Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party.— Winston Churchill, British politician, army officer and writer
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim left a dejected man when his private jet took off and left the Land of the Hornbills.
With his dream to be the nation’s next prime minister effectively in tatters, he returned to meet Pakatan Harapan (PH) component party chiefs in Malaya with his tail between his legs.
How could he not, he came to Kuching thinking that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg would extend the courtesy of meeting him and listen to what he had to say.
That did not happen. National portals reported that Abang Johari wasn’t even interested in meeting Anwar.
Simply put, Anwar was snubbed; no special treatment this time for the once prime minister-in-waiting.
The newsreel has been working overtime this week, one of which polled political analysts as having said that the PKR chief needs to secure support from East Malaysians.
The pundits said that the former has to rely on Sabah and Sarawak’s voter base as the support in Malaya can sway both ways and is as fragile as glass.
Abang Johari was reported to have none of it, maintaining Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) position of not playing politics when the people are ailing.
“Let’s put politics aside first. The people are our prime concern now rather than looking at who wants to be the prime minister,” said the GPS chief, when asked to confirm on whether he knew about Anwar being in Kuching last week.
Apparently, that is just it.
I mean, politicking and playing the numbers game, tirelessly claiming that one has the numbers and the others don’t — the question now is why aren’t we tired of this yet?
I get that this is a good side entertainment, this tussle for the imaginary prime minster spot — it’s good for the mind, keeps us entertained, but at some point, you just wonder why these people don’t call it quits.
If you too are wondering, a response by a Sarawak-based PKR supporter should put to rest why Anwar is still refusing to yield to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the coveted PM9 spot.
“All of this is just an excuse to ensure Tun will remain in power and at the end of the day if we do, we will only be a group of cowards who bowed down.
“If we don’t even dare to fight Tun, then there is no point of us being in the government,” he said.
For once, I agree with his point. This party, for all intents and purposes, was set up to take the fight to Dr Mahathir more than 20 years ago.
More than 20 years on, the good doctor is not only alive and well, but is still outdoing Anwar at every turn.
But regardless, it is important for GPS to send the right signal to the voters with the state election just around the corner.
And that signal reads loud and clear, “we will not be a party to politicking, we just want to serve”.
To get the support of the neutrals and fence sitters, more than anything else, the coalition has to show it is in touch with the plight of the people and is quick to attend to people’s needs.
That is also the reason why Sarawak remains a stronghold of GPS, with it winning the last state election by a landslide under the then unpopular Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak logo.
Abang Johari and Co had to quit the then BN Sarawak and form a coalition of their own without being subservient to any more Malayan forces out of political necessity, but that decision has definitely paid off.
There will be more attempts to sway GPS to shift its support — that may be the new norm in days leading up to the upcoming state and general elections.
That is certain.
The coalition has come a long way since its days enrobed in a blue shirt with a balance scale logo and the opposition are not at all happy with that.
With its major opposition, PH Sarawak, being torn apart and weakened to a three-party coalition with Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) Sarawak seen as a loyal chaperone more than anything, GPS would fancy its chances.
Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and other political minnows will try to put up a fight, but as to whether their bite would compare to their bark, only time will tell.