I was going to write about how UMNO politicians have caricatured the Chinese as gamblers. I even had the title ready: What more do the Chinese want – gambling! I marvel at how crass these politicians have become, while wanting to portray themselves as champions of non-muslim rights, they impose their own vision of non-muslim priorities. And I was going to bemoan the lack of statesmen among our political leaders who can steer the national agenda to issues of real substance.
But that issue was fading, and the storm over an alleged plan to depose the Selangor MB by PKR MPs was gaining steam. I read Martin Jalleh’s “Please pack up and go, PKR” yesterday and was concerned at the finality of his statements: “even if it means throwing out the baby with the bath water” and branding PKR leaders as “somnolent, selfish, self-centered andsupercilious political representatives”.
Today I read Haris Ibrahim’s article “In the eye of the PKR storm : He who wields the unsheathed dagger” naming the MPs he believed to be the conspirators and Azmin Ali as the chief instigator. The disgust and willingness to ascribe sleazy motives to these people was apparent. As was the branding of other PKR MPs who deny knowledge of this conspiracy as liars.
It seems to me that the love affair between those agitating for civil rights and specifically PKR and Anwar, is fast fading. And, as with most love affairs that come to crisis point, we get emotional, we forget basic courtesies and we just want to lash out.
As I have confessed in my last article, I am a mere layman and all I know is what I read. Here is what I think.
- We should be circumspect in our judgement when the matter is still unfolding. It is not as if Khalid has already been replaced as MB. Let us leave speculation to those who are our opponents. Similarly we should respect the word of those who deny involvement and flay them only when they are found to be lying.
- Throwing out the baby with the bath water is stupid. In the eyes of most people, right now Selangor is governed well, cleanly and transparently. Do we allow our disillusionment to corrupt people’s view of the present government? Do we now tar every PKR leader as “somnolent, selfish, self-centered andsupercilious?” And do we forget that there are other PR leaders who are working hard for the people in Selangor? Why are we scathing on our own friends and provide ammunition to our opponents?
- For all the mistakes Anwar has committed, the fact is that he and his family has stuck to the task and continue to pay a high price for doing so. He deserves a lot more respect than he is getting right now. We can’t go blasting away calling for “the right thing in our mind that Anwar needs to implement,” without understanding that as a political leader he has to try to pull very diverse factions together. And he needs to be given time and space to do so. He has already admitted to mistakes in choosing candidates for election and this has continued to plague him. Do we then abandon him? Do we call for fresh elections to boot out the poor candidates? Do we create the situation where it is easy for these MPs to crossover to the other side because it is untenable to remain?
I think that it is important for those of us who desire a change in government to realize that we too are on a political journey, not merely those who are politicians. We too are reliant on others who may have other motives together with those motives that are in agreement with ours. Like Martin Jalleh I too am impatient when I see PR politicians doing what Malaysian politicians do – play political games. But I don’t let that hinder me from seeing those times when they uphold the ideals that I desire. In politics we need to keep our eye firmly on our goals and we deal with issues as and when they arise. It may well turn out that PKR will seek for a change in MB (remember that other PR partners are involved here), damn the political consequences. I would rather deal with it when it happens.