DAP and Amanah: What is your real priority?


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  • Sunday, 28 Jun 2020

It is utterly pointless to fight over who will lead you, if you have completely forgotten where it is you are supposed to go.

DAP and Amanah are at a major defining moment.

I think there are three questions their leaders need to answer: What do they want for Malaysia, what do they want for themselves, and which of these will they prioritise?

This article is not primarily about whether Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal is a good candidate for prime minister, or whether Anwar Ibrahim would make a better one. At this point, those questions are truly becoming beside the point. I couldn't possibly emphasise this more.

The point is, what on earth does Pakatan Harapan – if such a thing even exists any more – truly stand for?

For weeks now, they have been shovelling pile after pile of debates upon us – all centring on only one question, and literally one question only: who will get the most power, by becoming prime minister?

It is becoming exasperating having to repeat over and over again why this is absolutely the wrong question to ask.

Firstly, a political movement or coalition needs to be about concrete ideas and visions for the country. A “coalition” that does nothing but fight among themselves over who gets the most power is a farce, a sham, and a cancer.

Secondly, as political analyst Wong Chin Huat points out, this is in all likelihood a battle over an empty title – a race to be king over the ashes.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is not empowered to ask a sitting prime minister to resign, and simply give the post to someone else.

We changed governments in such a manner the last time only because our last prime minister overconfidently gambled everything away by resigning in a haughty haze of hubris.

Otherwise, a prime minister can only be removed through a vote of no confidence in Parliament, following which the outgoing prime minister is mandated to request a dissolution of Parliament resulting in fresh elections – an option the current Prime Minister would surely take.

Once that happens, everything that is being “negotiated” and horse traded now within Pakatan will amount to absolutely nothing. All bets will be off, and everything will start from zero again.

I shudder and cringe to think of all the chaos that would surround the changing political alignments that would ensue. I'm not sure why, but the phrase “couldn't find their posterior with both hands” keeps coming to mind.

If even simpletons like me can see this truth, and see the damage all this ridiculous politicking is doing to the reputations of Pakatan and its leaders, one really has to wonder what these leaders are thinking.

Are they really so truly, hopelessly, and shamefully desperate to regain their posts as ministers?

I won't deign to know what truly lies in the hearts of these men and women, but from a public perception point of view, surely they must recognise that this is the thought that is crossing people's minds.

Why on Earth else would DAP and Amanah go along for this bizarre and foolhardy “anyone but Anwar” (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) merry-go-round of a ride?

Many try to create a sense of urgency. But is it really an urgency to save Malaysia? Or an urgency to reinstall yourselves in power? Exit your bubble, and reconnect with realities on the ground.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad has done more than his share for the country – some good, some bad, but most would acknowledge his many contributions. This does not, however, give him some sort of pass for life.

This latest stunt only paints him further as a man who has lost sight of everything except an obsession with vengeance against those who betrayed him and a stubborn, two-decade long quest to deny Anwar the opportunity to be prime minister. More and more, he is turning into Captain Ahab – blind to everything but visiting vengeance upon his white whale.

After he resigned earlier this year, when it was clear he could not form the government he originally intended to, he started talking about a “unity government”.

It was actually an interesting, compelling idea – but one made for all the wrong reasons, at precisely the wrong time.

The idea of an East Malaysian as prime minister is similar – a stellar idea in and of itself, but one that would be rendered meaningless if done for the wrong reasons at the wrong time.

Dr Mahathir has installed many, many people as prime minister. He has, without fail, fought with each and every one of them. In fact, he has helped to remove every single prime minister since his first resignation – including himself in 2020!

Thus, I think it is time we be wary of Dr Mahathir proxies.

I'm not stupid enough to think I can change the mind of a 94-year-old man.

To the rest involved in this mess however: enough with this madness. Enough, before you pass the point of no return.

If you want to sail on in this direction, know that you will sail alone.

If you want to keep sailing with the rest of Malaysia however, then forget these fevered dreams of power.

It is utterly pointless to fight over who will lead you, if you have completely forgotten where it is you are supposed to go.

The journey, and the kiblat, is far more important than the leader.

Remember this, and there will be hope yet. Hope for regrouping, and rebuilding a movement based on real values and principles – leaving behind toxic infighting and changing “concern for the rakyat” from empty rhetoric to something real for once.

Fail to remember, and sooner rather than later, you will be replaced.

NATHANIEL TAN was recently reminded of the importance of actions over words. He is a strategic communications consultant who also works with Projek Wawasan Rakyat (POWR). He can be reached at nat@engage.my.

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