DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang has said that it is more urgent for Anwar Ibrahim to consolidate the opposition before the next general election, instead of trying to topple the Perikatan Nasional government.His statement make sense on the basis that the very obsession to topple a government through cajoling of opportunistic MPs to jump ship seems to be centred on a particular leader’s individualistic ambition and moves that tends to override the consensus aspect of coalition politics.It begs the question: is coalition politics in Pakatan Harapan merely to do with the consensus of its elite leaders, or does it genuinely represent the grass roots communities, civil society groups, environmentalists and the marginalised in its national consolidation.Too much of politicking has blinded PH leaders to the importance of hearing the voice of the complex grassroots communities and currently we are the middle of preparing for the 15th general election which could be called anytime in 2021.While it might be too late, it is vital for PH leaders to envision an innovative approach to how it elects its leadership, especially its candidate for prime minister, in the future.We could learn from the primaries in the United States presidential election, where various candidates with their own strengths and leadership qualities offer themselves for the presidency, they debate in a public and go through various states campaigning.Finally, a strong candidate for presidency is chosen by the party. In the Malaysian scenario, it is about electing a prime minister who has a broader support among the community.PH could adopt this model but modifying it to the context of Malaysian laws and realities.It would need brainstorming among the enlightened intellectuals and community leaders in the coalition.PH should evolve to create more leaders who are ready to take over country instead of depending on a single leader who seems to be less be answerable to the grassroot communities.Therefore, its time PH create a broad-based leadership in the coalition by bringing its best leaders to helm Malaysia in the years to come.What the rakyat needs is a leadership that emerges from grassroots level, and not elite and urban driven leaders that characterise much of the current PH leadership.Reforms should start from within the leadership, which respects grassroots aspirations and its complex web of political reasoning, before one could envision consolidation and a distinctive alternative. – December 20, 2020.* Ronald Benjamin is secretary at the Association for Community and Dialogue. * This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.
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