Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The Teluk Intan defeat a wake up call for Pakatan Rakyat




The defeat of Pakatan’s DAP in the recent Teluk Intan parliamentary by election came as a shock for the party. The defeat was by just over 200 votes but that made the disappointment even more difficult to bear. All sorts of reasons were given for the defeat, among which was the unexpectedly low voter turnout, especially the younger outstation voters. 

The Pakatan leaders did not hide their frustrations over the let down by the younger and outstation voters. Surprisingly they did not anticipate that drastic drop in voter turnout. Instead of blaming the voters they should sit down to analyse the reasons for their narrow defeat and initiate measures overcome them when there is still time before the 14GE.It is not a defeat for DAP alone but for Pakatan Rakyat as a whole. 

The main reasons for the defeat of DAP in Teluk Intan are as usual the unfair elections, intimidation tactics, resort to racist appeals, lack of enthusiasm from outstation voters and in-fighting within DAP and Pakatan. It is the infighting within Pakatan parties that could have led to the declining enthusiasm among younger outstation voters. 

The present EC has time and again proved that it cannot conduct any election where BN contests in a fair and free manner. It should have resigned long time ago but it will not and the elections will never be fair. As Zaid Ibrahim, a former Law Minister says, "Until we have a proper Election Commission (EC) that is impartial and willing to do its duty to ensure free and fair elections, you should not waste your time in another contest".  

The open intimidation by thugs during Pakatan ceramah and personal attacks on the DAP candidate, Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, based on race, religion and sex, and the use of money as inducement for votes clearly indicated the abuses of the ruling party in the elections. These abuses will never be checked by the present EC as long as it is under the influence of the ruling party.It is playing in a game where the referee is a player in the opposing team.

While most of these factors are beyond the control of DAP and Pakatan, they can definitely do something about the infighting within themselves which if left unattended may lead to the disintegration of Pakatan by the time 14GE comes. After the loss in the 13GE, Pakatan has been on the decline in spirit and unity among them. This has adversely affected the confidence in the coalition for its capability to bring change that BN is not able to do so. The solidarity,comradeship and goodwill that existed among the Pakatan parties before the 13GE seem to have faded. The low turnout in the number of recent by-lections may be an indication of this loss of credibility of the people in Pakatan.
 

As Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim  and  DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang say, Pakatan has much more to do to win the hearts of the people especially in rural area who are under the spell of the BN. The DAP wants to shed off its image of being a Chinese party and get the support of the Malays. Fielding a single Malay candidate is not enough but much more sincere efforts are needed to show its intensions are sincere which I feel is badly lacking. 

Pakatan must strive to work as a united team, deciding with wisdom and taking a strong and uncompromising stand on major issues affecting the people and the country. Fighting against injustice must be by all parties and for all citizens who are unjustly treated. Racism and religious extremism must be countered with equal enthusiasm by all, Malays and non-Malays alike. Choice of candidates for any by-election must be acceptable to all parties and supported by all. It was sad that Dyana was not supported by many even in her own party and as expected she also failed to get the whole-hearted support of PAS and PKR in her campaign. 

DAP’s choice of Dyana ,a young, intelligent, educated and liberal Malay, may be a brave, smart and calculated move to bring a change to the political landscape in the country, for decades divided by race, religion and marred by unhealthy and undemocratic electoral practices. Dyana may be young and inexperienced but she represents the new generation of Malay politicians who want to be seen as Malaysians first rather than by their ethnicity.

She represents the new generation of Malaysians who what progress for all regardless of race and creed. She represents the hope of the future of our people and nation. Unfortunately the people, especially the older ones even in their own parties, seem to be comfortable in the race-based politics of the past and are not ready for such healthy politics at least for now.
 

The BN has become deep rooted and mighty. It needs the concerted efforts all opposition parties to put a stop to its blatant power abuse, corruption and racist tactics. This cannot be accomplished  by the older generation of politicians. It is time for the second-line leaders in DAP,PKR and PAS to take over from the present seniors and with their guidance, re-chart a new direction and strategists in their struggle for a better and fairer future where all Malaysians regardless of race, creed or political affiliation are treated with respect and dignity and will have equal say in the running of their country.
Dyana may have lost her first battle in Teluk Intan but she is poised to lead the final victory in the war that has begun. We hope her struggles will spur more young Malaysians like her to join in that struggle for a free, just and democratic Malaysia 

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