Press reports that Pakatan Harapan (PH) will set up a committee to hold negotiations and evaluate Muda, which intends to join the coalition in the near future, is a step in the right direction.
However, it will only bear fruit if it is also open to other left-leaning and green-leaning parties, such as the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), which is known for its grassroots struggle for social and environmental justice.
Currently, there seems to be uneasiness among PKR leaders about working with Muda, fearing they have to give up some urban seats or that its leader was close to Dr Mahathir Mohamad previously. Also, certain DAP leaders are uncomfortable with PSM as they regard it as an extreme left-leaning party.
It is ironic that PKR and DAP could work with Mahathir’s divisive ethno-religious party Bersatu in the last general election but have difficulty working with parties that can complement their struggle for inclusive justice.
Muda and its young leaders represent current postmodern trends among youths globally for non-biased multi-racialism, where their thought patterns do not resemble the ethno-religious tribalism of youths aligned with Umno and Pas.
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PSM has been working on the ground for decades, fighting for the rights of the poor and the marginalised, which is relevant to this day.
These parties would be able to complement PH.
PH has no clarity of vision about the type of Malaysia it envisages, except for slogans such as “reformasi”. Fighting corruption alone will be inadequate if it does not have a credible and broad socioeconomic vision that is clearly distinctive from that of Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN).
Unless its zeal for fighting corruption and reforming laws takes place in a broader context of building a stakeholder economy, it will be no different from BN in terms of substance.
It would be wise for PH to focus on forming a workable centre-left coalition that includes Muda and PSM, both of which would be able to bring in more youthful political ideas that transcend ethno-religiosity.
PH can distinguish itself from BN and PN if it embraces an ideology that is grounded in the common good, where good business means the development of human capital, human-centred technology, consumer protection, environmental justice and due process of human rights, as enshrined in natural law and our religious traditions.
PH should clearly define itself before the next general election. A centre-left coalition should be the way forward. – Free Malaysia Today