GE14 thoughts and predictions

In less than 48 hours, eligible Malaysians will be voting in “the mother of all elections”. Ever since Najib Razak announced the dissolution of parliament on April 28th, election campaigning has now reached fever pitch. Everywhere you go you will see election flags, posters and banners. Rallies and talks are being held all over the country.

Let’s take a look at all the major players in the 14th general election shall we.

The incumbent Barisan Nasional has been going from strength to strength. Despite all the scandals tainting its leadership, as Mr Najib said “cash is king”. There’s no grouse or grievance that cannot be fixed with a wad of cash here and some goodies and project promises there. Despite some inroads by the opposition, the village and rural folks are mostly eternally grateful to the patronage and handout system perpetuated by the ruling coalition. Apart from the rural folks, who are the rest of these BN supporters? Folks who had been brainwashed with propaganda for a very long time. Their fathers believed it so there’s no reason for the sons to not continue believing. Barisan Nasional controls pretty much all the mainstream media from print to TV to radio. This GE they have gone one up and swarmed every social media platforms with self-praising ads and propaganda. Basically you can’t watch a YouTube video or read an online news portal without watching a few seconds of BN-sponsored ads these days. Then there are those people whose livelihood depends on the survival of BN. The businessmen, cronies, contractors and BN bigwigs. It’s crony capitalism at its purest form.

From the ashes of Pakatan Rakyat, rose Pakatan Harapan (PH) with two new members - PPBM (Bersatu) and Amanah. Together with the veteran PKR and DAP, the opposition presented a strong and unified front for the first time in Malaysian political history. Tun Mahathir who has always been vocal and critical against Najib founded PPBM along with several key former UMNO leaders who had been sacked from the party for speaking out against the party president. Meanwhile, Amanah - a splinter party from PAS, offers a fresh alternative to the communal-religious party who decided to break apart from Pakatan Rakyat in 2016. Amanah founder and leaders consist mainly of folks who are friendly to the Pakatan cause. As the only credible alternative to the BN hegemony, will PH become the new government in Malaysia by the end of #GE14? We shall wait and see. Who are the Pakatan supporters? People who’d like to see Malaysian governed by a clean and trustworthy leadership, free from scandals and corruption. Folks from all walks of life and all ages who’d like to see a better Malaysia for themselves and also their children. Ordinary folks like you and me. And of course, people who has a beef with BN and/or PAS. Former leaders or members who were sacked, alienated by the party.

Prodded and poked by BN and the mainstream media, PAS fell hook, line and sinker to the islamic state poser. While they were willing to put a burner on their islamic state agenda in GE13 and focus instead on welfare state, with the demise of Tuan Guru Nik Aziz and Anwar Ibrahim being behind bars again, it didn’t take long for the islamist party to separate from the opposition coalition pact. After ejecting all Pakatan-friendly leaders in their last party elections, PAS president Hadi Awang has didn’t waste time to put hudud as front and centre of their agenda. As expected, secular DAP protested loudly against the hudud agenda and soon they are at loggerheads publicly before PAS deciding to leave the opposition coalition and go on their own way. Who are these PAS supporters? Just like BN, they are those who were brainwashed since they were young. Conservative folks and their children. Rural folks who are obsessed with the islamist party and their leadership, who in their eyes could do no wrong. It doesn’t matter if the party big wigs drive in imported cars, live in their huge bungalows, tagged by their wives. For as long as they appear to fight the cause of Islam, they’d willing to die for the party and the leadership (Memali anyone?).

Tomorrow, I will be starting my 1,000 kilometres, 48 hours round trip to my hometown in order to cast my vote. The Election Commission could have held it on Saturday or even Labour Day but nooo, it has to be Wednesday, in the middle of the week. It’s as if they don’t want people to go back and vote. Although the government have announced Wednesday, 9th of May as a public holiday, many folks will still be having problems to go back and vote. Those who stay far away from their workplace will have to travel many miles and usually take another day off for the return trip. Let’s not even talk about voters in Sabah and Sarawak or overseas. Most will probably miss their chance to vote. In a mature democracy, the government will announce the election date months in advance so people can make arrangement. Compare that to this government who kept the election date a secret for whatever reason. Still, the people fought back and initiated the #pulangmengundi movement, sponsoring folks who vote far away from their workplace regardless of their political affiliation. So far they have managed to collect and distribute over 200,00 ringgit worth of funds and tickets to hundreds of people.

Apart from that, the Election Commission and the Registry of Society has gone out of their way to sabotage the opposition cause in this election. You have probably read all about them in the news and Bersih have listed most of their offences below. At the time of writing, many overseas postal voters have yet or just received their ballot papers and most will probably not make it home by election day.

Unless you have a time machine, it is quite difficult to predict the outcome of “the mother of all elections”. BN leaders and supporters are pretty positive of their outlook. Most are confident of winning the majority of the parliamentary seats. The malay tsunami or whatever tsunami that the opposition is keen on trumpeting is just wishful thinking on their part. After all, they’ve got money, media and machineries on their side. Even if they lose the popular vote again, a simple majority is still a majority. Add that to the PAS factor who’s going to split the opposition votes, the outcome is clear.

Fresh from the disappointment of GE13, many opposition supporters including me a still wary of our chances in #GE14. Yes, the number of crowds at opposition rallies had simply doubled this time around especially with the pull of Mahathir, the grand old man of Malaysian politics. And PPBM, created especially to make inroads into the malay heartland has somewhat offered fresh optimism to the opposition cause. Also not forgetting the Warisan factor in Sabah who if the social media is to be believed, is going to give Sabah BN a run for their money in the Borneo state. That said, despite the decline in number of supporters in several polls conducted near the election, the PAS factor is still going to cause significant setback to the opposition. If a largely united opposition pact still can’t win in GE13, what are the odds of a 3-cornered fight with BN on one side and PH-PAS on the other side? On paper, it will be easily a landslide victory for BN.

Trust me when I say, nobody liked it more for the opposition pact to lead Malaysia post #GE14 and create a two-party system in the country. My friends on Twitter had been optimistic of our chances. A few former BN and UMNO leaders such as Tun Mahathir and Tun Zaim are confident of the people kicking out BN come May 9th. As much as I like that to happen, I am going to predict BN winning a simple majority again. Yes Mahathir is a great pull to some but still a sore point to many. The PAS factor cannot be overlooked and while Sabah is predicted to offer some seats to the opposition, Sarawak is a foregone conclusion. State side, I predict PH will retain Selangor and Penang, perhaps win Kedah but that’s it. BN will retain the rest of the states and even win Kelantan back for the first time in decades. PAS will be the biggest loser in this election.
I’d like to see my prediction proven wrong though, that would be swell. After GE13, I’m cautiosly optimistic of our chances. Realistically, the rural folks plus Borneo will hand-deliver #GE14 to BN again.

Come on Malaysians prove me wrong.

A letter to my children - a GE14 musing

To my beloved children,

By the time you would bother to read this, we have probably gone through or is preparing for our 15th or 16th general election. If I don’t bring you to register as a voter on each of your 21st birthday, you have my permission to smack me on the head for being forgetful. Do you know how important it is for you to exercise your democratic right as a voter? People in despotic regimes like China, Myanmar & Saudi Arabia don’t get to vote you know. They don’t get to decide who runs the country. So whoever holds power are free to do whatever the hell they wish, sometimes real horrible things. And they don’t have to answer to anybody because they don’t hold elections.

Anyway I digress. In about a week’s time, me and my contemporaries will be voting in our 14th general election. The outcome of this election will decide what our future, your future would be. Around this time next week I could be shedding tears of joy for a new government to rule Malaysia or weeping in sorrow for the current regime to continue their shenanigans. Well, not actually weep in sorrow but more like sigh in huge frustration. If everything went well, then I’m grateful. If not, bear in mind I have tried my best to advocate change. I did whatever I could in my power to persuade my family and friends to vote this BN government out. On social media, instant messaging, this blog, even face to face with some of them. I’m no politician, it is not my job to go all out and campaign on a stage or campaign trail. Even then, I’m not sure I succeeded in persuading your mother to vote for change. To be fair she said she’s still mum (get it?) about her choice at the moment. I don’t know whether it’s a good or a bad thing because if you had conviction, you will say out loud and you will say instantly who you will be voting for. That said, I’m not about to force your mother to do something she does not want to do. It is just not right. She needs to decide for herself. We’ll see if I could change her mind in the next few days.

You see children, our country is in a bad shape. You might not see it now but by the time you’re all grown up, your generation will be the ones living in the mess that my generation has created. There’s a really bad guy ruling our country. You might have seen his face on TV, YouTube ads and many billboards on the streets. He’s a balding elderly guy with glasses, white hair and a smirk on his face. This bad guy did some really bad things. He stole our money and use it to stay in power. He will never admit it of course and so do his friends and the news on television. But anybody with an ounce of brain and conscience in Malaysia knows that he did it. The evidences are overwhelming. The co-conspirator that helped him steal the money had been running all over the place from the authorities from some other countries. The crime that they committed is being investigated in many countries around the world. The authorities in America has called it “the largest kleptocracy* case in U.S history”. Until now, I am ashamed that my fellow Malaysians keep voting this bad guy and his band of merry followers into office time after time. But you do know that I tried, right?

And it's not a small amount of money either that he stole. It's not a few hundred thousand or a few million but it's about 2.6 billion ringgit. That's 2.6 with 11 zeroes behind it. It could pay for your school fees and your siblings', your classmate's and everybody at your age's college tuition until they graduate. You better be pissed off at this theft because you could be getting free education. I'm still pissed off because I'm still paying for my PTPTN loans.

So if this bad guy stole our money, why didn’t the police or the courts arrest him and put him on trial? Well children, with power and politics, there’s a lot of things one man can do. Power corrupts people and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And it is not for lack of trying either. A few decent and good people actually tried to get this bad guy tried for his crimes but they were all sacked from their jobs. You see children, this bad guy holds the highest political position on the land. He has the power to sack and appoint judges, even tell the police what to do. And sadly, he had abused those powers to the hilt just to make sure he escapes justice. So far, all our efforts to get him to face justice has failed because he wields so much power. Our only option left to get this criminal out of office is to defeat him and his party at the elections. Only then the new government will have the power and resolve to bring this man to justice.

If he did so many bad things and a lot of people know about it, why does he and his party win all these elections you ask? Well my children, winning an election is not as easy or straightforward as you might think. Our democratic and election process is so rigged and one-sided, the opposition has to work doubly hard and win double the amount of votes the incumbent gets in all the seats just to win the election. Rigged how? Imagine a game of football between Liverpool and Man Utd. If the rules and the official are fair and both teams follow the rules, then the match will be fair and there will be one undisputed winner. Imagine however if Man Utd tells the referee what to do, ignores the offside rule, change the position of the goal post and start the match with 5 goals advantage, you think Liverpool will have the chance the win the match fairly? Being a Liverpool fan I’m sure as heck think they will try their best and still beat United but the reality is probably much more stark. That’s the state of our democratic process today. One-sided and unfair.

Let me give you some examples. The ruling party pretty much control most mainstream media - television & radio stations and also major newspapers. They get to reach a lot of people in the cities and also villages and will only tell their side of the story (which is also known as propaganda). The opposition has no such access to these medias. If it wasn’t for the Internet or social media, they’d be at a tremendous disadvantage today. And all these propaganda, they worked really well too. I should know because I used to be brainwashed and swallow their words whole before I wisened up.

Then they also control all the government agencies and statutory bodies. The Election Committee (EC) draw up voting constituents that lumps potential opposition supporters in one place, breaks them up in another just to give the ruling party a better chance at winning. If you Google gerrymandering in Malaysia you will get a better idea. And just recently, the EC decided to hold the general election on a Wednesday of all days. Although they would never admit it, their head take his orders from the government and the day and holding election on a weekday is an obvious voter suppression ploy to reduce voters turnout. Urban voters who are most affected by GST and cost of living increase will be affected by the midweek voting since many will have to travel a long way just to cast their vote. Some might not even bother to come back at all because of the distance, cost and work commitments. And low voter turnout will usually benefit the incumbents.

Apart from that the Registry of Society has done their best to delay the registration of the opposition coalition on many frivolous grounds. They had no problem with UMNO not holding their party election for years though. Add that to the blatant vote-buying - cash handouts and promises of projects in various constituents by the caretaker government, all against election laws and conveniently ignored by the authorities of course. You’d be surprised that the opposition had a fighting chance at all.

Dear children,

Let me not beat around the bushes anymore and tell you who are the main players in this “mother of all elections” and what is at stake. The 3 main parties who are fighting to win our votes are the ruling BN coalition, the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition and then there’s the troublemaker PAS. You see PAS used to be together in the opposition camp but their so-called islamic state agenda has torn the opposition apart and in the process give BN the upper-hand. Personally, I have a problem with PAS’ version of hudud or islamic law. It has no place in this multicultural and multiracial country. They claim it will not affect or touch the non-muslims but we should know better than to believe that. Just look at Acheh for example. When the islamist become the majority in the government, do you think they will pander or care for the wishes and the rights of the minority? I don’t think so. Anyway, secular DAP is adamant in opposing any kind of islamist law in the country (which is how it should be), and it is inevitable that PAS, prodded by BN and the mass media to make sure those two at loggerheads with each other which led to the eventual demise of the old opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat.

To cut the story short, PAS is now out of the opposition picture and they’re going at it on their own which is bad news for the opposition but good news for BN. BN folks will always vote for BN and opposition folks will likely remain with PH. But PAS folks who used to vote for the opposition last time around could split the opposition votes and lead BN to victory, at least that is the most likely scenario. On the other hand, PAS will also likely lose most if not all the non-muslims votes since nobody in their right non-muslim mind would want to vote for PAS so them losing many state and parliament seats is a real possibility. And the winner here? You might guess it, BN of course.

Hence this is why my children, it is pertinent we must vote for Pakatan Harapan and only Pakatan Harapan to bring about change. There is no hope left for BN to change and PAS, they’re also equally hopeless. PAS don’t really aim to govern the country at national level, they don’t have the numbers nor the support of the majority. The only people who will steadfastly vote them are conservative people like your grandpa and grandma and many of your uncles and aunts as well. To them it doesn’t matter if the opposition vote is split or there’s no change in government, as long as their beloved islamist party is in power, they’re happy. It doesn’t matter if the bad guy that I mentioned earlier is brought to justice or not nor does it matter that the cost of living, petrol and goods go down after GST is abolished as promised by the PH government. It doesn’t matter if there is institutional reforms so that the system cannot be easily abused again by the people in power. None of that matters in their tiny little heads.

You see children, it is imperative that we kick out the BN government in this election for we might not have another chance again. It is very likely that once the bad guy and his party get another shot at power, he will change the rules and destroy the integrity of important institutions just to stay out of jail. This bad guy is like cancer to this country and the longer he stays in power, the more likely his disease will spread into every fabric of society. Once that happen, it will take a very-very long time for our country to recover, if ever. And sadly children, it will be your generation that is left to deal with the mess started by my generation.


As my parting words, let us pray that my fellow Malaysians from all walks of life, in every corner of the country will rise up just once and do the right thing, which is to kick out the evil BN government out of power and replace it with Pakatan Harapan so that there will be still hope for all of us, for a better future for you and me. Amen.

Yours truly,


*If you don’t know what kleptocracy is, see this Wikipedia page.