While many Pakatan supporters were rejoicing over Chua Jui Meng’s entry into PKR, I had this nagging feeling.
The Pakatan probably needs a psychological boost after Pas’ reduced majority in Manek Urai.
But isn’t there a danger that if more BN types, sidelined by their respective parties, are welcomed to the Pakatan fold, the Pakatan could one day end up becoming “BN Lite”? In the case of Chua, he looks set to be invited to sit on the PKR Supreme Council.
Already there is concern in some circles about some of the ex-Umno types in PKR. Will the party now have to wrestle with ex-MCA types? Remember, race-based politics is not something that is easily shed.
My concerns over such political “catches” were confirmed when I got a late night text message from a political analyst who said he was not euphoric over MCA members joining PKR after suddenly seeing the light. Why does Anwar keep courting such people, he asked. Why not citizens with no political baggage – but with a proven track record in struggling for justice and freedom along multi-ethnic lines?
Don’t ordinary citizens count? Are the Pakatan leaders so desperate for BN leaders to jump like ‘kataks’ into their ranks?
Aside from that, how are we to change the course of Malaysian politics, economics and other spheres when a future Pakatan government could very well see a number of ex-BN leaders from race-based parties in positions of influence? Where are genuine meaningful reforms going to come from then?
Of course, people can change and evolve over time. It is good that Jui Meng says he wants to work to preserve a two-party system and work for change.
But Pakatan leaders must exercise greater “quality control”. What is Jui Meng’s stand on the ISA and other oppressive laws, for instance? What progressive policies did he introduce when he was Health Minister to improve the affordabilty and accessibiltiy of quality health care for all – and to make sure that no Malaysian is denied quality health care due to lack of means?
It is not enough to just focus on attracting “talent” or big names. Future leaders must be those who have shown over time that they are 110 per cent committed to human rights, democracy, social justice, workers’ rights and people-centred, ecologically friendly development before they can be welcomed with open arms as fellow travellers in the reform process.
That raises the question which the Pakatan should mull over: is it seeking power as an end in itself or as a means to realise social justice, democracy and human rights?
What do you think? Is Jui Meng’s entry into PKR good for the reform struggle?