Sunday, August 17, 2008

We’re Not Insane, PAS!

There’s a saying (often attributed to one Frank Herbert) that goes something like this: ‘Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.’

I for one don’t think those Malaysians who are interested in seeing a turnover in Putrajaya are particularly insane. That is to say, I don’t think the groundswell of support for Pakatan Rakyat that has gained momentum - especially since late last year - necessarily wants to replace one arrogant and authoritarian regime with another. Hence, it would only be wise for the hardliners in PAS to heed the words of their president Abdul Hadi Awang when he proclaimed that ‘we have to understand the (political) reality that we are part of an alliance and we do not have absolute power.’

Frankly, Hadi Awang couldn’t have put it any better; and the sooner the extremist wing of the party realises this, the better off they’ll be. Having spent decades in the wilderness of national politics, PAS has only been able to appeal to mainstream Malaysians and has any crossover appeal among non-Malays because of the self-evident decay of Barisan Nasional and PAS’s ability to temper its extremism, in part by demonstrating an ability to work in a multi-racial coalition.

It would be a grave mistake for you as a party to allow yourself to be hijacked by the extremists. Just when mainstream Malaysians seem prepared and willing to give you a real chance to work with other secular and multi-racial parties, the worst thing you could do for yourself is to allow your increased presence on the national political stage 'to go to your head.’ If you start to exhibit such tendencies, you'll look no better than Umno and BN: arrogant and spiteful of the will of the people who have given you that very presence on the national stage.

You have toyed with us through your (now public) behind-the-scene rendezvous with Umno following the general elections. That did not play too well with Malaysians who have become disheartened with the regime. In hindsight, it’s safe to say it turned into a serious public relations blunder for you. Getting too carried away with your extremist agenda as well will only land you in similar hot water and further undermine your credibility as a worthy and reliable coalition partner.

I just don’t think those voters who took a chance with you want to see you as an arrogant party obsessed with your singular and extremist agenda. Fair-minded Malaysians in favour of democratic change and the loosening of BN’s political monopoly do not want to make the mistake of replacing one arrogant and self-absorbed regime with another.

We won’t make the same mistake and be naïve enough to expect different results.

We’re not insane.

G. Krishnan