I don’t understand opposition politics anymore. They always seem to have too much confidence for their own good! In 2008, even long after the election result was announced, they said they would form the new government; by getting Sarawak and Sabah MPs to back them. Who can forget the magical date of Sept 16th? Then there was much expectation in 2013; and despite winning the popular vote, they were still more than 30 seats short.
Now they are busy proclaiming Anwar Ibrahim as the new 7th Prime Minister, and as if that’s not enough, they have also announced Wan Azizah as the “seat warmer “ whilst waiting for the Chosen One to be ready to take the throne.
It’s understandable for PKR to want Anwar Ibrahim as PM, although putting up placards “Anwar as the 7th PM” at the party Congress showed a lack of finesse, to say the least. It also shows their lack of respect to both Tun Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who were present. PKR is Anwar’s party of course, but do they need to wave the placards? What is baffling is why the arrogance to pick the Prime Minister-designate from their group when they have won nothing yet.
In our system of government a Prime Minister is selected from the party that has the most support of MPs, and as far as I know it’s too early to tell if the combined MPs from PKR, DAP and Amanah can secure the magic number of 112. If they need help from Bersatu and other parties in Sabah and Sarawak to reach the simple majority, shouldn’t they discuss the question of PM-designate with them first before waving the placards? Presenting a fait accompli is only done when you are dead certain you are going to win without anybody’s help; or when you are under a delusion that you are going to win regardless.
We do not even know yet who the MPs from Sabah and Sarawak will want as PM. Shouldn’t we discuss the matter with them? We must not assume Bersatu has no wish to nominate a PM designate, or that they have no allies at all. If Najib loses, there is nothing preventing some BN MPs from getting together behind a Bersatu leader or a Sabah leader or a Sarawak leader. The permutations are endless
It will be better if Bersatu nominates its PM designate. Not every opposition supporter wants Anwar Ibrahim as PM. Bersatu can, for example, nominate Tan Sri Muhyiddin, or Tun Dr Mahathir. But for me and many of my friends, young and old, we will nominate Tun Dr Mahathir. We will push for Tun as Prime Minister, simply because he is the best for the job. The different candidates for Prime Minister will make the opposition more interesting. These candidates can debate the election issues and we can have discussions and forums about the problems in the country. This will help the people know their PM-designate better.
We need the people to be excited, to be energised about the new PM, otherwise, Najib will still rule after the election. Having more than one PM-designate will make the run up to the election more exciting. The seat arrangement and electoral pact that exist (if any) between the parties will still be useful and can be implemented with fewer problems if the parties can agree to disagree who is PM-designate. Pushing a name that others do not accept will be negative for the whole opposition.
Pakatan Harapan must not try to be more than what it actually is. Forget common logo, and forget common PM designate. It’s not going to contribute to the unity of the parties. It will lead to bickerings, (maybe not openly ), but it will still be felt by the voters. Just agree on seat arrangement, and as for everything else, to each its own. After all, just like in all previous elections, the Pakatan parties all have their separate ways of trying to win their respective seats. They don’t have a common war room, common funding, it will always be ”to each its own”. It’s too late in the day to try to be something more. It will just expose them for what they really are.