An Eight-Year “Save PR” Roadmap by reaffirming PR Common Policy Framework which had won support of 52% of the electorate

Time is running out for Pakatan Rakyat. In two weeks’ time, Pakatan Rakyat may cease to exist.

This is a most ludicrous political development.

UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN) are at their weakest in history, holding to power in Putrajaya as the first minority government in Malaysian history.

The Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is forced to go on a nation-wide roadshow to drum up public support because of unprecedented financial scandals and mounting divisions inside UMNO and to forestall a mutiny campaign led by longest-serving former Prime Minister and UMNO President demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation, while the Sabah and Sarawak BN MPs and component parties (responsible for Najib being installed as Prime Minister in the first place) are hawkishly vigilant as to whether Najib would violate the “social contract” and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement just to ensure his own political survival.

This is the greatest opportunity for Pakatan Rakyat, formed seven years ago after the political tsunami of the 2008 general election, which smashed the hitherto unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority of the UMNO/BN coalition and saw the establishment of five Pakatan Rakyat state governments of Penang, Kedah, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan.

The hopes and expectations for change of Federal government and a new Prime Minister in the person of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the 13th General Elections on May 5, 2013 were frustrated by an undemocratic electoral system which allowed the UMNO/BN coalition to snatch victory from Pakatan Rakyat through a majority of parliamentary seats despite a minority of the votes and to continue as the Putrajaya government.

The historic change of Federal Government in Malaysia has been postponed from the 13th General Election to the 14th General Elections, which must be held by 2018.

All the conditions for such a historic change are in place, except that at this moment, Pakatan Rakyat itself on the brink of disintegration.

There is only one way to save PR from disintegration as it embodies the best hopes of Malaysians for change and improvement of the quality of life of all Malaysians.

This is the adoption of an eight-year Pakatan Rakyat Roadmap with a re-commitment by all the three component parties of DAP, PKR and PAS to reaffirm the two fundamental principles which had been the secrets of the PR success since its establishment – strict adherence to the PR Common Policy Framework which had formed the bedrock common principles of the three component parties in the coalition, and the operational principle of consensus regarding the Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council as the highest policy-making body for PR.

If we stay loyal to these two fundamental principles, I am confident that PR will be able to grow from strength to strength to fulfill the hopes of generations of Malaysians for change and Malaysia’s rendezvous with greatness, and take PR to Putrajaya to form the new Malaysian government in the 14th General Elections.

This the time when wisdom and vision of the late Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat is sorely missed.

There is no doubt that if the former PAS Mursyidul Am and former Kelantan Mentri Besar is alive today, he would not have allowed Pakatan Rakyat to face a life-and-death crisis, for he would have ensured that PAS continue to keep faith with both the Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia with the party’s “PAS for All” agenda and spurned renewed efforts at forming UG (Unity Government) between PAS and UMNO.

Former PAS leaders have gone on public record to assert that the UG government idea had the blessings of the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang but was blocked by the obstinate opposition of Nik Aziz.

The promoters of the “UG” concept have taken full advantage of the passing of Nik Aziz confident that they will be able to achieve a breakthrough for their seven-year-old political conspiracy, as this plot was first hatched immediately after the 12th General Elections in 2008.

The UMNO “UG” plot had right from the beginning involved the highest UMNO levels – like the present and former UMNO Presidents and Prime Ministers – and a very high-level meeting was held in the first few months after the 12th General Elections but the plotters came away empty-handed.

The “UG” plotters found the obstacles quite impregnable, especially in the steely, principled and consistent opposition of the late Mursyidul Am PAS, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

PAS and Pakatan Rakyat leaders and members will not forget the public castigation by Nik Aziz in June 2009 when the PAS spiritual leader openly told the then PAS deputy president, Nasharuddin Mat Isa, to quit PAS and join UMNO if he persisted with the UG agenda.

This was why it came as a total shock when Hadi recently claimed that the proposal of the UG Government, when it first surfaced after the 2008 General Election, had the approval of Nik Aziz and Anwar Ibrahim, as well as the knowledge of DAP.

DAP was never informed by Hadi of the UG idea.

PKR President Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and PKR Secretary-General Rafizi Ramli have denied that Anwar had ever agreed to the UG concept.

Nik Aziz could not possibly have agreed to the UG concept or he would not have publicly reprimanded Nasharuddin in June 2009 and told him to quit as PAS Deputy President and Bachok MP and join UMNO if he persisted with the UG agenda.

It is in fact inconceivable for any PR party to agree to UG concept as it is predicated on a UG government of Malay political parties when PR is dedicated to the cause of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.

PR will miss Nik Aziz greatly.

Firstly, for his staunch opposition to UG idea and why the concept failed during his lifetime.

Secondly, Nik Aziz was able the see the Big Picture on the need to endorse the eight-year PR Roadmap to ensure the survival, success and victory of PR in the 14th General Election.

Nobody doubts that Nik Aziz would himself want to see the immediate implementation of hudud, but he is realistic enough to know that it was not part of the PR Common Policy Framework and that any insistence without arriving at a PR consensus to implement it would lead to the disintegration of PR.

Nik Aziz would have understood the arguments that the implementation of hudud is not a top priority issue as compared to ensuring the survival and success of PR, the defeat of Umno/BN and in capturing Putrajaya Federal Government in the 14th GE to immediately implement policies which will restore freedom, justice, human dignity and good governance in Malaysia.

Nik Aziz had given great support to the formation and sustenance of PR, although hudud is not part of the PR Common Policy Framework.

This is why I cannot buy the argument that it will be going against Islamic principles if hudud is not implemented, for it would mean that Nik Aziz and all Pas leaders and members had betrayed Islamic principles for six years from the 12th to 13th General Elections when the issue of the implementation of hudud was not presented as one of the core principles of PR in the 13th General Elections.

My proposal of an eight-year commitment by the three PR component parties to continue to uphold the two fundamental principles of PR common policy framework and the operational consensus mechanism is for PR to “return to basics”, and to put aside whatever differences we have for the next eight years, as we had done in the first six years.

The eight years is derived from three years to the 14GE from now and the five years after the 14GE, as PR must make a commitment to Malaysians as to the policies we are committed to implement if PR achieves power in Putrajaya after the 14GE.

It is most unfortunate that I do not have the opportunity to discuss with Nik Aziz my proposal of an Eight-Year Roadmap for PR to save PR.

I have no doubt however that Nik Aziz, as an architect of PR and whose unswerving support was one of the major factors for PR’s stunning success in the 2008 and 2013 general elections, would have given his full backing to the Eight-Year PR Roadmap, even if he had some initial reservations about political parties putting aside policy differences and issues not agreed in the PR Common Policy Framework until after 2023.

The question is whether PR component parties could reach an agreement to save PR with a Eight-Year PR Roadmap.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah