Promises broken because of weak opposition? Not really

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“‘Hush. Don't ask any questions. It's always best on these occasions to do what the mob do.’
‘But suppose there are two mobs?’ suggested 
Mr Snodgrass.
‘Shout with the largest,’ replied 
Mr Pickwick.
Volumes could not have said more.”

– Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

COMMENT | Wanita MCA vice-chairperson Ong Chong Swen claims that a weak opposition is why Pakatan Harapan is not keeping its promises.

Any time a political party does not keep its promises, it really has nothing to do with the opposition. A weak ruling coalition may walk back on its pledges if it does not have a common platform, or if the diverse interests of its members clash. But this is not why Harapan is waffling on its campaign promises.

An effective opposition is forged, not prefabricated, as I discussed here – “When the opposition first started, it was a movement to change the country. The opposition wanted Malaysia to be a truly egalitarian place and the DAP was the vanguard when it came to the various initiatives to save Malaysia over the years.

“A real opposition is forged over years of rejection by the very public they choose to serve and of the ideals that sustain them. And PAS and DAP, although diametrically opposed, were the opposition that mattered in Malaysia.”

Harapan is waffling on its promises because its base does not demand that it keeps them. Often, this base and various political pundits make excuses for why Harapan needs time to fulfil certain promises instead.

This may be true in specific issues – like education reform, for instance – but where repealing certain laws, abandoning certain propaganda organs, or just fulfilling certain promises such as recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), this excuse of needing more time is complete horse manure.

When Umno was in charge, they made decisions unilaterally without the excuses of coordinating with various ministries or consultation with anti-democratic/pro-religious stakeholders. They did it because they were, at the time, secure with their base...

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