They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Yes, this picture speaks for itself. In fact, it speaks volumes about the lack of adequate political representation in Pakatan Rakyat. Not only is this picture worth a thousand words, it is also worth thousands of votes. Thousands and thousands of votes, but not for Pakatan. The votes will go to BN.
Why? These will be the protest votes by groups which have been marginalised by Pakatan.
For starters, the Indian community will not give Pakatan its vote. Why? Look at the picture again. How many Indians do you see? This photo was taken during the recent Pakatan Rakyat Convention in Shah Alam.
Also, where are the natives of Sabah and Sarawak? Pakatan comprises three political parties while in the Barisan there are 13, representing all nationalities in the peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak.
But the most glaring of all is the absence of Indians, despite Pakatan's claim to look after the interests of the Indian community.
Surely Indians will teach Pakatan a lesson they will never forget, come GE-13. Having ridden on their backs to clinch crucial electoral gains in GE-12, Pakatan has effectively ditched Indians, as dramatically seen during the Kampung Buah Pala episode in 2009.
Said an observer at the Pakatan convention: "Pakatan's slogan was Bersihkan Malaysia, and they are using the Indians as the broom. This is the ultimate insult".
When asked why Indians were left out in the Pakatan Manifesto, Anwar Ibrahim offered a feeble response: He said their manifesto 'transcends racial groups'. How then does he explain the specific references to Orang Asli? In that document, there are no less than nine references to Orang Asli but only one reference to Indians.
Anwar is a master at deflecting questions by changing the subject. When pressed for an answer, he said Tamil and Chinese schools, along with mission schools, would be assisted. Hullo, what do you think the BN government, and before that, the Alliance, has been doing these past 55 years?
Again he was quoted as saying: “This is the manifesto of the rakyat where we address issues of rising prices, commodities, lodging, good governance and support for all types of schools.” Hullo again, what do you think the BN government, and before that, the Alliance, has been doing these past 55 years?
Then, typically, Anwar throws in the red herring: "I met leaders of the Indian community last night in Hulu Selangor and generally, they are very receptive as education is a major problem, issues of marginalisation of the community and crime had been raised," he said. How does this tie in with the question of ignoring Indians in the manifesto?
The rainbow does not have enough colours for this chameleon that is now facing the toughest challenge of his political career. And that challenge comes, not from outside, but from within the opposition coalition.
Ever since his ouster from the Barisan Government in 1998, Anwar has been single-minded about his plans to Occupy Putrajaya. With that aim, he cobbled together a coalition with DAP and PAS and went to the polls in 2008. He thinks he is now perched for his final political onslaught and onwards to the coveted Premiership.
But then comes the spoiler - PAS. PAS leaders have openly questioned Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s candidacy as Prime Minister should Pakatan Rakyat win.
“PAS top leaders said it was ‘haram’ (illegal) for Anwar to ask for the Prime Minister's post,” a PR source told an online media recently, quoting discussions at a secret meeting between PAS and PKR leaders last Sunday.
Anwar will have to bow not only to PAS sentiments but also to political realities. Should Pakatan win, the chances are that there will be more PAS candidates in Parliament than PKR. Obviously since the choice of Prime Minister will not come from the DAP, the contender will have to come from either PAS or PKR. With more seats than PKR, PAS will have more clout if there is a showdown.
When push comes to shove, Anwar will surely be the loser, unless he can persuade the rainbow to display more colours in its spectrum for another chameleonic change or shed his skin in the year of the snake.