A pact with Pakatan to contest in the next polls is 'unnecessary', says an observer.
GEORGE TOWN: Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) and Human Rights Party (HRP) should believe in their own respective merits and strengths to contest in the next general election.
Malaysian Election Observers Network national coordinator Ong Boon Keong dismissed the groups’ plan to establish an electoral pact with Pakatan Rakyat as “unnecessary”.
He instead suggested that both groups finalise the right candidates, earmark the seats for contest, intensify the ground work and campaign on their own from now on to face the next polls.
He said both groups and others should not fear the people’s rejection if they went solo in their election debut because “it was untested political ground”.
If MCLM and HRP can build up and develop strong grassroots rapport and carry out social works in earmarked constituencies, he said both groups can give Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan a run for their money.
“Many voters are fence-sitters who remain unconvinced by Pakatan and BN.
“You never know,” Ong told FMT today.
MCLM has revealed recently that it would choose some candidates and submit their names for Pakatan’s perusal and approval for the electoral contest.
Although HRP has announced that it would contest 15 parliamentary and 38 state seats in the next polls, it is still seeking an alliance with Pakatan.
HRP pro-tem secretary-general and Hindraf legal adviser P Uthayakumar has called on Pakatan not to be spoilers, but to make way to HRP to contest in the earmarked seats.
Both MCLM and HRP have certain common features.
Both are headed by lawyers – Harris Ibrahim (MCLM) and Uthayakumar (HRP) – and advocate reforms in civil liberties, equal rights and good governance.
Ong said that Uthayakumar, for instance, has the political stature and influence to secure a large vote bank for him and his party on his own.
“I am sure if Uthayakumar and his party members were to contest and campaign by applying the correct electoral formula, he and his party can triumph,” he said.
He criticised MCLM and HRP political approach to forge an electoral pact with Pakatan for the next
polls when the groups were actually capable of scoring upset wins on their own.
He said both groups have fair chances of winning seats against BN and Pakatan by formulating and applying correct and effective strategies.
He cited the US, Britain, India and Australia, among other countries, where candidates from regional and non-aligned smaller parties, and even independent social grassroots movements, have triumphed in elections against all odds.
He said MCLM and HRP’s desire to forge political link with Pakatan could be influenced by the popular myth that “only political pacts can bring about political change in the country”.
“Undercurrent sentiments are generally engulfed by the myth that the current two-party system is the best.
“Therefore groups that want to replace BN at the centre wrongly believe that only a pact with Pakatan can bring about the change.
“But a two-party system has never been adequate to ensure that democracy flourishes,” Ong said.
He cited Pakistan and Bangladesh as two-tiered democracies where competing parties try to outdo each other on bad rather than good governance.
He said democracy has flourished in many countries including in Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan due to the existence of strong grassroots social movements and multi-party systems.
“MCLM and HRP don’t need to seek consent from or beg to Pakatan to contest.
“They should go solo,” he said.