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No hope for BN to be credible opposition in Parliament, unless..

Photograph: The Star

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If they want to remain relevant, they ought to eat humble pie, swallow their pride and display remorse and repentance, writes Dominic Damian.

I had predicted in two articles three days before polling day that Barisan Nasional would be defeated. The writing was on the wall as far back as two years ago.

Just imagine a small seven-year-old child singing mockingly about GST – the video went viral. Once a small child can sing about politics and a leader rather than play with dolls, beads and pretty dresses, it is a sure sign the government of the day is already swimming in muck. The anti-BN groundswell was unmistakable and overwhelming as seen in the empty chairs at BN election gatherings.

The ex-leader and the previous government had no qualms about breaching the walls of decency as seen in their exploitation of the Rohingya refugee crisis to win brownie points. This and other issues were used to divert attention from rampant corruption and poor economic conditions, testing the patience of citizens.

The ex-leader and his supporters were deluded into thinking they were protected by an invincible Goliath’s armour of the most powerful office in the land, insulated and impenetrably supported by a powerful shield of institutions and laws.

This was met by pebbles of defiance hurled by the simple ‘slingshots’ of the frail defenceless Davids of the nation – which ultimately brought the dictator and his coalition to their knees.

The story of the simple heroism involved in achieving a second Merdeka has been weaved by the long-suffering common folk. They sowed seeds of defiance into the soil, raking, tilling, ploughing and fertilising the land for change. They threaded, weaved and sewed from the torn, tattered fabric of dreams to design a new and dignified garment of unity.

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Future generations will be spellbound with folklore over steaming cups of coffee: tales about those who stood up to be counted despite being bruised and abused; stories about those who voted on behalf of those murdered without cause, those who gave up their lives for saying no, those incarcerated in the cause of justice. The people of this nation reclaimed justice, decency and rights from those who kept it as an exclusive trophy for themselves.

There is virtually no hope for BN parties or, for that matter, Pas to be a credible and respectable opposition in Parliament. Despite the advantage of redrawing constituency boundaries or gerrymandering, despite the biased media and Electoral Commission, these parties suffered heavy losses and, in some cases, were almost wiped out.

Those in BN who won a parliamentary or state seat now have to tread carefully on a fragile sheet of trust. If they want to remain relevant, they ought to eat humble pie, swallow their pride and display remorse and repentance. They have to come clean:

  • through restitution and restorative action, in surrendering land, property, businesses and other assets acquired illegally.
  • by serving the people and disengaging from the politics of hate

Otherwise, they will be reduced to this repulsive and repugnant ragtag bunch of rabble-rousers. Their offensive legacy will not be forgotten. The toxic political polices that divided us by ethnicity and religion and the unbearable stench of corruption will be their burden and legacy. The reality is that race-based parties and politicians are heading for extinction.

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We will always need checks and balances, but this looks like a very remote possibility with a BN opposition. BN parties have only been used to dictatorial, tyrannical, corrupted cronyism, supported by thuggish intimidation. The lack of a moral compass will render these parties an ineffective opposition.

This is worrying: their unintelligent gibberish and insensitive approach gives us no hope at all. Their feudalistic yes-man mentality cannot be stripped and changed overnight.

Not one person in the BN opposition has any credibility: their support for thieves, their direct or indirect participation in criminal activity and their complicit silence cripples their representation from the word go.

  • How are they even going to represent the cause of females when they have made some ludicrously inappropriate statements about females and even allowed females to be whipped.
  • How are they even going to represent the cause to reform prisoners and criminals – when many have died in custody under their watch while they did nothing?
  • How are they going to speak out for racial equality and religious respect when they were purveyors and peddlers of continual bickering over race and religion?
  • How are they going to assist in stopping any potential future plunder and pillage when they themselves were part of that shameful plunder and deception?

Can a crocodile be fed spinach and then be converted to vegetarianism? Can a leech be intoxicated by fruit juice and forsake blood? Can a vulture be tempted by a diet of oats and barley to prevent it from eating rotting carcasses?

This is the dilemma that has no ready answer. This complex minefield was constructed by the opposition themselves – and they are now trapped. They are the powerless heirs who have inherited what they have foolishly sown.

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Their only hope in Parliament hinges on their being allowed to speak in humility despite their past lack of rational common sense. For the opposition parties to save themselves and remain relevant, they need to:

  • acknowledge all their wrongdoings
  • offer an authentic apology and
  • atone by offering part of their salaries to the Hope Fund throughout their tenure of service.

Perhaps this would restore some semblance of acceptance and credibility to this ragtag rubble of an opposition.

We genuinely want the checks and balances of a viable opposition, but it has to be an opposition with impeccable credibility. Can the BN opposition be an opponent of negative division and a proponent of unity?

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