Bagai Pinang Dibelah Dua?
Some say opposites attract, others believe like begets like. I don’t know, and I wonder if the rhetoric really matters in the first place.
The BN politicians are so similar – arrogant, racist and kiasu, yet together they have ruled and ruined Malaysia for 50 years already.
The opposition politicians meanwhile are so divided by ideals, struggles and methodology. Yet united only via righteous anger towards the wrongs taking place in the land, they have managed to forge a ruling coalition that is currently establishing rule in five states.
People decry the cooperation between the DAP and PAS. From the auntie selling kangkung in the market to the housewife watching Astro TVB8 to the computer geek dining in Secret Recipe, many are questioning DAP’s election pledges and wondering if the DAP-PAS pact would ever last before Britney Spears’ next incarceration in a psychiatric unit.
These are interesting times we are living in, watching like anxious spectators how DAP will learn to share a niche with PAS.
For too long a time now, the DAP and PAS have been unnecessary nemeses. They both have more in common than they realize, and many of their supposed differences will eventually turn out to be similarities and opportunities towards solidarity.
Both DAP and PAS have received the worst from the BN propaganda machineries. PAS has been successfully painted as the Taliban of Malaysia while the DAP, a Chinese-chauvinistic triad group. The names of both parties have been smudged tactlessly for half a century now. In comparison, excluding the shame Anwar Ibrahim endured in Sept 1998, the party of PKR itself has received relatively meek name-smearing from the BN media. From 1957 till 1999, the DAP and PAS were bearing relentless slander while many from the current PKR were still accomplices of UMNO back then. Thus both DAP and PAS were comrades in suffering for a great part of each other’s existence, if they are willing to see from this perspective.
There has been few political parties consistently gung-ho in espousing their principles and practice of governance. Apart from its Islamic state goal, PAS has strayed little from its ideals. It is still the PAS that emphasizes Islamic spirituality as the guiding compass in individuals and ruling authorities. It is still the PAS that practices most of what it preaches – living moderately and leading responsibly, as demonstrated by the humble lifestyles by choice among most of its leaders. Similarly, DAP’s battle cry has not evolved much since the day Malaysia started degenerating under the BN leadership. DAP’s demand for accountability in leadership, social justice regardless of ethnicity, independent media, disinterested judiciary and freedom of speech have always been described as stale and irrelevant by the BN media. The other perspective is to view DAP’s agenda as one teeming with consistency and sincerity. One can’t be singing the same tune for yeas sincere unless one is sincere in words and thoughts. What is remarkably clear is that both DAP and PAS are believers in the same endpoints of good governance albeit through different mechanisms.
Both parties are also notorious for saying the bitter truth and usually in a manner that permits the BN media to quote it out of context. When Nik Aziz remarked that some ladies are dressing too scantily to the effect that a Tok Guru’s faith is put to the test, it was quoted in the media that ladies were dressing so provocatively as an invitation to be raped. When Ronnie Liu stated the obvious that independence was attained not only by UMNO’s sole effort but by many quarters including the Communist Party of Malaya, it was twisted so badly it became Chin Peng bapa kemerdekaan Malaysia.
What I personally see in PAS and DAP is great passion – an earnest desire to right the wrongs.
They are not exactly bagai pinang dibelah dua – two spilt betel nuts aren’t exactly identical by the way. If the two parties can harvest their individual strengths and work on their similarities instead of harping on their petty differences, they can achieve great things together.