(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said in Tokyo yesterday that one reason the conditions now may look good for holding a general election is that "the Opposition groups were not getting along among themselves".
Mahathir is going to be disappointed if he thinks he could capitalise on Opposition "teething problems" to Barisan Nasional's advantage in next election.
Opposition parties have differences but their challenge is whether they can manage these differences without undermining the larger objective of breaking the mould of Barisan Nasional political hegemony to give democracy, justice and good governance with openness and accountability a new lease of life in the country, by denying and ending the ruling coalition's unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority in the past four decades - which is the root cause of the authoritarianism, the arrogance of power and corruption in Malaysia.
Although the opposition parties have their differences, for instance, on the question of Islamic state and the objective in the next general election whether to deny the Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority or to topple it from power, and these differences should not be glossed over, the agreement reached by the DAP, PAS, KeADILan and PRM to join forces on the common objectives to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance should be able to be the bedrock of co-operation in the coming general election and the basis for a "one-to-one" contest against the Barisan Nasional.
The question to be decided is the final shape and form of such an Opposition co-operation - whether a United Front of the Opposition, an electoral understanding, or a hybrid form of United Front and an electoral understanding.
Opposition parties have to thrash out their differences over what should be their common objective in the next general election and to decide on the final shape and form of Opposition co-operation.