DAP is celebrating what it calls its `menang dalam kekalahan' (winning in defeat) performance in the recent Teluk Intan by-election. Its candidate lost by just 238 votes in what DAP tried to portray as a ‘David versus Goliath’ contest -- meaning, of course, DAP is the ‘David’ while Barisan Nasional is the ‘Goliath’.
Hence, because of the mismatch and the very narrow margin, DAP can be said to have ‘won’ that by-election, or ‘won in defeat’ if you wish.
However, DAP is just looking at the very narrow 238-vote margin that it lost. It conveniently forgot that it started with a more than 7,000-vote majority so this would mean the margin is more like 7,500 rather than just over 200.
Anyway, DAP has attributed its lost due to a slide in Chinese votes. One reason for this slide is because many Chinese voters did not vote, or did not come home to vote. Hence the voter turnout was just about 67% compared to about 80% just a year ago.
And the reason the Chinese ‘boycotted’ the by-election is because they were not happy with PAS stubbornly pushing its Hudud agenda, says DAP. In short, DAP’s ‘narrow’ defeat in Teluk Intan has to be blamed on PAS.
PAS is asking DAP to explain what it means by this allegation. And unless a credible and satisfactory explanation is forthcoming this can have two affects.
One would be that PAS might have to reconsider its membership in Pakatan Rakyat. If PAS were sincere about its struggle for Islam then it would be impossible for it to remain in Pakatan Rakyat when one of the coalition members is openly hostile towards Islam.
Second would be the differences between the fundamentalist and liberal Muslims in PAS would increase even further. There are many in PAS who would rather the party remain a regional party in the Malay heartland than a national party that ‘sacrifices’ Islam.
Most glaring of all, however, is the deafening silence by PKR and its leader Anwar Ibrahim. While DAP and PAS slugs it out, blaming each other for the defeat in Teluk Intan, Anwar and PKR are pretending they are not involved in this quarrel between the other two members of Pakatan Rakyat.
I suppose there is very little that Anwar or PKR can say. If they agree with PAS then they upset DAP. And if they agree with DAP then they upset PAS. So they choose to remain silent and hope that the quarrelling will just go away.
But then this is how the end begins. So are we seeing the beginning of the end of Pakatan Rakyat, just like what we once saw with Barisan Alternatif ten years or so ago?