WITH Pakatan Harapan still licking its wounds following the drubbing received in the Melaka state election, an academic urged the coalition to go back to basics, which is listening to grassroots’ sentiments.
“The election should serve as a wake-up call for Pakatan Harapan to return to its roots. In the last general election, the people were all out for them.
“So, pay attention to your grassroots. If Pakatan leaders stick to good values and principles, on top of putting the people first instead of selfish political goals, more fence-sitters will support you,” HELP University Faculty of Business, Economic and Accounting/Institute of Crime and Criminology senior lecturer R Paneir Selvam told FocusM.
In the Melaka state election, Pakatan got crushed by only winning five of the state seats contested. In the 2018 General Election, the coalition won 11 seats and took over the state leadership.
With the drubbing received, many of Pakatan’s supporters and leaders have called for Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to resign and pass the leadership mantle to younger members.
Touching on the matter, Paneir Selvam said that what happened to a progressive coalition like Pakatan was nothing unique as many forward-thinking parties in several other countries got defeated as they failed to understand the pulse of their respective voters soon after winning the polls.
Citing the UK as an example, the academic said that the Labour Party was struggling to gain traction again following Gordon Brown’s resignation as prime minister in 2010, after the latter failed to secure support from the Liberal Democrats Party.
“Since then, the Labour Party has been unable to win any general election. It also lost trust of the British electorate due to lack leadership, internal strife and policy inconsistency.
“Bear in mind it is not that UK’s Conservative Party is very strong but their voters have no choice but to back the latter due to Labour Party’s problems,” Paneir Selvam noted.
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He added that Golkar Party of Indonesia, the Kuomintang (KMT) in Taiwan and the Congress Party of India were also failing because the parties are still unable to grasp the people’s aspirations, on top of having an arrogant view that they were indispensable.
“In my view, Pakatan is having the same problem UK’s Labour Party is going through. As a result, the coalition has reached a crossroads in its political life.
“It must reconsider its strategies, particularly their continuous ‘collaboration’ with the current administration. Pakatan also must study on why it is being reviled now, despite being overwhelmingly supported in the last general election,” Paneir Selvam stressed.
In general, Paneir Selvam reminded politicians that the adage “there are no permanent friends and enemies in politics” may not gel with Gen Y and Gen Z, who are more veered towards progressive ideas as the dynamics in the world continue to evolve.
“I agree the saying does hold some water but if you align yourself with someone tainted with scandals, it may appear normal to politicians but the younger generation will shun you.
“Hence, if Pakatan wishes to get back Malaysians’ support, it must wake up and reconsider its fundamental values.
“Otherwise, people would bury Pakatan in the next general election if they continue to be deluded by their own self-serving antics,” he remarked. –Nov 28, 2021.