Saturday, November 12, 2016

Mahathir’s one party, one symbol and one manifesto 

Salleh Said Keruak

Today, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took a shot at PAS and said that the Islamic party has ‘makan dedak’. Mahathir added that anyone who is opposed to the opposition must have ‘makan dedak’. This is just like President Bush Senior’s doctrine of “if you are not with me then you are against me” to gain support for the Middle East war, which has since left the entire Middle East in an utter mess. What Mahathir fails to see is that PAS did not leave Pakatan Rakyat but DAP closed down Pakatan Rakyat so that PAS could be kicked out of the opposition coalition -- and when they formed Pakatan Harapan PAS was not invited to join.

Mahathir now talks about one party, one symbol, one manifesto. This is what the opposition has been talking about since 1999. But after 17 years they still cannot get it done. Talking about it is simple. Doing it is another thing altogether. The opposition is not united on many things so how can it come to an agreement on one party, one symbol, one manifesto? PAS will never leave its ‘bulan’ and neither will DAP leave its ‘rocket’. That is the identity of each individual party. To ask every party to discard its traditional symbol and replace it with a common symbol is something they have been talking about but will never do since the last 17 years.

Furthermore, PPBM, PKR, DAP and PAN all have separate agendas. PPBM is about removing Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as Prime Minister and replacing him with Mahathir’s proxy. PKR is about freeing Anwar Ibrahim from jail and making him Prime Minister. PAN is a party of disgruntled PAS members who tried but failed to oust Abdul Hadi Awang. DAP, on the other hand, is a party that wants to see the emergence of a Malaysian Malaysia, which most Malays, even those in the opposition, cannot accept.

The common manifesto is another problem for the opposition. DAP talks about a Secular State. In that case they must be honest enough to insert that in their common manifesto. But are PKR, PAN and PPBM; and even PAS; prepared to accept DAP’s Secular State? PAS will then want its aspirations of an Islamic State to be stated. And that, too, cannot be inserted into the common manifesto. So that would mean, as usual, other than the common manifesto, each party would also have its individual manifestos and even different manifestos for each state, as in the past.

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