Commentary Politics

Big egos make it tough for Pakatan

It's Mahathir taking centrestage again. Conspicuously absent? The DAP big guns.

It's Mahathir taking centrestage again. Conspicuously absent? The DAP big guns.

Written by Aziz Hassan

July 17, 2017.

Recollections & Reflections – A weekly column

IT may look so easy for others but this opposition pact known as Pakatan Harapan, even deciding on something so elementary like a line-up of its top leadership seems such an insurmountable task.

The name suggests that it’s a pact that provides hope. Or some could interpret it as being a pact of hopefuls……

Never mind what the perception is but generally it is regarded as a group that provides hope to Malaysians who wish for (political) change. That’s what we see on paper but in reality, this Pakatan hasn’t had a smooth ride for months and doesn’t look like it has weathered the last of the storms.

Within the opposition, the DAP has the largest number of Parliamentary seats but its role vis-à-vis the Pakatan leadership is clearly a minor one. That it’s presence at the meeting that went on to decide on the leadership line-up was not prominent was also not lost on a lot of people.

On the contrary, the pact appears to keep on having difficulty dealing with former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, currently chairman of pact member Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

It’s that big elephant in the room they are not quite sure what to do with.

Having ruled the country for 22 years, someone like Mahathir is not going to take a back seat. In the interview conducted by his own boys a few months ago, Mahathir made it crystal clear how he expects people to consider that fact and how he should be treated.

For Pakatan it looks like in the euphoria of having a former prime minister and former Umno president in their pact, they completely missed the point that this fact would pose the biggest challenge to them.

Thus Pribumi Bersatu, the newest of the opposition parties and the one with only one Parliamentary seat, has been going around flexing its muscles and making demands like it had been there since pre-independence.

Imagine something like a leadership line-up taking months of negotiations, with the threat of a withdrawal by Pribumi Bersatu thrown in, and also a meeting being held in London too.

 The issue of who should be PM if Pakatan wins the next general elections, although seemingly a done deal, will likely come to haunt these guys again, what with the man some of them want – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim – having to also deal with the legal requirements should Pakatan ever reaches that stage.

The other issue that will definitely not be easy for Pakatan to deal with will be the distribution of electoral seats and the Cabinet line-up.

If the recently announced leadership line-up took months to reach an agreement, imagine what would happen with the two previously mentioned decisions.

To the neutrals observing from a distance, again the goings-on within Pakatan does not make for a hopeful future.

Not when big egos are involved, with each wanting to be given what he thinks is his rightful place.






About the author

Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.