Can rising star Pakatan Rakyat (PR) retain Penang state with bigger majority than its 2008 results? Will PR lose narrowly the crown jewel Selangor state but win more seats in Johor state instead this round? What about Perak state – can PR retake the state which has the fourth most parliamentary seats (24 seats), after Sarawak (31 seats), Johor (26 seats) and Sabah (25 seats), from Barisan Nasional (BN)? Will Sabah and Sarawak fall for the “Ini Kali Lah” and “Ubah” open secret codes for a change in government? Or will it ended up as “Lain Kali Lah” with record breaking money-for-votes dished out by BN at the eleventh hour to the rural poor Sabahans and Sarawakians?
How I wish I’m the underground Godfather – my cash registers would be ringing with tons of betting money (*grin*). Going by the rate PR attracts massive crowds to the tune of thousands as compared to BN’s pathetic small numbers, one would conclude that there’s no reason why de-facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim cannot walk the corridors of power on May 6, 2013. However, if the number of banners and flags are of any indicator, BN is indeed in full throttle as compared to its 2008’s ill prepared machinery so caretaker PM Najib should have little problem going back to Seri Perdana again post May 5, 2013 polling date.
Sure, the mind-blowing flags and banners’ presence do not represent peoples’ support for Najib’s BN coalition. But it shows, at least on the surface, that there’s little internal sabotage within BN as compared to 2008 general election. And that’s good news to Najib but not so to the opposition PR. If that was not sufficient, this election also saw the return of once powerful veterans such as former premier Mahathir, former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin and former deputy PM Musa Hitam campaigning for BN. Depending on how you translate their presence, it could mean that BN is sinking thus the needs to strengthen it by playing sentimental card specially with the rural elderly voters.
If yesterday’s estimated 50,000 to 60,000 overwhelming support from the crowd is any indicator endorsing PR’s continuous government for a second term in Penang, it shows no amount of free food, T-shirts, free gifts, lucky draws, entertainment and whatnot can swing Penangites back to BN. Ever since 2008 election, Penangites have embrace “take whatever given by BN but vote for PR” approach very well. It was indeed heart breaking to see BN dishing out money only to be donated back to PR, as can be seen during yesterday’s campaign which saw PR pocketed RM236,000 despite Penangites being made to stand under heavy rain. But that doesn’t mean PR can do better or retain the same number of seats it gotten in 2008.
PR is aiming for 12 parliamentary seats in Johor on top of a third from Sabah and Sarawak’s combination 56 parliamentary seats – an ambitious 33 parliamentary seats. On paper, the objective seems achievable judging by the massive estimated 20,000 crowds during Segamat’s recent “ceramah” in Johor. It seems Johoreans want to create their own version of Penang Han Chiang High School, which eventually wiped out BN’s grip on the island five years ago. But Johor is not Penang. Besides being birthplace of UMNO, the Malay Johoreans do not really share the same enthusiasm for “Change” as their Chinese Johoreans. Heck, it is easier to persuade Sabah’s Kadazans than to get Johor’s Malays to give PR an opportunity.
It was said that it’s really rare to see poor Malays in Johor state. Even if they have financial problem, they can always count on outgoing Chief Minister Abdul Ghani to spare some cash to help them. Abdul Ghani was considered their God of Prosperity so why should Malay Johoreans give their votes to PR? While Chinese Johoreans are ready for the wave, the 2013 tsunami will not happen without Malay Johoreans’ participation. That was why Mahathir is allowed to play racial card till kingdom come. When was the last time Mahathir took it so serious that he asked Johoreans to bury Lim Kit Siang once and for all – hmm, can’t remember in my lifetime.
Actually, Mahathir does not really have to be so “kan-cheong” (flustered) about Lim Kit Siang’s bombardment in Johor state. Thanks to Najib’s 1Malaysia products and its 24 hours a day advertisements in mainstream media, Mahathir can reduce his Korean ginseng consumption due to excessive campaigning on the ground. Did you realize that besides Najib and Mahathir, you seldom see any ceramahs by other BN candidates? That was because TVs and radios are being used to blast 1Malaysia propaganda 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TV, radio and newspapers are doing BN’s ceramahs days and nights. Most importantly, BN candidates were not encouraged to ceramah to prevent them from making stupid mistakes.
BN strategy is on the right track – letting Najib and Mahathir do all the hard work parroting 1Malaysia products and scaring the shit out of rural Malays and Chinese about May 13, 1969 racial riots and Malays losing power. On the other hand, MCA should imitate it’s buddy MIC by being silent during this campaign period. Making silly stunts such as singing “Love is in the Air” as if they’re in a karaoke competition will only backfire badly, reducing its already small percentage of Chinese support. MCA should also stop its own 988 FM radio from asking (or rather “polling”) listeners about their like or dislike about BN-vs-PR campaign. If 988 FM radio is trying to get sampling on how to help BN tailor-make some goodies for the Chinese at the eleventh hour before polling date, they are wasting their time and may be shooting their own foot.
Essentially someone will make mistakes. Chances are high that PR will make more mistakes judging by their repetitive childish argument about “hudud law” between DAP and PAS, even till today. Too bad ROS (Registrar of Societies) chicken out from enforcing its ban on DAP’s Rocket symbol usage. It would be fun to see if DAP could win big under PAS symbol or otherwise. The only thing that is making this round of election fun to watch is the unknown component – 2.4 million new young voters’ voting pattern. It’s not true that majority of young voters are pro-opposition. While it may be true that majority of young Chinese voters are pro-opposition namely Pakatan Rakyat (due to obvious sentiment), the same cannot be said about young Malay and Indian voters.
Based on our random sampling example, a young Malay who works as a cashier at a Giant supermarket was anxious to go back to Kuala Kangsar to vote for PR, but another young Malay graduate who works at a Jusco superstore as a salesperson selling cameras was adamant about voting for BN. In this case, while the cashier prefers PR because she wants a better life, the salesperson likes BN due to BR1M money giveaway. There’s no clear winner from this pool of new young Malay vote-bank. Do you know there are many Chinese who initially had decided to vote for PR, but are now making a U-turn simply because they received a letter from Najib asking them to vote for BN since they’ve accepted BR1M money?
If even young professionals are still terrified that their votes are traceable due to voting paper’s serial number, can you blame the illiterates and ignorant for hiding under their bed upon receiving such letter from the government asking them to vote for BN? To people who seldom receive government official letter, such letter could be intimidating and would have psychology impact. Recipients thought that it is a must to return the favour for BR1M cash received. Like it or not, BR1M is still the ultimate weapon that could give BN another 5-year of life. And vote buying is what BN does best over the decades hence it would be foolish for PR to underestimate the influence of money and start counting their chickens before they hatch.
Now that advance voters (some soldiers) revealed that the supposedly indeliable ink used on voter’s index finder is, well, REMOVABLE after all, what can PR do considering the Election Commission is beating around the bush and dragging its feats over the matter? Now the people finally understand why Election Commission refused to do any demonstration to the public on the indeliable ink prior to the actual polling date. Even if Election Commission decides to admit a “wrongly purchase” ink error, it would be too late to re-purchase a new batch of indeliable ink again, considering polling date is about 4 days away. You may not like this but the actual Kingmakers is the Election Commission (*tongue-in-cheek*).
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