Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is Pakatan ready for Putrajaya? | Free Malaysia Today

Is Pakatan ready for Putrajaya?

Patrick Lee | December 7, 2011-FMT

Yes, say political analysts despite the perennial naysayers from Barisan Nasional.

PETALING JAYA: With general election just around the corner, talk is rife whether Malaysia’s opposition is ready to helm the federal government.

Certain parties, especially the ruling BN government, have rubbished this notion. Their claim is that of chaos – that the country will fall into disarray if Pakatan Rakyat takes over.

However, several political observers interviewed by FMT, say the opposition, backed by their state government experience, can take Putrajaya, and keep it.

Going by 2008 general election, independent analyst Khoo Kay Peng said that Pakatan had no idea it was going to be in control of several state governments.

“Which alternative government is ready? Were they (Pakatan) ready in Penang and Selangor? I don’t think they were ready, but those places did not collapse,” he told FMT.

Khoo said that despite their inexperience, previous Auditor-General Reports have given Pakatan-run states a good mark.

He disagreed with claims that Pakatan needed to run their individual state governments for another term before going for the federal jugular.

“All the parties have had a hand and experience in running their state governments. You see it with Penang and Selangor,” he said.

Although admitting that Malaysia had a long way to go in terms of governance, Khoo said that Pakatan would succeed if it was “smart” and “got rid of the corrupted people”.

The March 2008 general election saw a major political shift, with many voters backing Pakatan, instead of Barisan.

Four states (Penang, Kedah, Selangor and Perak) fell into the hands of the opposition, in addition to Kelantan which was retained by PAS. BN however won back Perak through a constitutional crisis in 2009.

Why not give Pakatan a try?

With talk of the general election coming up every now and again, BN leaders have been quick to warn Malaysians not to vote for the opposition.

They have raised the spectre of hudud, economic collapse and racial strife if Pakatan were to take over the government.

Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (CASSA) president Jacob George said that it was very “unfair” of BN leaders to make this claim.

A government’s survival, he said, does not hinge on its political masters, but rather its civil service.

“If you look at a democracy, it is the civil service that is pulse of the nation. Politicians are there for making policies. The civil service runs the country, not the politicians!” said Jacob.

BN’s warnings of the opposition gaining power, he claimed, were due to their fear of losing power.

A “political Renaissance”, Jacob added, was also in motion across the world, with its effects seen in Egypt and Libya.

“I don’t think there will be chaos (if Pakatan takes over), unless Umno wants to make chaos. Umno is so frightened of losing the power they’ve had since 1957.

“They’ve never looked at this power as a trust…They act as if this power is a God-given right. If anyone says that, it is very vulgar,” Jacob said.

Regime change not a problem

Malaysians, he claimed, have been looking to Umno for leadership, only to be disappointed in the end. He cited Umno chiefs raising the spectre of the May 13 racial riots as an example.

“We’ve been looking to Umno for leadership, but they’ve been throwing tantrums. If you,” he said, referring to Umno, “are statesmen, you will not be making these statements.”

International Islamic University (UIA) professor Abdul Aziz Bari said that a number of Malaysians may not warm up to the idea of Pakatan taking over because of BN’s 54-year rule.

“They’ve been used to Umno in power…why not give Pakatan a try? Regime change is not a problem (for the rest of the world), but it’s a shame that we treat it as if it was fatal,” he said.

Aziz said the Pakatan state governments were off to a “promising start” despite being bogged down by the mainstream media and the federal government.

He said it was worth giving Pakatan Rakyat a try.

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