Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Next Strategic Move For Pakatan Rakyat

After winning with a crucial two thirds majority of the votes in Permatang Pauh, the next hurdle for Pakatan Rakyat will be the biggest. Anwar should focus on strategy and not be sidetracked by the tactical warfare waged on the sodomy allegations. If Anwar is to engineer a convincing crossover of MPs on 16 Sept, he has to provide a strategic catch: a public ultimatum for Barisan component MPs to either stay put or cross over.

PR should challenge UMNO/BN to review the religious conversion laws, revamp the NEP, eradicate corruption and race-based politics all at one go by a fixed deadline, say 10 September or any date. Once the deadline passes with no change in policies by the incumbent government, this will be a strong signal to the BN component parties, the reformers in UMNO and the rakyat that the leaders of BN have not wakened up to the new political landscape. As such, all BN component parties and UMNO reformists (see Karim Raslan's post-election analysis of the Permatang Pauh tsunami) should leave and form their own independent, multiracial parties or join PR.

This is what I call a moral, ethical cross-over. Even if he has the numbers, Anwar's current tactic of secret negotiations may raise doubts about the integrity of the party hoppers.

However, BN and UMNO will fail even more if they maintain their current policies. Second attempts to bring PAS into its fold will be an old trick that no longer works on the rakyat much less on the rural Malays such as those in Permatang Pauh who voted for real change.

In the meantime, the reformers in Pakatan Rakyat should not sit on their laurels but instead work day and night on hammering out a common platform of policies which enshrine the well-being of all Malaysian families as its guiding principle. This Middle Third Way will be an intelligent compromise between theocratic and socialistic policies on the one hand and the self-serving, oligopolistic policies of BN. If PR does not find a common platform to unify the coalition, then other parties may get a headstart.

Once investors, both foreign and local, see that the economic implications of a family-oriented political agenda is based on sound economic principles, they will be more receptive to the new direction in local politics. Welcome to a new era of free and democratic competition in Malaysian politics!

P.S. Here is a hint of the five issues that are highly valued among Malaysians :

(1) The family;

(2) The hopes of young people;

(3) An environment of tolerant religious worship based on the free will of the individual;

(4) Long lasting economic prosperity and equal opportunities for all and

(5) Truthfullness and accountability.

If you can't expect your government to tell you the truth at all times, how can you expect your child to grow to be a truthful person?

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