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Opposition: Keep Quiet, Be Cool and Don’t Show Your Cards

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.

Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.

Sun Tzu’s Art of War

Immediately after the election, I received an email note from a savvy opposition leader analysing the results in Perak. It was an excellent and succinct summary of the outcome in Kuala Kangsar. Because it was a personal note, I am not at liberty to quote or reveal the details.

However, I agree with and can share the conclusion which is well recognized by every opposition leader and supporter in the country.

This is that “time and tide waits for no one” and the next GE may take place very soon. Hence Pakatan must move on as one team immediately to offer hope as a viable alternative, otherwise our future will be bleak.

Unfortunately, Pakatan is not only moving as one but it appears to be shooting itself in the foot if not the head.

To me, the action by PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli (this was not raised in the Perak who lodged a report at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters on alleged corruption in the Selangor state government was an own goal which definitely affected the opposition supporters in the two states.

This view is my personal view I must stress.

Accompanied by his sidekick, Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen, he handed over information and evidence of alleged misconduct in the Selangor state government administration two weeks before the by-election in Sungei Besar. He is reported to have said “I cannot disclose the details at the moment. I am bound by the Act. My only hope is that we should allow MACC to investigate without political interference and other perceptions.

Some of the rakyat sitting in the coffee shops must be saying. “Wah – this Rafizi guy must be the BN’s secret weapon!”

Later on after the results came out, he and Wong Chen described the voters ‘diseased’ and ‘politically immature’. And when criticized for it, he defended his views in the following ways:

What I was frustrated was the tendency of the public, civil society leaders, analysts and commentators not to call a spade a spade. This is adding fuel to the fire as it looks like he thinks he is the only guy around with the ability to call a spade a spade.

Actually, I have no problem with being critical, blunt and forthright. These are good characteristics.

But if Sun Tsu was still alive and in Malaysia, he will surely tell Rafizi two things

  1. If you want to win in politics, please do not conduct the blame game in public.
  2. There’s no need to share with the whole world (and with Barisan!) your analysis of the party’s weaknesses and coming election strategy.

As the two quotes provided above explain, there is a time and a place for everything. Now is the time to be looking for publicity. Showing off your cards is being politically naive if not stupid!

But to be fair to Rafizi (if this is possible) he is not the only opposition politician who is doing this showing off dirty laundry and breast beating on “my special insights on why the opposition is doing so badly” in full view of the public.

Opposition Bandwagon of Noise

Other middle level leaders are also jumping on this bandwagon of noise, and forgetting about the virtue of “soundlessness”.

Now that the by-elections are over, one would have expected that the opposition leaders will close ranks and sit down in closed door sessions to dissect and analyze the results. This is what my Perak political confidante is correctly doing.

Instead what we are seeing is critical, and so called “scholarly” assessments by some PKR and DAP MPs which have appeared in the internet to provide their two or three cents worth on why the opposition is doing badly.

This is not only opportunistic but also “syiok sendiri”. It is also really politically suicidal.

It seems to be all about individual self glorification and self inflation.

But the end result is party and opposition loss of credibility and deflation!

To these self appointed party tacticians and analysts, my advice is:

By all means, be active on the internet, twitter, facebook etc but do it sparingly, and on the right and carefully selected issues, which can help bring advantage to the party.

Save your in depth, empirically based, earthshaking analysis for your party’s confidential brainstorming!

And lastly, I urge the opposition leadership to exercise party discipline and not let every tom, dick and harry in the party behave as if he is the party’s spokesperson.

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