If the Pakatan Rakyat side of politics wants to be taken seriously as the alternative government, it must be seen as offering the better alternative. Its leaders must be exemplary and its supporters must behave more responsibly.
Reports of members beating up a rock singer at the Protes concert on Sunday do nothing to help its cause. Thuggery should be avoided at all costs because an alternative government-in-waiting can't behave like those it criticises and wants to replace.
If Malaysians are wary of some PAS methods and ideas it is understandable. Some of their ideas based on their understanding of religion have resulted in policies that cause alarm.
Those ideas are retrograde and in fact have nothing to do with religion but are consistent with the censorious attitude of some of their leaders.
The party appears to have a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde personality which confuses the public. For as long as they advocate those regressive ideas they will never gain the support of the majority of people.
The narrow religious ideas of the minority can never be imposed on the majority, especially ideas that have no merit. Fortunately, not all PAS leaders are narrow-minded.
The problem of pulling diverse interests makes coalition politics difficult and often is the reason why an autocratic leadership is seen as the easy solution. Anwar promises to clean out corruption, so did Dr Mahathir Mohamad and so has Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Anwar promises to fix the fuel price hike, it will be an economic feat par excellence. The world will want to hear how Malaysia did it. With fuel threatening to reach US$200 a barrel, we need miracles. But hope is better than despondency and Malaysians are desperate for a saviour.
Anwar answers that call and whether he can walk on water is left to be seen because hope deferred makes the heart sick. His enemies will throw everything at him and hope some of the mud will stick.
The moral of the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamlyn is not only that leaders must keep their promise but also that it highlights the danger of a leader leading the unwary to a perilous end. It is a warning for us to be vigilant and discerning and sieve the truth from the spin and not to believe everything.
It is not important what the leaders say but what we ultimately believe and do, and that is why we are not to be gullible and accept what we read and hear without exercising our discernment.
And the best way to do this is to cross-check facts with reliable sources. There are blind followers who will believe anything their leaders say because they are blinded, persuaded not by facts or what is good for the nation, but their allegiances. They have become like sworn members of a triad.
Sodomy is a wrong committed against one's body, it is one form of wrongdoing, a symptom of the sickness, not the sickness itself. Slander and false accusation and maltreatment of others and all corrupting deeds are also symptoms.
If in wanting to prove that one who commits sodomy is sinful, we must also contend that those who tell lies and slander and maltreat others and abuse their powers in government and act corruptly are equally culpable.
In the present political feud among the politicians, the truth is hard to pin down. We may merely gauge the credibility track record of those involved. Serial liars won't suddenly change their spots.
It is a pity Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is not meeting Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto opposition leader or Wan Azizah, the parliamentary opposition leader.
The excuse of abiding by protocol is flimsy and absurd as it is in Australia's interests to meet someone like Anwar or Wan Azizah, who some day may be his Malaysian counterpart.
Nonetheless, it is a strong Australian tradition to respect the role of opposition leader and for Kevin Rudd not to uphold that Australian tradition is a failure of sound judgement and a lack of commitment to uphold democracy.
Protocol or not it has been broken by past Australian leaders and as the Sydney Morning Herald rightly opined, Kevin Rudd is ‘short-sighted’ and has not done the democratic tradition he represents any justice.
It adds meaning to political expediency. It has robbed Australia of its moral credence in the region.