When petty thoughts become mainstream

by SHAMSUL AKMAR

WHEN non-partisan Malaysians wonder, quite loudly, on why the Opposition, in facing the ominous return of the kleptocrats, are still unable to unite, the answer can most likely be found in the issue of legacy.

Indeed, by any logic, why should a nation be returned to the hands of a monstrous existence which the Opposition had managed to vanquish, though unable to slay.

By any measure, all those who realise the need to vanquish the monster yet again and possibly slay it this time around, would put aside all other extraneous issues and focus on achieving just that.

If the leaders and supporters of the Opposition were able to reflect and pin down on what could be the most significant moment of their historic, though short, co-existence, they should consider the day that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) went to the courthouse to meet Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (left).

That moment sealed the eventual collaboration between the two leading personalities, of which, without them, the unified Opposition which took on the Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN) behemoth would not have been realised.

The bottom line, the two leaders met and put aside their long-standing feud because they saw the danger to the nation caused by the monstrosity and only by working together could they put a stop to it.

Unluckily, after successfully achieving the objectives, the small minds from within, started splitting hairs, claiming that the success was because of Anwar’s magnanimity and that Dr Mahathir was prepared to grovel in search of power.

And they forgot, they were not given much of a chance of winning the polls let alone with Dr Mahathir ending up in pole position so what search for power was there to be dreamt of in the first place.

The unity then was at best to show to the Umno/BN government that such was the crime they were committing that even the worst of political adversaries were prepared to put aside their differences to oppose them.

If only they were a little bit bigger-minded, or slightly more intelligent, they would have viewed the whole act as one swallowing his pride and the other putting aside his vendetta because the nation was facing an unprecedented risk.

And success got to the head, creating more pettiness and giving in to small-mindedness.

Instead of working towards rebuilding a nation and a system that had gone awry, the large part of the existence was channelled towards one-upmanship, about who was key to the electoral victory.

These petty minds spent half of their energy, from the moment of victory, on demanding for the resignation of Dr Mahathir.

From within their own party, anyone linked or seemed to show affinity towards Dr Mahathir must be extinguished and removed.

By the time Sheraton Move went into motion, the fate of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) was already sealed, regardless whether Dr Mahathir had resigned or otherwise.

And again, instead of moving forward and learning from the price being paid for being petty, the pettiness persisted, making it almost impossible for another attempt of a unified Opposition to thwart the return of the kleptocrats.

Simply put, there are too many residual wastes — be it created during the five years (two years in office and three years pre-election) of co-existence under the PH or those inherited long before the idea of cohabitation was even thought off.

It is widely asked if not hoped, by non-partisan citizens, who are concerned about the return of the kleptocrats, as to the possibilities of the Opposition coming together again.

At this point in time, it truly seems to be an impossibility.

It is impossible for as long as all those in the Opposition refuse to acknowledge some basic facts.

First, they need to accept that the Opposition became unified because of Dr Mahathir’s relentless efforts to bring them together and that the opposition leaders saw the merit and possibilities of being together.

It is no different than what they did when they rallied around Anwar in the 1999 and subsequently in the 2008 polls when the opposition managed to deny Umno/BN their two-thirds.

In 2013, yet again they managed to deny Umno/BN the two-thirds but not enough to take them across the line. And in 2018 Dr Mahathir managed just that and broke Umno/BN’s hold on the nation’s helm.

Secondly, they have to accept that Anwar, despite several attempts to prove he had the numbers, had failed and it is unlikely he would be able to do so. His promises of these are not a recently found favourite past time, but had started as far back as in 2008 in the Sept 16 move.

Thirdly, it is not something that Anwar is unaware of. After Dr Mahathir resigned following the Sheraton Move, Anwar tried to offer himself as the alternative, securing the support of 92 MPs while Dr Mahathir only managed 62.

Anwar’s cheerleaders kept on blaming Dr Mahathir for not keeping his promise as he could have had then by giving the 62 votes to Anwar. What they are not telling was that the 62 votes were not for Dr Mahathir to give as it was personal to holder and obviously did not come from the PH.

Some of them may be from Parti Bersatu Pribumi Malaysia and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s faction involved in the Sheraton Move and obviously, they were not going to give theirs to Anwar when in the first place they abandoned PH because of him.

Further proof of Anwar and the PH leaders realising this was when, after the initial count of statutory declarations that saw both he and Dr Mahathir not having the majority, Anwar and the PH leaders turned to Dr Mahathir to ask him to be their PM candidate.

When Dr Mahathir agreed, they proceeded to collect the statutory declarations and managed to secure 114 only to be denied as the palace had already decided on Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yassin as the new PM.

Today, refusing to acknowledge these basic facts, the feeble-minded political apparatchiks gleefully rise to the occasion to peddle their petty thoughts.

But they are many and loud. They become mainstream.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.