cooperation with Bersatu, owing to the latter’s role in the Sheraton Move. But as a nation, we are at the brink of a political precipice. Despite the opposition’s recent electoral setbacks, there’s a chance for redemption at the ballot box.

But if opposition leaders allow their egos to get the better of them, we lose the golden opportunity to stop BN’s revival. And should the coalition regain its traditional two-thirds majority, there will be nothing to stop the new government from entrenching its position, whether by gerrymandering, looting the country dry or interfering in criminal proceedings.

Sure, principles are important in politics. History has shown that those who sacrifice their principles are swiftly punished at the ballot boxes. But is the newly appointed DAP chairman talking about principles like justice and the fight against corruption? Or was he hurt by how the principle of political cooperation was undermined and cost him his job as finance minister?

Many fringe parties in Malaysia are also known for being steadfast in their principles. But if these are not tempered with reality, they will not make any headway and will remain outside the corridors of power where the only thing they can do is sloganeer. Just look at Parti Sosialis Malaysia or Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia.

Do DAP and the opposition want to stay outside the government forever? Isn’t that a dereliction of duties which include weeding out corruption? Are they happy with the opposition being helpless as BN rides roughshod over government machinery?

If people like Lim remain hard-headed and overcome by historical baggage, not only will DAP’s political strength diminish over time, the opposition as a whole will be made worse off at the expense of the nation’s well-being as the Umno-led BN continue to misrule this country. For the sake of this nation, it’s time for pragmatism to prevail.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.

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