GE-13: The Contest for My Country, my constituency

April 11, 2013

GE-13: The Contest for My Country, my constituency

Anwar-Najib-300x202The whole country is one vast constituency and candidates can contest anywhere they want. If Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim wants to throw his hat into any state, he is not abandoning his old constituency of Permatang Pauh. If Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak wants to fight and “die” in Pekan, that does not mean he is loyal to his constituency.

The question of loyalty does not arise because a seat is just a platform for aspiring candidates to build or prolong their political career. In politics, you owe your loyalty to the whole country and not to a small constituency.A popular leader is one who is able to command the respect and support of the people all over the country.

Everywhere he goes he will be loved. Hence everywhere he contests, he can win. It does not necessarily follow that pulling out your roots in one constituency and planting them in another is an act of betrayal. To be a leader of all people means to represent all their constituencies.

The pertinent question is: if Najib is so popular nation-wide, why stand in cosy Pekan? His popularity will stay with him wherever he goes. He will have no problem contesting in a rural or urban seat in small or big state, near or across the sea. But the Pekan “boy” knows he will be taking a big risk if he dares step out of the perimeter of comfort. He would rather “perish” in Pekan than be buried in the quicksand of political oblivion in some other place.

Najib may be hugely popular with the rural heartland and in constituencies where he has liberally distributed election goodies. But this “good” side of him cannot hide the festering sores on his political skin: his alleged “role” in the murder of a Mongolian woman, his harsh crackdown on Bersih supporters pushing for free and clean elections, corruption scandals, his deafening silence over a string of deaths in police custody. All his mammoth projects cannot wash away the many “sins” of his government.

If the Prime Minister were to choose a different battleground where the voters cannot be easily influenced by his raft of reform programmes, and know his many failings, it is likely that the outcome will tell a different story. But Najib will stick to Pekan, where the people will not forget his many generous acts. He cannot betray them. He must stand by them through thick and think.

Bad politics

Anwar, too, will be able to romp home easily in any constituency he chooses on the strength of his popularity. But the PKR strongman prefers his familiar turf in Permatang Pauh. He, like Najib, employs a similar line of argument: they must not run away from their home ground. It is bad politics. All politicians are well groomed in the crooked ways of politics camouflaged as “strategic” moves.

While Najib and Anwar elected to stay put in their respective fortress, DAP Kit Siangironman Lim Kit Siang chose to venture out of his safe playground in Ipoh Timor to the far, unknown southern territory of Gelang Patah in Johor. There the crusty warrior hopes to dent the Barisan Nasional shield and create a huge Pakatan Rakyat tidal wave that will undermine the BN redoubt. But “Kit” has carefully picked Gelang Patah for one sole reason: Chinese form the majority of the voters there. His choice is dictated by the demands of his race.

All – Najib, Anwar and Kit Siang – are popular only in the sense that they fight for their respective community. They may harp on national issues to gain national stature and kiss the hands of all and sundry – Chinese, Indians, Malays, others – but in their hearts, they are closely aligned to their ethnic roots. Without Malay support, Najib will suffer a political demise; without Malay backing, Anwar will forever be wandering in the political wilderness; without Chinese prop, Kit Siang will be permanently removed from the national stage.

Najib, Anwar and Kit Siang will be fighting for their political life and each will be pitching hard for support. Najib must bag Pekan, Anwar must roll up Permatang Pauh and Kit Siang must trounce whoever is his heavyweight opponent. But the ultimate prize will be decided by the voters in other constituencies. If Najib enjoys widespread support and trust, his BN horse may gallop to the finishing line, riding on his popularity. Pekan alone cannot deliver Najib the trophy. Anwar can trip the BN horse if only the voters in every constituency see him and his coalition pact in favourable light.

In the end, the contest is all about the popularity of Najib and Anwar. It has assumed a presidential character with voters given only two choices: Najib or Anwar. These two gladiators will be fighting from their safe seats but will their victory be a true test of their popularity? Voters do not elect Najib or Anwar directly to be the Prime Minister. Najib can still be the Prime Minister as the leader of UMNO – and still remain unpopular.

12 thoughts on “GE-13: The Contest for My Country, my constituency

  1. Suggestion … Najib should contest against Fuziah Salleh in Kuantan.

    Then we will see how grateful the people of Kuantan are for what he has done for us Kuantan people e.g. RM5 million for the Chinese school, RM100 million for public works, the new Kuantan bus service, the world class state-of-the-art Lynas plant …..

  2. GE 13 is not about leaders’ popularity. No more about comfort zone. This time is for change. A chance for a new government that is innovative and able to lead Malaysia to face the challenges of this world. Malaysians have had enough of the corrupted and arrogant BN. The voters are going to give PK a chance to turn things around for Malaysia. PK has proven records in Penang and Selangor. Malaysians can see the light over the horizon. GE 13 will make this light shines even brighter. At least capturing Johor will bring BN doom and hope for all Malaysians. Voters are confident PK plans will work this time.
    GE13 is all about getting rid of BN and giving PK a chance to perform.

  3. The Election Commission (EC) is quick to approve on indelible ink, is one of the demand of the Rakyat that EC approved without hesitation.


    Postal voters votes on 30th April and get their finger inked. Polling day is on 5th May. There is sufficient time to wash away the “indelible” ink in five days, to vote again and again.

    I think the phantom voters has done it numerous times in the past without indelible ink, with indelible ink makes no difference.

    Dynamo must be going good sales for the next few days to come.
    Postal voters would have difficult time to decide where to buy Dynamo, Tesco, Jusco, Giant, Carrefour or Mydin? Too many choices.

    Voting is the easy part, it has been decided for them.

  4. With that latest video of our Rear Admiral in the hands of PapaGomo, I doubt that “voters in every constituency see him and his coalition pact in favourable light”.

  5. Najib only knows how to stay in his comfort zone. Venture out of Pekan and he will know how much people support him.

  6. At the Bandar Tun Razak ceramah on Tuesday night, Anwar Ibrahim spoke about being told by sources that the PM Najib Razak has given notice to his boys to knock out three young PR candidates at all cost ie Nurul Izzah (Lembah Pantai), Rafizi Ramli (Pandan) and Tony Pua (PJ Utara). He (Anwar) admitted Tony Pua will have an easy passage defending his seat but voiced concern about Nurul Izzah and Rafizi Ramli….

    He told the crowd he discussed this at home with Nurul Izzah about a safe seat for GE13 but she insisted on defending Lembah Pantai because “no papa, I will defend Lembah Pantai, because these are my people and I will not abandon them now…”

  7. I think the issue here is not popularity. The issue here is whether I am truly a Malaysian, to be treated as one. That we all love our country is not even the question, if we dont, none would bother trying to change the country for better. For the second class citizens, here is the chance not to be called pendatang anymore. For all Malaysians, here is the chance to chart our country to greatness.

    Here is the chance that we been waiting for three decades, to bring back unity, and prosperity for all, not just for the few with the connections. Here the chance for us to stand together irrespective of our religion and irrespective of whether our forefathers came from China, India, Palembang, or any place – the only thing that matter is that we can truly be Malaysians. Here is the chance for us to elect people that can change a government to serve all Malaysians. Thats what counts.

  8. Nurul Izzah will win hands down when the EC removes the “phantom” votes. How can the EC explain for the sharp and unusual increase in voters in Lembah Pantai and why is it that the courts do not allow the electoral rolls to be scrutinised ?

    If the EC is fair and clean, they should have easily allowed the rolls to be examined and cleaned once and for all.

    Nurul is fighting against all odds to retain her seats to the extent that her campaigners were denied access to the PPR flats by UMNO-linked hooligans.

  9. Dato you insinuated wisely that we are a chauvinistic lot . How true, and this will not change in our lifetime. We pray PKR will rectify this.
    Don’t expect too much from politicians. They will promise you anything and everything. We as a people have to decide what we want and then go for it.–Din Mericsn

  10. Like I have always said, GE-13 is in line to be the dirtiest elections in the nation’s history. You can mount all the electoral challenges you want afterwards under the Election Offences Act 1954. It is not going to make any difference in the outcome. Selangor and Kedah are toss up states.

  11. This writer got it all wrong. The MP is voted in by his/her constituency and should respect the wishes of his/her voters. If the majority of the voters in a particular constituency votes in a candidate from an opposing party, the voters have voiced out their feelings that they want an opposition. The MP is then bound to respect the wishes of the voters and make his/her stand in Parliament based on the wisahes of the voters.

    Unlike a Presidential election in the US where the constituency is the people of the US, in Malaysia it’s very much at a local level. The PM is then elected by the party with the majority seats. Unless Malaysian understand this concept, there will always be this misconception that Najib is vying to be elected as PM rather than as an MP.

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