Pakatan members and supporters nationwide woke up this week to SMSes, emails and phone calls showing concern, scorn , provocation etc over Tan Sri Isa's resounding victory in Bagan Pinang.The mainstream media had a field day.Finally, they got to suck up to their bosses without having to massively spin stories, just by reporting the truth.Creative catchy headlines like "The Second Coming of Isa", "Faux Pas" and "Voters gave it a PASs" .I decided to throw mine into the hat (see above)
Why did voters squarely reject Pakatan this time?Its anyone's guess, but if you ask me, its a case of history repeating itself.One can draw small parallels between this 'mini-rejection' of Pakatan and the 'macro-rejection' of BN in the 308 Tsunami. Think of it as a small wave of discontent, but if left unchecked , would perhaps even spell certain doom for Pakatan in the coming elections. Of course, its going to be difficult for PR to keep the momentum going with a weakening 'push' factor, i.e. Badawi and his weak administrative policies.What Pakatan needs to do, is to strengthen their 'pull' factor, i.e. prove itself a better alternative.Unfortunately there are many problems in the executing this, not the least being the executors themselves!The State government machineries are still very much pro Barisan, and Pakatan's own feet-dragging in having them replaced has cost it dearly, as seen in the Perak fiasco, where the Mayor of Ipoh and the State Secretary snubbed their former bosses pretty soon after the coup de 'etat.
But for me, and people like me, voting is more an emotive affair than it is a squarely logical one.Feelings of betrayal, anger, disgust at the present day government is likely to cause an "X" in the opposition box more than any propaganda or policy explained thoroughly through the most effective media.As Maya Angelou once famously said, people can forget what you said, people can forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.That is why PAS lost Bagan Pinang.Isa Samad managed to capture the warm fuzzy feeling of the people who wholeheartedly embrace him as their leader.National issues ranked second to his personality.I believe, Barisan did not win the seat, and PAS did not manage to penetrate it. But Isa managed to shield the seat from the national issue onslaught by his personality.Isa Samad won the seat, not UMNO and not Barisan.Isa Samad, with his warm personality and local acceptance.
As for PAS, its time for PAS to stop dilly-dallying and make your stands known! You cannot have your cake and eat it too! While people like Khalid Samad, Husam Musa, Mat Sabu, Nizar and Tuan Guru Nik Aziz are perceived as 'non-Muslim friendly',statements like banning beer, wanting to sleep with UMNO,calling for the banning of this concert and that one will not be tolerated by non Muslims and more liberal Muslims much longer.Please,please,please stop disengage the 'ban' switch in your brains and engage the 'discuss' mentality. Previously, it was OK to have differing views, as the people were done evaluating, and judged BN as 'must go at all costs'. Now that BN is responding ,and the anger of the people against the Badawi administration has fizzled, and people are beginning to judge the two as equals. This is where the problem begins for Pakatan. It is not a single fabric entity. It has to decide , and decide quickly what it wants to do, and do it, before the people lose interest in Pakatan.As it is, the interest in waning. The Indian support base, which six months ago was very much still intact for Pakatan is slowly eroding. The emergence of Makkal Sakti,a party hell bent on hijacking the Hindraf struggle appears to gaining ground on ex MIC members who are less suspectible to PR's 'grip'. The rise of two personalities T Murugiah and S. Subramaniam is also to be watched. Their movements could further erode Pakatan's Indian support base.
While the Chinese vote bank appears less easy to sway, don't take it for granted.Chinese are pragmatic voters, and it would be wise to reciprocate their trust in you with some measure of fairness, which is all they ask for.As for the Malay vote, from how I see it, is split to three.The hardcore PAS supporters, the hardcore UMNO supporters and those in between. Clearly, everyone in PAS was trying to win the in betweeners, the difference lies in how. While the Erdogan group opted to go with education,engagement and demonstration of what Islamic virtues truly are, it appeared the other group opted to out-hardline, out-Malay and out-Islamize UMNO.If I have learnt anything, is you can beat people in their own game, but you cannot beat people in a game of their own mental creation.You cannot beat a terrorist with terror, you cannot beat a religious zealot by matching his zeal with yours, and you cannot out-thump a Bible-thumper.Likewise you cannot hope to defeat UMNO in their own game.You can however, convince the players that your rules are better, and lure their players into your game, then beat them at that.Would that not be wiser? After all politics is a zero sum game, and when as a force,you come across a force you cannot destroy, you destroy yourself.
Lets not forget about Sabah and Sarawak. The sidelined part of Malaysia that fuels in money so the 'other part' of Malaysia can enjoy even more expensive highways and new national capitals.
Decide, then Pakatan, the ball has always been in your court.Decide once and for all if Malaysia is an Islamic Nation or an Islamic State. Decide if drinking alcohol and having loose morals is more important than the looting of national wealth beneath your eyes.Decide if crosses in schools is more of an eyesore than a multi billion dollar white elephant project.Decide if building pig farms equates selling your soul to the non Muslims.Decide if Ibrahim Ali is in or out. Decide if having a Malay Muslim lead a company is more important that it generating wealth for all.And then after it all, let the rakyat decide if you are here to stay or you are to go.
Pakatan did not 'gain' power. Pakatan was 'swept into' power.Let us not forget.
Make no mistake, UMNO is very strong.It will take Malaysians, not PAS, or Pakatan to take them down. As long as they have an awesome machinery and cults built around leaders like Isa Samad, winning the next General Election is a tall order for PR.But for the sake of Malaysia, it must be done.And Malaysians must prevent the crucifixion of PAS,DAP and PKR and the resurrection of BN, even if it means saving PR from itself!
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