PH's fall not because of 'stupid manifesto'
By Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Very recently, one prominent former BN minister said in a forum that PH's fall was because of the "stupid manifesto". The personality in question went on to say that the manifesto was too "fat" and that BN's was thin and simple. I wish to happily disagree with this personality's simplistic take of the downfall of the PH. If PH leadership were ever "stupid" it was about inviting such personalities to seek advice from. PH should really take lessons from the Malay proverb who would have said that to invite such personality to rebuild a new Malaysia is "seperti tikus membaiki labu". Inviting a rat to fix a piece of fruit is not the most intelligent thing to do. In this article I would like to enlighten that personality and others on why PH lost the country. The gist of my article is simply that there was no one to blame except PH itself and a bit also about the problem with an unthinking civil society.
Firstly PH was doomed from the very start when Dr. Mahathir was trusted to lead the nation once again. I had remarked that Dr. Mahathir was the architect of Malaysia's destruction but he was an effective weapon against Malaysian's enemies. But once the weapon was used, PH should have sheathed the weapon but the leadership of Amanah and DAP wanted to trust the weapon as a guide to the nation's future. Rafizi's warnings fell on deaf ears of both civil society leaders and the two PH parties. Dr. M's plan began to show that he was turning Malaysia back into his version of 1990s BN complete with bringing back such personality that rudely called the PH manifesto as "stupid". Dr. M had even warned in his first year of office that he would take PPBM out of PH if his leadership was questioned harshly by the likes of PKR and DAP.
Secondly, PH's fall was because the leadership of PKR, DAP and Amanah had not made alternative plans to make "friends" with MPs and parties that could make it stronger in numbers like the GPS and MCA. Earlier on I had written about my concern that MCA's Chinese Year gathering was not attended by any PH leadership. I was told that several DAP leaders quietly remarked that my concerns was naïve and childish. Now, MCA has two MPs. Who is childish now? PN lead only with three MPs and the MCA count would have overturned the whole equation. My surprise of the naivety of the PH leadership was that they knew of the high possibility of the PPBM and a few turncoats from PKR could pose a serious threat and yet they made no overtures to invite new "friends" secretly without Dr. M knowledge. What kind of war strategy is this? If people does not know about the meaning of "trust" in politics and among politicians, then they should not be politicians at all. The first and second rule of Malaysian politics is work with every one but trust no one. Trust should not be in the vocabulary of Malaysian politics. You can rely on Politician A only if you have goodies for him or her or you have some dirty laundry on that person or both. That is the meaning of Trust with Collateral. When I heard Mat Sabu laments the fact that politicians had signed a piece of paper on the promise of the transfer of power, I almost died laughing! You can swim alongside a well fed shark but you never should trust it at any one moment, unless you have a harpoon on your hand to kill it.
Thirdly, the civil society had not thought deeply about wanting immediate changes in many sensitive issues. I had written to say that these changes need time and cultural as well as strategic explanations. The issue of UiTM for instance cannot be made to be turned 180 degrees overnight. I must also say that the manner in which civil society treated personalities like Maszlee Malik was completely uncalled for and in the Islamic Adab, downright kurang ajar. All this mistakes fed the fuel of mistrust fanned by Islamic NGOs about non-Muslim taking over Malaysia and turning it into another Chinese Singapore.
The fourth reason is the person of Anwar himself who refuse to give up his coveted throne of the PMship. If Anwar was fighting for the sake of Malaysia then that position should not matter. What matters is saving the PH hold on government in a strategic and pragmatic manner. But Anwar and his team went ahead to bid for power even though they have completely been unable to contain Azmin's group and also do not have the numbers of MPs on their side. That was the tipping point of collapse. Anwar and PKR have shown that there are in politics for themselves and not for the people. They have also shown a total lack of strategic leadership in the art of political warfare. Azmin came off in this whole affair as a Commandant par excellence in taking his small band of guerrillas and defeating the whole army of Pakatan Harapan. Malaysians can call Azmin the most hated traitor but his political prowess is absolutely undeniable. He was able to outwit Anwar and the old fox himself.
In conclusion, it was not the "stupid manifesto" but the "stupid leadership" of PH and the mistake of civil society that brought the whole government down. The 'stupid leadership' of PH is led by two principal players who have outlived their worth and other PH leaders who seem to know next to nothing about political warfare. The path to rebuild Malaysia is not paved with roses of trusts and immediate expectations but with poisonous thorns of mistrusts, intrigues and race and religious sinkholes that would swallow the crusader without even time to call for help. The more so if one relies on advice from personalities in politics that have created those holes and thorns in the first place without a plan to contain them in a strong and an unbreakable leash.
(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)
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