Well, yes, I do have a grin across my face as I type these words. And in case you don’t already know by now, I do tend to consider it to be good news each time Umno/BN loses anything - especially an election.
I don’t care what others think but despite Pakatan Rakyat’s slip-ups, internal squabbling, and even what sometimes appears as petty behaviour by some of the coalition parties’ politicians, it still doesn’t warrant having Umno/BN win. It’s not that Pakatan can do no wrong; rather, it’s a matter of understanding that Pakatan will have growing pains – but that does not necessarily mean Umno/BN should continue to be rewarded in any way for decades of cronyism, misdeeds, and abuse of power.
Compared to the time Umno/BN has been around and had a stranglehold on our lives, Pakatan is by comparison an adolescent political entity. And we all have to start somewhere, right? Giving Pakatan a chance at every turn possible is the way to allow our democratic culture to grow. It is worth taking a chance with Pakatan – for the long haul – in order to ensure sustained competition for Umno/BN. Indeed, it makes absolutely no sense to me to vote for Umno/BN as that would simply be a vote for the status quo.
Of course I know that many of you may be saying but this was a close call and, if the results hold-up, it will obviously not be a resounding win for Pakatan. Well, I’m not claiming it wasn’t a close call. The fact of the matter is, any realistic person would have to assume that Pakatan will have ups (Permatang Pauh, Kuala Terengganu) and close calls (Manek Urai). Indeed, there will even be set-backs (coup d’état in Perak and other potential losses). And often, the Opposition will have to deal with apparent 'vote buying' too.
But every step forward makes a difference.
And on that note, I suppose one could say that the voters of Manek Urai sure have spoken and given Muhyiddin a response about what he can do with that offer of a new bridge for them if they were to support Umno. As a supposed education minister – someone who admitted as much that he wasn’t aware that English was not a ‘must pass’ subject for SPM students and that national schools no longer taught English grammar – Muhyiddin has of course not only bungled some of the recent so-called reforms on education, but has also done a superb job of displaying in Manek Urai exactly what Umno is all about.
I guess given the calibre of Umno characters who again displayed their colours in Manek Urai, it surely doesn’t take much to realise precisely why it would be self-destructive for the average Malaysian who cares about strengthening democracy in the country to continue to have trust or confidence in an entity like Umno/BN.
By the way, what is this Umno obsession about bridges, anyway? Being hung-up about bridges seems to be a widespread problem with them, doesn’t it? As I recall, there have been several instances over the past few years now where these Umno people have been harping about one bridge or another. I suppose you could say here’s a good example of a political party without any new ideas!
G. Krishnan (I’m still smiling, la)