Despite widespread protests, Pakatan admits time to move on

Despite widespread protests, Pakatan admits time to move on


KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 ― Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have admitted that their post-Election 2013 public rallies, despite their mammoth following, will soon run out of steam and was unlikely to change the outcome of the just-concluded polls.

Amid incessant cries for re-election, newly-elected PR lawmakers said the events were merely to keep the momentum going for the federal opposition pact and to serve as a reminder to Malaysians that a majority 51 per cent of the electorate had voted out Barisan Nasional (BN) even though the pact returned to power.

They agreed that theirs was a losing battle as the odds were stacked against them, despite acknowledging the existence of legal avenues to challenge results in certain constituencies where they believe they have sufficient evidence of fraud.

But while most insist the rallies are necessary, a silent few in PR have agreed that it is time to move on and admit defeat before Malaysians begin to regard their leaders as sore losers.

“What can I say? How many times can we expect our supporters to come out for these rallies? Eventually, this anger will fizzle out and we must move on.

“The fact of the matter is that we are not the government of the day and, yes, we do recognise the election results, despite what some of our leaders are saying,” one senior PR leader told The Malaysian Insider on condition of anonymity.

Another notable leader agreed with this view and said the rallies would likely affect PR’s image, particularly if those who did get elected into power begin to neglect their duties in favour of the endless protests.

“Some of us did win and we are expected, at the very least, to use what power we have in our hands to become a strong and formidable opposition,” said the leader.

Leaders who went on record told The Malaysian Insider that the rallies must be channelled positively to ensure that it achieves its purpose, which is not to demand for wide-scale re-elections but to show the Najib administration that a large segment of Malaysia does not recognise the new government.

“The takeaway from these rallies is that it demonstrates the frustrations of the people over the results.

“But it is important that it is channelled positively to show that what we are doing is exposing the fraud, exposing the cheating, and we are not doing this in an illegal fashion,” said DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua.

When asked if he endorsed the results of Election 2013, however, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP would only reply, “Well, as we have mentioned before in the DAP, we are giving full endorsement to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be our opposition leader, as he is our prime minister-designate.”

PR lost its bid for Putrajaya in the May 5 polls last week, polling 89 seats to BN’s 133, but picked up seven seats more than it did in Election 2008.

But the federal opposition pact cried foul when the overall results failed to reflect the popular vote trend, which saw PR polling 51 per cent to BN’s 48 per cent, an outcome they blamed on gerrymandering and vote-rigging by their political foes.

PR’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim immediately put his earlier retirement plans on hold to protest the election results, leading his team to hold a series of mammoth nationwide rallies to prove a majority of the Malaysian electorate support them.

After commanding large crowds in Petaling Jaya and Penang, PR held its third rally in Ipoh, Perak, last weekend, where Anwar vowed never to surrender until the polls results are validated and PR claims its rightful place at the held of Putrajaya.

Newly-elected Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli pointed out to The Malaysian Insider that the mammoth gatherings were necessary to show that PR would not accept such a fraudulent defeat without putting up a fight.

He said that while PR will also be legally challenging the election results, the second method was to take the issue to the court of public opinion by holding such gatherings to prove that Malaysians too are protesting the vote.

“We need to manage both... that is why, apart from going through the normal court process, we also have to continue educating and highlighting to the public that fraud did take place.

“The very legitimacy of the government is at stake here so we must pursue all means available, whether in court or the court of public opinion,” he said.

The PKR strategy director also pointed out to The Malaysian Insider that even with the current legal options available to PR, the pact was fighting a losing battle in trying to challenge the polls results.

“The fact is this is a system that BN created. We are using laws written by BN. They are lopsided and designed to side with them.

“We have not much hope that these efforts would bear fruit at all. But we have to do it... because we cannot bury the public anger and just give up,” he explained.

“It would be irresponsible of us to just say to our supporters, ‘tough luck, guys. Let’s move on now,’” he added.

Adding to his PR colleague’s words, PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, said it was important to ensure that the public continues helping PR keep up the pressure on the government to ensure that all future elections are scrutinised even more closely.

He said Malaysians who voted for PR, all 51 per cent of the electorate, expect their leaders to fight for them and these post-election rallies are one way for PR leaders to show they had not forgotten their supporters.

“We can keep the pressure going even though Najib may not be willing to succumb to us. But, we do hope that we would win over some other factions within the BN,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He noted that by keeping the issue alive, the spotlight on the Najib government has gone even brighter, highlighting every wrong move that the prime minister and his team may or may not make.

“We must never allow the fact that we have been cheated to be forgotten. We cannot let our supporters down,” he said.

PR has held three election rallies so far over the past week, each one drawing record crowds of tens of thousands of Malaysians dressed in black to mourn the “death of democracy”. A fourth rally is scheduled for tonight in Kuantan, Pahang, and a fifth will be held the following day in Johor.

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