The latest hot news in town is whether Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Barisan Nasional are going for an early election. Various Umno ministers have been calling on their constituency members to be prepared, with some Umno leaders claiming that this is the best time to take advantage of the wins in the two recent by-elections in Perak and Selangor and the state elections in Sarawak.
On the other hand, PM Najib has not dropped any hints. But the deputy prime minister has discounted early elections. According to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the claim that the general election could be held as early as next March was based on speculation. He also stated the conclusion was reached using the predictions of unnamed Umno leaders polled by the media outlet.
“That is a prediction based on structured sampling which they did. But the reality is that we must keep our feet firmly planted on the ground and while the leaders in the government, BN and Umno don’t deny that the survey was done academically, but the reality is different”.
Whatever the truth is on this matter, I hope it is true that an early election will come about. In my previous posting, I had noted that we have had a lifetime of Umno/Alliance and Umno/BN rule in the country.
One lifetime is bad enough.
An early election will give us the opportunity to get rid of what an MCA leader has referred to as “jaguh kampung” (village heroes) – that is, Umno leaders who have enriched themselves and their cronies but let the Malays and all Malaysians down badly.
I am sure that this coming election will be different in its outcome for the following reasons.
1. Not many Malaysians are aware that the last election was stolen by BN. In the last GE, BN polled 5,237,699 votes, or 47.4 percent of the vote. The opposition Pakatan Rakyat polled 5,623,984 votes, or 50.9 percent of the vote. Yet BN won the election in terms of seats. Pakatan Rakyat increased its vote by 2.9 percent, while BN vote fell by 3.9 percent, yet Pakatan Rakyat made a net gain of only seven seats. BN pulled off this “remarkable feat” – 60 percent of the seats with 47 percent of the vote, leaving the opposition with 51 percent of the vote but only 40 percent of the seats by electoral cheating. In the coming election, I expect the opposition parties to go all out to expose the electoral tricks and deceit of BN which gave BN victory in the last election. This will ensure that the voting public delivers a clear cut and decisive victory for the opposition despite BN’s electoral manipulation.
2. Most important factor: In the last GE, the opposition won more votes but less seats because Umno won more seats in the rural areas. Now there are three Malay opposition parties (PAS, Amanah and Bersatu) and chances are that they can win more seats in the rural areas if they get their act together. Four to five years since the last election is a long time. Rural voters know the bad economic situation facing them today is entirely the work of Umno. The Felda Global Ventures listing, for example, has benefited Umno’s cronies but impoverished thousands of settlers and their families.
3. Today Malays and Malaysians are not only better educated but also better informed about what is taking place and what is good and bad for the country. Everybody knows how Malaysian Official 1 and 1MDB have not only cost the country billions of ringgit but have also brought us great shame and humiliation. Till today, we have not had an honest and full account of what has happened in the twin scandals of 1MDB and the massive donation into the PM’s personal account. Nobody in the voting booth in the next GE in peninsular Malaysia will cast his or her vote without taking into consideration these two mother-of-all political scandals. Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin will make sure of this.
4. Today too, we are seeing signs of BN breaking up. Some MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders are finally realising that they have been played out by Umno’s extremist policies and politics and are speaking out. We can expect that they and their supporters in BN will take silent revenge against Umno at the next poll. I also expect to see a few political parties from Sabah and Sarawak joining up with the opposition to cut Umno down to size at the federal level.
5. On a personal note too, I hope Tunku Razaleigh Hamzah and other Umno dissidents can leave Umno to join the opposition. They must realise that there is no future for them in a Najib-controlled Umno – only a sinking ship and the loss of whatever name and honour they have still.
To the PM and BN leaders – please have an early GE14 so that Malaysians have an early opportunity to say: “Good riddance to bad rubbish!”
KOON YEW YIN, a retired chartered engineer, is a philanthropist