Train chugging aimlessly on the opposition track
PPBM still harbouring hope Pas will join its pact
THE railway system in Japan is one of the world’s best, bar none. They are incredibly punctual, with an average delay of less than 60 seconds for its high-speed rail network, the Shinkansen.
Tokyo Metro, as complicated as it may look on maps, runs like clockwork. Its punctuality is recorded down to the millisecond. And, with a daily ridership of a whopping 6.31 million, it simply cannot afford any delays.
Train drivers are trained on simulators for six months. This is so they can practise on any situation — power cuts, earthquakes, accidents, hanging kites, you name it.
Commuters are almost never left disappointed. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the “train” our opposition leaders are trying to steer.
Their train — this grand opposition coalition train — has been delaying its departure for months on end.
Pakatan Harapan and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), now cooperating under the ties of an “electoral pact”, have yet to decide on a common logo, manifesto or seat allocation.
Just three days ago, PPBM was absent from the joint technical committee meeting with its big half-brothers in Pakatan Harapan to discuss seat allocation.
The meeting went ahead, reportedly for about three hours before the three Pakatan Harapan parties, PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara (PAN) “reached an understanding”.
It was attended by PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, DAP national organising
secretary Anthony Loke and PAN elections director Dr Hatta Ramli.
Saifuddin told reporters that PPBM deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and vicepresident Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman were supposed to attend the meeting.
He was also quoted saying that PPBM sat out from the meeting because the 7-month-old party had “yet to do its homework”.
But, Mukhriz was quick to deny this claim. He said his party was of the opinion that the top leadership of all parties involved should outline the “basic principles” of seat negotiations first before the meeting was held. This, he said, would make it easier for the parties to sit down and discuss.
There was also speculation that PPBM’s resistance to join in the meeting was because it was hoping and waiting for Pas to join the opposition bloc. Mukhriz denied this, too.
The joint technical committee was formed following the formation of Pakatan Harapan and PPBM’s electoral pact in December last year.
PPBM is way behind time. It is becoming increasingly apparent that this hibiscus party cannot yet decide which coach to hop on. It seems to be in two minds about this, but dilly-dallying on a decision would only put it at the losing end.
While it continues to park its hopes on Pas, the Islamic party has made it clear time and again that it would not cooperate with parties that had ties with its breakaway group PAN, or DAP.
PPBM chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had, just over two weeks ago, given the Pas leadership one month to decide on whether they wanted to join Pakatan Harapan.
This timeframe was immediately cut short after Pas firmly shut its door to any chance of cooperating with PPBM.
Seeming to be confident of its strength, Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang reiterated that his party was strong with its policy of not working with PAN and DAP.
It will finalise its decision on a
tahaluf siyasi (political cooperation) with PPBM at its annual Muktamar next month.
And, while Pas retains cooperation in the Selangor government together with PKR and DAP, its relations with PKR will be reviewed at the Muktamar.
Pakatan Harapan is trying to get as many parties as possible to board its carriage. It will keep selling train tickets until it is time to leave.
Are they going to wait for PPBM to fill up the seats? Or will they go full speed ahead without them?
It’s time for them to start speaking the same language and quickly tackle petty differences between them if they ever want a fighting chance against Barisan Nasional.