About the tragicomedy in the Kuala Lumpur constituency of Batu.
It’s hard to argue against a Praba on the vote ballot, when you happen to be a Praba too.
I find myself in this odd predicament.
Mind you, I’ve been used to having other Prabas in my life, early. We moved into a new development when I was eight, and soon after a Prabakaran moved in right across my house, and a year older. Two Prabas and we got along well.
We’d play one-on-one football in the morning before afternoon school sessions, and with the lads when it was morning school sessions. He ran hard, like state champ or thereabouts, and I’d try to keep up.
But you can’t escape other kids, and eventually we both had nicknames, and barely anyone growing up with me in the neighbourhood remembers me as Praba. He’s Kamco, and I’m Scoreboard.
The why, I’d save for my book — “Life In Cuepacs, Before Nenjavali Died”.
New kid on the block
So, I wish the best of luck to the independent candidate for Batu, P.Prabakaran. It’s amazing someone who has yet to vote in an election develops an acute sense of civic duty and signs up to do his bit in his own neighbourhood. The impossible nature of the first past the post in an unforgiving political climate notwithstanding, it takes courage, the lad has that.
I do have a problem with my party endorsing someone on the basis the presumptive party nominee’s candidacy was rejected by the returning officer, followed by the court acquiescing to the Election Commission officer’s judgement.
I am not in blind to the fact in a race to 112 seats in Dewan Rakyat, keeping our 2008 gains would be fantastic. But if independents are rewarded because parties bungle, then a whole bunch of slippery-slopes emerge.
If Tian Chua’s papers were approved last Saturday, the conversation would be about the safest PKR seat in Kuala Lumpur. The afterthought would be how silly of the party leadership to consider not naming him as the candidate.
How would PKR react if Tian Chua was not the party’s pick this time, and he contested as an independent?
There are so many permutations to consider, but I am most interested in building a party, not personalities.
The only thing that will shake up Umno to its core and overwhelm any means of disruption the government has in mind, is in an organised population to a cause, preferably a party. Since parties contest elections, and change must only happen in this country through the ballot box.
While on the face of it, backing a candidate, gives PKR a roundabout means of securing the seat, there should be reminders made here.
In 2008, when V.Arumugam the only other candidate in Bukit Selambau Kedah state seat than the BN-MIC pick, PKR chose to back him. And he won, and named state exco after PAS won the state.
All fine, right? Not, quite.
Arumugam resigned under a cloud a year later, and a by-election ensued.
And several years later, PKR were confronted by series of defections, departures and seriously some madness.
Like our initial 2008 Kulim-Bandar Bharu winner Zulkifli Noordin who fled, turned as nasty critic of the party and before his exit tried to be the Shah Alam candidate, against Pakatan and failed.
The condemnation was that PKR did not screen all its candidates. The public was savage about how PKR could not do the simple things right.
Well here we are, with our intended candidate rejected, without a consideration of the long term-ramifications like the sentiments of the Batu PKR division’s sentiments, a fuller read of the independent candidate’s background and the idea it can’t just be about the internal wisdom of supreme leaders.
Was there a Batu division meeting convened? Did they get to question this last minute replacement? If the new lad wants PKR’s support, it has to come from the whole division.
Sometimes I feel asking for more circumspect attitude in running the party meets complete opposition from the leadership, but that too for another discussion.
I don’t oppose us accepting an independent candidate, I am saying, it can’t be because leadership thinks so. Leadership should exhibit that very thing, leadership, and help the local committee to accept the alternate candidate, not just do the thinking for the members.