There is now co-operation
among the opposition parties and
some non-governmental organisations.
Still, the DAP has come out openly to
declare its objection to the setting up
of an Islamic state as advocated by
Both parties have ruled out an electoral
pact in the next general election
because of their differences.
But in the same breath, the two parties
have also said they will work together
on other issues.
For strategic purposes, it makes sense
for both parties to work together to
fight the Barisan.
Besides projecting a united opposition front,
their emphasis on common issues
will provide a sharper focus to their
campaign, thus generating greater
The two parties have also tied up with
Adil, the movement led by Datin Seri Dr
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
It will come as no surprise if DAP, PAS
and Adil also join hands with the
yet-to-be-registered HAK, initiated by allies of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The tie-up is pretty clear as Adil is
open to all races while HAK is only for
Muslims, with non-Muslims as associate
Associate members have no right to vote
or to hold positions, thus their
presence will provide them with almost
There is also the Parti Rakyat Malaysia,
which has failed in every election, in the loose coalition.
The combination of DAP, PAS and HAK may
seem to be a strange brew but its impact
can be strong.
The strategy appears quite simple. PAS
hopes to get the non Muslim votes and the DAP the Muslim votes.
PAS, PRM and HAK are banking on the Anwar issue to score while DAP hopes to exploit the imprisonment of Kota Melaka MP Lim Guan Eng.
But at the end of the day, the biggest
beneficiary may well be PAS which has cleverly taken off its Islamic cloak to put up its reformasi
Instead of talking about hudud laws and
Islamic state, it is temporarily stressing democracy and human rights.
Democracy and human rights, after all,
have a more universal appeal
acceptable even by the yuppies with their liberal political
Forget about HAK or DAP, the only party
which can do serious damage to Barisan
is PAS, and the fight in the rural
heartland may be more intense.
For the electorate, it is not just a
question of Umno versus PAS. It is also
more than just about democracy and
justice but a question of the kind of
political system that we,
Malaysians, want to live in.
Can moderate Malaysians accept the kind of self-styled, self righteous moral
practices advocated by PAS leaders in multi-religious plural Malaysia?
It is highly unlikely that liberals will accept the dogmatic changes in Kelantan under the PAS administration unless we accept segregation of sexes in supermarket queues, lights-on in cinemas and even dikir barat ban, among other religious-moral moves.
The present system of government, with all its flaws, is still the best kind of system.
Malaysians may vote against the
government for what they perceive to be
injustices inflicted on individuals but they must never dismantle the very parliamentary system
which allows them to vote.
Our constitutional and legal rights need
to be strengthened, not eroded. We have
a right to know what kind of positive
political and economic changes our
politicians can bring us.
Transparency is not just confined to the government. We have a right to information from opposition parties too.
Integrity and credibility are also
something we expect from politicians,
opposition or otherwise.
Malaysians cannot put their future at
stake on some vague promises made by
It is not the time to experiment. We all deserve to know exactly what our
politicians want to do to put Malaysia
back on track economically.
By that, we mean politicians with
impeccabble experience in modern
management, economics and administration
that will bring us into the next
century competently and
We should also ask whether the next
federal government can last or will
collapse within months after winning
because the coalition partners have
We must never lose sight of our
direction, that is to create a mature,
fully developed, liberal and tolerant
society in which the ethnic, political
and civil rights of all Malaysians have
Any attempt, whether subtle or
otherwise, to set apart and separate our
present system of parliamentary
democracy will be a grave mistake.
It is always easy in a politically charged atmosphere to cast a protest vote but Malaysians must ask whether it will threaten the existing political and economic
We must never sacrifice our spirit of
tolerance and goodwill and must reject
any form of intolerance. Moderation, in demands and speech, is the key to success for Malaysia.
We can talk about the right to
demonstrate as a form of freedom of expression but we only need to look at our neighbour to understand the kind of mess they have got themselves into.
Beginning from now until the elections,
politicians will promise anything but from now, we must assess their pledges with a level head.
Many of us pride ourselves on being
educated and able to think but at times,
we let our heart rule our head.