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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What Is The Pakatan Doing?

(Update, 6:48 pm: Anwar Ibrahim has apparently denied that an offer was made to Arif Shah. See here)

I am travelling today for a symposium overseas and had much to do and deal with before I left. Time constraints prevented me from writing an opinion piece for Disquiet in print. My apologies.

If I had had the time, I would have written on what I think and how I feel about the Pakatan Rakyat, more particularly PKR, offering a Deputy Chief Minister’s position to Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah (if reports are true).

I do not think this is the kind of example that the Pakatan wants to set and I am wondering how it is that those who lead the coalition could have even thought of making such an offer (if true). There has already been intense debate about whether cross-overs should be accepted as a point of principle, with the DAP having been very clear about its disagreement. Accepting a cross-over and offering him a plum position in the administration is something that far more extreme.

There are several ways this can be looked at. What does Arif Shah offer that so many of those who have struggled for so long in the pursuit of change-for-the-better cannot? His UMNO credentials? His network of UMNO supporters? The insult his defection would amount to?

Even if the defection of UMNO were to be the result of his defection, and I do not necessarily think that would be the case, is that worth the message it sends out about the Pakatan: that the Pakatan is a coalition that is prepared to pay whatever it takes to get where it wants to. Because if a deal has in fact been struck with Arif Shah, that is what the Pakatan is doing.

And it would seem that that is what the Pakatan has become.

What happened to the adherence to principle that underlay the Pakatan’s election campaign? Has the value of principle lessened since? Have we forgotten the kind of campaign that Arif Shah was associated with in Permatang Pauh, the obscenities, the racial slurs and incitement, the entire circus? Are we overlooking the fact that Arif Shah wants to leave UMNO for the way his has been treated (according to media reports) rather than for his rejection of UMNO’s ideology?

And above all, has Anwar Ibrahim forgotten what it is that motivated the rakyat on March 8th? It was not blind ambition, it was the pursuit of a better Malaysia.

How Arif Shah becoming a Deputy Chief Minister of Penang takes us closer to that objective is something beyond my comprehension. Even if it leads to the taking of Federal Government, I am certain that must have something to do with the offer, I question whether a Federal Government achieved on the back of personal interests is a government I want.



Bentoh said...

Arif Shah, during the by-election campaign however did show that he is less Ketuanan Melayu than his party colleagues... He did not utter any racial slurs or use the race issue to campaign for his MP-ship, even though he was humiliated by the fake degree controversy... and this is why I think Arif Shah is considerably a fine politician to start with...

But DCM-ship? That's too much...

Anonymous said...


Your comments cut to the bone and the PR should realize their implications. I would agree with you that if reports of PR (or rather Keadilan) offering Arif Shah a plum post to induce him to defect are true, then Anwar and PR have sunk to the despicable depths they have accused the UMNO/BN of being enmeshed, and that would have betrayed the feelings of the rakyat who have elected 82 PR MPs and voted in 5 PR state govts. I share your hope and wisdom Anwar and PR does not fall prey to the mischievous spins of the mainstream media (and perhaps also Malaysiakini). I would agree with you that someone in the despicable likes of Arif Shah should not join the PR after all the dirty things he said about them in the Permatang Pauh campaign, and the shameless reasons he wants to join the PR - not because he believes in the PR's cause but because he could not along with his comrades in UMNO who are making things difficult for him.

Anonymous said...

PKR is another UMNO in making.They're not doing what they're suppose to do.Next election no vote for Pakatan.Let BN rule and ruin the country rather than Pakatan rule and ruin the country.No difference at all.Let the rakyat suffer forever.

Anonymous said...

MIS, I think the offer of deputy CM post to Arif Shah upon his defection (if it's true) is a big joke and a big slap in Pakatan's face? How desperate can one get to gain power or control? Isn't this the same as money politics, specifically vote buying? Perhaps, what people say is true, that it's dirty in politics and that won't change?

Unknown said...

A better Malaysia can only be achieved through an honest coalition of multiracial Malaysians in forming a pragmatic and just government with clear vision for all her citizen.

This was the very foundation of Parti Perikatan, hence Barisan Nasional.

Unfortunately, along the way greed and power blinded the Barisan Leaders. Making it worst, currently they are still too high in the sky.

The same cannot be said about Pakatan Rakyat. Their marriage was clearly based on convenience with no real purpose to govern in the first place. Let alone having a true vision for the country.

Now, merely eight months after the political tsunami, their true colors are showing.

Anwar is adamant to become a Prime Minister through the back door; hence fulfilling his shattered UMNO dream. To achieve this he has be saying YES to everything, contradicting himself in the process.

DAP insist this should not be the case, but will nevertheless scream with joy should it materialize. They are trying hard to sound MALAYSIAN; too hard indeed that at times they forgot about the majority Malay.

Pas remained confuse.

Anonymous said...

The fight for our country cannot be left alone to the politicians. It had to come from all directions. Even top politician are nothing without the people. It ou are not helping why complain? Remember change is a process not like changing clothes in a second. Think about it. Thus Pakatan is still our best bet for the better change, and you must go and help to make sure the changes will take place or make note the changes you want. For they are not gods they do not know all your problems and want.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said...

Dear all,

please make things easier for me by not commenting anonymously. I would be more prepared to publish a harder-hitting comment which makes specific reference to events/people if it was not an anonymous one.


Anonymous said...

We should realize by now that all politicians are the same, dua kali lima, lima kali dua! The ones at the top and their cronies are all greedy, self-serving type, 'one for you, one for me, nothing for the man in the street'!

I have noticed in recent months how hard it is for these people to stay in the Pakatan, which was pushed for by the rakyat. PKR is very much a mini-UMNO; DAP is still the professional opposition, not playing their new role as state administrators well. PAS, what can I say, it's the ulamak vs moderate, professional Muslims.

I think the ONLY way forward is to have moderate, professionals irregardless of race and religion to run and take back this country. Serving and running the country is not about promoting and advancing any particular ideology. It should be objectively decided, then the policies will not run counter to any particular believes. Only then will it be more inclusive. The problem about all these 'party-men' is they cannot move beyond their party.

Think about it!


Anonymous said...

DCM for Arif? Before any confirmation from PKR, it is only rumors....anyway whoevers' more competent should get the job. Not more Malay or not more chinese.

granddaddy said...

Malik, why waste your time commenting on a rumour? I am surprised you would even write on this.


Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said...


it's been in the news (the Star has a report too in which Arif is described as having said he had been made the offer). Have you seen anyone from PKR denying it? I haven't.

I hope it's a mere rumour. However, until someone authoritative says otherwise, I think it's important enough to comment on. All those who have or aspire to power must be scrutinized, regardless.


Anonymous said...

Wonder why this writer is so concerned about Arif Shah being offered the position (if offered)?

I can offer a few reasons for acceptability of Arif Shah into the said position. Regardless of the silly qualification issue,, Arif has shown more sportmanship and humbleness during the by-election and has maintained his dignity during the course of the by-election.

Arif has been genuinely helping all those who seek his help and assistance regardless of race or religion. His humbleness is reflected by his popularity with the people of his constituency and beyond. This quality alone would qualify him for the position.

PR is an alliance with ideals based on merit and ability. Qualifications alone means nothing if the heart is not with the people.

I, for one would agree that Arif should be welcomed and the position if available would suit him to a tee.

By the way, I am not a Malay nor a Muslim - just in case the Paid Cybertroopers seeks to twist my comment or cast aspersions towards my comment - all for the glory of you know who and know what!

Anonymous said...

I personally think that this is just a political stunt from PKR for poor "AS" since he is not accepted within his own kind. Just to add oil to the burning fire and create disunity within the regime. It just simply can't be such that he is offered a DCM post UNLESS he can gather 30 MPs' to cross over unconditionally !

The beauty of PR's is that there is check and balance by the other two groups for any matter that arises. So, the spinning by MSMs' can continue and cause cracks within the regime by all means and let's just watch the opera as it unfolds.

Anonymous said...

bolehlah juga tapi janganlah sebagai DCM. Ada post lain yang sesuai. DCM must be for someone from a diehard PR representatives.

Yap said...

PKR should wake up. What nonsense of a DCM post for an outsider. It will hurt feelings within the PKR.

Regretted voting for PKR.

BennyG said...


Thank you for highlighting the issue.

It would be ideal to have new supporters/voters than BN especially UMNO supporters/MPs. Look at all the attention grabbing UMNO-trained politician in PKR & PAS. The things they brought up were ME! ME! ME! besides race & religion.

After saying so, could we afford another 4 years of abuse (financially & harmoniously)?

Being selective/choosy in attracting BN MPs would be better. Some compromise would be the better option.

Unknown said...

In this case, apparently, you believe MSM report more than report from Malaysiakini.

Anonymous said...

Offering such a position to Zaid Ibrahim would make better sense. He quit his position on a matter of principle consistent with PR's position. And he is--now was--the most reformist of all UMNO members.

Hope good things happen to him soon.

Being sacked from UMNO could be the start of it.

- Siew Eng

Mr. Smith said...

Why are you guys so quick to jump the gun?
Knowing how the Malaysian media functions, I was positive Pakatan could never have offered the DPM post, or any high post, to Arif.
Sure enough I was proven right when Anwar denied it.
I would never take any UMNO goon seriously as he would have alot to lose by quitting UMNO.
Arif gave the flimsiest and most idiotic reason for wanting to quit UMNO - a petty internal dispute with his divisional chief.
Who would want such an idiot in Pakatan, much more offer him the DPM's post?

flyer168 said...

Dear Malik,

With so much rethorics on so many issues, now it is Arif Shah, then it will come back to the morality issues again...!

In my opinion, let us us all move forward instead of "Pi Mai, Pi Mai...Tang tu !

How about proposing & promoting Datuk Zaid to initiate/form an Alternative 3rd Front party to accommodate ALL ex BN component party members who would like to continue to serve their voters/ constituency as Independent members - then there will not be any morality, etc issues.

If YB LKS had managed to impress SAPP to leave BN to be independent & now with Datuk Zaid removed from UMNO as declared by is a blessing in disguise, as the nation NEEDS him to lead the 3rd Front in our struggle to achieve that elusive "New Dawn" !

I am confident with this Alternative 3rd Front under the Leadership of Datuk Zaid, there will be more genuine defections from BN to reduce the BN's/UMNO's majority - which is our focus !

Let us put our thinking caps together to reduce BN to just "UMNO" minus all the component parties !

Maybe then we can rid this great nation of the time expired "Ketetuanan" mentality in this 21st century context !

With the advent of the last G/E so much time has been lost & the "Window of Opportunity" will not remain for long for that "New Dawn".

This 3rd Front will then be able to strengthen itself to be the "King" maker should it team up with PR at a later date...

Anonymous said...

My heart for PKR died when the party failed to discipline Zulkifli Nordin...

xenobiologista said...

"Even if it leads to the taking of Federal Government, I am certain that must have something to do with the offer, I question whether a Federal Government achieved on the back of personal interests is a government I want."

No, it's not.

I've always been skeptical about Anwar (maybe I'm biased because of things my dad told me about him back in secondary school, that he was responsible for injecting Islamic elements into the public school curriculum, including the horrid subject of Pendidikan Moral. Correct me if my dad was wrong on this). The "we will take over the government by x-x-x date" has made me even more skeptical. It is bad strategy at best (to announce a political coup so BN has time to counteract it!) and megalomaniacal at worst.

Just because someone was beaten up in prison does not make him a saint. I support Pakatan Rakyat, but am not a fan of the so-called de facto leader. (Who made him leader anyway? Why not Lim Guan Eng?) There are better people who could run the country.

ChengHo said...

Anybody for candle virgil for Bt Antara Bangsa tragedy.

Anonymous said...

You are very charming looking. Kekekeke..

p.s Well, hope you'll take a break and enjoy this compliment.)Tee hee hee..)