February 10, 2013
GE-13: BN Victory with a Smaller Majority?
by Neil Khor (02-09-13)@http://www.malaysiakini.com
COMMENT: In the past couple of weeks, Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have been consistently warning Malaysians that if we go to the polls wanting “change for the sake of change”, we may end up with a Pakatan Rakyat government. Development would grind to a halt and our lifestyle will never be the same again.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) even reassured Malaysians that even if Pakatan were to win, he will not “run away”. He felt certain that Pakatan would systematically go after those friendly to the BN and this will be bad for peace and development.
Dr Mahathir also said that it is up to UMNO to decide the fate of PM Najib Abdul Razak if the latter does not do as well as Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after the 2008 general election.
In all approval ratings, Najib continues to do much better than UMNO and the BN. It is quite clear that the BN wants voters to think very hard or at least approach the ballot box with some level of ambivalence. We may then vote more cautiously.
Those of us who are members of PERKESO and are above 40 years old, have received vouchers for free medical check-ups. Perhaps, if we are very lucky, the government will cancel income tax for 2013!
Indian Community given special attention
Special attention has been given to the Indians. Since 2008, the Federal government has spruced up “Little India” in Brickfields, provided aid to Tamil schools, did away with Interlok as a national text-book owing to passages deemed offensive to the Indian community, increased the intake of Indians into the civil service and now looking seriously into the applications for citizenship for stateless Indians.
Selangor has just cancelled a development project near Batu Caves as the project was deemed to be unsuitable so near a sacred Hindu temple. But perhaps what takes the cake is the legalisation of Hindraf with all parties falling over themselves to create a strategic alliance with the Hindu rights group. By recognising Hindraf, the government indirectly acknowledges the legitimacy of the movement’s grievances.
The “Allah” Issue
For Muslims, the ‘Allah’ issue is the centrepiece of a very clever public relations exercise. Whilst Dr Mahathir said that UMNO does not share all the views of PERKASA, the Pakatan said that UMNO’s right wing has out-sourced its strident Malay rights agenda to PERKASA.
Whatever the truth is the effect has been brilliant. Christians are suddenly cast as challenging Muslims on their insistence that they be allowed to use the word ‘Allah’ when referring to God. Muslims now have a choice – side with BN, the religious establishment and the rulers to guarantee the status-quo or vote Pakatan and take a risk.
The Sabah RCI, which continues its slow grinding process, will yield all the necessary surprises distracting Malaysians from the unfolding BN election machinery. It will, in the process, taint both Dr Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim.
Let history do its work
But Dr Mahathir is not leading the Opposition coalition whilst Anwar is and all that BN needs to do is to let history do its work.
Anwar’s (left) complicity, his history with the BN and his close relationship with Dr Mahathir will be his undoing. Mr Teflon, no sex crimes can stick to the former Deputy Prime Minister, but what about his close relationship with Dr Mahathir?
In the meantime and as expected Sabah’s fractious political opposition is disintegrating.
Sabahans are right on one thing, so long as Peninsular-based political parties do not get the boot, Sabah will never be united.
So, there is really very little hope as both sides of the political divide will never leave Sabah alone. Yes, the ground may be shifting but it will take a miracle for one to one fights to take place. In short, BN has the advantage here and will probably retain the state.
So, if all the stars are aligned, why are BN leaders all warning Malaysians that if we voted based upon sentiment, we will live to regret it.
No matter how bad things are, we have a good life the logic goes. No matter how unfair the government is, the MCA is telling the Chinese that they have their Chinese schools, they can make money and they can eat pork. Do not take these things for granted.
If PAS is in the ruling government, no matter what the Pakatan says, the general tenor of Malaysia will be more conservative. Yes, there are some bits of the government that are corrupt but which government on earth is perfect. Even Singapore, on the happiness index, life is not as good as in Malaysia. We have to tolerate a little bit of corruption for the “freedom” we enjoy.
For those who are still not convinced, the BN is bringing Psy to Penang, a direct challenge to the DAP’s Ubah Gangnam-style.
Why change when we have never had it so good. In fact, the government will continue to give out BR1M, continue subsidies indefinitely and yes, I repeat again, give us a big ang pow by cancelling income tax for 2013. Heck, why not cancel income tax permanently if it wins two thirds majority!!
So, can the BN really lose? It seems that from the antics of BN leaders, there is a possibility that the ruling government will not perform as well as Najib expects and so far the campaign reeks of desperation.
We should prepare for the worst. A BN win with a smaller majority and with a few more state governments going to the Opposition. It will most likely be a heavily UMNO-dominated government with small coalition partners, the biggest casualties being the MCA, MIC and Gerakan. It will be a ruling coalition that might find it impossible to govern effectively. It will most likely be one more GE before BN is defeated.
In the weeks ahead, expect the situation to be tense as politicians go head-on in Malaysia’s hottest and most contested elections in history.