If you are in a coalition of parties, you do not badmouth your comrades-in-arms, says Mustafa K Anuar.
Continuous “friendly fire” between certain politicians in Pakatan Harapan is not a pleasant sight to behold for onlookers on the sidelines, particularly those who voted the pact into power in the last general election.
The latest “skirmish” involving Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizul Azumu points to a simple philosophy in life – that you do not badmouth your supposed comrade-in-arms, ie DAP, to the point of mocking the spirit of camaraderie in the state PH.
The fact that his complaint about having to wage “a lonely battle” against certain factions in Perak DAP was expressed in the privacy of friends does not absolve him of such a misdeed.
For, we are talking about the leader of Perak PH who behaves like a thorn in one’s side, which predictably does not go down well with the other PH components. The DAP leadership, in particular, has already demanded an explanation and apology.
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Besides, the accusations made against the DAP are serious enough not to be swept under the proverbial carpet.
It is indeed disturbing that the leader of Perak PH could treat a component, which incidentally has a bigger number of seats in the state assembly, with such contempt.
A few individuals, such as Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, dismissed Faizul’s expressed grievances as a mere articulation of “personal experience” – but then, such views are harboured by no less than a menteri besar and state PH leader to boot.
As a political leader, you do not provide political ammunition to your opponents on the other side of the divide, especially at a time when there is an impending by-election in Johor. Unless, of course, you are still unsure of which side you should be on. Some critics are less generous, even venturing to wonder whether his Umno DNA is still intact.
This episode also gives rise to the question of how stringent the quality control is – if any – when it comes to accepting members into one’s party (in this case, Bersatu) to ensure genuineness on the part of the individuals seeking to join.
A few of Faizul’s priorities as menteri besar also appear to be not in harmony with those of PH. For instance, the coalition has, in principle, acknowledged the rightful position and rights of the Orang Asli. And yet, Faizul has shown disrespect for the sanctity and importance of the community’s customary land in the state by allowing development to take place on that land.
It is obvious that a political pact such as PH must be coherent in its policies as well as actions so that its public standing is better acknowledged and appreciated by the people.
While criticism within the pact is very much appreciated as part of the democratic process, open discord and mudslinging between members of component parties surely do not serve to cement ties between them, let alone cast a positive impression and instil public confidence.
Furthermore, the Faizul gripe must be seen in a wider context where PH’s majority in the state assembly is less than comfortable – which explains why Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is anxiously waiting in the wings. Barisan Nasional is short of only two seats to form the Perak government.
The PH agenda for change in Perak, as well as nationally, has not yet been fully attained. A replay of yesteryears’ realignment of political parties that may tip the balance in favour of BN in the state assembly would surely not be amusing to thinking Malaysians.
Leaders in the ruling pact must stay focused on bringing about the much-needed change that Malaysians want, which PH is well aware of. –