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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Poll Position: September 16, Malaysia Day and another Alternative

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September 16 is now upon us. First of all, Happy Birthday Malaysia - 45 years old today.

The significance of today, of course, is that this is the day that the Malaysia as we know it (plus Singapore, which left in 1965) was born. And today is also the day that Anwar Ibrahim earmarked for a new Malaysian government, under the Pakatan Rakyat.

myAsylum's recent poll, which closed at midnight last night, revealed results that weren't all that surprising.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThis time, the Nays called it...

Of course, the poll doesn't tell us whether the respondents believe that a new government will be formed soon (albeit not today), nor whether the respondents want a new government in the first place.

Last night at Pakatan Rakyat's Malaysia Day rally, Anwar Ibrahim once again proclaimed that he has the numbers, but more importantly he wanted a smooth transition, and so today would not be the day we wake up to a new government.

The NST, however, reported something that none of the others seem to have reported - that Anwar will make public the actual crossover list today. Or in NST's own words: "We have the numbers and we are ready. Tomorrow (today), we will announce it (the crossover list)," he said.

Editorializing on the part of NST? Or selective comprehension - the parenthesized part is a little telling. 

Well okay, he did kind of say that - but figuratively, not literally we would see the list today. Here's what Anwar had said last night, via (emphasis by myAsylum):

"Tomorrow is the D-day. We are ready to form the government. We have the numbers and we are ready to announce tomorrow.

"Tomorrow, we are ready. But the best time (for the takeover), I tell you, is when we meet the prime minister.

"A peaceful transition is paramount," he added, conceding that there will not be a change of government tomorrow as he had promised earlier.

According to him, Pakatan Rakyat has submitted a letter to Abdullah today seeking a meeting for a smooth transition of power.

(source: Malaysiakini - subscription required)

Now, all kinds of ethical questions have been raised over the possibility of sufficient BN MPs crossing over - which Walski will admit are pretty valid concerns.

But is there another plausible, and perhaps more ethical, alternative that will see Pakatan Rakyat rule the country?
(basic math rules, and more, in the full post)

Fellow blogger, friend and all-around nice guy, Shar101, alerted Walski over the weekend about an idea that could still see BN relinquish government, yet maintain the integrity of the MPs deciding to jump the BN ship. You can read the details at O.B.E., but Walski will recap some of the key points here.

It's rather simple mathematics, actually. At present, BN holds a simple majority in Parliament, with 140 versus Pakatan Rakyat's 82. Out of the 140, UMNO holds 79 seats, while the remainder (61 seats) are held by the various other BN component parties.

While it has been argued that individuals crossing over to PR would violate the mandate given by their constituents on March 8, what if entire component parties left the coalition?

The idea proposed is that those crossing over would not join PR outright, but would form a Third Front. Kickdefella has also proposed something along the same lines.

It's a plausible scenario based on the reaction from the component parties towards the Ahmad Ismail saga, the more recent ISA arrests, and general dissatisfaction over UMNO (Shar101 has compiled some of them on his posting).

Don't forget that while the component parties are part of the BN coalition, the individual party identities are still strong and form the basis of trust from the voters.

Politicians being politicians, the publicized sentiment may, or may not, reflect the actual position that they have pertaining to still being in Barisan Nasional. Can't seem to get a straight answer from them sometimes, these politicians. With some exceptions, like Zaid Ibrahim, who's stood by his principles, and tendered his resignation yesterday, just as he said he would. Now, that's one politician Walski can actually and honestly respect. But Walski digresses...

The Third Front idea would mean that all the BN component parties would leave the coalition. Which, in reality, may not be the case. Walski suspects that there could be some within UMNO itself who are willing to jump ship. That, however, remains only a suspicion on Walski's part, mind you.

But assuming that his suspicion is true, those no longer wishing to stay within UMNO could then form a new political party, through which the can still be part of the Third Front. Or, join Gerakan. Basing on the current political make-up, however, the latter may not be the most plausible.

Now, the downside of this idea is that Pakatan Rakyat may not be able to form government after all, if the numbers don't add up, after all the jumping hither and yon has abated. Unless the Third Front agrees to a coalition government with PR - but still, the numbers need to add up.

And UMNO being the dominant party, BN may still hold on to government, if some of the BN components (or component members) decide to not jump ship.

That being the case, one of two things could then happen - UMNO could go into super-bitch vindictive mode, throw a hissy-fit, and then create chaos to justify an even bigger ISA crackdown. Or, it would finally sink in that UMNO is in critical condition and that a lot of reconstructive surgery, plus soul-searching, would be required to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

And it's based on this uncertainty that Walski has reservations about the Third Front idea, although in principle, he does like it a lot.

UMNO has shown little remorse over what's been going on, and Walski suspects that when push comes to shove, they'll fucking shove it up everyone's asses. And that is a real concern to Walski - what UMNO will do in a situation where the Third Front comes into being (including the getting shoved up the ass part).

However the chips choose to fall, though, in-your-face crossovers, or Third Front, Walski now waits with bated breath to see what happens next. If the numbers are indeed there, let's get the show on the road.

Be that as it may, Walski hopes that Anwar Ibrahim keeps to his promise, that should PR come into power, a fresh mandate from the people will be sought as soon as possible. It's only fair, particularly if it's a crossover maneuver that puts PR into office.

And hope is a commodity that we sorely need in such uncertain times...