Hibiscus-Trinightly fractured strategy

The formula of the Opposition dismantling the Pakatan Rakyat (by splitting PAS into dissenter group and showing their true colours of political misfit with DAP), formation of PAN and getting chummy-chummy with Founder of UMNO Baru Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would prove their peril plan would eventually fail.

Joceline Tan’s much sought after Sunday Star political analysis:

Sunday, 18 December 2016

A big play for the Malay vote

 

BY JOCELINE TAN

Shifting sands: Najib and PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang came together for the Rohingya cause while the body language between Dr Mahathir and DAP’s Lim Kit Siang was positively cosy during the Amanah convention.
Shifting sands: Najib and PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang came together for the Rohingya cause while the body language between Dr Mahathir and DAP’s Lim Kit Siang was positively cosy during the Amanah convention.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak may be inching towards that elusive feel-good factor while Pakatan Harapan is still struggling to sort out its partnership issues.

POLITICIANS on this side of the Malacca Straits have been transfixed on the trial of Ahok in Jakarta.

The blasphemy trial of Ahok, as the Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is widely known by, has gripped audiences in neighbouring countries which have a significant Muslim population.

Ahok is the highest-ranking Indonesian official ever charged with insulting a religion in Indonesia and the Islamist groups had held mass demonstrations against him. Add to that the fact that he is a Christian Chinese and an ally of President Joko Widodo and one can see why it is such a riveting issue.

When Ahok was elected Governor of Jakarta two years ago, many Malaysians especially those of Chinese descent had hailed Indonesia as a beacon of tolerance and progressiveness while running down Malaysia as intolerant and discriminatory.

The same people now seem strangely silent, unsure what to make of his reversal of fortune.

According to KRA political risk analyst Amir Fareed Rahim, the Ahok debacle is as much about religion as it is about a political power play surrounding the gubernatorial election in February and the presidential polls further down the road.

It is also very much about class issues and anti-Chinese sentiments. The anti-Chinese mood at the height of the demonstrations was so real that the Sin Chew Daily correspondent in Jakarta moved out of his rented house and checked into a hotel on the outskirts of the capital.

Race, religion and politics – there is no escaping it, whether in America, Europe, Indonesia and, of course, Malaysia.

Non-Muslims are struggling to wrap their heads around the Islamism they see at home and abroad.

The Muslims are going through an epochal moment in history to assert their identity, to make their voices heard and to tell the world that they will not compromise on their beliefs.

PAS is planning a big gathering in February next year to rally support for its Private Members’ Bill ahead of the new session of Parliament in March.

Proponents of the Bill say it is necessary for a higher quality of Syariah judges and to increase penalties for the court. But opponents of the act have criticised it as unconstitutional and see it as a step towards hudud law.

There are shades of what is going on in Indonesia happening on our shores, with Muslim politicians telling non-Muslims not to comment on Islam or oppose laws that are meant for Muslims.

A Muslim NGO recently said that, “in Malaysia, there are hundreds of Ahok’s,” the implication being that too many non-Muslims are commenting on Islam.

“At the end of the day, one clear message coming out is that Islamic issues can energise the ground. It’s an emotional thing, it touches on nerves and it moves people. If you are not sure, steer clear from using Quranic verses, it’s very sensitive,” said Amir.

PAS is asking Muslims to come out to show their support. If Umno joins in, the rally could be the biggest gathering of Muslims the country has ever seen.

Top leaders of PAS and Umno have already joined hands in rallying for the Rohingya cause but the February gathering could take things to another level.

Politically speaking, the gathering will send a chilling signal to multi-racial Malaysia – that if the two biggest Muslim parties gang up (three million in Umno and 800,000 in PAS) , there is little that they cannot do.

Tuan Ibrahim: ‘PAS is not interested in working with parties which hit out at it’.
Tuan Ibrahim: ‘PAS is not interested in working with parties which hit out at it’.
This could be the backdrop to the general election which is expected to take place next year.

The outcome of the 2013 general election was an intensified repeat of that in 2008. But with the shifting sands and changing tides, the next general election will be more difficult to predict.

The Chinese social discourse has begun to view Pakatan in a more realistic light. The Chinese intelligentsia is not thrilled with DAP’s newfound love for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. They can also see that without PAS, Pakatan can forget about Putrajaya.

But they still dislike Umno. In short, there will be shifts here and there but no major surprises on the Chinese front.

The opinion of many political analysts is that the next general election will be about the Malay vote although none of them can confidently predict what the new Malay political landscape will look like.

There are two new Malay splinter parties in the form of Amanah and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and there is Dr Mahathir doing what it takes to destroy the party that he led for 22 years.

But Pakatan had a break-through last week when it signed a cooperation agreement with Parti Pribumi. The coalition wanted Parti Pribumi as full-fledged partner but its president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was not keen on being the most junior partner. The compromise was an agreement to cooperate.

Amir: The message coming out is that Islamic issues can energise the ground.
Amir: The message coming out is that Islamic issues can energise the ground.
The arrangement also allows Muhyiddin to continue negotiating with PAS because Parti Pribumi is eyeing seats traditionally contested by PAS.

Unlike Dr Mahathir, Muhyiddin has yet to fully warm up to the unconventional styles of Pakatan leaders. He is still adjusting from being a big fish in a big pond to being a big fish in a small pond.

His body language during the signing of the agreement was rather stiff and formal. Then again, who can blame him when Pakatan leaders keep advocating Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the preferred Prime Minister candidate.

It is rather messy on the Pakatan side for a number of reasons.

Amanah has turned out to be a non-starter.

Amanah leaders like Datuk Husam Musa and Khalid Samad were such big stars in PAS but are unable to bring out the same wow-factor in Amanah.

The party is trying to ride on Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin and it is quite amusing to see Amanah leaders hanging on to the two former Umno leaders and rushing to stand behind them during press conferences so that they can be in the photo frame.

Ties between the leaders of Pakatan partners are not exactly warm either. There is an undercurrent of rivalry and even resentment. During the recent Amanah national convention, the PKR-led Selangor government was chastised for favouring PAS over Amanah.

However, the most pressing issue for Pakatan is the question of PAS. DAP and Amanah do not want PAS, yet they need PAS to come along to avoid what happened in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections.

It is one of those supreme ironies and Muhyiddin has been tasked to slow-talk PAS.

Two nights before Muhyiddin signed the agreement with Pakatan, he joined PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man at a PAS ceramah in Paya Jaras, Selangor. It was not the first time Muhyiddin was on a PAS stage but this ceramah was supposed to signal the formation of a new opposition bloc.

Roslan: ‘We can accept PKR but Amanah has betrayed our Islamic struggle’.
Roslan: ‘We can accept PKR but Amanah has betrayed our Islamic struggle’.
Muhyiddin said his party intends to be the bridge between PAS on the one hand and Amanah and DAP on the other.

But it was a bridge too far because moments after the ceramah ended, Tuan Ibrahim told reporters that PAS could not accept any kind of cooperation with Amanah and DAP.

Tuan Ibrahim is a no-nonsense and serious-minded ulama who almost never smiles. He said PAS is not interested in working with parties who “hit out at PAS every day” and he did not take kindly to Amanah’s declaration to capture Kelantan or to take on PAS in every seat.

He is also very critical of Umno and slammed the Sarawak Report for its accusation that PAS accepted RM90mil from Umno.

“We can accept PKR but Amanah has betrayed our Islamic struggle and DAP is our Enemy No. 1,” said PAS corporate communications director Roslan Shahir.

The opposition’s problem is that with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in jail, there is no leader whom the component parties look up to.

Dr Mahathir aspires to that role but his party is too new, it does not have the numbers to call the shots and his new friends do not really trust him.

By now, Pakatan and PAS should be showcasing what they have delivered and achieved in their respective states. Instead, issues of political partnership and electoral seats continue to take centrestage.

In the meantime, their favourite target Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has his eye fixed on the end game.

Najib has just concluded a very successful Umno general assembly which showed that the party is with him and that members reject former leaders who are with DAP.

Despite the 1MDB controversy, he has made his mark on the international stage and he returned from China with a basketful of investments and a reputation as a special friend of China.

Earlier this week, Najib and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong finalised the agreement for the High Speed Rail project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore during which the two sons of former Prime Ministers lauded their bilateral ties.

Two days later, Najib looking relaxed and casual in a blue open-necked shirt, took an inaugural ride on the Klang Valley MRT after launching the much awaited rail service.

He is sending the signal that he can bring it on and that he is the Prime Minister that other governments want to do business with.

Is it possible that Najib could be inching towards that feel-good factor that is so important in a general election? That will certainly be better than a Malay show of numbers.

*****************

The analysis sums it all. Pakatan Harapan plus Pribumi Bersatu would not able to amass enough Malays votes in the Malay majority constituency to turn the tide for them to take Putrajaya.

First of all, they don’t have enough armies to after 120 over Malay majority Parliamentary constituencies, which is currently majority of them are being represented well wth UMNO and PAS representative.

Be realistic. One of the most important success feature of winning during General Elections is a good campaign and ground machinery.

PKR isn’t at the highest curve. In fact, it this very much sliding down. The fragmentation pf the party key personalities has started to become prevalent on how they would no longer be able to garner the support of fence sitters, especially urbanites like they used to,

PKR don’t have their own people. They used to rely on PAS to mule the works. Now, PAN has joined PKR into the same problem. This is not withstanding the fact that lesser and lesser activists and volunteers are inspired to step up during GEs to roll their sleeves and socks, to add the void in a typical machinery-defective constituency machinery,

Previous, both had PAS mules to do the works for them.

Next, the laughable Pribumi Bersatu. Yes they are very busy going around Semenanjung doing their sales pitch and rubbishing UMNO and demonising Prime Minister Najib along the way.

However, are they getting the numbers signed up. Especially the ones that matter. The ones who are very familiar how to run party machinery during elections, be it by-elections or GE.

Considering that the hibiscus party has a former UMNO Baru Founder and President, sacked UMNO Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister and sacked UMNO Kedah Liaison Chief and MB Kedah as key personalities, the absolute numbers who have signed up to go with them is very poor.

Look at the Supreme Council of the dissident party. Hardly any worth political personality to be awed about.

The party cannot even have even a single proper division with only a few branches are managed to be formed, sporadically. Not even in the constituencies of the President in Pagoh or Deputy President in Jerlun or Kubang Pasu.

Pribumi Bersatu is expected to deliver the Malay votes, particularly the fence sitters for the Chinese Chauvinist DAP with this Motley Crew.

Even the majority of DAP middle level leaders, grassroots and sympathisers are skeptical about this. Not to mention the deep discomfort amongst the old hard cores when the Chinese Chauvinist Emperorissimo Lim Kit Siang foster the relationship with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

At this point and how things are comcenient being developed warmly for UMNO/BN and PAS, the numbers should be pointing to the direction of another failure of Barisan Alternatif, Barisan Rakyat, Pakatan Rakyat and now Pakatan Harapan.

UMNO and PAS may not formally team up for 14GE. However, the leaders of the two parties now getting warmed up to each other could strike a deal of ‘horse-trading’ constituencies.

The three-cornered-fight in the twin by-election of Kuala Kangsar and Sg Besar proven to be the boon for UMNO-BN.

They could continue this ‘Co-Operation’ to ensure that UMNO still has sizeable control over BN-majority Govt where else PAS retained some sizeable number of seats.

In the final analysis, both UMNO and PAS leaders understand without them ‘working together’, Chinese Chauvinists within DAP would be the net gainer and playing the master role in a Malay-puppet Govt.

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Published in: on December 19, 2016 at 01:30  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Omigosh, BigDog! You still read that cinapek newspaper for cinapek look at Realpolitik of Malaysia? Aiya, don’t throw money for toilet paper ma. Read la Sin Chew or Nanyang.

    Do you think UMNO-BN don’t know any Mandarin or the dialects, BigDog?

    Just you wait the results of the ex-BSI banker trail in Singapura; the DoJ KARI case and the Swiss AGO-Justo investigation into Falcon Bank; and the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin play on the PR of China and Iran – not to mention the infamous LGE house with no swimming pool trial in Tanjung.

    China is in a rut going into the sewers unless they play ball with DT-VP, BigDog. China-Korea military hackers is good match against USA-Russia but economically nowhere inspire of their AIIB initiative.

    So you think Soros will waste his money on Boboi?

    Meaning Najib can be like that Death Wish President in Manila if he wants to. Do you think he should?

    Two grumpy old men begging from an old grumpy jew to help them out with their horse sense deficient children and an aging bugger holding on to a Premier fantasia in a fight against a free man in Mecca.

    Omigosh, BigDog.

  2. What will the voters turn out be?
    Less than 76%

    Do you think Najib will meddle with the winning formula?

    Hopefully, the Court will give maximum sentence to LGE and his Phang when it is provened beyond any doubt they planned and committed the crime.

    RU355 is the bind.

  3. Can Anwar accept the fact that Mahathir and Kit Siang agreed that if BN losses PRU14 Mahathir will be PM and Kit Siang DPM.
    But who will be MoF, BigDog?
    And what will happen to GST and BR1M?
    What will happen to BABI?

    Kesian Mukhriz still penisless.

  4. Did I forgot to tell you that it is 2017?

    HAAPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, BigDog.

    (Let’s make W2020 and TN50 success stories, BigDog)


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