SKY lend a voice to the multitudes of citizens who may feel helpless when politics is dominated by politicians alone-as though the running of the society ie the people’s life, has been taken away by some `professionals’ who don’t have their best interests in mind.
— Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
I suddenly thought of Ling Kuang Ming. He was my first political teacher in 1979 as I was working with him when he was a full time employee of the Sarawak DAP.
Ling was also the retired senior member of the Sarawak Communist Party. Prior to his surrender to the security forces, Ling held the exalted position of Sarawak foreign minister under the communist regime.
I learned about the communist idea of the United Front practised by the communist in their war against the security forces.
Their slogan was: ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’, for the time being at least.
Ling Kuang Ming has since died many years ago. But his many ideas still continue to inspire me today, especially on how he divides a line between friend and foes in the pursued of our political ideology.
In Malaysia, we are deeply divided by the politic of race, and Malaysia is a nation of many races.
How do we identify our foes and differentiate them from friends on the playing field of many parties and races.
Dramatic battle line differences
From my personal point-of-view, there is only one battle line. On the one side is the collage of BN component parties, dominated by one single party alone, Umno.
On the other side is the opposition front led by PKR, PAS and DAP. The mammoth battle between these two sides is now where we find ourselves on the eve of yet another general election.
But the battle line for the opposition parties is not so clearly drawn. The opposition coalition exists because of the need to confront their common enemy, the Barisan Nasional.
Within the component parties of the Pakatan Rakyat, they havenever had any open declaration of a common objective for a common plate form that can be easily identified by voters.
For the first time in the history of Malaysia, we have the possibility of encouraging the two-coalition system. Having two coalitions that may take power alternatively, is the ideal scenario for Malaysia.
We are now on the verge of seeing the appearance of the two alternative fronts.
It should be the objective of far sighted Malaysians to promote this idea of two coalitions, taking power at alternative intervals.
Back to classroom for politicians
For this to happen so that democracy will have a bright future in Malaysia, politicians on the opposition side must learn the new art of coalition politics. This is more easily said than done.
In the political culture of Malaysia, opposition parties tend to enshrine party loyalty way above the collective interest of all the political parties.
They are trapped in the partisan struggle for dominants of their individual parties, rather than for the collective interest of all opposition parties.
The best example is to see how they fight one another bitterly for the chance to contest in a certain constituency.
In their verbal battle in the press, they forgo all pretense of opposition solidarity in running down their opponents in the opposition coalitions, living deep wounds in their inter-party relationship.
Civilised behaviour a must now
It is hard to see the DAP, PKR and PAS conduct open, but and courteous and peaceful debate on matters of their inter-party competition.
This is the only stumbling block towards establishing solidarity among all opposition parties.
The aspiration of all Malaysians who love freedom is to see all opposition parties unite together without the constant in fighting and open war of words in the press.
As an opposition supporter, I feel deeply hurt by the harsh exchange of words among prominent opposition leaders. My question is, if you cannot settle your internal problems quietly away from public glare, how can we expect you to govern country peacefully?
A political party is a strange creature. Sometimes personal ambition tends to distort the self knowledge of elected officials.
It is the job of people like us, who are supporters of the opposition cause, and yet who have no axe to grind and who have not much personal ambition to serve as checks and balances against the personal excesses of individual opposition leaders.
The masses of people who love democracy cannot just stand-by but must act as extra checks and balances against leaders of the opposition front.
If democracy in Malaysia is to grow, we must not leave politics only to the politicians.
The Rakyat themselves will have to play a more active part in the formation of the public opinions and make public forum a lively plays for meaningful debate.
In this respect, I find the debate on who should become the opposition leader in Sarawak, a counter productive exercise.
SIM KWANG YANG was member of parliament for Bandar Kuching, Sarawak from 1982 to 1995. He can be reached at email@example.com. All comments are welcomed.