Just read about an article in The Star discussing about equal partnership in PR. I do agree that PR does practise equal partnership in its alliance but it is something good or bad? When it comes to equal partnership, each party will have its say. Most if not all decisions made must be agreed upon by all component parties. Each party will look strong and not to be controlled or overpowered by another. However, in equal partnership, it is not easy to choose a leader or to come to consensus. After 2008 GE, PKR has the most seats in Parliament, followed by DAP and PAS. It is a good combination and coincidentally, it did happen. DAP Malaysian Malaysia does not goes well with PAS Islamic State; PKR is the one who manage to glue both together. Furthermore, as a multi-racial party with Malays as the top leader, no doubt that putting DAP as second most senior partner followed by PAS can make PR looked to be more balance in terms of racial composition. However, imagine if PKR is not the one with most Parliamentary seat, can DAP and PAS accept PKR leader as opposition leader? For the moment, they said can. But just imagine why a Malay leader from PAS can’t assume the head of PR if its party wins the most seats. Just imagine if Malay votes do not swing towards PR and only Chinese votes does, what will happen to PR next? Will they accept DAP as the head or will DAP accept other parties’ leader as the head? This situation did happened when DAP assumed the position of Parliament Opposition Leader quite often. In Malaysia politics, to be wholesomely represent the whole community, it is important for a political party to have Malays as its top leader and has more Malays MPs (I read it in somewhere and I personally do agree that Gerakan, DAP, PPP etc cannot be regarded as multiracial party). On the other hand, BN can guarantee it. Never in the history (if I am not mistaken) UMNO had less seat than any of its component party. The influence and strength held by UMNO also can guarantee this to happen. Even though for most people, UMNO seems to be over-dominated in BN. However, this domination can make the process of making decision fast. BN has also a clear leader without any dispute. UMNO President surely will become BN chairman and eventually Malaysia PM. However, this kind of domination has its bad side too. Other component parties will be labelled as weak. Therefore, it becomes harder for them to garner their own community’s support.
Whether domination or equal partnership is good, it is hard to argue theoretically. It has to be analyzed according to the situation and sentiment of the surrounding. For the moment, PR’s equal partnership seems to work well with the people compared to BN’s domination. PR might have the luck to win in such a good racial combination in Parliament and PR-controlled State Assemblies (except for Perak). However, if the few questions mentioned above do arise or the situation as in Perak where PR has more Chinese representatives than Malays in a Malay-majority state, can equal partnership still work well?