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.

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