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So, were we right or were we right?

Posted: 22 Nov 2013 05:11 PM PST

And is that not what is happening today with the many issues hitting PKR, DAP and PAS, plus Pakatan Rakyat? Just read the news and see what I mean. All hell is breaking loose. And back in 2010 we said this will happen if you remain arrogant and treat us as the enemy just because we speak out against what we feel is wrong.


Raja Petra Kamarudin


Do you want to have your say about the Lib Dem Manifesto for the next election?

Lib Dem members play a key role in deciding our policy. We're unique, no other party does this, so we've launched a Manifesto Website to make sure that every member has the chance to make their voice heard.

Before 2010 it might have seemed fanciful for anyone to say that our manifesto would end up as Government policy. Now we've all seen the very real difference we have made by putting that plan into action in the last three years.

Our 2015 manifesto is perhaps the most exciting in the party's history, please do join in and make sure your voice is heard.

Best wishes,

David Laws MP


That was the e-mail I received from my party today.

No doubt the news is not good for my party, the Liberal Democratic party. We have lost a third of our members since 2010 -- down from 65,038 to 42,501 -- and more than a thousand of our councillors. Last year, the party was running at a deficit of more than RM2 million and is struggling to raise the funds required to fight an adequate general election campaign. Worse of all, even based on conservative estimates, the party is expected to lose nearly half of its 57 parliament seats in the 2015 general election.

Some ask me why I joined Lib Dem back in 2009, just before the 2010 general election. Well I suppose this was the reason:

The Liberal Democrats are a socially liberal political party that supports constitutional and electoral reform (one of my favourite subjects), progressive taxation, environmentalism, human rights laws, banking reform, and civil liberties (issues that many Malaysians are also talking about).

The party was formed in 1988 through a merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party (just like PKR was formed through a merger of PKN and PRM, once called PSRM). However, the two parties had formed the electoral SDP–Liberal Alliance seven years prior to that. The Liberals had been in existence for 129 years and in power under leaders such as Gladstone, Asquith and Lloyd George. In the 1920s, the Labour Party replaced the Liberals as the largest opponent of the Conservative Party.

Anyway, the point I want to bring to your attention is that, today, my party sent all its 40-odd-thousand members an e-mail asking for feedback on what we would like to see in the 2015 general election manifesto. The fact that Lib Dem may do badly in the coming general election and may lose half the seats it won in 2010 is one thing. What is important is that the members have been asked to 'guide' the party, so to speak, and help come out with the new election manifesto for the coming general election.

Is Lib Dem on the way out? I really don't know but with just 30 or so seats it will no longer be a major player in the 650-seat UK Parliament. That comes to only about 5% or so of the seats.

Will Lib Dem still be the third force? That may still be possible if, again, UK sees a hung parliament in 2015 like it did in 2010.

Anyway, let us now shift to talking about Malaysian politics and Malaysian general elections, which is what I want to stress on.

In 2008, a month or so before the 12th general election in March, we from the civil society tabled a Peoples' Declaration or Deklarasi Rakyat. Everyone who read it said it was a good document and very sensible, plus not that difficult to achieve (meaning realistic).

Six of the non-Barisan Nasional political parties (three of the Pakatan Rakyat parties included) accepted and endorsed the document in a public ceremony at the Blog House in Damansara. The document was signed and speeches by the representatives of these parties were made.

After the March 2008 general election, the Peoples' Declaration was conveniently forgotten and swept aside. For two years we tried to enter into dialogues with Pakatan Rakyat but they played the avoiding game with us.

Then, when Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim made a trip to London in 2010 with a couple of other PKR and DAP leaders, I grabbed that opportunity to raise this matter and to express our unhappiness at the way Pakatan Rakyat has not shown sincerity. They agreed to the document before the general election just to court our support and win our votes, and after they got what they wanted from us, they discarded us -- just like you would a prostitute after you have satisfied your lust.

From then on, in late 2010, my relationship with Pakatan Rakyat went downhill. The strained relationship crossed the point of no return after we launched the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) and Haris Ibrahim announced his Independent Candidates Initiative and said that he was looking for 30 independent MPs and State Assemblypersons to field in the 800 or so seats in the 2012-2013 general election.

The message from Pakatan Rakyat was that 'outsiders' should not 'interfere' in party matters. Our job is just to vote for the opposition. After that we stay out and don't try to tell Pakatan Rakyat what to do. If we are so smart how come they and not we are running the party? Who are we, mere Bloggers and civil society activists, to tell the politicians what they should do?

That was three years ago. And three years ago I said that we have a right to comment about the party that we not only supported in 2008 but also went down to the ground to campaign for in the run-up to the general election.

In fact, we still continued to campaign for Pakatan Rakyat one year later in the Kuala Terengganu by-election in 2009 where PAS managed to grab that seat from Umno by a very impressive majority. And we 'interfering' Bloggers and civil society activists camped for ten days in Kuala Terengganu to campaign door-to-door and give talks at the ceramah every night (you can still see the videos on YouTube).

We were not interfering, as alleged. We were expressing our anxiety. We were worried about the 3R issue. We were worried about the internal bickering in PKR, DAP and PAS. We were worried about the inter-party conflicts amongst the three Pakatan Rakyat member parties. We were worried about the issue of Islam, the Islamic State, and the Islamic Sharia laws of Hudud, which have still not been resolved.

In short, we were worried about so many unresolved issues, which, if not resolved, would prevent Pakatan Rakyat from winning the 2012-2013 general election, and which, if not resolved, may cause a serious split in the opposition coalition.

The reply we got was that all those can be resolved later, once Pakatan Rakyat takes over. It is not yet time to resolve these issues. First take over the government, and then resolve all these issues, once Pakatan Rakyat is in power.

Well, 'they' were wrong and we were right. First of all, Pakatan Rakyat did not take over in 2012-2013, as we said would happen if we continue with this 'denial syndrome'. Secondly, unresolved issues will never solve themselves or go away. And if you do not resolve them now, then, one fine day, when you least expect it, they will resurface and bite you in the rear.

And is that not what is happening today with the many issues hitting PKR, DAP and PAS, plus Pakatan Rakyat? Just read the news and see what I mean. All hell is breaking loose. And back in 2010 we said this will happen if you remain arrogant and treat us as the enemy just because we speak out against what we feel is wrong.

So, were we right or were we right?



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