It is not often that one comes across articles that are critical of Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan/PR) that does not emanate from the Barisan Nasional or the cabal of its supporters. Regular New Mandala contributor, Murray Hunter, is possibly the first to articulate views on why Pakatan Rakyat does not deserve to be the government of Malaysia.

Murray Hunter makes several interesting observations that is worth contemplating:

On ideology:

…the PR doesn’t have the pedigree needed to form a federal government, given the existing inconsistencies and weaknesses. As a multi-dimensional party, PAS doesn’t speak with a unified voice, given its divisions between the fundamentalists and the so-called Erdogans.

The DAP has shown its failure to provide ideologically sound and loyal candidates for political office, causing the downfall of one state government. The coming DAP party election in Penang shows the mad scramble for positions of influence among party stalwarts. To date, PKR has shown itself to be opportunistic, with very little in the way of its own thought-out ideological based policies. In fact some of its views like the one on salary hikes for politicians are even contradictory.

Pakatan/PR in Sabah:

Pakatan, and in particular PKR has made a major blunder in Sabah, wanting to run candidates under its own banner rather than work with the existing opposition forces in the state, leading to a number of three-cornered fights. As a result, the opposition is divided into a number of groups which played straight into the hands of UMNO’s strong man and Chief Minister Musa Aman, allowing UMNO to dominate the state’s political landscape. This cost the opposition forces four federal and eight state assembly seats. In addition PKR itself seems to be disintegrating in the state, with eight to 12 leaders having quit the party over the last few days.

Pakatan/PR in Sarawak:

Although the DAP has made inroads into Sarawak’s towns, the rural regions of the state remain the bastion of Taib Mahmud’s Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu-dominated government. Pakatan appears to have grossly underestimated the political mastery and respect Taib Mahmud carries in the rural heartlands of Sarawak despite credible reports of vast corruption. He has the qualities of a leader, rather than the administrative mold of many other national leaders, making him a very strong adversary. It’s not the work of Pakatan that has made small inroads into PBB support but rather the work of Radio Free Sarawak and other independent local activists.

On Anwar Ibrahim:

The best thing for the PKR might be Anwar to declare that he had no more ambition to become Prime Minister and stand aside. This would go a long way in winning over voters who mistrust his intentions. As long as Anwar clings to the hope of one day becoming PM, Pakatan is doomed to remain in opposition. The myth that Anwar is a vote winner must be overturned. His immense international popularity doesn’t equate to winning new voters within Malaysia.

On Malaysia’s electoral process:

In politics it doesn’t matter what foreigners think of the present Malaysian government, or Anwar Ibrahim for that matter. It doesn’t matter whether there is electoral fraud or not. Elections are not about the moral high-grounds or even what the majority wants. What matters is knowing the hand you are playing and winning the competition by the rules that exist. Otherwise a tired and scandal-laden government would have long been tossed out of office.

On the Malaysian electorate:

Unlike the post 2008 election period, the Malaysian electorate appears to be “burnt out” and has given up expectation and yearning for change. It’s now very much suppressed. This is where the BN is likely to make up lost ground next election as the wave of change has reached the peak and will gently subside.

The PR urgently needs good strategists whose opinions are listened to. The PR must advance from being a one man crusade to becoming a true multi-dimensional coalition with a wide and varied intellectual input and consistent message.

What do New Mandala readers think of these observations?