In my great optimism, I hope I didn’t imply in my last post that the opposition coalition of Pakatan Harapan (PH) is set to win the coming 14th general election (GE14). No, that isn’t a prediction I’m making. The odds are still stacked up against any alliance’s ability to seize control from the Umno-led Barisan Nasional.
But, I am saying that GE14, perhaps, is the last opportunity we have in the near future to change the government by popular vote. If BN wins, we can expect Malaysia to go on as it has in the past eight years. If PH wins, we can expect the winds of change to sweep through the government of this country and reforms instituted (not immediately but in time) for the well-being of this nation.
Reforms will constrain corruption and abuse of power and ensure equitable distribution of wealth and fair treatment of citizens. That is the hope we have in a PH-led government. It has been proven in the PH-held states of Selangor and Penang and we can expect it to be replicated in a PH-led national government.
PH was adrift leaderless for a very long time, but with the entry of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi), a strong leadership has emerged in the PH that has generated a good deal of optimism and enthusiasm and resentment. But, the fact is that PH is now ready to lead at the national level.
Indeed, it is. But, the reality on the ground must be confronted. Rural parliamentary constituencies, though representing a smaller bumiputra vote both in East and West Malaysia, are bigger in number and sufficient to support the incumbency. Only the elections will tell if Pribumi’s inroads in the rural constituencies of West Malaysia translate to a swing of rural Malay votes to PH.
Another factor is PAS which is hell-bent on going for three-cornered fights which will only benefit Umno. If redelineation is passed by Parliament before GE14, that might also act in Umno’s favour. Umno is still in government and has access to government resources which can be used to turn votes to their side.
From the analyses I have read and the statements of political leaders, there are two ways to beat the system rigged to keep the incumbency.
One is to have an extraordinarily high voter turnout of more than 70%, especially among the Malays and East Malaysians, who are mostly rural. With a higher voter turnout and more voters favouring the PH, there’s a very good chance PH can make gains in the rural constituencies and where there are three-cornered fights.
That’s the reason why I write on the politics of this nation and GE14 — to generate discussion on the issues plaguing the nation and, hopefully, through the discussions, people will vote wisely for the good of the nation and more will vote. More and more voters need to be drawn into the discussions.
People need to be made aware of the options before them and encouraged to vote for change or they will be stuck with the current realities. They particularly need to know that the likelihood of Umno losing its majority Malay support is happening or already happened. They also need to know that even with Umno possibly without majority Malay support in terms of numbers, it will still hang on to government on the technicality of winning a simple majority of rural and Malay-based rural constituencies.
The only way to end this stalemate is for the Malays and East Malaysians to come out in huge numbers to vote and give PH the mandate to institute change.
That’s the opportunity GE14 offers us. We, the people, have to seize it and make change happen. That’s my point.