Although Pakatan Rakyat formed by DAP, PKR and PAS failed to dislodge the Barisan Nasional from federal power in the 13th General Elections last May, it won 52% of the popular vote and for the first time in the nation’s history, there is a minority Federal Government in Putrajaya.
Malaysians are waiting for the next general elections full of hope and expectation that a change of federal government will finally come to the country in the 14th GE to herald the advent of a new Malaysia where there is justice, freedom, good governance and full respect for the fundamental constitutional guarantees for the diverse races and religions in the country.
However, in the past year since the 13th General Election, supporters of Pakatan Rakyat are increasingly concerned whether Pakatan Rakyat, like the Barisan Alternative after the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister and expulsion from UMNO, could only survive for one general elections.
Would Pakatan Rakyat go the way of Barisan Alternative, comprising DAP, PAS, PKR and Partai Rakyat, which only succeeded in contesting the 1999 general elections?
Will Pakatan Rakyat be around as a coalition to contest the 14th GE to replace the Barisan Nasional in Putrajaya?
PR successfully overcome one great crisis at the end of 2011 as PR would have been dissolved if the PR leaders from DAP, PKR and PAS were unable to resolve their differences and reaffirm in a joint statement on Sept. 28, 2011 to continue to give priority to the PR common policy framework and consensus to give hope to Malaysians for the long-needed changes in the political landscape in the country.
The Sept. 28, 2011 consensus of the Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council reaffirmed that hudud is not a Pakatan Rakyat agenda.
Any policy change in PR would need the agreement of all three component parties and there is no such consensus in Pakatan Rakyat.
The Sept. 28, 2011 PR Joint Statement saved PR from disintegration and paved the way for the 52% popular vote won by PR in the 13 GE, translated into 89 Parliamentary and 229 State Assembly seats (excluding Sarawak) for Pakatan Rakyat parties.
As I have said before, if hudud had been a hot controversial issue in the 13GE , the Barisan Nasional would not only have regained its two-thirds parliamentary majority to redelineate electoral constituencies at will, Pakatan Rakyat might have lost Selangor apart from Kedah and Johore would have reverted as an invincible Barisan Nasional “fixed-deposit” state.
In such a scenario, all the three PR component parties, whether DAP, PKR or PAS, would have suffered setbacks.
DAP would not have won 38 parliamentary and 95 State Assembly seats, while PKR and PAS would not win the total number of parliamentary and state assembly seats they won in the 13GE. PAS would in fact lose the four state assembly seats it won in Johor and the one state assembly seat it won in Malacca.
The Malaysian electorate do not want Pakatan Rakyat to go the way of Barisan Alternative to be a one general-election coalition.
Malaysians want to continue to support PR and they want to see PR replace BN as the new federal government in Putrajaya in the 14GE – but this is on the proviso that PR keeps faith with Malaysians to give top priority to the PR common policy framework and consensus.
This will be a great test of Pakatan Rakyat leaders in DAP, PKR and PAS as to whether they can overcome the second crisis in Pakatan Rakyat and keep faith with Malaysians to give top priority to PR common policy framework and consensus.
(Speech at the DAP Melaka Dinner to honour Karpal Singh and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of “Save Bukit China Campaign” at Pay Fong Chinese Secondary School hall on Friday, 27th June 2014)