There have been a number of personal stories about the 14th general elections (GE14). I would like to add my own story to the narrative. I was never pro-former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but that changed in 1997.
That was the year his deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, was sacked from the government and his party, Umno. At that time, I was more of a spectator, watching from the sidelines and interested as any other concerned citizen. But, during that period something unusual happened: I dreamt of Dr M and his family!
I had three dreams about them over a couple of weeks and I kept asking myself: “Why am I dreaming of the prime minister and his family?!” I don’t know them. I don’t think of them. I don’t think of politicians! And, I wasn’t even interested in politics, then!
But, as a charismatic Christian, I was aware that sometimes we have God-inspired dreams that have a bearing on the earthly realm. Joel 2: 28 says: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” The dreams and visions are the work of the Holy Spirit.
So, I took my dreams seriously because it involved a political family in the centre of a current crisis and if the dreams were of God, I had better take note! Not knowing what to do, I decided I would just pray for Dr M. I can’t remember what I prayed, but I stopped opposing him. Because I was praying for him, I began to get interested in politics. I wanted to understand why God would want me to pray for this man. There must be some good reason.
By chance, during that time, I met a politician who was familiar with the issues, who told me what was going on. I understood then why Dr M acted the way he did. As I continued to read and talk to people about the politics in the country, I began to understand the political climate better. That was how I got interested in Malaysian politics and since then have followed it closely.
When the Anwar issue died down, I stopped praying for Dr M and forgot about the whole thing.
Some time ago, I made a prediction in this blog that at the right time God would send leaders to Pakatan Harapan, which at that time was leaderless and rudderless. So, when Dr M left Umno and formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and later joined the opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan (PH), I sat up! My prediction came true. PH got its national-level leaders.
But, it was only when Dr M was made PH chairman and prime-minister designate, that it hit me why the dreams alerted me to pray for him. I realised that the prayers were not for the 1997 episode. That was to get me into politics to see and fathom what was going on in the country up to this point.
It hit me like a thunderbolt that the praying was meant for him now! I understood the political situation enough to know that forces will be unleashed to bring him down and that he needed protection. That was when I started praying for Dr M and his family again, this time specifically for their protection.
I don’t think I’m the only one praying for him and his family’s protection. There’s an army of people praying for Dr M and for change.
By faith I believe that if I was alerted to pray for Dr M, then I shouldn’t obstruct him. That is the reason why I’m openly supportive of him and PH and why I urge others to do the same, and why I am inclined to believe that PH will win this general election.
I may be wrong. If I am, it isn’t because it can’t happen. If it doesn’t happen, it is because people don’t believe it can happen and so don’t vote to make it happen.
I don’t expect people to understand the decisions I make by faith. But, look at the facts. Faith without facts is an adventure, which, sometimes, goes awry, and that’s why we need to be careful when stepping out in faith to handle only what we can. But, faith matched with facts is a sure thing.
Let’s consider the facts.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
At age 93, he is still standing and ready to serve the nation to set things right. He has publicly apologised for the wrongs of his administration and joined the opposition effort to correct those wrongs. Now, where ever he goes he is greeted with respect and affection, even from non-Malays. The people — Malays and non-Malays — are rallying behind him, appreciative of the inclusive politics he has now adopted. He has made peace with this nation. More importantly, through PPBM, he has swung a portion of the rural Malay vote to PH. In doing so, PH very likely now has majority Malay support and, definitely, majority non-Malay support. Whether that swing vote has reduced Malay support for Umno to a minority is what GE14 is all about.
Those who don’t believe need to see this man and realise that he doesn’t have much time left, that now is the time to make a stand and give him and the coalition he leads the mandate to set this nation on the path to reform and good governance. If they don’t do it now — in GE14 — this opportunity will be gone forever!
Pakatan Harapan (PH)
The coalition now has a strong national-level leadership and an equally strong second-tier younger batch of leaders. It is a combination of experience and untapped young, idealistic passion. Both will check the other. Together, PH will deliver reforms, a corruption-free government and a plan — albeit gradually but steadily — to progress. Should GE14 prove PH has majority Malay support, it wins the right to govern. Presently, three Malay-based parties are represented in the coalition, namely Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Amanah (splinter party from PAS) and PPBM representing a cross-section of Malays.
PPBM has made strong inroads in the rural Malay constituencies of Kedah and Johor and Umno’s position appears to be shaky in these states. Just how much Malay support has PPBM swung from Umno?
The question that GE14 will answer is which coalition now has majority Malay support for that will determine which coalition has the mandate to govern. No coalition can govern this nation if it does not have majority support from the majority community in Malaysia, the Malays.
Opinion research firm Merdeka Centre estimates that the current support level from the Malays for BN is at 53%. That figure is questionable because Politweet puts the figure down to 50.75 of Malay support for BN in GE13, which I believe is more acceptable considering that BN won only by a slim majority on the votes of its safe deposit states of Sabah and Sarawak although it lost the popular vote to PH.
Invoke Centre for Policy Initiatives (run by PKR vice president Rafizi Ramli), on the other hand, based on its December 2017 statistics, puts Malay support for BN at 41.1%. According to its April statistics, it says Malay support for BN has dropped to 18.1%.
Merdeka Centre has acknowledged that there is a 7.9% swing of Malay votes to the opposition. In some areas, it may be a much bigger swing. If the 53% figure is arrived at after the 7.9% figure was subtracted, that would mean that BN had a majority of nearly 60% of the Malay votes in GE13 which is hard to believe considering that it scraped through with a simple majority and without the popular vote.
I suspect that Umno is aware that it has lost the majority of Malay support. If it were confident of Malay support, why do the things it has done to ensure the playing field remains uneven, to PH’s disadvantage?
Those who don’t believe need to see what is apparent to the rest of the country: Umno’s support base is being chipped away.
A Moral Political Leadership
It’s not for me to judge who is moral and who isn’t. My judgement is against any leadership that shamelessly and openly steals an election from the people because it realises it may lose it.
A moral political leadership — if it has reason to believe it may have lost the support of the majority of the people — would call for a general election and conduct a fair and just election by levelling the playing field in order to gauge the true extent of the actual support it has, and hand over government to the side which has more. Such a leadership will not resort to all the things we are seeing done now — open vote-buying, gerrymandering, preventing candidates from submitting their nomination forms on unreasonable technical grounds, cutting out pictures of opposition leaders from banners, getting personal and name calling, etc, etc, etc — to tip the scales against the opposition.
The urban Malays behind PKR are solidly with PH. PPBM has mounted a strong offensive in Umno’s traditional rural heartland. Amanah may add to deliver that vote segment. The non-Malays, mostly in the urban areas are with the PH. Sentiments on the ground indicate that there is a definite possibility of Sabah going to the opposition. Merdeka Centre has conceded that the BN may lose Sabah.
Those who do not believe need to judge for themselves if the caretaker government, aided and abetted by the Election Commission, is acting morally to protect itself in the fear it has lost majority support. A government can have only one moral right to exist: if the majority of its population give them the mandate to govern. If it doesn’t have majority support, it has no moral authority to rule.
Those who do not believe must see if the powers that be are digging in their heels to stay in power without that majority mandate. If so, those who do not believe must realise it is in their hands now to deprive them of the right to rule by voting for change!
Look at the facts.
I’m not writing this to the urban voters because they know the issues. I am addressing the fence-sitters — the undecided young voter, the rural Malay voter, the East Malaysian voter, the vacillating voter in the marginal seat. I hope this message for change will reach the fence-sitters because, right now, only they can make the difference in GE14.
This is my last pre-GE14 post. I am thrilled to have joined the chorus of voices across the country crying out for change. My past endeavours point me to this one event: GE14. Beyond it I have nothing more to add — without sounding like a broken record! Post-GE14, I won’t be writing on politics anymore — unless I can’t bear it and have to express myself!
If PH wins on May 9, there’ll be one more post I’ll write next Friday on GE14. After that, I’ll move on. If PH doesn’t win, I’ll be silent.