Key drivers that will feature in the coming Malaysian GE 2012

March 29, 2012

Key pointers that will likely to feature in the Malaysian GE 2012

> The delayed pendulum: Ma­lay­sian GEs have tended to follow a pendulum-like movement, with swings to and from Barisan National (BN) in alternate polls.

However, in 2012/3 there will be a subsidiary trend at work in Sabah, Sarawak and Johor (dubbed BN’s “Fixed Deposit”) if there is a shift of Chinese support while the rest of the peninsula reverts to form.

> The democracy wave from Singapore: The vote in southern Johor will be impacted by the many Malaysians who live and work in the city-state.

Having observed the republic’s two nation-wide polls (parliamentary and presidential) in 2011 and witnessed the extent to which the PAP government subsequently reversed unpopular housing, healthcare and immigration policies, Johoreans will have learnt the value of tactical voting in order to engineer policy shifts.

> Sabah: West Malaysian/Umno leaders continue to underestimate the importance of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants for Sabahans (especially the KadazanDusun and Murut communities).

> The Prime Minister’s two key performance indicators (KPIs): Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is slated to win the next GE.

However, victory is only the first of his KPIs.

The second is that he must surpass his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s 2008 showing (140 seats).

Indeed, the rationale behind Najib’s rise to the premiership was his unspoken promise of returning Umno (and BN) to its earlier glory. Failure to achieve this will lead to a reassessment of his leadership.

> Najib’s presidential style campaign: It has boosted the premier’s approval ratings. Given the fact that Malaysia has adopted the Westminster system, the PM’s popularity has not translated into greater support for Umno (or BN), leaving many potential candidates to struggle.

As such, there is no guarantee that Najib’s personal popularity will strengthen BN in the 13th GE.

> Newly-registered voters: Esti­mated at some 1.9 million, both sides are scratching their heads as to how to appeal to and win over this disparate and largely disinterested mass of voters.

There appears to be little party loyalty and commitment among this group. Their support may well depend on a last-minute and/or unexpected political “black swan-type” event triggering a sudden and massive swing in either coalition’s favour.

> Indian community: The community is no longer virulently anti-Barisan. While Malaysian Indians are by no means “grateful”, the Hindraf-connected anger has dissipated with the departure of MIC honcho Datuk Seri Samy Vellu and Datuk Seri G. Palanivel’s low-key leadership.

The Indian vote will help BN in countless marginal seats.

> NFC – “Istana” Mat Deros for 2012: In 2008 we had Umno’s Port Klang Assemblyman, the late Zakaria Mat Deros, and his infamous “Istana” built on allegedly illegally-acquired land.

In 2012/13 we have the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal, which continues to unfold.

The NFC has been very damaging in rural Malay and Indian communities where voters are most familiar with the economics of cattle-rearing.

> Changing face of domestic politics: Malaysian politics is shifting. This will be the last GE for “institutional” players, the Umno warlords who refuse to court public opinion.

Most of these political dinosaurs can’t be bothered to engage with the public, debate and/or win support from the media.

Indeed, party hacks – from both BN and Pakatan – will become increasingly unpopular and loathed.

They have no future and will be replaced by those who can think, talk and argue in public such as Saifuddin Abdullah, Zambry Abdul Kadir and Shabery Cheek.

Emotional intelligence and humility will also be important. The absence of these two qualities will lead to the premature political demise of certain candidates.

> Kedah: Pakatan extols its successes in Penang and Selangor. However, the coalition is strangely silent about the Kedah government’s less than sterling record of administration.

> Public trust in the Government: Widespread cynicism and distrust will force the Government to shelve many policy and business initiatives. A thorn in the eye of most Chinese electorate will the proposed acquisition of vast tracts of Chinese owned land belonging to predominantly Chinese traders in KL i.e Jalan Sultan, Bukit Bintang to make way for Najib’s MRT project.

BN’s ability to command public support without extensive consultation and stakeholder engagement has evaporated.

Will Najib & Co win, I am sure he thinks, he will. But I have feeling the seers may well be right after all, “leaders plan only to be ruled by accidents.” We live in interesting times it seems.


“NA has incredibly lousy advisors and even crappier strategist. I am sure he is sitting with RA and counting his chickens before they hatch every evening. But I really don’t see how it can possibly go his way on this one – not when he has already planned to seize so much Chinese land in the heart of KL to build the MRT along with enriching his extended family and cronies – its best to allow him to have a false sense of confidence; polls are never right, they only offer a perception of what may come to past. Will there be an upset? Will the internet be weaponized again? – I have absolutely no idea. But even if I am aware of something in the wings, I would still say, I have absolutely no idea. Infact I have no opinions on what will or will not happen! Let us just say, whatever the outcome will depend very much on NA’s karma – and if he wins, then his karma is good, but if he loses his hands and feet and still wins, then again it is karma – but if he manages to lose it all like Al Gore, then that has to be a personal tragedy and a source happiness for most thinking Malaysians. But remember, it is still karma – you see it is quiet impossible to hold on to power when you have alienated so many intellectuals. No leader has ever managed to do that in 5,000 years of human history – so why should he be allowed to get away with it? Do people regularly get away with murder in this day and age?”



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