To : Pakatan Members
From : Emmanuel Joseph
Re: An Open Letter
We cannot let them win. We cannot let hopelessness and despair triumph over justice and truth. We cannot succumb to helplessness and self-pity. And most importantly, we cannot self-destruct.
It is convenient and most tempting to raise a finger and point out PKR as the weak link in the PR chain, to blame all that is happening today on Anwar Ibrahim. After all they clung on stubbornly to their allocated seats and placed postmen and washouts to contest instead of giving way to PAS’ or DAP’s more qualified, loyal candidates.
But in more ways than one, it was also PKR and its leader Anwar Ibrahim that has raised Pakatan to the level it is now. PKR helped smooth things out between conservative DAP and hardline PAS in the shaky first few weeks, and subsequently PKR played the role as a stabilising force in Pakatan, grounding the ideals of both its partners, and allowing PAS and DAP to cement their ties to the current warm levels.
It was the world’s interest in Anwar Ibrahim’s brand of moderate Islam that pressured the government into attempting to out-Islamise Pakatan’s PAS, and in the process, alienate itself from half the Malaysian electorate. Anwar’s profile in the international community, and his wide coverage in WSJ, CNN and IHT often has Wisma Putra scrambling to etch some cover story and often they are forced to ‘summon’ diplomats to ‘explain’ issues to them.
When Anwar spoke, the world paid attention. And so did Malaysians. This newfound stability, mutual respect and trust, turned Pakatan from an uneasy alliance to a serious political force to be reckoned with. And eventually, Barisan noticed.
Attempt after attempt was made to destabilise the alliance, starting with attacking individual Selangor’s Excos and MB, the coup d’etat in Perak,the crossover of a Kedah assemblyman, the anti-Islamic allegations against Penang’s state leadership, the oil royalty fiasco in Kelantan.
Every trick in the book was used, lies, damned lies and statistics were thrown around, misleadingly named NGOs and ‘NGO Alliances’ were used, and the mainstream media was manipulated, all to break up this one credible threat that existed against Barisan.
When they realised going after the states did not work, individuals were lured, to defect, and for the first time in Malaysian political history, we heard the term ‘BN-friendly Independent’. And this last few weeks, the BN-controlled media screamed headlines and painted a bleak, hopeless picture of Pakatan, depicting it as a fragile alliance falling apart, culminating in the multiple defections from PKR.
In doing this, they hope to break the only thing that keeps Pakatan together, its spirit. It was this spirit that had PAS, PKR and DAP back each other at the risk of each losing support from their traditional bases.
It was this spirit that captured the imagination of the rakyat, brought back hope to a seemingly hopeless nation, renewed the strength of worn out social activists, and put the fight back in a generation that forgot how to struggle. And that is the spirit they want to kill. But this spirit must not die. It must live, spread and burn brighter.
In their arrogance, the defectors spoke as if their voice echoed the views of their constituents. In their haughtiness, they spoke as though the party won because of them, and not the other way around. They spoke of betrayal, when in truth; it was the people that were betrayed. They spoke of loyalties, when it was peddled cheaply to the highest bidder.
Eventually, the people will judge them. Eventually, their Creator will judge them. I am sure they have plenty to talk about, especially over their liberal use of His name.
Pakatan is not the only one beset with problems. Barisan has a party with two people claiming to be president. They have a party where two people wanting to be deputy president. They have a party where the party does not know what to do with the president. They have a party where a disputed president of another party has to step in to solve a dispute involving another two disputing presidents!
And most of the parties don’t know what to do with themselves. And you thought DAP and PAS had problems?
As for the rest of us, we would do well and remember and remind each other all the things that happened in the last two years. Rolling cow heads, racially charged demonstrations, burning churches and suraus, deaths in custody, our dead ancestors being labelled as prostitutes and beggars, nonchalant crossing of political divides like it’s a paddy field, fighter jets that don’t fly and submarines that cannot dive, mysterious disappearances of individuals worthy of the X Files, rising taxes and cost of living and lower income and spending ability.
We would do well to remember all this. We would do well to never forget. And we would do well; to never let them win again. Dust off the flags and banners my friends. It’s not over yet.
[Emmanuel Joseph is a member of DAPSY Klang.]