PKR weekend

The Umno assembly is in March, and a whole bunch of people are making permutations about the outcome of the election.

But if you are a future enthusiast, then you might want to pay some attention to the show in town – The PKR congress.

PKR has holes gaping left, right, centre and areas in areas it never knew it did have.

However it is the party of the future, and that has something to do with Anwar Ibrahim but not everything about him.

At the 2004 general election was the standing order to kill off PKR. Just as Semangat 46 was the clear and present danger to Umno in the late and early 80s albeit with only a Malay agenda. PKR was potent because it talked about multicultural politics unabashedly.

Your Tian Chuas, Sivarasas, Chandra Muzaffars (well before the namesake left) and Azmin Alis of of the world.

The party went for the inclusive path, and as hazardous and haphazard as it is, it is the part that Umno shudders.

The ability of Umno to sell racism as a way of life was only legitimised by the reluctant but necessary support of MCA and MIC initially, and then the forced inclusion of the Borneo parties (SNAP, UNKO etc)

No party was allowed to cross-sell. Keep their markets limited and no one can compete with Umno – no matter how much Umno pissed you off.

Which explains pretty much the 1980s and 1990s when the larger electorate had to love PAS and hate DAP, or vice versa.

And while that distinction remains, Umno remains paramount.

Lonely night

In that evening in March 2004, everyone opposed to BN had the worst premonition possible, as the numbers started showing on the TV screen. I had a horrible time counting the votes of Sivarasa in PJ Selatan as less than delectable MCA’s Donald Lim was winning votes without a personality.

And the whole PKR line-up was capitulating, with every eye on the Permatang Pauh seat. The count, recount, recount and guessing went on until the morning, when the Election Commission reluctantly declared Wan Azizah the winner.

That was PKR’s sole legislative spot. Without it the party would be effectively non-present.

BN were within a shave of removing PKR from the electoral map.

Four years later

The March of 2008 yielded 29 seats for PKR and leading the opposition ranks in parliament. Anwar is Oppposition Leader, and there is a future. I admit the failure of September 16 and Anwar will long to answer the accusations and conceptions.

The factual part is a party with almost no space, is now in the ascendancy to dispose Umno from its life-long monopoly of Malaysian politics, how about that?

PAS and DAP won amazing ground and in uncharted zones, but for PKR to emerge from nowhere and to partner in all 5 Pakatan Rakyat government while leading it, is a clear indictment of its revival.

The shortcomings

PKR is a hodge-podge of Umno deserters and NGO champions. The ex-Umno guys are quite mired in the political think of their old party. It is hard to think multicultural after being in a race definitive party that asked for the subjugation of others. Some of those characteristics will show.

There is a cry for ketuanan melayu in the party, and at this congress the party can confront this spectre. Engage, and failing so asking the relevant characters to leave the party. If the party is for the equality of man, then that has to manifest in all things, not just the convenient bits.

Second bit is policy formulation. Just like BN, policies are things that come from the top. Unless the grassroots are incapable of ideas – their ideas must emerge in the party. You want a new kind of politics you need to let the new of people have their go at policies.

Ideology : it is a prickly point. My Umno friends have a field day accusing PKR of lacking an ideology. I have to concede, no ideology is as clear as the Nazi, built fascism that Umno has made into a national mantra. Put an ‘r’ and you have their chief propaganda chief ( Take nazi and place the r in the right place).

Between the Anwaristas from Umno before, the Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) and NGO sorts, there is no clear clarion view holding the party together other than Anwar, and that has to change.

Till Sunday

There are plans to win back Sarawak from Muhd. Taib incorporated.

Easier said than done, but if it is done in case of a state election next year, then PKR effectively have led a coalition to control more than half the country.

The fall of Umno will be imminent, not just the bold predictions of one blogger here in cyberjaya.

As all party members I wait for direction in this party congress.

There will be loud statements, threats and indignations, but the demand is for direction, how shall the party move, and what is not ok with the party. There are so many things to be decided and probably improbable in two days.

It is clear direction both leaders and members seek. “What do we do from this point onwards to form government eventually?”

That should be the challenge for PKR leaders, so good good luck mates.

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