Media Statement (4) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 14th July 2009:
Time for Pakatan Rakyat to set up a disciplinary committee to restore public confidence in PR cohesion, coherence, discipline, unity and common sense of purpose
In responding to my blog “Will Najib call for general elections in November this year if he could crank up his popularity rating to 80 to 85%?”, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said at a meet-the-people session in Jitra he had no plans to announce snap elections at the function but remained very ambivalent as to whether he would go the full term or hold early general elections.
As he said that he “read an email sent by an opposition leader”, let me clarify that I never sent him any such email.
In my blog, I had asked whether Najib would call general elections in November this year (which seemed to be his personal auspicious number like No. 13 for his predecessor, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) if he could crank up his popular rating to 80 to 85% from a dismal low of 42% just before taking oath as Prime Minister on April 3, 45% a month after becoming PM and a jump to 65% two weeks before his First Hundred Days as PM.
What I find significant in Najib’s response is that he did not rule out the possibility of snap general elections.
Of course Najib being enamoured with the number “11” could also mean general elections in November this year, 2010 or 2011.
I am quite optimistic about the Manek Urai by election in Kelantan today, as there is strong likelihood that Pas will win with a bigger majority than during the general elections last year – which will be an unmistakable message that the people in the East Coast stand solidly with the people in the West Coast in Peninsular Malaysia in supporting Pakatan Rakyat to bring about historic political changes in the country, as evident in the previous by-elections in Permatang Pauh, Kuala Terengganu, Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Penanti after the political tsunami of the March 8, 2008 general elections.
Hard work for Pakatan Rakyat will begin after the Manek Urai by-election result tonight.
The Pakatan Rakyat leadership council will have to address a host of problems in the Pakatan Rakyat, many of which are self-inflicted ones, which had been fully exploited to create the public perceptions that Pakatan Rakyat is losing momentum and in terrible disarray.
The Pakatan Rakyat leadership council meeting on Friday will be a most important one after the foundation meeting establishing PR after the political tsunami of the March 8 general election last year.
Pakatan Rakyat must take a grip of itself if it is not to disillusion its members and the Malaysian people looking for political change and national renewal, erasing public perceptions of the great difference between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional.
One great difference between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional must be the way internal and inter-party differences are addressed. In the Barisan Nasional, they are handled on the basis of two factors – “fear” of Umno, the Big Brother and Big Bully, by the other BN component parties; and “greed” so that unhappiness of the other BN component parties can be pacified with the distribution of goodies and even bread crumbs.
Such a modus operandi to resolve internal and inter-party differences has no place in Pakatan Rakyat, where differences will have to be resolved on the basis of equality, mutual respect and commitment to agreed common principles.
Internal and intra-party differences in Pakatan Rakyat cannot and should not be swept under the carpet but they must be ventilated and resolved in a manner which do not cast Pakatan Rakyat in a poor light as a quarrelsome, undisciplined and divided lot, which could only damage and destroy public confidence and support.
Time has come for Pakatan Rakyat to set up a disciplinary committee to restore public confidence in PR cohesion, coherence, discipline, unity and common sense of purpose.
This is a subject among many others which the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council will have to address on Friday.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor