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Pakatan Harapan should avoid the costly mistakes of BN

September 13, 2017

PH should ensure that equality and respect for coalition partners prevails all the time, and impress upon Malaysians the fundamental differences between PH and BN.


P-Ramasamy-phBy P Ramasamy

I am not saying that Pakatan Harapan is going to resolve the long standing problems of numerically smaller groups in the country overnight. To expect this will be foolish.

But Indians and others who have been long marginalised by the hegemonic policies of Umno, both in the political and cultural realms, really do not have a choice when it comes to their future.

As one famous philosopher said, you don’t make history under circumstances you choose, but when circumstances present themselves. Indians and others cannot even choose the circumstances they want, but certainly they can make “hay while the sun shines”.

Right now, Pakatan Harapan is trying to mobilise communities and groups to take on the BN in the coming general election. The odds are greatly against PH, but then victory will be much more meaningful when battles are won under difficult circumstances.

I think forming the coalition between the four main component parties was a herculean task, but the difficulty was surmounted not so much by the ability of the leadership as such, but by the blunders committed by the BN regime.

The plunder of the country through various schemes and projects, such as the 1MDB financial scandal, remains a major eye opener for Malaysians eager for political transformation.

PH is not a completely multi-racial or multi-religious coalition in the sense that its partners have eschewed religious or ethnic labels.

The presence of PPBM and Parti Amanah Negara will indicate that these two parties are anything but multi-racial in terms of their composition. However, the mere presence of ethnic or religious parties does not mean that the concept of multi-racialism needs to be abandoned. Plurality must be maintained at all costs to reflect diversity.

This is precisely the reason why PH must take into account the everyday realities of the social, ethnic and religious composition of the country. You can’t win the battle for an eventual war against BN if differences are not recognised and appreciated

We are told that the relationship between the component parties in PH will not be like the lopsided relationship that exists in the BN where despite the composition of 14 political parties, all are beholden to Umno. In other words, it is Umno that enjoys preponderant power in BN and it is Umno that calls the shots.

This would explain why other component parties are in such a pitiful position to the point where they have surrendered the interests of their respective ethnic communities to Umno. Surely, right minded Malaysians would not want a repeat of the same situation when and if PH takes federal power.

It is essential that PH is not allowed to repeat the costly mistakes of Umno and BN. The relationship between the various component parties in PH should be on the basis of equality, mutual respect and dignity.

The biggest challenge for PH is to ensure that this equality and respect prevails all the time, and to impress upon Malaysians the fundamental differences between PH and BN.

In facing the coming general election, PH must not run away from the mistakes but face them squarely to instill confidence in all Malaysians.

P Ramasamy is Penang deputy chief minister and DAP deputy secretary-general.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


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