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Too many strategies but anything for rakyat?

  • Each party has its own calculations with the hope of clinching the ultimate triumph. But, have they ever spared some thought for this country and her people?

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

It looks like the ruling and opposition parties are busily brewing their own election strategies in the run-up to GE14.

PAS president Hadi Awang was the first to take his stand. He predicted that no parties would be able to win a simple majority in the coming general election and PAS could very likely become the kingmaker if it wins 40 parliamentary seats, hinting that both camps would have to please his party to secure a ticket to rule.

PAS will run in at least 130 constituencies, possibly the most by a single party. By comparison, Umno only contested in 121 seats in 2013.

PAS is brimming with confidence this time, believing that it will emerge as a reckoned force in multi-cornered fights despite the fact it only won 21 out of 73 seats contested in GE13.

How is a party plagued by internal conflicts and weaker now than five years ago going to win 40 seats?

PAS' reversion to religious fundamentalism after quitting the opposition pact has estranged many a non-Malay voter, and is bound to lose in all mixed constituencies. Even in Malay-majority seats, the party's votes will likely trail behind Umno's, as evidenced by the outcome of 2016 by-elections in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar.

Without a little help from Pakatan Harapan, PAS's strength will be significantly thinned out in Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor due to the sizeable non-Muslim population there. By focusing on the defense of its Kelantan stronghold, the party may lose more battle fronts elsewhere.

If things go as Hadi has wished, then PAS will be able to form a "Muslim government" with Umno and put the hudud into implementation after GE14.

To be "kingmaker" is only a tactic aimed at retaining PAS members and existing supporters. However, in the event PAS loses Kelantan, Hadi will have to bear a very big part of the responsibility.

Umno's strategy is very straightforward, trying to create three-cornered fights to reap the windfall. Besides, it is also pinning its hopes on populist policy to woo rural voters, party members and civil servants to ensure the party gets more Malay votes than PAS or PH, its confidence remarkably boosted by the dual by-elections.

So, constituency borders will be redelineated to boost the number of Malay seats with the hope this will help Umno win back Selangor. As such, it is believed GE14 will only be held after the redelineation is officially gazetted.

Additionally, the bungalow case involving Penang CM Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon will not be settled before May 25, and Umno now turns to the undersea tunnel project to undermine the voters' faith in Penang government.

Najib will have an additional feather in his cap if his party manages to recapture two-thirds majority and Selangor administration.

PKR has wanted to persuade PAS to fight BN one-on-one, but Hadi has resolved to go lone ranger, much to the frustration of PKR.

The Islamist party is now planning to name its own Selangor MB candidate, forcing Azmin to freeze annual allocations for PAS reps in the state while removing state information chief Roslan Shahir as MPSJ councilor.

Azmin has never consented to Mahathir as PH prime ministerial candidate, and has offered his own Gombak seat to the ex-PM with the hope this will help him retain Selangor by filling the vacuum left behind by PAS.

Politicians are fast in reversing their attitudes. From being ambiguous to fully supportive now, Azmin's change will hopefully swing the attitudes of his supporters too. But again, they've got to do it fast, as time is running out.

As for the other parties, their cards have been shown.

MCA hopes the Chinese education issue and China's OBOR initiative will take it out of the current doldrums, while DAP is counting on Mahathir to crush Umno and book itself a place in Putrajaya.

In the midst of so many individual calculations, we cannot afford to overlook the political acumen of Mahathir, a true election strategist who knows how to fish Malay, Chinese and Indian votes, although the older voters may not forget what he once did and said.

Each party has its own calculations with the hope of clinching the ultimate triumph. But, have they ever spared some thought for this country and her people?

 

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