COMMENT It used to be that the unwillingness of Pakatan Rakyat, or as critics would put it, its inability to form a shadow cabinet, was a flaw in its strategy to replace BN at the seat of federal government.
years back when this view began to gain ground, the fact the opposition
coalition was in embryo and, therefore, not in any hurry for
specialisation of functions by its key personnel was not regarded as
reasonable grounds for the absence of such a cabinet.
over Pakatan’s capability based on their lack of a shadow cabinet
continues to persist - the existence of a shadow cabinet taken as an
index of capability to assume command once electoral endorsement is
chief and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak joined the circle of critics
when he reproached Pakatan their lack of a shadow cabinet at the
Gerakan annual convention last month.
“Don’t talk about forming
the government,” chided the PM. “Form a shadow cabinet first,” Najib
challenged Pakatan, to cheers from the Gerakan delegates.
This sort of point-scoring is only to be expected in the relentless volleys of a general election campaign.
was a devious hue to the PM’s partisanship: he was trying to exploit
internecine rivalries within Pakatan to show the public that the
coalition lacks the cohesion to display a vanguard of ministers whose
public naming, Najib implied, would trigger intramural spite within the
coalition and its eventual disintegration.
what has happened in the last nine months - the fifth year (if you take
2008 as Year 1) of Pakatan’s steady rise in credibility as a
government-in-waiting - has obviated the need for the opposition
coalition to form a shadow cabinet.
efflorescence of talent within its ranks, Pakatan has shown that it was
not weakness but an intimation of its latent strengths that had led it
to hold out against naming its shadow cabinet.
wisdom in Pakatan’s disinclination towards premature specialisation did
not just derive from a desire to allow “a hundred flowers to bloom”
first before their pruning and display in labelled vases can take place.
It’s just that a certain amount of latitude must be granted
for talent to preen before its quality and depth are assessed and
By that measure, this year alone has seen an
extraordinary flowering of potential within Pakatan, especially in its
second-tier of leadership.
From the manner in which PKR’s Rafizi Ramli (top)
and DAP’s Tony Pua have analysed and exposed corporate shenanigans, and
from the way they have unravelled sham accounting procedures in the
running of government-linked companies, it is clear that Pakatan’s
reserves of acuity in matters to do with financial and corporate
governance are deep.
Likewise Fuziah Salleh (left)
of PKR has tread an elucidating path of inquiry into the issue of the
Lynas rare earth facility in Gebeng, Pahang, while Charles Santiago of
the DAP has shown a torch on the water issues affecting Selangor -
efforts that help an appraising public to enlighten itself at the often
murky intersection between mercantile interests and public concerns.
collaboration between Liew Chin Tong of the DAP and Dzulkefly Ahmad and
Dr Hatta Ramli of PAS has produced a promising field of inquiry into
mechanisms by which a non-partisan audit of the actual costs of policies
and initiatives can be obtained so that an appraising citizenry can
make informed choices between propositions competing for their support.
Premature cocooning of expertise
the ranks of PKR and away from media publicity, the party has people
studying how low-cost and medium-cost housing schemes that can be
reconfigured so that the concept of urban renewal is more holistic and
more constitutive of the elements of human betterment.
enumeration of latent talents sensing their long-waited opportunity to
expose their range and utility to Malaysian society does not exhaust the
list of capability just now welling up within Pakatan’s vaults.
sum, the reluctance of Pakatan to opt for what would have been a
premature crystallisation of expertise has provided the necessary
freedom for their expanding pool of talent to engage in that
free-wheeling apprehension of small details that combine and flow into
large concepts; in that accumulation of insights that over time can
finesse the best plans.
All this would conduce to improved
governance seen as the outcome of an accumulation of nuances, success
being a hundred things done a little better, failure a hundred things
done a little worse.
In short, Pakatan’s reluctance to name a
shadow cabinet was wise simply from the intuition of its supremo, Anwar
Ibrahim, that the coalition’s political ascendancy would herald an
agglomeration of talent and ability, his use of the term, ‘renaissance’,
to describe it would not be adjudged as hyperbolic.
In such a climate, a shadow cabinet would be more hindrance than help in ushering a new schema of governance.
Post a Comment