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The Flipside

Published: Wednesday February 4, 2015 MYT 11:09:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday February 4, 2015 MYT 1:31:39 PM

Can team Pakatan wrest the title?

THE 14th general election is still at least two years away, giving the country’s political players ample time to prepare themselves for a ‘title onslaught’, to use a football analogy.  


To become league champions in football, a team must have a strong sense of cohesiveness on the pitch and unity in the dressing room.


It is a similar case for political parties gearing up to face an election. Cohesiveness and unity form the essence of any successful political campaign.  


Alas, what we are seeing at present is a lack of team chemistry, brought on by internal problems that are widening the rift between existing players in favour of individual goals. 


A football club does not become successful with individual brilliance alone, and neither does a political party.


Pakatan Rakyat has quickly become a fan favourite since bursting onto the scene in 2008, but it is essentially made up of players with very different styles of play, a fact that may have become apparent a little too late.


The wavering confidence in the voices of some PKR, DAP, and PAS leaders when talking about the pact’s future speaks volumes of uncertainty, and one wonders if there’ll even be a team left to compete for the ultimate prize come GE14.


DAP’s Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming was bleak in his opinion when he said during a recent forum that Pakatan may no longer have existed if not for the floods that struck the east coast.


The Kelantan PAS government had been on the cusp of tabling a proposal in parliament to implement hudud in the state, a move that has long been opposed by DAP.

The floods derailed the Islamist party’s plans momentarily, but more importantly, it bought Pakatan some time.

Not much, as it turns out. The clock seems to be counting down fast again as DAP has now irked PAS by pushing for local council elections in Penang and Selangor.  


The seeds of discontent between the two have been sown for awhile now, and at the rate they’re growing, Pakatan could be headed for an ugly split.


The outcome could also depend a lot on the fate of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who faces a Federal Court verdict on sodomy charges this Tuesday, which could see him jailed for five years. 


If Pakatan is like a football team, then Anwar has been its “manager” since the beginning. Anything that happens to him will have an adverse effect on the coalition as a whole, even if we are being told otherwise.


A split would significantly diminish hopes of the opposition emerging as a viable and credible alternative to Barisan Nasional, the long-time trophy holders who are beset with problems of their own.

This should serve as motivation for Pakatan to get their act together and emerge as a stronger contender for the title next time out. 

Provided the opposition pact is still around come GE14, they can be assured that their die-hard fans will continue to support the team. But what of the neutrals?


Pakatan will need to win the hearts and minds of the fence-sitters if they are to tip the scale in their favour and wrest the title from Barisan. 


However, the present infighting is doing little to convince this crucial pool of voters.

As a voter, I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. There are glaring shortcomings on both sides of the political divide, so which team will be the better choice in GE14?   


Pakatan is playing catch-up, and it remains to be seen if they stand united or fall divided in their chase for the title.

Tags / Keywords: opinion, the Flipside, Pakatan Rakyat, unity

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