Weighing Down the Rocket!

Posted on April 8, 2011

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Today, the Malaya-based opposition coalition of convenience or coalition by default (sometimes known as Pakatan Rakyat) launched its manifesto.

I saw a blog post talking about it…but at the time of writing, I have yet to view the document for myself, either online or offline.

I do know that the Malaya-based PKR had its own manifesto out earlier but I didn’t realise they’d come up with another manifesto, specifically for its coalition of convenience.

I think it would be an interesting read, seeing as the three component parties of the coalition by default have very little in common with each other.

I haven’t seen or heard about a DAP manifesto though, but that may be because it doesn’t bother with such things.

Going by the hugely popular crowds at its ceramahs in Kuching (and some say in Miri and Sibu, as well) this Chinese-based party probably doesn’t think it needs a manifesto at all.

Usually held at popular places in town where people go to eat out, the popularity of the DAP ceramahs can be gauged not just by the crowds, but by the sheer number of cars parked by each side of the road.

I actually wanted to see the Malaya leaders speak at Hui Sing Garden in Kuching last night but was totally put off by the prospect of walking quite a distance to park my car.

As you can probably tell, I’m not a hardcore supporter of Malaya-based opposition parties.

SUPP supporters or sympathisers, who saw the large gathering last night, would no doubt be disheartened to see the show of support given by the local urban constituents to their opponents.

But they do need to realise that most people just come to these things to listen to the Penang CM and his father and maybe two or three other leaders from DAP originating from Malaya.

(Not to mention the fact that some people also went there to eat and be entertained!)

I mean, the local opposition leaders are no slouches when it comes to complaining about the Chief Minister of Sarawak and about the Sarawak government, but the Malaya leaders of the opposition parties are able to take it to whole new level when they speak of such things… and that’s luring the crowds in throngs.

Well, most of the time, anyway. And not necessarily at ALL opposition-organised events…only at DAP events it seems.

Although the DAP ceramahs are proving to be a hit with locals (especially from the Chinese community)…the PKR events have not fared nearly as well.

Even when national leaders like the father of Penang CM lent his support at one such event recently, the crowds have been disappointing.

It’s only when the Pakatan Spiritual Leader is here would the PKR events be better attended.

I have no idea about how PAS events are received but a media friend recently told me that there is a noticeable presence of Kelantanese in the coastal villages of Sarawak.

I guess it’s only natural for PAS to bring their own style of campaigning to Sarawak and I can also only guess that religion would be a major political issue at their ceramahs.

As for joint manifestos or joint events for PAS and DAP that can even be considered remotely credible…I don’t even want to go there!

The point is, when it comes to the opposition coalition of convenience, the perceived popularity swing only seems to be with DAP and not the Pakatan as a whole.

People should realise there’s a big difference, lest they believe the large crowds at the ceramahs are in support of the default coalition Pakatan Rakyat.

The reality is the support is only for DAP. And in almost all cases, the supporters by a huge majority are Chinese.

Although this is no consolation for SUPP, it is a point worth noting for the other components of BN.

That’s why I believe that if the DAP rocket were not bogged down by the baggage of its two coalition “partners” it would definitely be able to fly higher in Sarawak’s political airspace.

Although it tried to keep up the appearance of being a good coalition partner in Pakatan Rakyat, even DAP had its limits and that, I believe, was when the fate of the incumbent PKR candidate for Padungan was sealed.

It’s true that PKR’s foreign friends have helped in developing and maintaining the opposition blog Sarawak Report that is beneficial for it’s coalition partners, but that’s probably the only obvious benefit DAP is getting from PKR for now.

PKR has made many strategic and tactical miscalculations in Sarawak but DAP Sarawak has to just grin and bear it all as it is stuck with the arrangement to be in Pakatan Rakyat.

Why is this the case, you may ask? Because that’s what the masters in Malaya have decided.

Apart from that, as long as it can retain and increase its Chinese base, DAP will be happy to play along.

For now, DAP will just keep the entertainment going and continue to give its hardcore fans what  it wants to hear, which is not necessarily the same thing as what it needs to hear.

After all, who wants to hear about boring things like peace and harmony, and prosperity and progress, anyway?

Even the mightiest rockets wouldn’t be able to fly if these were the issues discussed at ceramahs.