Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Political absurdity in Malaysia had never peaked to such heights as it did from February 6 when in the reach of the Pakatan Rakyat to stop the Sultan of Perak from swearing-in the new Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) some members of the former governing pact demonstrated and slept on the road leading to the palace, after Zambry Abdul Kadir had been driven in.

That began the flourish of frolics which followed the opposition pact’s downfall in the state.

Pakatan Rakyat, not to be undone, then willfully shot itself in the head by scuttling the new Perak Menteri Besar and six others using the Speaker’s power to suspend the assemblymen, a move popularly perceived as wild.

Former Menteri Besar, Nizar Jamaluddin, going to court on 13 Feb. to challenge the legitimacy of Zambry’s appointment should have been action enough.

But in the rush to force a state re-election following the decision of the Perak Sultan to advise Nizar to resign, state assembly Speaker, V. Sivakumar, found it opportune to slumdog the whole state government by suspending Zambry and six State Executive Councilors for more than a year from Feb 18.

The Speaker’s privilege is beyond judicial review, meaning he effectively scuttled the state government, altering the face of politics in Malaysia to something hideous.

But for the fact the Pakatan Rakyat is now perceived as being frivolous and devoid of political responsibility, the Barisan Nasional (BN) can do likewise where the Coalition rules.

The Pakatan Rakyat has and is losing a lot of popular support by self-infliction. Malaysia has no stable pact in it and there is no two-party system in the making.

Nizar Lightning Struck?

Nizar had not been struck down by a bolt from the blue. Having merely 31 in an assembly of 59, he should have swiftly moved to dissolve the state assembly after two of his state councilors accepted sexual gratification from a businessman and were believed filmed by the ACA (now Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission).

Nizar failed to act, saying instead the duo were not guilty until proven in court, last words that could not be less than awesomely absurd since by then the two had confessed.

The disease struck another PKR member next, for alleged bigamy, him hurriedly vacating his constituency and his position as Kedah State Executive Councilor two days before Sivakumar lunged for the state’s jugular in a quixotic display of extra-judicial force.

What followed was hilarious.

After one Umno state-assemblyman had leapt to the PKR, the sexy PKR duo changed sides while the Umno hero made a successful back-flip that was worthy of a place in Barnaby’s Circus.

The three bringing with them one from the DAP, the table was neatly turned upside-down, giving the BN side 31 after the three from the Pakatan Rakyat pledged their support to the ruling coalition.

Even as Nizar ran to contest in court the lost of his job, it is the arithmetic of the frantic frolic that shaped public perception.

To all and sundry it was a simple sum. However witty the Pakatan Rakyat could have been to some of its sympathizers, there is little doubt the pact has lost a lot of respect it had gained before and is now popularly seen as a hurriedly grouped motley bunch of untested political meat with little moral functionality or worth.

Like bad cheques, they bounced. Like clowns, they colored themselves vividly and stumbling awkwardly, they boldly tumbled for the laughter from the gallery, not for any sense of dignity as alternatives to the BN blunderers under Pak Lah.

Whatever remained of democratic dignity and sense of honor was forcibly wrenched.

If there had been any charisma in the making of the Pakatan Rakyat, that charisma must be lying limp, spent like a gossamer after the tricks of the three were sumptuously seasoned by a set of peek-a-boo pictures sent through the mail of Elizabeth Wong from the PKR in Selangor.

It is true the BN is now quite disconnected from the people and under Pak Lah is now nearly meaningless.

But Pak Lah is on his way out, making that sorry story of Dr. Mahathir’s hasty choice of a successor finally reaching an end.

It was him that caused the Opposition’s ballot boxes to bulk into the surprising winning numbers on 8 March 2008.

But crouching in the foreground now and requiring critical attention is a self-mauled Pakatan Rakyat that has become incredible.

Will the Pakatan Rakyat weed its political distorts out? If so, how long will it take for the parties in the pact to do that?

The pact must admit its errors or its pretense to being an alternative at this point merits laughter. It has rotted and is distinctly self-disabled before reaching puberty and badly needs re-invention.

Karpal had asked someone to taubat (repent). Could it be possible Pakatan Rakyat actually is in need of exorcism too?

Other than Anwar Ibrahim and the immensely amusing Nik Aziz Nik Mat in Kelantan (he insists it was an “intruder” who took the pictures of Elizabeth Wong), it is likely the Pakatan Rakyat leaders did not want to become the government. They would have been happy as a strong Opposition.

Since it was Pak Lah that caused the popular over-vote and he is soon leaving, the Pakatan Rakyat had better accept to face the inevitable return to sanity, not totally a dead-ringer of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, but still a reckoning.

The agonizing birth and decay of the pact is over for now. It’s a map-work that was missing from the first. ---a. ghani ismail, 25 February 2009

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