Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Lim Kit Siang standing down from active politics!
It’s a start and now it’s also time for the other ‘elders’ to note this momentous news and make their own ‘move’.
Actually, it’s common sense because a new generation of voters will cast their ballots in the coming general election, and many of them may not want to vote for the ‘old-timers’. So, yes, it is time for these elders to retire voluntarily because their ‘time in the sun’ is long gone.
So, what do the opposition parties need to do to get their ‘oomph’ back? What do Pakatan Harapan leaders need to do to make the people believe in them again?
First, they need to get their act together. They must have the spine to look at themselves truthfully and honestly, to know where it all went wrong and fix it.
They might want to rethink whether this coalition of parties is still worth holding on to amid all the bickering and squabbling. Should the parties stay intact?
If they think Lim’s stepping down is enough, they really should rethink this premise. Like trees and plants that have to be pruned from time to time, PH might have to do the same to bring out stronger and more vibrant offshoots. It will be pointless to cut off one ‘old’ branch while other old ones are still left.
All this infighting is giving Umno and the other Barisan Nasional component parties an edge. With their recent win in Johor, the prime minister and his government are trying to capture the public sentiment for political stability and have come up with many schemes to bolster confidence in the government.
With the momentum going for them, it will not come as a surprise if Umno-BN does convince the PM to dissolve Parliament soon, paving the way for a general election. After all, what or who is there to stop them?
Thus, for the opposition parties to counter Umno-BN in the general election or if they think they have a chance, they will have to work harder to get their message across to new voters and conservative voters who might decide to vote for Umno-BN. They have to be more forward thinking, and this means bringing out new faces.
Opposition parties have to reach out to all those struggling to survive the challenges and insecurities arising from the pandemic. They must figure out how to help families through these difficult times and resolve issues in education, healthcare and jobs.
PH must continue to stand for justice and truth and not dwell on what is happening with 1MDB and other corruption cases. Enough has been written about these cases in the media, and it is up to the courts to decide.
If there are certain leaders in PH and other opposition parties who also have corruption questions hovering over them, they should stand down in the interest of their respective parties. It is pointless to talk about party values and corruption involving others when it is happening in ‘your own backyard’.
The opposition parties must be on the side of the people and not the rich and famous. They must try harder to bring an end to all the religious rhetoric that is continually played out in Malaysian politics and society. They have to work towards an inclusive Malaysia where every Malaysian is respected and important to the country, and realise that we all rely on each other, irrespective of who or what we are.
All this was evident during and after the recent floods, when so many people rallied to assist in any way they could – with food and clothing or with the washing and cleaning of muddy homes. This is the essence of Malaysia, the spirit of the Malaysian people.
Ever since the PH government was usurped in the Sheraton Move, many have wondered whether a more inclusive Malaysia will ever be realised – or has the country become a more Malay Malaysia?
This is what PH needs to focus on – to make the people believe it is the best alternative to other parties, that this is not just political rhetoric or a dream that died in 2018.
If PH does not have the will and belief that this is still a possibility, then there is no point in the alliance at all!
Remember Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech in Washington in 1963. Just because he did not get his dream realised in the US, it does not mean it cannot be achieved in Malaysia.
We must and need to have some hope again.
jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time