BN ossified, time for new paradigm

Whither the opposition parties in Malaysia? In the 1999 elections, the opposition was quite successful, capturing Terengganu whilst retaining Kelantan. PBS in the erstwhile state of Sabah did respectably by winning 17 seats amidst allegations involving of phantom voters.

At that time, PAS was not so obvious with its sloganeering of an Islamic state.

With Kelantan and Terengganu in the bag, PAS interpreted it as a tacit support for its idea of an Islamic state. So the clamouring for an Islamic state was intensified to the extent that it irked DAP, who vehemently opposed the slightest hint of Islamic statehood for Malaysia.

When PAS could no longer be persuaded to steer clear of its Islamic state agenda, especially by the DAP, the latter left the Barisan Alternatif in a huff, leaving the coalition in tatters.

If anything, the departure of the DAP has emboldened PAS' Islamic state agenda for Malaysia. Increasingly, PAS has become engrossed with this ideological pursuit so much so that it has lost cognisance of the reality on the ground.

Unbeknown to PAS was the growing sense of disgust and betrayal amongst its supporters, especially the non-Muslims, that they left the party in droves. Still PAS was day-dreaming and wallowed in a false sense of confidence and security.

The March 2004 elections shattered whatever flimsy sense of invincibility it had.

PAS should by now have learnt a lesson or two from its blunder, inter alia, these are:

  • That the majority of the populace is not in favour of an Islamic state ala PAS;

  • That Anwar was a big factor in PAS' success in the 1999 elections, and

  • That PAS should not take for granted that the people will support whatever agenda promoted by the party.

Anwar should now move fast to forge ahead with his political agenda for Malaysia. DAP and Keadilan shouldn't have any problem as partners in this endeavour. But PAS should have a structural and philosophical re-configuration before it can be accepted as partner in this realignment of paradigm.

The Barisan Nasional, with Umno at the helm, is an ossified entity with no prospect for further progress.

There is an urgent need to clean up our political system and the bureaucracy so that Malaysia can achieve real and meaningful democracy and a prosperous one at that.