By Mohamed Arshad Raji

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--PATRIOT is deeply concerned with the seeming disarray of our political landscape even as we are nearing polling day.

The election battle drums are getting louder each day, but the din of confusion, greed for power, desperation to be freed of corruption charges, and the glaring disunity among politicians are not helping people to march confidently and with patriotic hope for a nation that is in disarray.

Malaysia has been painfully struggling to get back on its past “Asian Tiger” tracks despite seeing five prime ministers coming on board with promises to heal, repair and cleanse our nation from past sins of corruption, omission, and commission contributing to the country’s stagnation – but instead, mounted only despair in our hearts.

While Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno are seemingly projecting a confident, united front despite all charges and allegations of fraud, corrupt conduct, and abuse of power, the opposition front that allowed the people’s mandate to be robbed within 22 months of forming the government continue to be in disarray and unsure as to how they would challenge the BN-Umno coalition.

Patriot has gathered an understanding from the grapevine that people are asking whether the opposition will ever be able to consolidate itself in order to form a unified opposition.

Public opinion is jittery as the going question is:  “what have they been doing all these while since the start of the Sheraton Move?”

With weeks away from the polls, Malaysians pray and hope for the 15th general election (GE15) to have an outcome that will return the nation to a sure footing and make up for the lost and plundered precious times under five different prime ministers.

People need to know now whether the opposition would remain as three separate political entities – Pakatan Harapan (PH), Perikatan Nasional (PN), and Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) – or will there ever be a fortified opposition strong enough to take on the challenge against BN-Umno?

Furthermore, what if the three opposition blocks collectively gain a majority over BN? Would the opposition parties be willing to compromise to form a government?

Who, from among the leaders of the opposition parties, will be prime minister? What would be the basis for selecting ministers?

Patriot categorically reiterates that all those opposed to BN-Umno must be willing to set aside party ego and self-interest and work together to save the nation together with its people who have suffered enough with past leaders.

Unabated and blatant corruption, mounting national debt, weakened economy, and social fabric bursting at the seams with unrestrained calls for racial and religious discrimination have all created immense unhappiness among Malaysians of all races and religious beliefs.

All these must end. It must end with GE15.

Where BN-Umno has repeatedly failed on all these, the opposition must showcase that it can rescue Malaysia. But first, it must walk the talk.

The opposition ought to remember that GE14 was won because Pakatan Harapan (PH) at the time was successful in galvanising a strong and united opposition front by setting aside their political differences.

That united, univocal strength displayed even drew in Umno veterans who were prepared to abandon their reservations as they stepped on stage to support PH – particularly Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was the crowd puller on the campaign circuits.

Patriot will also not dismiss any rumours, as somehow the trend in Malaysia shows that rumours usually turn out to be true in various degrees – eventually. The latest rumour to make rounds claims PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi are having secret talks of a possible coalition after GE15, should both parties fail to secure sizable seats to independently occupy Putrajaya.

Patriot views this as an unforgettable betrayal of the worst order if the above rumour is true.

The country cannot afford any more political juggling. The people certainly cannot take more betrayals. It will, Patriot believes, destabilise our nation further and shred every hope citizens and our rulers hold beholden.

Patriot, therefore, urges the three separate coalition opposition parties, PH, PN, and GTA, to find a middle path born out of nationalistic patriotism to build a single, strong and united opposition.

Citizens with a nation-building mind and heart are fed up with corrupt, selfish and untrustworthy politicians. We deserve honest, truthful, trustworthy, corruption-free, and competent leaders to drive a people-centric government that is free of racial and religious divisiveness.

*Brigadier General (Rtd) Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of the National Patriots’ Association.*