Reaffirmation of common policy framework and the consensus principle are the two prerequisites to restore public confidence in Pakatan Rakyat and save it from the fate of being a one general-election wonder

Pakatan Rakyat has emerged from its worst crisis in its six-year history.

Pessimists, whether inside the coalition or outside, have grave doubts about the continued viability of Pakatan Rakyat while optimists are a distinct minority.

Meanwhile UMNO/Barisan Nasional leaders and strategists are working overtime to sow dissension and fan division in Pakatan Rakyat.

Yesterday, for instance, the UMNO mouthpiece Mingguan Malaysia carried a special article entitled “Nasib Pas selepas muktamar” alleging that PAS was being “bullied” by DAP while elsewhere in the non-Malay media, MCA and Gerakan leaders continue with their propaganda that DAP was being bullied by PAS.

Both allegations are equally preposterous and untrue, but the UMNO/Barisan Nasional propagandists are not interested in upholding the truth but in disseminating lies and falsehoods to sow dissension and conflict within the Pakatan Rakyat.

It will be a bonus to these UMNO/BN propagandists if they could get a few in PAS to believe that the PAS is being bullied by DAP and a few in DAP to believe that DAP is bullied by PAS in Pakatan Rakyat, for this will aggravate tensions and conflict in the Pakatan Rakyat.

Although Pakatan Rakyat formed by DAP, PKR and PAS failed to dislodge the Barisan Nasional from federal power in the 13th General Elections last May, it won 52% of the popular vote and for the first time in the nation’s history, there is a minority Federal Government in Putrajaya.

The question on everyone’s mind is whether Pakatan Rakyat will be around as a coalition to contest the 14th GE to replace the Barisan Nasional in Putrajaya?

It does not serve any purpose to play down the grave damage inflicted on Pakatan Rakyat as a result of the long drawn-out Selangor Mentri Besar crisis, which was dragged out for more than 45 days than it should have been after the expulsion of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim from PKR on August 9, and which might have dragged on into November or even indefinitely into next year.

At the DAP Petaling Jaya Selatan dinner in Bukit Gasing on Saturday night, I said that based on the results of the Pengkalan Kubor by-election results in Kelantan on Sept. 25, the percentage of vote won by the PAS/PR candidate decreased from 4.5% from 35% in the 13GE last May to 30.5%, and that if this result is projected to all the state assembly seats in Kelantan, UMNO/BN would have retaken the Kelantan State Government.

Table 1: State and Parliament seats won by BN and PR in Kelantan based on Pengkalan Kundor by-election results

Projections GE2013
BN State 25 12
PR State 20 33
BN Parliament 8 5
PR Parliament 6 9

BN would go from winning 12 state seats in GE2013 to winning 25 state seats which means that the BN would win control of the Kelantan state government.

At the parliamentary level, BN would go from winning 5 parliament seats to winning 8 parliament seats. PR marginal parliament seats such as Kuala Krai, Pasir Puteh and Bachok will be lost to BN.

In my speech last Saturday, I also touched on the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election in May where there was a 6.4% fall in the DAP/PR candidates’ vote share – from 56.3% in GE2013 to 49.9% in the by-election. The DAP/PR candidate’s vote share among the Malays increased by 3.3%, among the Chinese decreased by 15.1%, among the Indians decreased by 11.6%.

If this result is projected to all the state and parliament seats in Perak, the following would be the results:

Table 2: State and Parliament seats won by BN and PR in Perak based on Teluk Intan by-election results

Projections GE2013
BN State 36 31
PR State 23 28
BN Parliament 16 12
PR Parliament 8 12

BN’s advantage in the Perak state legislature will increase from 31 state seats in GE2013 to 36 seats. BN would win 4 more parliament seats (from 12 to 16). PR would lose parliament seats like Bukit Gantang (PAS), Sungai Siput (PKR / PSM), Beruas (DAP) and Kampar (DAP). On the state seat side, PR would lose Kuala Sepetang (PKR), Changkat Jering (PAS), Sungai Rapat (PAS), Teja (PKR) and Hutan Melintang (PKR).

The reaffirmation of Pakatan Rakyat’s common policy framework and the consensus principle are the two prerequisites to restore public confidence in Pakatan Rakyat and save it from the fate of being a one general-election wonder

There can be no doubt that both these factors were critical in PR’s electoral success in the 13GE, winning 89 Parliamentary seats and 229 state assembly seats (excluding Sarawak), and continuing to deny UMN0/BN two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The consensus principle has now broken down as the PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has refused to abide by the consensus reached by the Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council in the meetings of July 23 and August 17.

How is the Pakatan Rakyat and the PR Leadership Council to function if consensus is not going to be the PR’s guiding operating principle?

Pakatan Rakyat needs to study how the coalition’s cooperation could continue working and I suggest the creation of a working committee comprising three or four representatives from each PR component party to study and make recommendations.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah