Self-appointed leader of the Third Force in Malaysian politics, civil rights lawyer Haris Ibrahim, has taken on the mantle of shortlisting candidates to stand under the banners of PR components, Part Keadilan PKR Rakyat (PKR), and Democratic Action Party (DAP). I don't believe either of the two PR party leaders have sanctioned Haris' initiative, for I can't imagine two key components in an alternative-government-in-waiting would surrender or privatise this important role.
In another article I had indeed asked of Haris,who also leads the online NGO People's Parliament, "Who art thou in politcs?", chiefly wondering why he was so "involved" in PKR inner politics when he was NOT even a card-carrying member, and that his writings were/are mainly in favour of two then appointed "top" PKR leaders who only recently abandoned the BN banner to join PKR.
In the Star print edition of Nov 17, 2010, a news report headlined
"Azmin’s faction blamed for pushing Zaid to a tight spot", it was reported that:
"Meanwhile, Barisan Rakyat coordinator Haris Ibrahim denied that it was a “third force” or that it was backed by Zaid.
The blogger, who said the group aimed to supply Pakatan Rakyat with MPs that would not abandon it after securing enough seats to form the Federal Government, said it hoped to contest 30 parliamentary seats in the next general election.
“So far, we have 16 potential candidates. We will contest using PKR and DAP banners but in Parliament, we will serve as independents.
“We do not want to form a new party as we want to do away with politics of patronage where division chiefs expect to be nominated.” (news report excerpt ends here)
A PKR strategist told this writer that an outsider like Haris who is not even a party member is being too presumptious to think PKR would surrender this role of selecting candidates to outsiders.
"Why would PKR or DAP want to pass on to a third party to select candidates to contest under our banner?
"And who is to tell that these socalled men/women of integrity picked by Haris will permanently follow his mandate based on his own set of principles and ethics?"
Indeed, I think Haris, drunk on commenters' cheering squad on his blog, has arrogated for himself a status justified by the cheering squad -- that status befitting a demi-god? On what criteria has Haris followed to shortlist these 16 candidates for the next general elections (GE13)?
A fellow blogger when asked about Haris' initiative, said as far as he knew, Haris was definitely very close to Zaid. "And this Third Force could turn out to be a Third Farce," he merrily added.
For people new to bloggers' world, Haris was a civil rights lawyer who shot to prominence in the high profile case of defending two bloggers, Jeff Ooi,now a DAP MP, and Ahirudin Attan aka Rockybru, now a Datuk, in a defamation suit by the NSTP and several top executives. In an olde post Haris went public in expressing differences of opinion with Rockybru on some issues, and I chipped in as a commenter that it was not professional for a lawyer, still acting as counsel for his client, to go public with this open show of differences.
I recently checked with Rockybru, who I worked pretty well in organising the annual Bloggers Universe Malaysia (BUM) events for four outings -- although we hail from different political philosopical backgrounds -- told me recently that in the NSTP suit case, he and Haris had indeed "parted ways".
I give Haris benefit of doubt that he might have good intentions, but to get involved so "intensely" in PKR activities while not willing to join up as a member, it raises many reservations in my mind. Is he acting on behalf of key players like Zaid and Jeffrey Kitingan?
In fact, as I had observed in an earlier article, Haris and some socalled Barisan Rakyat bloggers got pretty involved in PKR party elections, having concurrently started a campaign named "BLOGGERS FOR NURUL" just as deputy presidential candidate Zaid Ibrahim had advised the MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar to accept the nomination for deputy president candidacy (which Zaid had confirmed contesting, but would make way for Nurul. What I have noted is that Haris has consistently "supported" Zaid's and Sabah leader Jeffrey's stands, in the duo's politicking in PKR. If either Zaid or Jeffrey have been feeding PKR "insider information" to an outsider like Haris, then it reveals much of their leadership as far as integrity is concerned.
As Haris' initiative is officially reported by the MSM, I have sighted an article written about this socalled Third Force previously on his blog, but Nov 17's Star report is the first time where DAP and PKR are dragged into the picture.
Third Force would be new impediment for change at Putrajaya
I have written that a Third Force is premature on the Malaysian political landscape when even the Pakatan Rakyat comprising PKR, DAP and PAS -- the latter two having proven records of some 50years of struggle to boast of, with PKR only a 12-year teenage growing up period -- for the first time have given Malaysians the hope of a two-party system, hence the most viable coalition to replace the BN government.
At this junction, do we need a third force of "Spoilers" who would likely make the next GE13 see more three- or more-cornered fights, mainly to the benefit of the incumbent BN regime?
Who's to guarantee that some or all of this core group of some 20 "persons of integrity" when elected into Parliament would not sell their souls in a "hung Parliament scenario? Ask the electorate if they had felt cheated when three PR assemblymen in Perak caused the downfall of the PR government when they deserted PKR and DAP and "became independents". Independents, my foot! It's the almighy dollar/ringgit you frogs are looking at, no? RM4million for Hee Yet Foong, yes?
The next question arising is: Haris, where are the funds coming from to finance the election campaign for GE13 for these candidates under your Third Force?
Zaid who Haris adores as seen from his blogposts had yesterday stated he might set up a new political party once his resignation from PKR takes effect coming December 16.
The Case of froggie Wee Choo Keong
Let's digress a bit here and examine PKR banner-elected MP for Wangsa Maju Wee Choo Keong. In gist, he was once a DAP elected MP but fell out with party leaders, He and some cronies then set up the Malaysian Democratic Party (MDP). He and several others stood as candidates under the MDP banner in two general elections, and I believe all contestants lost their deposits.
Just before the March 2008 GE We managed to squeeze himself a seat, contesting under PKR banner BUT REMAINING AN MDP MEMBER, and the rest is history.The man -- ah, another lawyer! -- then jumped ship and is now an Independent-friendly-to-BN. Independent, my foot! Another case of staring at the almighty dollar/ringgit sign!
Maybe Zaid can team up with Wee -- their common enemey now is PKR, is it not? -- and can take part in GE13 under MDP? I bet it would turn out to be another farce. Oops, another real force in Malaysian politics. Zaid may even win enough support from BN-friendly MPs to be elected Opposition Leader, and Wee the Whip?
Though another writer claims on Zaid's behalf that it's presumptious of certain writers to link any of Zaid's moves to finally connect with Haris' latest initiative, it is a possibility that it finally would transpire that way. Zaid might not get enough support to register his new party, these two new forces would converge into one? So to contest in GE13, Zaid becomes another "man of integrity" by Haris' definition to add onto to his short list?
Am I going to be surprised? That's a RM64million question I may get to answer six months from now should PM Najib Tun Razak receive inspiration to call for an early GE13, one I believe could lead Malaysia down that slippery slope into another failed state. And a Third Force would not in any way help the PR's road to Putrajaya to prevent Malaysia becoming another Zimbabwe.