We have said this before, and we will say this again. A coalition that relies on defections is a coalition that is desperate, as defections are no substitute for real policies.
Pakatan Rakyat is trying to engineer defections in Sabah and Sarawak in a bid to challenge the rejuvenated and more unified Barisan Nasional, but the ‘wave’ of defections has failed to materialise.
This weekend there has been a single defection – former Sabah Umno treasurer Tan Sri Ibrahim Menudin reportedly joined PKR on Saturday.
This trickle of has-been politicians signing up to Pakatan is deeply embarrassing for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who has thrown his personal weight behind the defection strategy. He probably thought he could bribe BN representatives to switch allegiance, but so far very few have taken the bait. And the ones he is snaring are hardly worth the effort.
The last was a month ago – Umno’s Senator Datuk Maijol Mahap. And before him, there were just two in July: Beaufort MP Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin and Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing. A trickle of has-beens.
At this rate, Pakatan’s strategy is a non-starter. The pro-Opposition media may tout these solitary defections as a major victory, but actually they represent a loss of face for Anwar. If this is the best he can do, his defection strategy is not convincing.
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After all the political effort he has put into his defection strategy, if all Anwar has to show after many months is three or four minor politicians, questions will soon be asked in Pakatan whether they should actually be coming up with real policies instead of defections.
How about a common manifesto for a change, with real policy alternatives to BN, or a Shadow Cabinet, something that any serious Opposition offers in a parliamentary democracy?
But unfortunately here in Malaysia, the Opposition spends more time trying to engineer defections rather than offering a serious alternative.
What is it about Anwar that he doesn’t learn from past mistakes?
In the aftermath of the 2008 general election, Anwar had claimed with much fanfare that he would take power on September 16, 2008 with the alleged help of BN MPs from Sabah and Sarawak who, he claimed, would cross over and tilt the scales in favour of Pakatan Rakyat. That was four years ago.
But the plot failed miserably with no MPs showing up, leaving Anwar with egg on his face.
Some claimed then that his attempt had failed because the rich businessmen bankrolling the Opposition had refused to dig deeper into their pockets to fund Anwar’s plot.
Yet four years later, we find that Anwar is once again planning a bid to use money to subvert the democratic wishes of voters.
Once again, he likes to do things on September 16th.