Can the Opposition Work Together Despite Differing Ideologies?

Posted: March 11, 2008 in Malaysia, Politics, Society

With the coalition of PKR, PAS and DAP, one could not find a more weird combination or group ever in the history of politics! The three parties reflect the stark differences in terms of their ideologies, group membership, visions …among others. An early attempt by opposition parties to work together fell short, in fact some could even say that it crumbled due to the one thing that separated them the most, their ideologies. During the 2004 General Elections in Malaysia, the Barisan Nasional monopolized on the weaknesses of their differences to capitalize on a huge victory thus giving a blow to the dreams of the Opposition to gain any sort of stronghold. As most analyst noted, the opposition defeat in 2004 was due to their own fault…due to the fact that they did not think things through. It was indeed at that point of time, a marriage of convenience that ended off rather sourly.

So what changed this time around? How did a party like PAS whom are known for its insistence of introducing Islamic rule of laws that send chills down the spines of not only non-Muslims but Muslims alike come to be accepted this time around. How did the coalition in 2004 that showed the public it was indeed not a successful merging managed to climb uphill and prove otherwise during the GE 2008? Didn’t people question the ability of them to work together after the once coalition crumbled after DAP pulled out the last GE in 2004? So what changed the people’s mind about the opposition? Why did they give them a chance despite all the odds that was evident in GE 2004?

Simple. People wanted change. People were fed-up. People wanted the BN to realize that their mandate will not be so easily maintained by BN if they fail to deliver, if they fail to satisfy the rakyat’s needs. But why the opposition? I guess the people did not have much of a choice did they? It was either giving a 2/3rds majority to a party that has oppressed them for the last 50 years or give some voice to the opposition despite them being the black sheep in Malaysian politics. They chose the later..well some of them. You know the story from there…and here we are faced with the question of whether these very people we have entrusted these 5 states too namely Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, Perak and Selangor are up to the task of running these states at par with the former chief Ministers(sure hope they can be better than that!) or succeed this very people and prove their worth!

Can this very people whom have had their differences in the past managed to put all their differences in terms of ideologies and visions to come up with a collective vision for the states they have been entrusted to? Or is it a marriage of convenience as reported by the rivals, Barisan Nasional, that was only formed for the purpose of the elections and now remains, only a figment of our imaginations? It might have come as a surprise to have won over these 5 states, Kelantan was probably expected by the likes of PAS but winning the other 4 states??? That was as Malaysiakini aptly put winning rich prizes especially the taking over of states such as Penang and Selangor(KLCC man don’t play play! 🙂

But the reality has sunk in and whether they expected it or not the Opposition has won these 5 states despite all the odds. They have proven that they can get the votes and ultimately the trust of the people. The trust might have translated into votes but can the Oppositions mandates translate into reality? With their own manifestos such as PAS with its Welfare State, DAP with is Jom Ubah and PKR new will be very interesting to see if they can materialize this vision for the collective good of the people. From the manifesto’s promise of a constitutional state, vibrant economy, safer streets, affordable lifestyle, better education, greater transparency… actual grounded work to achieve this, is a whole different story altogether.

Will they? Can they?

With the line up of Guan Eng for Chief Minister of Penang, Khalid Ibrahim of PKR for the running of Selangor and possibly PAS, Nizar Jamaludin for the running of Perak alongside another 2 nominations that have yet to be confirmed…. To a certain extent fear is probably looming around some with news that PAS will implement Islamic hudud laws among others in Perak should they get the position of Menteri Besar….but PAS has refuted such claims and have agreed to work with all the coalition members to achieve consensus to ensure the smooth running of Perak and of course the other states. Contrary to Barisan view that this coalition was only for the GE, the coalition says that they will be a ruling coalition in those states despite specific post from the 3 parties.

Besides that people also worry that the ruling government, BN will deprive these opposition states as they have in the past with Kelantan… leaving the these states to lag economically and be left behind. Penang and Selangor might not have such a struggle as it is indeed a rich state as compared to agriculture based Kedah and Kelantan. But due to the significance of these states namely Penang and Selangor, the view is that the ruling government will not be stingy or behave in such a manner as it would in turn destroy the country economy. Should they decide to forgo that huge issue of destroying the economy on the premises of being a sore loser, I guess that we can predict what will happen 5 years down the road. But I think Barisan is much smarter then that!

Its left to be seen what the Opposition will do with these 5 states in the span of 5 years. Will they make it? Will they give us a Better Malaysia or will they fall short due to their inexperience and their differing ideologies?

  1. Kav says:

    if i am not mistaken, PAS has dropped the Islamic state thingy…

    Regarding the opposition’s win, one possible reason is that people were fed-up of BN… but maybe another reason is that the opposition fielded more professionals and highly-educated individuals against the some of the SPM failures of BN….

  2. PAS motives in Kedah will the the testbed for Malaysians to see what PAS can do. This is important for the Malay voter segment as the are wiling to give PAS a try.

    As for Perak, even though if they do end up with a PAS MB – do keep in mind that DAP is still the majority holder of seats in the state. It’s going to have to be a joint-rulling coalition if there is hope for a credible and sustainable opposition state government is to be formed there.

    Also as we Malaysian have already made our choice it’s now time to give our support to these new fledgling state governments in the hope that they will do a better job than the previous establishment.

  3. ipohchai says:

    the anti BN sentiment among the rakyat were so strong. regardless of the difference ideology among the opposition party, they’re certain that they will not voting for BN.
    I’m sure with the new opposition rulling on the states they’ve won, they will certainly do as much as they can in order to strengthen their grip on the state. the public is opening their eyes and observe everything until the next election comes.
    there are always worry that the federal gov ruled by BN would deny any development for those states ruled by the opposition. but if that is what they’re doing, they will just create more hatred among the rakyat against BN for denying their economic growth.

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