Does the opposition want to lose?
Sometimes I wonder: does the opposition want to lose the next general election (GE14)?
Apart from the usual racist fear-mongering that Umno loves to indulge in, the latest example being the distasteful and utterly low class competition asking for essays on why Lim Kit Siang is racist; their favourite weapon to use against the opposition is to say that they are divided and not able to rule.
Obviously this is not accurate. Penang, Selangor and Kelantan are all in opposition hands and they have not collapsed. In fact, Penang and Selangor are doing quite well, despite the recent shenanigans of PAS.
In other words, the opposition has shown that they can rule. At least at the state level.
But recently, the claims of division appear to be accurate. Until today the opposition has not come up with a clear choice for prime minister. This is an important issue because when it comes to general elections, Malaysians like to be able to picture who their PM will be.
One thing is for sure, DAP and Amanah will not be putting forward a potential PM. DAP knows that most Malay voters are still paralyzed with insecurity, so much so that even if DAP was to put forward a Malay potential PM, most Malays will run screaming in terror.
The Malays will believe that anyone from DAP is really Chinese and they can’t accept a Chinese prime minister. Sad, but true.
Amanah won’t do it because they are small and humble.
So, that leaves PKR and PPBM.
There are sounds that some want Dr Mahathir Mohamad to stand for elections and be the possible next PM. PKR seems adamant that they can make Anwar Ibrahim PM if they win, even though he is in jail and there are a host of legal obstacles in their way.
And there have been very public spats about this. Namely between PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli and DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim.
I want to tell these politicians one thing. Don’t think you are so big and important and popular. Don’t think for one second that your public quarrels are simply each of you standing up for your principles.
Let me tell you: this kind of thing sickens the voters. Even those who would vote opposition and those who are young.
While you publicly spat about who should be PM you are alienating an electorate who are hungry for change. You are in actuality hijacking the chance of victory despite having the advantage of opposing a deeply unpopular PM and government.
Why? Because you want to play your own egotistical political games.
I mean, seriously, the only choices that the opposition can come up with is an old man who laid the foundations for all the trouble we are in and another old man who is (fairly or unfairly) in jail?
There is no one else that you can all agree on?
That really is pathetic and makes Barisan Nasional’s criticisms of you seem utterly valid.
There is not much time left before GE14, who knows if they can get their act together.
Azmi Sharom is a law lecturer at Universiti Malaya.
This commentary was first published in Sin Chew Daily.