Home Civil Society Voices To restore confidence, PH must vet candidates, stem future defections

To restore confidence, PH must vet candidates, stem future defections

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If the PH coalition is insecure, would the people vote for it in future, especially if defections and betrayals continue, wonders WH Cheng.

The betrayal of three Pakatan Rakyat state assembly members led to the downfall of the Perak state government in February 2009 in an Umno-inspired coup at a time when Najib Razak was Deputy Prime Minister.

Eleven years later, the betrayal of a Bersatu faction and 11 PKR members of Parliament led to the downfall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government, also in February, after about 22 months in Putrajaya.

Worse, the betrayal at the federal level has led to the fall of the Pakatan-governed state governments in Johor, Malacca and Perak with Umno, Pas and Bersatu behind all these takeovers.

The reason for all these betrayals is clear. The defectors were perceived as “pengkhianat” (traitors) for their betrayals because they had fought the general election under the Pakatan Harapan (or more accurately, PKR) banner. They reasoned that they defected to save the country from “Chinese leaders” and to ensure that the Malays and Islam are secure in Umno and Pas’ hands.

Core leaders of the PH component parties – PKR, DAP and Amanah – were left in a state of shock and were unclear what to do next. Their only plan seemed to be to come up with sufficient numbers to prepare for a no-confidence vote in Parliament (the sitting has been deferred to 18 May 2020) against the so-called new Perikatan Nasional coalition government which by now consist of Umno, Pas, Bersatu, the MCA, the MIC, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Parti Bersatu Sabah.

Does PH need to continue with the no-confidence motion against the prime minister at the next parliamentary session, given the current circumstances?

Observe the current situation. The coronavirus is spreading with more Malaysians getting infected. The economy has not been doing well since 2018 due to unstable oil prices and the recent collapse in the share market due to the present crisis. The ringgit has weakend to RM4.39 against the US dollar. Inflation is rising, businesses are not doing well, both due to the inflation and the virus. Palm oil is not performing well in the market either.

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So what good would it do for PH to re-take the government seat in May 2020? Would it be good if PH is then condemned continuously while in Putrajaya and eventually become unpopular at the end of their first term?

Yes, the recession is here now, but in politics, people always want the government of the day to improve their wellbeing, come up with ways to resolve problems and tackle the socoeconomic problems of the nation to increase the people’s incomes.

We are not asking PH to give it up. Yes, you can come up with the first attempt to unseat the so-called “Perikatan Nasional” loose coalition government on 18 May 2020. Win or lose, there is unlikely to be a change of government or a snap election due to the current circumstances.

The most crucial thing PH leaders now need to focus on is how they are going to tackle betrayals and defections in the future. The selection of candidates to contest in the next general election is very important to ensure there no recurrence of a government falling due to such defections.

PH component parties have been very lenient and loose in their membership control and filtering. Yes, we know, PH leaders strongly believe in democracy and freedom; therefore they welcome anyone who wants to join them with open arms even if they are defectors from the other side of the political divide.

PH must strengthen its political security against such threats that might jeopardise its future efforts in governance should it claim victory again. PH leaders must realise that it was the people who voted for it to form a new government on 10 May 2018, after the corrupt and kleptocrat BN reign of 61 years.

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If MPs or state assembly members elected under the PH banner defect again, the people will feel betrayed because their choice of parties has been overturned by defections to the other side, whom they had voted out. This is similar to situation now, when the people are faced with the betrayal of democracy and their choice because the political security in PH was weak and it was unable to screen its candidates thoroughly.

If such betrayals repeatedly happen, do you think the people, especially the younger generation, will ever come out to cast their votes in future general elections? They may not cast their votes at all in future because they believe somehow the candidates they voted for will eventually betray them.

Second, it is time for the remnants of PH – Amanah, PKR and DAP – to regroup and come out from their state of shock. Seek all MPs who are former ministers and former deputy ministers to establish a shadow cabinet as soon as possible according to the current composition of the government ministries. Provide the most effective checks and balances to show PH’s effectiveness in government business and counter the “backdoor government” with alternative public policy and proposals. If PH had outstanding projects, the shadow cabinet should follow up on those projects to ensure they are implemented instead of being put on hold by the so-called Perikatan Nasional government.

At at the state level too, former PH executive council members need to regroup to establish shadow executive councils to provide checks and balances similar to that at the federal level. PH has to show its ability continually; there is no time to waste on politicking. Back in the Opposition bench, PH has its role to play. This includes shadowing the backdoor state governments and picking up the pieces where PH had left off. That is the way.

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By appointing core leaders to the shadow cabinet and shadow executive councils for the various states to provide checks and balance on the federal and state governments, PH will be able to identify leaders who are capable and prepare them for governance in the near future, by not always talking about politics but emphasising governance, administrative issues and public policies and scrutinising the various projects and their implementation under their respective portfolios.

Other than that, PH also needs to come up with a new generation of leaders to take over as many of its leaders now are already getting on. It is time to allow younger generations to take charge. Train and guide them, put them at the top, let them speak, listen to their ideas, dreams and aspirations, and do not limit their rise to leadership post.

These are strategies that PH leaders ought to take up. Continual politics will cause the entire nation and people to become fed up.

Remember the importance of political security mentioned earlier. It is not about going against democracy or freedom; it is about ensuring PH stays relevant and secure for the betterment of our nation and its people. If the PH coalition is insecure, wouldl the people vote for it in future, especially if defections and betrayals continue?

Think about it!

Source: Inter-Reseaerch And Studies (IRAS)

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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