At the current age of 87, former premier Mahathir is running out of time. He needs to position his son, Mukhriz Mahathir, at least as UMNO deputy president before he kicks the bucket. He deliberately lobbied two of his “budak suruhan” (boy-servants), Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Nordin, to be fielded as candidates in the 13th General Election, knowing well in advance that they would be roasted like Kenny Rogers Roasters. Both candidates who made headlines due to their racism can only survive in rural UMNO stronghold, not urban Shah Alam nor PAS’s area Pasir Mas. And why would Mahathir send both to the slaughterhouse?
Mahathir believed BN would win hands down. Opposition would need the help of all the Gods combined in the universe to win the just concluded 13th general election. Based on the strong assumption that more Malays, Indians and Chinese would vote for BN as compared to 2008 tsunami, the hope of regaining two-thirds majority was very real. Hence Mahathir’s dilemma – if Najib could regain the lost two-thirds majority, the latter would be invincible and this will definitely strengthen the then caretaker prime minister’s grip on the throne. He needs to somehow weaken Najib by sending the much tainted Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Nordin. Najib can win but cannot do so with a landslide victory.
Meanwhile, Najib thought he would do better than his predecessor sleepy head Abdullah Badawi. Even if he couldn’t regain two-thirds majority, he should have no problem getting more than 140 parliamentary seats achieved by Badawi. He was ill-advised by his team of advisors – that he couldn’t possibly do any worse than Badawi considering the free flow of money, food, beers, sexy ladies, lucky draws and whatnot to the Chinese voters especially in Penang. For the first time in their lifetime, the Chinese were treated like a King and Penang island was transformed into heaven.
Najib also put on Chinese costume and played drum like a clown during Chinese New Year to amuse the Chinese. He believed he was freaking popular with the Chinese and he particularly proud of his “Ah Jib Gor” Chinese name. He promised new Chinese schools wherever he went. Underground betting was also doing brisk business with RM100 win for RM1 bet in favour of Lim Guan Eng’s defeat. According to rumour mill, the stake was so high that you can sell your vote for as much as RM6,000 a piece in Penang. Then came the mega crowd to almost every single opposition’s ceramah.
But these opposition ceramahs attracted mainly the Chinese especially towards the end of the campaign period. With every new ceramah, the Chinese participants increased greatly. While Najib rubbished such pattern as a new threat, Mahathir was quite worried about the Chinese swing. That was why he put on “TSI” (Turbocharged Stratified Injection) mode and screamed every day till foam at mouth about Malay losing power. If Mahathir did nothing, the rural Malays could have given landslide victory to opposition. Najib would be biting his index finger in disbelief till today. Still, Mahathir miscalculated the quantum of the Chinese swing.
The swing of Chinese votes easily breached 90% in most of the constituencies, something which is as rare as finding dinosaur fossils in Malaysia. So while Mahathir lied about not expecting Najib to do worse than Abdullah Badawi, he was honest about didn’t expect the Chinese to dump BN in such a scale. That was why he was emotional and upset about the Chinese, so much so that he didn’t hold back in accusing the Chinese “rejected the hand of friendship” extended by (UMNO) Malays, never mind it was not true in the first place. He was seen openly and deliberately provoking Malays against the Chinese. Obviously it would be to BN’s advantage if Malays start to distrust the Chinese.
Najib needs to survive his next test – UMNO election – hence his parroting about ungrateful Chinese was expected. Actually, Najib is still in a daze, not knowing the root cause of the Chinese’ rejection despite all the goodies and entertainment given to them (*grin*). You don’t need to be a genius to predict that Chinese will once again become UMNO’s punching bag in its coming general assembly. In fact, Mahathir thought it would be a waste of time to recapture Chinese votes by way of sweet-talk them. If the only way to divide the Malays and Chinese is to play racist card again, so be it. The Chinese needs to be intimidated in order for them to go back in droves to BN’s arm like herd of sheep.
Anwar Ibrahim realizes that Mahathir’s latest extreme racial game will have a huge impact on his coalition and he needs to diffuse it fast. If the Chinese do not get the backing from their Malay comrades, they would be too scare to throw their support for PR again in the future. Pakatan Rakyat would be history come next 14th general election. That was why Anwar called for a mega rally, the first after election, to rubbish the “Chinese Tsunami” scare tactic trumpeted by both Mahathir and Najib. Some speculated the reason why police flip-flop about permit requirement for yesterday’s rally, held in Kelana Jaya stadium, was to embarrass Anwar Ibrahim as the spooked Chinese and partners, DAP and PAS, would most probably not present.
However, despite last minute notice, the stadium was packed to the brim. Social media research group Politweet.org estimated the crowd size in and around the stadium at between 64,000 and 69,000, given that the stadium capacity is about 25,000. Some claimed there were easily 100,000 people who answered the call last night, with thousands more stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it to the stadium. If Anwar and Najib administration’s objective was to test the waters as to the relevance of Pakatan Rakyat post 13th general election, the people particularly the young chaps have overwhelmingly given their endorsement to the leadership of Anwar to continue the struggle, judging from Wednesday’s mind-boggling success.
Psychologically, Anwar Ibrahim knew Najib administration would be very careful not to add fuel into the already furious opposition supporters. It would be suicidal to deploy police or FRU and start arresting the public, or to spray them with water cannon, and in the process agitates the situation. It’s always better to let these frustrated people scream till their lungs burst in the stadium. They need to release their steam. Anwar was actually praying for a police crackdown, the more brutal the better, because then he can easily put the blame on Najib’s administration and attracts more sympathizers. Too bad Najib didn’t give Anwar the bullet.
Anwar can now replicate the same rally to other towns throughout the country in order to push the momentum going. Armed with 51.4% of popular votes against BN’s 48.6%, Anwar is set to spread the message of PR’s victory being stolen. Anwar knows that the “flames of desire” amongst the youngsters is his only hope if he still wish to become the country’s 7th prime minister. If there’s one person who knows how to rally people by taking advantage of their sentiments, that person has to be Anwar Ibrahim. Pakatan Rakyat can also take comfort from White House’s congratulatory announcement that comes with a note about irregularities.
As much as Mahathir hates to admit it, this war is far from over. Unless PAS or DAP defects from the current coalition, the future doesn’t look good for BN, if they still intends to recapture Selangor or Penang state. Just like the excessive parties thrown in by BN during the campaign, playing too much racism toys could backfire badly. Mahathir made his biggest mistake by picking Anwar Ibrahim from Abim movement (Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia) to be nurtured as future prime minister. Will he make another fatal mistake by playing racial card only to unite all the multiracial technology-aware voters instead?
Do you know why Anwar tweeted that his coalition PR has won the election just after two hours into the counting process? On its own, PR couldn’t posibly win the election. At best, it could force BN into chaos with a single digit majority win. What gave Anwar the confidence of tweeting such message was his pact with Sarawak and Sabah greedy politicians in the BN coalition. Anwar had been having tons of meetings with these politicians especially the corrupted Sarawak Chief Minister. With double digits frogs ready to jump, depending on the “rewards”, Anwar was damn sure he would be the country’s 7th prime minister.
Again, Anwar couldn’t keep his cool and his early tweet raised red flags. BN’s war room’s director Mahathir was notified of this troubling tweet message and the old fox decided to triple BN’s insurance coverage. Massive frauds or not, BN just couldn’t take lightly of Anwar’s tweet hence the extraordinary delay in releasing the results. That was why you saw only the BN’s parliamentary scoreboards kept churning new score while the opposition PR’s own scorecard practically didn’t move at all. In certain seats, requests for recount was ignored totally. The priority was to ensure Election Commission announce officially that BN has win the election with comfortable majority seats. Thereafter PR can have the remaining leftovers (*hats off to genius BN*).
Nevertheless, Mahathir was right when he questioned Najib’s strategists, whose ideas may have contributed to BN’s poor performance. If only Najib has strategists such as DAP’s Liew Chin Tong – one of the brilliant architects who proposed and justified that the war should be brought to BN’s stronghold, Johor. But considering how Najib was obsessed with becoming popular as if he was running for the President of the United Malaysia, it wasn’t hard to guess what type of strategists that fit his bill. Najib’s advertising and marketing method was “overkill” to the extent people got sick and tired with its propaganda.
Najib and Mahathir should realize that by cursing and victimizing the Chinese is not a long-term solution, unless of course they’ve given up on their future votes in totality. Still, what do they plan to do next? Close all the Chinese schools, force all of them into unemployment and stop providing them electricity, gas and water as punishment for being naughty? And in return the Chinese stop paying taxes? Gimme a break. It’s better to hedge on more funds – Malays, Chinese and others – rather than to burn the bridge with the Chinese and rely on one less fund in its next general election.
Najib administration has to remember that urban Malays were also in the same boat as the Chinese in rejecting his coalition. It’s time for BN to really ponder on its next course of direction. Will there be more Bersih 4.0 till version 8.0 rallies, assuming it would be an annual event? Surely Ambiga knows Election Commission would not give a hood even if they organize rallies on weekly basis. Perhaps overwhelming internationally political pressure could move the stubborn Election Commission.
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