There are many, it seems, who are willing to take that emotional position.
In a democracy, demands for greater
transparency, accountability and democratic space are justified.
But the coming election isn't just a
fight between Barisan Nasional and the
opposition front. It's a tussle between Umno and PAS, a fight between moderation and extremism.
The rest of the component parties would merely be playing a supporting role.
With Parti Keadilan Nasional and PAS
flags flying side by side, the voter
might get the impression that they are one and the same.
While the two parties may broadly agree on some fundamental issues, the biggest
threat to Umno is finally PAS.
PAS is far more experienced and better
organised than Keadilan. In the
opposition front, PAS would play the
Keadilan, on the other hand, comprises former Umno members who have benefitted from the system over the past 16 years.
Many of them had made their money from
allocated shares, which they bought
through easily available bank loans. It is the very system that many of them criticise now.
They are not the only ones. There are
also those supporting the government who became millionaires not through business acumen but through such privileges.
Then, there is another core group in
Keadilan, the idealistic academicians who have never run a political campaign
before. They assume that winning an
election is merely writing a thesis and
speaking at a ceramah.
It is the PAS machinery that will
dominate the opposition campaign,
not even the DAP which can only
contest in urban seats.
Mathematically, if all the Chinese voters back the DAP, the party will win up
to 28 parliamentary seats.
It remains a minor party in the
opposition front, though. The DAP
can no longer take for granted that
the Chinese will back the party,
given the present sentiments of
Chinese voters in wanting to vote
The DAP is, in fact, in danger of losing
the post of Opposition Leader to PAS or Keadilan if these two parties get more seats.
For the first time in DAP history, the
party is banking on non-Chinese votes to win more seats. It has to break free from its communal image or lose substantial support.
Thanks to Keadilan and DAP supporters, PAS would probably walk away with the most number of seats.
The likely scenario is if the Opposition forms the next federal government, PAS, being the dominant party,
will push forward its plans to set up an
If PAS doesn't get its way because Keadilan, DAP and PRM are against its policies, we will have a squabble over how the government should be run. A feuding government will not
While the DAP is clear on its secular government stand, we are not so sure about Keadilan. Its position has been vague.
What happens if the Opposition cannot
form the next federal government? There is the possibility of more opposition MPs. From a positive view,
there will be a stronger check and
At the same time, increased representation for PAS would mean a louder voice for its demands.
A secular government without a strong
mandate would have to play a balancing
role. Fearful of losing its grip, it
will be submissive and
Without its two-thirds majority, it will
be more concerned with politicking than in the running of the government.
Given the uncertainties, the stock
market will suffer overnight as fewer
people will be willing to
The line between PAS and Keadilan is now blurred because both are shouting reformasi.
The two parties, however, have different
agendas. One is honest enough to say
that it wants an Islamic state. So, if PAS sets out its orthodox policies later, Malaysians shouldn't complain.
Keadilan is preoccupied with freeing
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim period. The
rest are merely issues drummed up to win votes.
It is time for moderate Malaysians to appreciate the importance of the principle of secularism for the realisation of national unity.
Yes, there are flaws in Malaysia that
need to be corrected. Yes, there are
better ways of handling some
Being emotional is one thing; dismantling the entire system without realising it is dangerous.
Malaysians should not vote for a change
for the sake of changing because they might get something worse.
We must never allow any move by any
political party to remove our liberal
lifestyle, which we now enjoy due to the
existence of a secular government.
There are those who talk about freedom
and justice but make no bones of their
intention to impose their moral
standards on our social and cultural
life. These politicians confuse
liberalism with permissiveness.
In our struggle for democratic rights,
we must be aware of those who want to
curb values which we have taken for
Before casting their votes, Malaysians should ask themselves whether the alternative is capable and effective enough in ensuring their political, economic, social, cultural and religious rights.