Published: 3 February 2015 8:59 AM
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is starting to become irrelevant, as seen from its recent quarrels, especially between DAP and PAS, and runs the risk of quashing people’s hopes of ever seeing an alternative coalition to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), said political analyst Dr Bridget Welsh.
A Malaysia observer, Welsh, who is a senior research associate at the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of National Taiwan University, also said it was no longer true that PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the glue that held the three parties in PR together.
Instead, the PR parties had to deal with their differences and go back to why they had banded together in the first place.
“They need to rebuild trust between themselves if they want to move forward. (Right now) the trust has been lost. Not only is there no dialogue, there are also no targets and shared responsibility,” she said.
She said PR had to get all these problems resolved soon or else voters would start losing confidence in the coalition.
At the same time, Anwar could not be faulted for PR’s problems as he was no longer the sole unifying factor for PAS, DAP and PKR.
“If Anwar is jailed after February 10, some say it will be a litmus test to see whether he truly is the binding factor or not. But to me, I do not think so.
“Since 2013 (after the 13th general election), he is no longer the man who keeps Pakatan Rakyat leaders together,” she told The Malaysian Insider, when asked about the PR’s future if the Federal Court’s verdict on Anwar’s sodomy appeal next week was to send the opposition leader to jail.
The Federal Court has fixed February 10 to deliver its verdict on Anwar’s final appeal against a conviction of sodomising his personal assistant, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, six years ago.
Welsh said that jailing Anwar would not lead to the PR splitting up but would instead make the coalition even stronger and more united.
“This is what is being said about PKR, make him the martyr and he will be recognised internationally.”
If PR were to split, Welsh said, it would be less because of Anwar and more because of their unresolved problems, such as the differences between PAS and DAP over local council elections and hudud or the Islamic penal code.
“The crux of the problem lies with PAS president (Datuk Seri Abdul) Hadi Awang and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.”
She said Hadi was the cause of disunity in PR because he appeared to be “anti-Pakatan Rakyat” in his ways.
“Breaking all mutual consent, from racism to local government elections and hudud issues, all these had nothing to do with Anwar,” she said.
But Hadi, she added, could not be blamed solely as the entire PAS had to be held accountable for “quarrelling openly like children”.
“The real test is whether these leaders can ignore the differences between them. Arguments about these differences will not end. It will only become worse because each party is trying to please their supporters, be it DAP or PAS.”
Welsh said PAS would stand to lose the most, “including Kelantan and most of its seats in Selangor in the current climate”.
She predicted that the three parties would remain in PR but become “increasingly weaker and divided”.
As a pact, Welsh said Pakatan has failed to draw up a common strategy on impending issues such as constituency redelineation, the Sarawak elections, the goods and services tax and dealing with Malaysia’s gloomy economic outlook.
“PR has no strategy as a pact. Their cooperation will not work unless they have a joint strategy,” she added.
Last year, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, who is also Gelang Patah MP, had also raised the same issue of PR’s relevancy.
He said that the PR component parties owed the public a clear and unequivocal answer as to whether the three parties were capable of closing ranks or whether their cooperation was near the end. – February 3, 2015.
– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/pakatan-heading-for-irrelevancy-if-spats-not-resolved-says-analyst#sthash.UkvfpPM7.dpuf