By Wong Jae Senn
There’s still hope for national unity. Just look at the comments directed at Lim Kit Siang.
So, DAP, you guys had better find some way to dispel these impressions that the public has of you. I think it’s gonna be pretty hard. BN has started doing what PH did before GE14 – focus on a single target, focus all energy into it, manipulate the people’s perception on that issue with a mixture of facts and fallacies.
Among the Malays, PH is DAP-led, and the current government is a Chinese or Communist-led government. Among the non-Malays, DAP is just a bunch of hypocrites who also support corruption. Among both Malays and non-Malays, Lim Guan Eng’s incompetence is an indication of the overall incompetence of DAP and by extension, PH.
The more DAP tries to show that they are fair and Malay-friendly, the more it backfires. When DAP gives provisions to mosques, they are accused of being insincere and fishing for votes. When DAP says they will be handing out slaughtered meat during Hari Raya Korban, their act has been said to contradict Islam. When DAP politicians have events with Malays in suraus, they are said to have contaminated the places of worship.
There’s simply no way they can win this.
If anti-1MDB, anti-Najib and anti-Rosmah stories were the keys to BN’s defeat, anti-DAP stories and sentiments likewise could very well be the key to PH’s defeat.
What about PKR? Despite being the largest member of PH with the most parliamentary seats, PKR is largely seen to be just a second-fiddle. When the talk was rife that Azmin was being groomed to be PM8, the impression was that he’s Mahathir’s guy and hence it didn’t really feel like a PKR achievement. Whenever talk about Anwar being PM8 surfaces, most of the time it’s just being brushed off as a farce. It’s almost as if no one considers PKR to be the leader of PH, or capable of leading Malaysia.
PPBM under Tun M is still very much in control of PH, but at the same time, there’s already a widespread impression that PPBM is just dancing to DAP’s tune. Constant reminders of DAP’s words about riding Mahathir to defeat Najib is still being spread on social media and WhatsApp, cementing the impression that PPBM is DAP’s puppet, and the current government belongs to DAP.
At this point, it might even seem like DAP is a liability to PH.
While it’s true that a slight Malay vote swing back to the BN-PAS alliance could throw PH out of power in GE15, there’s now a new battleground for hearts and minds, and votes. With the lowering of voting age to 18, and with automatic voter registration on the horizon, there will be a new pool of 18-21-year-old voters from which BN and PH will fight for votes.
The Malay vote is almost certainly in BN-PAS’ bag. PH likely knows this. The East Malaysian vote might even swing back to BN or at least BN-friendly factions due to PH’s broken promises and condescending attitude towards them. A recent example is Lim Guan Eng’s demand for Sarawak to pay their debts to the Federal Government before they get the needed funding, largely seen as a gesture showing that they’re a government for PH supporters only and not a government for all Malaysians.
My guess is that PH will be doing all they can to secure a lion’s share of the 18-21-year-old votes, and spending minimum effort and resources to fight the uphill battle of snatching the Malay votes away from BN-PAS.
Under such an objective, DAP is quite likely to play their role in reaching out to impressionable young voters with impressive presentations of half-true economic data and idealistic portrayals of Malaysian Malaysia, promising them a utopia of equal rights and progressive socialist democracy.
BN’s strategy to counter this will probably revolve around highlighting the failures of DAP in the Federal Government and the Penang state government because these provide clear examples of DAP’s failed political and social policies. BN might also want to produce dissections of Tony Pua’s videos on the economy, tolls, debts, etc. which can easily be shown to be exaggerations and lies, and refuted point-by-point to show that DAP doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
BN can keep on focusing their attacks on DAP because they’re an easy target. PKR has pretty much neutralized itself from within, scoring own goals again and again, so BN does not need to lift a finger to make PKR irrelevant. Amanah is no match for the combined might of UMNO and PAS, so they will not be a big concern either.
When it comes to PPBM, the lines get a bit unclear because their key strength lies with Tun Mahathir. There’s also a split in PPBM that isn’t as open as PKR’s, but this split has also left the succession of leadership a bit vague. Will Muhyiddin replace Mahathir? Will it be someone else? When will Mukhriz be front-and-centre in PPBM? There’s no clear indication of any of this.
What if Tun Mahathir steps down due to health reasons? He will definitely not step down voluntarily unless he’s gotten the PPBM leadership in line, and has whipped the PPBM house in order. He will step down when he’s ready, but what if he’s forced to step down ahead of time due to health reasons? Will PPBM implode like how PKR would if their internal conflicts persist?
Perhaps that’s why there are still persistent rumours swirling around till this day that UMNO and PPBM are still horse-trading with each other, or, in some accounts, talking about joining forces. Who knows how true these rumours are?
It’s only logical that if PPBM sees UMNO-PAS as a threat against their conservative Malay political dominance, they might seek to join forces with them rather than fight against them. Likewise, if UMNO-PAS views PPBM (and Tun M) as the key determinant for PH’s victory, they might be inclined to entice PPBM to work together with them and leave the PH ship rudderless and without a sail.
If the unity of UMNO and PAS has already set off DAP on a constant tirade against BN-PAS, who knows what unity between UMNO, PAS and PPBM will do to them.
The “Perpaduan Ummah” movement is a direct response to the constant belittling of the Malays by some of those in PH, particularly those in DAP. Kit Siang, in particular, will be preaching to the Malays that they have misunderstood and misused Islam. He then confidently associated a theocracy with kleptomania and kleptocracy, referring to the BN-PAS alliance as a “klepto-theocracy”. Doesn’t he realize, the more he and DAP say things like this, the more the majority Malays of the country will want to unite against the non-Malays?
The unconditional hatred by many Malays against non-Malays (specifically the Chinese) is a fire that can no longer be put out, and people like Kit Siang are in no small part responsible for it. I just hope that our fellow Malaysian Malays can see that there are also non-Malays who are calling out DAP and Kit Siang for their bullshit these days and do not lump us all together with these chauvinists and extremists.
Wong Jae Sen is a BENAR political analyst
The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of New Malaysia Herald.