Home TA Online 2012 TA Online T’is the season for jumping ship!

T’is the season for jumping ship!

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Malaysians must not be taken in by this sandiwara. We must remain focused on the larger objective i.e. to turn the BN into an opposition, writes P Ramakrishnan.

Lim Boo Chang - Photograph: Malaysiakini

Without fail it happens! Just before elections, hordes of renegades suddenly emerge from nowhere, bad-mouthing the party that they had been associated with.

It is a wonder that their disillusionment with their party must invariably coincide with the impending elections. Their disenchantment is, as it were, programmed to take off at a particular time.

This migration inevitably follows the electoral season and their path will invariably lead them to the Barisan Nasional!

If you study their history, you may discover that many of them would have belonged to one of the BN component parties and subsequently would have deserted it to hop over to the Opposition for the same reason – they were disillusioned!

It must have been a full circle for Lim Boo Chang who resigned from Parti Keadilan Rakyat, expressing his desire to return to Gerakan – a party that he deserted in 1995 in favour of the MCA, after having been with Gerakan for 15 long years. Thirteen years later, he jumped ship to the PKR.

Now, less than four years later, he has turned his back on PKR. Looks as if it is becoming a habit!

The NST, in the habit of playing up this kind of news that is deemed to be detrimental to the Opposition, understandably gave him front page publicity (15 December 2011, ‘PKR man quits, calls DAP “autocratic”’).

This latest episode has seemingly left a bad taste in the mouth of thinking Malaysians. It seems strange, they argue, that he was unable to find a niche in all these three parties. They wonder whether he is a misfit or his ideals were too high to find any common ground in these parties.

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In any case, some days later, some 312 persons claiming to be PKR members – from Boo Chang’s Bukit Gelugor division of which he was the chairman – announced their resignation from the party at a press conference. Some of them apparently were officials of the division such as deputy chief Rosal Rahman, assistant treasurer Diong Chong Mee, several committee members and youth chief Shah Hameed Abd Kadeer.

Unsurprisingly, the Umno Baru division chief, Abdul Rahim Saibu, was present at this press conference. It isn’t all that difficult to fathom where these former PKR members apparently got their ‘enlightenment’ from! It’s no mystery why they jumped ship. It is not too difficult to guess why!

According to many thinking people, it seems, there are those who become wise when the inducement is irresistible!

Following this migration, it was also reported that other migratory ‘birds’ were also in flight! This act has got to be staged in such a manner to convey the impression that this is not an isolated case and that the “disillusionment” is real and wide-spread. That is the reason why soon after Boo Chang’s episode, we read about other cases.

According to the NST (18 December 2011) head-line, “120 ex-Pas men defect to Umno.” The report states, “A total of 120 Pas supporters in Kampung Beoh have announced that they were leaving the party en masse to set up a new Umno branch.”

Another NST (27 December 2011) head-line read, “42 Pas members quit to join Umno”. It was reported that “forty-two Pas members in Bakau Tua here (Kepala Batas) have quit the party to join Umno”.

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On 31 December 2011, the NST again head-lined a report, “80 hardcore Pas supporters join Umno”. The report reads: “Some 80 hardcore Pas supporters in Tok Bali near here (Pasir Puteh) yesterday joined Umno en masse after become (sic) disillusioned with Pas for failing to keep its promises to help the poor and develop the town (Tok Bali).”

You can rest assured that as the election approaches nearer, more and more “disillusioned” and orchestrated members will be betraying themselves and deserting their party of choice to align themselves with a party of convenience!

Obviously, such crossovers are meant to create the myth that the Opposition is losing its support and is on the verge of collapse. But the present-day electorate are much wiser and more discerning to fall into this trap, which is nothing but crap!

What does all this demonstrate about our value system? Betrayal is portrayed as a virtue going by the wide publicity given blatantly and brazenly to these deserters by the discredited media, the mouth-pieces of the BN.

The media do not query why suddenly – and at this juncture – these renegades have attained ‘enlightenment’. Why is it that, when the election was not imminent, these newly disgruntled members were hardly dissatisfied or disillusioned with their party?

Malaysians must not be taken in by this sandiwara. We must remain focused on the larger objective i.e. to turn the BN into an opposition. Only then will we know whether the present Opposition is capable of providing an alternative government that will protect the deserving and reward the hard-working.

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Only then will we know whether the BN, which is ever so ready to condemn the Opposition for its every act as irresponsible and ignoble, is indeed capable of providing constructive and meaningful opposition without criticising for the sake of criticism.

P Ramakrishnan is an Aliran executive committee member

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