10 observations from the 'kleptocracy' roadshow

The Malaysian Insight

A participant of the Love Malaysia, End Kleptocracy roadshow's final rally at Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya yesterday. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 15, 2017.

PAKATAN Harapan had gone up and down the country with its “Love Malaysia, End Kleptocracy” roadshow beginning July 6. From Perlis to Johor, and Sabah and Sarawak, PH had held more than 30 ceramah.

Each of the four component parties – PKR, Bersatu, Amanah and DAP – took charge organising the ceramah in the different states, until it ended with a rally in Padang Timur, in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, yesterday.

The Malaysian Insight covered more than 20 of these ceramah and spoke to Malaysians who were there.

Here are the thoughts of the writers of the ceramah and its impact.

Sheridan Mahavera (Penaga, Shah Alam, Ipoh, Kuala Terengganu, Machang, Besut, Bera)

“I covered the first ceramah in Penaga, Penang, and observed that many people who went were mostly PH supporters.

“However, Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s presence had also brought out first-timers to the opposition ceramah.

“These people are now in their 50s and had come to see what an iconic former PM was doing with the people he had once jailed.

“While some of the feedback towards Dr Mahathir was positive, many were confused and could not get their heads around how a man who had dedicated his life to ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ and Umno, was now spending his remaining years trying to bring down what he had built.

“Although I am sceptical about how the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue will affect the Malay vote, what is clear is that the kleptocracy roadshow has lit a fire under PKR, DAP and Amanah’s supporters.

“It has given them cause to believe they can win Putrajaya. This is after months of watching Pakatan Rakyat tear itself apart over the Selangor menteri besar issue and PAS’ divorce from that (now defunct) coalition.

“Although Bersatu is still a new party, it has drawn out former Umno supporters to these roadshow events. The ceramah have shown them that there are alternatives to the politics of race and religion being pedalled by Umno and PAS.”


Melati A. Jalil (Shah Alam, Ampang)

“From my observation, most of the people who attended the ceramah in Shah Alam and Ampang were (opposition) party supporters. 

“These people have already made up their minds to vote for PH. They were just there to listen to the leaders and reaffirm their opposition to Barisan Nasional. Although most of them were from the older generation who grew up under Dr Mahathir’s administration, they welcomed his presence in PH.

“One thing that was noticeable was the lacklustre response from the urban youth. They didn’t turn up. It was difficult to find those below the age of 30 for an interview.

“The energy at the Shah Alam ceramah was electric, unlike the tepid response at the Ampang ceramah earlier, where only 200 turned up although it was held in a residential area. One salient point was that both ceramah had a mixed crowd of Chinese, Malays and Indians.

“Judging from their reactions, many people knew about the 1MDB scandal and its links to the economy but were still surprised when DAP’s Tony Pua explained the details of the scandal. The people also didn’t mind PAS’ absence in Selangor. They believe that Selangor is well-governed under PH and can see the difference between a BN and PH-governed Selangor.

“The major concerns of urban voters are still the high cost of living, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), fluctuating fuel prices and toll rates. They didn’t fall for race-baiting rhetoric (of BN) because the majority of them were opposition supporters. They don’t really care about race issues so long as the new government can alleviate the cost of living burden.”

Yasmin Ramlan (Penaga, Pulai, Tasek Gelugor, Shah Alam)

“Most of the people who went to the ceramah were older and had families. But I think that many didn’t go to learn about the 1MDB scandal, but more as a signal of their dissatisfaction with the Najib administration over the high cost of living.

“Although some studies say that Malay voters don’t really care about the 1MDB issue, Bersatu and Dr Mahathir’s presence have motivated them to go to listen to the ceramah. This was not limited to Malays, as there was always a mixed crowd at the ceramah.

“Many of the people I talked to said they felt Tony Pua’s explanation on the 1MDB issue had made them more angry towards Prime Minister Najib Razak’s leadership.”

Looi Sue-Chern (Penaga, Sungai Acheh, Balik Pulau, Tasek Gelugor, Permatang Pauh)

“Penaga, Sungai Acheh, Balik Pulau and Tasek Gelugor are Umno-controlled areas. Although the first event in Penaga was attended by only 300 people, the subsequent ones, like the one with Dr Mahathir in Kepala Batas, attracted more people.

“While many were familiar with the 1MDB scandal, they were most responsive when Tony Pua used slides to explain the flow of money. Several people I interviewed said they understood the scandal better after that.

“After the roadshow, I think voters are still waiting to hear more about what PH can do for them if it wins Putrajaya. They don’t seem fully convinced yet.”

Bede Hong (Selama, Hulu Selangor)

“The audiences in the ceramah in the city were mostly made up of PH component party members, particularly Bersatu. For the most part, those who turned up appeared to have already made up their minds about the 1MDB scandal and whom they would support.

“The rural areas saw less of the opposition machinery and also smaller crowds, sometimes just a hundred or fewer when Dr Mahathir was not slated to appear. The former prime minister remains a draw, to be sure.

“The opposition hopes to change the minds of rural folk, but they have no control over television, radio and newspapers, so this will take time. Under the best circumstances, PH believes these few hundred who did turn up at the ceramah would then pass the news to others and turn the tide against the government.”

Chan Kok Leong (Pandamaran, Temerloh, Kuala Terengganu, Tampin) 

“Big names draw big crowds, and while Dr Mahathir is on top of the list, speakers such as Mohamad Sabu, Muhyiddin Yassin, Tony Pua, Husam Musa and Nurul Izzah Anwar drew their own share of voters.

“Besides attracting some Umno supporters, the ceramah in Temerloh, Tampin and Alor Star (the last two were held before the roadshow was officially launched) attracted PAS followers, too. 

“PAS supporters outside the East Coast are not fully supportive of their party, these days. Some say they will not vote for their party in the 14th general election as it cannot win federal power without PH.

“One feature though is that ceramah held in rural areas seemed to draw more people. For example, the events in Pandamaran, Kampung Pandan, Temerloh and Tampin each had between 800 and 1,000 people.

“This could be because of weak Internet connectivity. As most of the ceramahs were also aired live on Facebook, the crowd was bigger in areas where the connectivity was poor.” – October 15, 2017.

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  • Bottom line, good move BUT not enough. Truth is if it were enough, lots of UMNO leader would be lining up to see Mahathir to get protection if PH wins.

    Posted 6 years ago by Bigjoe Lam · Reply

    • .... surely no one will "katak" before elections? People only go for winners ....... truth be told.

      Posted 6 years ago by Malaysian First · Reply

    • Not true people go only for winners but in general you cannot fool everyone all the time.

      Posted 6 years ago by Bigjoe Lam · Reply

  • The cost of living will only get worse instead of better. Our oil wealth had been squandered, unlike Norway's. The mismanagement, corruption, etc can no longer be papered over with oil income due to an exploding population increase and depleting petroleum resources with prices predicted to remain low forever.

    Posted 6 years ago by Malaysian First · Reply