The opposition must tell us who we’re voting for

The opposition must tell us who we’re voting for
By Zan Azlee

One of the most important things that a political party needs to do when a general election is looming is to make it known to the voters of their manifesto, intentions, promises and plans for when they take office, if they were to win, of course.

In order to do all that, they would need to have clear leadership. As of today, Pakatan Harapan has failed to do that by being unable to decide on who would be their choice for prime minister should they win.

Opposition Leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail yesterday stated that they will concentrate on winning the elections first before deciding on their prime ministerial candidate. She said the decision will be made based on who has the most support from those elected.

In my opinion, this is just nonsense. Wouldn’t it make more sense to decide now so that the voters will know what they will be getting themselves into when they vote? We need to know who and what we are voting for, don’t we?

Sure, the Malaysian electoral system, which is a parliamentary democracy, does not provide for voters to directly vote for the number one position in the government.

If BN were to again win the election, the people are clear as to who will be the prime minister. It has always been known that the president of Umno will, by default, be the prime minister of the country. And this has been agreed upon by the other component parties.

In the past few weeks, all we have seen from Pakatan Harapan is that they are at odds as to who will lead them. Chairperson of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad has stated that he is willing to be prime minister if needed. But that won’t fall favourably with many.

With a new opposition coalition in the process of being formed, jailed de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, who has been the opposition’s candidate for prime minister all this while, has decided to withdraw himself as a candidate.

It may be obvious to many that with the new coalition, the main senior candidates for the post of prime minister are old and tired faces – Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin, and yes, Anwar. Do you readers see the actual irony of the situation? Oh yes, there’s Wan Azizah too.

Anwar’s move in withdrawing from being considered for the post can actually be seen as a way to indicate to the other individuals to withdraw as well. Bersatu president Muhyiddin has announced his withdrawal.

Only 91-year-old Mahathir is still holding strong. In fact, he has even reinforced his stand that he can be prime minister. However, he did say that the decision has to be a unanimous one if he were to be selected for the post.

But even if this line of old leaders decide to make way for young blood, are there any that would have the potential to take on that important post? Can any of you readers name an individual in the next layer of leadership in the opposition that would be suitable? I can’t.

Basically, Pakatan Harapan has just been unable to show the people that they are on top of the situation. In fact, they have even postponed their registration as an official coalition with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) because they can’t come to a decision for their office bearers.

It is unfair to voters when political parties aren’t able to provide a clear alternative for them to vote on. It would mean that they are actually taking the voting power out of the voters’ hands. Why vote in the first place if all the decisions will be made by other people?

And that’s exactly what Wan Azizah is saying when she says that they will concentrate on winning the general election first. She is telling voters to vote blindly and then trust that whatever decision made after that is the right one.

How is that democracy? When I vote, I need to know what I’m voting for and who I’m voting for. I’m not going to say yes until they tell me what it is I am saying yes to. I find that pretty rational and logical.

So, the opposition need to get their act in order. It isn’t just this indecisiveness for the post of prime minister that is haunting them. They just haven’t been organised in so many aspects that it is a wonder if they can pull themselves together in time for the upcoming general election.

[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.Com]

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