Since the Perak government’s toys were taken away recently, there have been doubts expressed over the internal organisation of Pakatan Rakyat (PR “People’s Alliance”). It’s only natural to wonder what kind of organisation PR is. They have pitted themselves against the Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition, which is essentially UMNO plus hangers-on. UMNO is the United Malays National Organisation. ‘Malays’ is a racial category, the largest in Malaysia. Some of the hangers-on are also racist organisations, such as the MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) and the MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress).
UMNO has some very apparent advantages over other political parties in Malaysia. Visit some of the major cities in Malaysia, and you will see the odd prospect of a political tower block. Coming from the UK, I don’t really understand this side of Malaysian politics. A political party HQ in the UK is (in my experience) somebody’s shed. Have a look at these beauties from KL, Ipoh and Penang:
Where are the Pakatan Rakyat buildings? There are none. It is after all, just a ‘loose alliance’. What about the parties making up the alliance? Where is PAS’ HQ building? I don’t know of any PAS buildings. I’d like to know, so please, if you know, let me know? Thanks. PKR – Parti Keadilan Rakyat – the youngest of the three, obviously hasn’t had time to build a monument to itself yet. If anybody has an artist’s impression of what it’s going to look like… thanks in advance. DAP – Democratic Action Party – seems to me to be the best equipped of the three in terms of properties. I can see the DAP logo above one of my local restaurants:
Better than any office of a UK political party! Not bad at all DAP. I think it’s important to show there’s substance to an organisation, so now you have the offices, perhaps it’s time to upgrade the operation. After all, you wouldn’t want anybody to think you are ‘wearing a fur coat and no knickers’.
All 3 coalition members have websites. DAP’s website is clear and simple, PAS’ website looks great – it’s based on the open source content-management system (CMS) Joomla! (You see? It’s free and it looks good!), and I haven’t a clue about PKR’s website, it’s currently unavailable. I may update later when I can see it.[Sat Feb 14 17:30:45 MYT 2009 back up - looks like 3 separate Joomla! websites, but kudos for providing 3 languages!]. The thing I can’t find is a Pakatan Rakyat website. Isn’t this a serious omission? Their adversary, the governing Barisan Nasional, has a beautiful website! In fact, it’s so beautiful, I’m wondering why the entire gov.my domain has to be so crap! Even the main Malaysian government website – www.gov.my – doesn’t work properly in my browser, it claims only to work with Internet Explorer. Not so BN’s website, it’s as perfect a website as ever existed.
The BN member party websites are a different matter altogether. UMNO’s website has to be the most bloated website I’ve seen in a long time – it took several minutes to finish loading! Not so the MIC website, a superb example of irony, it is a single page containing the address of a building – is it a ‘hikerlink’? The MCA website is apparently created with Microsoft Office, and bizarrely presents an image of hikers walking up a grassy hill. Presumably the hikers are following the hikerlink to the MIC office.
I think it’ll be a long time before anybody sees a Pakatan Rakyat skyscraper piercing the clouds above KL. I don’t know why a website is taking so long. It might be possible to convince Malaysians to vote PR on the basis that “we’re not them”, but there’ll always be voters who’ll want to vote for something that actually exists. What is the substance of Pakatan Rakyat? Is it registered as a political organisation somewhere? Does it have a HQ? Why doesn’t it have a website? So many questions, as ever. I’m grateful in advance for your assistance.