Why the Kluang MP is in denial

Hafidz Baharom

I READ Liew Chin Tong’s letter lambasting analysts for being biased and justifying a Barisan Nasional victory. In fact, just the day before, Bersatu’s strategic director did the same. 

I’ll start with a main question – who are they trying to convince?

Liew is correct by saying that if Pakatan Harapan should win more than 50% of the Malay vote, they would win the next general election. Yet, herein lies the problem – PH does not have that vote. 

And here is something he is perhaps less keen to admit, his side lost many Malay votes when it dumped PAS, while its replacements Bersatu and Amanah are not yet gelled together nor gained the momentum of membership to take on both PAS and Umno. 

Thus, if anything, his analysis is biased towards not counting the fact that PAS supporters will be the kingmakers in the next general election. 

And we saw this during two showpiece gatherings by opposition supporters – Bersih and the anti-kleptocracy rally – both of which did not have the numbers to impress even if you had compared it with the smaller Blackout 505 rally. 

The word on the ground is that the Malays are now divided three ways among PAS, Umno and PH. Even giving each an equal share of the Malay votes, it would be a 33% split among them. 

Yet, Liew believes PH can secure an additional 17% from PAS or Umno, while somehow maintaining the waning non-Malay vote, which is also another concern. 

He has forgotten that there is also fatigue enough to end up stopping people from voting altogether due to the teaming up with Bersatu, mostly due to the disapproval of Dr Mahathir Mohamad being the leading voice in this campaign. 

While the media are keen enough to point out that this has affected mainly Chinese voters to the point of forming Facebook groups, it may in fact be symptomatic among all Malaysians, especially the youth population. 

This can be seen by how 40% of youth voters are not keen to even register themselves. Thus, PH hosting voter registration rallies on a monthly basis if not weekly, focusing on malls and markets, hopefully nationwide. 

But more to the point, it is the hypocrisy of lambasting analysts for having a point of view. Are things so dire in the outlook that PH and Liew need to convince voters by hitting out at any analyst who says otherwise?

Has this become the new propaganda tactic by the PH coalition, to the point that any analysis giving a contrary viewpoint to what is done by its own internal polling and sponsored research institutes must be discredited to stop voters from leaving them?

Isn’t that desperate?

Yes, people are unhappy with the way things are run, but if PH is so convinced that it has the 50% Malay votes, it certainly doesn’t show. In fact, I would say that the Malay vote will be fractured between two major parties – PAS and Umno. 

This is because Umno managed to secure the Malay voters more recently by standing up for Jerusalem and Palestine, while DAP supporters discredited the move by laughing at the thought of us leading a peacekeeping mission by insinuating it was a military challenge against Israel. 

At the same time, PAS inching its promise to strengthen shariah law through RUU355 further consolidated its support base and even some of Umno’s own fence-sitters. Additionally, the recent headscarf row in both hotels and stewardesses is also infiltrating the Malay voters. 

If Liew is serious about winning the Malay vote, these are issues of support among the group of voters he’s trying to cater to – shifting further right religious conservatives. Which is perhaps why Amanah’s women decided to support a ban on Despacito on public radio. 

Liew once predicted a Malay tsunami which would happen in the next general election. The major problem with his viewpoint is that he believes that the voters from PAS are still in his corner. Either that, or he believes that Bersatu and Amanah have managed to retain those votes given in GE13. 

Both assumptions are very, very misleading. Therefore, if Liew and PH believes that he can somehow secure 50% of the vote without the oldest Malay opposition party in the country that brought them the crowd in all their gatherings, the rural votes and even stopped them from voting the Budget 2017 bill in parliament, then perhaps it is not the analysts who are blindly justifying their points. 

Perhaps it is instead, Liew and PH themselves. – December 16, 2017.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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