COMMENT I am completely puzzled at why well-wishers of Pakatan Rakyat such as Bersih 2.0, including Ambiga Sreenevasan, should remain puzzled at the 'Kajang move'.
What is so difficult to understand when these people share the same aspiration to remove the Umno hegemony and bring real change to Malaysia?
They need only to ask this question: will the Kajang move bring us closer to or farther away from Putrajaya?
Aren’t they aware that Umno’s extremists have been creating racial and religious conflicts with increasing gusto?
The explosive power of these sensitive issues is illustrated by the recent 'Allah' furore. What would have been a non-issue in any other country in the world has now been blown up with the potential to rift the nation apart along religious and racial fault lines, simply by seizing some copies of the Bible containing the word 'Allah'.
Having found a bridgehead in the 'Allah' conflict, Selangor Umno decided to make hay while the sun shines and plans to “educate” Malay Muslims throughout the state with 30 road shows.
What for? To “defend race and religion”, of course. It is obvious that these trouble-makers are hell bent on inciting mankind’s primordial instincts. And it is entirely possible that even before the end of the road shows, flash points would have been reached.
Watching heart- breaking dramas
In the meantime, the Pakatan-led Selangor state government which governs Islamic affairs could only stand by the side to helplessly watch the unfolding of these heart-breaking dramas while Christians and non-Muslims fume, also helplessly, at the violation of their religious rights guaranteed under the federal constitution.
Make no mistake, the 'Allah' and seizure of copies of the Bible issues are not the end of the story; it is the beginning of a determined conspiracy built on race and religion to restore the maimed hegemony of Umno. It will go on and on until Umno feels that its political supremacy is secured.
The Selangor government’s impotence to deal with what could have been a minor incident if promptly nipped in the bud, has already caused widespread dismay among non-Malays for failing to protect minority rights; imagine the consequence of similar incidents of greater magnitude and frequency hereafter.
Once the non-Malay disillusionment of Pakatan’s rule become entrenched, Pakatan Rakyat might as well kiss goodbye to Putrajaya; and there goes the dream of 52 percent of Malaysians who had voted for a new Malaysia.
Everyone acknowledges that Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim is a leader of high integrity and of extra-ordinary competence in financial management.
But I think he would be the first to admit that he is not cut out to deal with the intrigues and sabotage found in this unique Malaysia Boleh, where religion and race form the common fodders for politicians.
Without such competence, Khalid would be hard pressed to take the ship through such a turbulent sea to its destination. In comes Anwar Ibrahim (left), who needs no introduction for his political credentials. Regarded as the brightest political star in the region ready to take his country to new heights by world opinion almost one generation ago, he had undergone continuous political persecution and non-stop vilification for the past 15 years.
As a result, his image has been undermined; and the young have no recollection of his distinguished leadership as deputy prime minister and acting prime minister.
Despite such handicaps, no one disputes his extra-ordinary charisma and political skills. While you may not like him, you cannot deny that he is more politically competent than Khalid to face-off the dirty manoeuvres from Umno.
Objectors to the Kajang move often cite PKR’s internal feud or Anwar’s ambition to replace Khalid as MB as reasons for their disgruntlement.
But if Anwar’s entry to the Selangor legislature, whether as MB or any other capacity, should result in party unity, and his becoming MB should strengthen the Pakatan state government, why should you, as Pakatan supporters, be unhappy?
In fact, you should applaud such a move. I hate to say this, but I have to sound the warning now.
Considering the ruthlessness of Umno in past elections, we cannot rule out a stumble for Pakatan in the coming by-election, particularly when large numbers of past supporters have turned sceptics or even adversary as it appears to be the case now.
Both a narrow loss or a narrow win is within the realm of the possible.
A defeat will deal a crippling blow to Anwar, and by extension to Pakatan Rakyat, and possibly smashing the dreams of the 52 percent of Malasians wishing for change. Even a narrow win could spell a serious setback.
This country belongs to everyone, not just Anwar or Pakatan Rakyat. Our fate is in our hands; and it is up to every one of us to make Malaysia into the kind of country we want – a happy and prosperous country or a miserable country of endless conflicts and poverty. KIM QUEK is a retired accountant and author of the banned book ‘The March to Putrajaya’.