There’s hope, but is the opposition united to make good on it?

It’s stinking politics as usual, of course. Yet, in the midst of it there is just a sliver of hope cutting through the dirt. The question is: Are the people who can make a difference taking hold of the hope to do what it takes to bring about the desired change?

In the current political scenario, hope comes in the form of the opposition parties who have considerable support from the people. Undeniably, the odds are stacked up impossibly high against them. In the continuing old politics, the system is rigged to enable the incumbent political alliance to stay in power. Now, it is said that the Election Commission’s new redelineation exercise — if passed — will enable the BN to win a general election with only 35%of the vote.

Yet, I believe that the opposition can beat the odds — if they would do only one thing — stand solidly united. Unfortunately, that isn’t what we are seeing. The opposition is fractured, and that is the problem. The problem isn’t the electorate. Sure, they can be manipulated, and, actually are. But, if the opposition can not present a united front, what choice do the people have? They will choose the side that can form the government. What would be the point of voting for a fractured opposition which is unable to form a government?

The problem is that the opposition is made up of disparate parties who haven’t as yet learnt the art of trade-offs that is essential in negotiations to facilitate a single-minded united action to deliver on our hopes. It’s a skill that the BN has learnt and effectively practiced and which is bolstering them up now despite the lack of majority support.

If the opposition doesn’t learn to act in concert, we can expect the BN to win the next general elections. That glimmer of hope we see in the opposition will die a natural death, and it may lead to the break up of the opposition. If that happens the BN will get even stronger — by default, because the opposition is divided. And the old politics will continue: reforms will be tossed out of the window; hungry, roving, political wolves will continue to taunt and intimidate in order to destabilize the peace so that emergency can be introduced or force the hands of their leaders to invoke the ISA and put the trouble-makers, including their own (which they wouldn’t mind as long as their party remains in government), in detention. All for the sake of keeping the minority in power.

If the opposition can’t see what will happen if they fail to come together in unity, then, I think, we should be prepared for a tried and tired future with the BN.

There’s no time to lose. The next general election is the only chance the opposition will get to unseat the BN government in the near future. If they miss this chance, they may have to wait for a very long time before a chance presents itself again for them to win an election and rule.

Opposition parties have to put aside their petty differences for the good of the nation and start talking now, not when the general election  is announced. They have to sit down together and thrash out their concerns, not in one meeting but in several until they come to a consensus.

Only a united opposition can defeat the BN. Only a united opposition can give the people a credible alternative. It is the responsibility of the opposition to give people that choice if they want to rule. Then, I believe the people will choose wisely.

Some of the issues that are dividing the opposition are the choice of candidate for the premiership, hudud, and which party will take the lead in the coalition. Well, all these issues need to be thrashed out. Right now, Muhyiddin Yassin is a good candidate for the position of PM because he was primed for that position as the former deputy PM. PKR and DAP need to understand this, and not insist that PKR advisor, Anwar Ibrahim, becomes the PM. At this point Anwar can’ t because he is in jail. If he is freed, there can be renegotiations for the post of prime minister.

If PAS is courting Umno to introduce hudud, it will have to go it alone and that might be the end of the party. If it lets bygones be bygones and links hands with the opposition, it must be willing to give up hudud because hudud has no place in a modern, multi-cultural society. DAP, too, should extend an olive branch to PAS and treat it with more respect than it has. PKR has to stop obsessing with Anwar and be willing to give and take with Muhyiddin’s party, Parti Pribumi.

These issues need to be sorted out well before the next general election. The people need to see that the opposition can work together. If the opposition fails to stand united, BN will win the next general election. If the opposition stands 100% united, they will be a force to reckon with, and will be ready to form the new government.

We can hope, but will it happen? It will if the opposition can get its act together and become a formidable, united coalition.

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