Will the people prevail in the PD by-election?

It’s very encouraging to note that the people are wising up to our politicians! The PD by-election engineered to fast-track Anwar Ibrahim’s path to becoming prime minister is not going to be an easy win for him. Four other contenders are planning to stand for elections in the Port Dickson parliamentary constituency against Anwar, and one of them is former Negeri Sembilan Mentri Besar Tan Sri Isa Samad.

Apart from Isa, the others are unknown individuals: PAS candidate Lieutenant Colonel Mohd Nazari Mokhtar, Parti Rakyat Malaysia candidate Ahmad Kamaruddin and independent candidate Stevie Chan Keng Leong. Isa resigned from Umno and is standing for election as an independent candidate.

The fact that the PD by-election is turning out to be a five-cornered fight is a clear indication that people can see through what the politicians are up to and will oppose them. And, that precisely is what the people should do. When it is apparent that politicians are holding on to their positions for their own interests and NOT the interests of the people, they should be thrown out in an election.

A five-cornered fight will split the votes in five ways and Anwar has reason to be worried although he claims he is “not losing any sleep” over Isa’s entry. Isa has a 40-year tenure of serving Negri Sembilan. There is also talk that others may join the fray. It will be interesting to see to what extent they will split the vote and deny Anwar his entry into Parliament.

Apparently, there are undercurrents of tensions caused by the Anwar factor which people are attempting to neutralise. A good place to see what is brewing is Umno. It has publicly stated that it wants to join the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) or its coalition partners to form a unity government. It is also boycotting the PD by-election and won’t stand against Anwar.

Now, why is there a need for a unity government? A unity government will only come into play when a leading party in an election does not have the votes to form a simple majority. In the current scenario, PH has a comfortable majority. It has no need for a unity government. So, why would Umno offer itself to any PH party to form a unity government?

There can only be two reasons. Firstly, Umno does not want to be in the opposition because it means its politicians have to work hard to win the support of its constituents and make a forceful presence in Parliament and Umno politicians just don’t know how to do that. Out of government, Umno politicians cannot hold their own. So, they want to get back into government to be able to survive, which leads to the second reason.

Umno saw a possibility in PH breaking up and is offering itself to the winning side. Since it doesn’t want to contest in the PD by-election, it would be easy to assume that it wants to leave the door to a possible deal with Anwar open. Anwar referred to Umno’s strategy as irrelevant as there was no such “proposal”. On both counts, Umno’s reasons are not the interests of the people it represents but the personal interests of its politicians.

It seems to be the trend these days for politicians to announce their plans believing their “openness” will make them credible. With Umno it failed just as it failed with PAS for its avowed stand to form a government to set up an Islamic state. Although Anwar has denied the prospect of a unity government, the suspicions linger on. People apparently are not convinced. They are standing for election against him to split the votes. They may not know the real motive but neither are they confident that the real motive is the interests of the people.

No matter how “open” you are, if it isn’t clear that the interests of the people you represent override your own, the people will be suspicious of your intentions.

In a democracy, whatever the individual candidate’s personal reasons, it must be apparent to the people that their interests take priority. If it isn’t apparent, the votes will show it.

It will be interesting to see if the people will vote for or against Anwar. It will reflect what they think of him and the political manoeuvres around him.

 

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