Can Pakatan reverse the tide?
'Najib Razak's strategies seem to be working where it matters most - those in the rural/semi-rural constituencies.'
SusahKes: There are very valid observations by Bridget Welsh. The key thing that comes out of this observation is this - Najib Razak's strategies seem to be working where it matters most, and those are in the rural/semi-rural constituencies.
Much of Pakatan hierarchy is based also on the Umno/BN model of ‘taiko' politics - so much time has been wasted on who is going to be No 2 in PKR, but how much time was spent with the grassroots? It appears that BN didn't wait for a by-election to be announced before they started to touch base with the grassroots.
As Bridget puts it, Pakatan can only blame the ‘goodies' factor up to a certain point. What is Pakatan's strategy in approaching the grassroots? Or are they too caught up in the ‘Road to Putrajaya' thingy that they have forgotten the reason why they were given 80 over seats in Parliament and five states?
Pakatan, get back to the rakyat or your road to Putrajaya will end up in smoke.
Gerard Samuel Vijayan: I agree with Bridget Welsh's article. Pakatan needs a common platform and policy document. The shadow cabinet must be announced even if there aren't enough MPs from Sabah and Sarawak but with a commitment that there will be a DPM from either state if Pakatan wins. There must be a separate policy document for Sabah and Sarawak.
The vexed issues of the Islamic state and hudud must be resolved within Pakatan. A new economic blueprint must be in place that will adequately deal with the concerns of the Malays and the non-Malays and foreign investors. There must be a new social-economic agenda for Malaysia to deal with - poverty, wealth distribution, access to education and health, employment and rural development.
The Pakatan state governments must concentrate on rural development and urban poverty eradication. Land issues must be handled cautiously with maximum transparency and wide consultation with those affected. In Penang, the socio-economic upliftment of the Malays and Indians should be a priority.
AB Sulaiman: Dr Bridget Welsh, don't forget the fact that the ruling coalition has been making indiscriminate use of government machinery and resources to champion its cause. Think of the daily, weekly, monthly and year-round indoctrination on radio, TV and other forms of mass media emphasising the perceived good things the party has done to the people.
Think of the bad ones not even mentioned anywhere but with the people getting to know them almost by default and through the Internet. Think of the opposition people not getting even a quarter of exposure in the mass media. Think of the threats, intimidation, fear used by the government institutions.
Put all these together, it seems obvious the ruling party will always get what it wants and the people proving to be suckers for punishment.
Yobama: I wonder when will Pakatan come out with a common logo and be legally registered as a coalition like BN. With a common front like a party symbol and legally registered entity, it might be easier to capture the imagination of the rakyat and to send a firm message that Pakatan is the better alternative to BN.
I suspect the Registrar of Societies has something to do with the delay in the coalition's registration. However, I must admit that this is only one way of improving the image of the Pakatan coalition.
It may not contribute much to its ability to turn the tide in the next general election, but it is something worth considering. GE13 is fast approaching, yet this simple act of coming up with a Pakatan logo has not got off the ground.
Ida Bakar: An excellent piece by Dr Welsh! This should be read by both Pakatan and Barisan faithfuls. At present, Pakatan component parties have not proved themselves fit to form a national government. The infighting is just a start. There is no coherent policy on anything apart from getting to Putrajaya.
Many see them as no different from those in BN (or in the case of Balik Pulau, some people see DAP's land garb as the ‘cleansing' of the Malay and Indian population from their kampung and as nothing more than DAP's Chinese ethnocentricism). Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.
Tkc: This should be a good lesson for Pakatan because some opposition politicians, in particular those from PKR, are already having delusions of grandeur thinking that they are going to take over Putrajaya after GE13.
Pakatan should re-focus in governing their states well. Other than Penang, the other four (sorry three) states have slid backwards since GE12.
By the way, the next time you organise a ceramah, make sure you throw in a 10-course dinner because one of the best ways to sway a Chinese is through his/her stomach.
Harmandar Singh: Sad but true, Kee Thuan Chye has hit the nail on the head. Success for Pakatan is not going to be handed on a platter. They have to put their money where their mouth is, or sure as hell the rakyat will get it from somewhere.
Cala: What is Umno's trick to stay in power? For those who are sufficiently senior (in age), they know Umno will, by hooks and by crooks, hold on to the steering wheel. Every time the support goes to an opposition party because of ideology or whatever, their usual trick is "to internalise" the external threat by absorbing the opposition party into its fold.
The fact that BN coalition has exploded from a three-party system to the present form shows the cunningness of Umno to stay in power by whatever means. Be it as it may, to the people, the dawn is not that far away as they cannot continue to use the same old trick over and over again.
As any historian will tell you nothing (refers to all forms of human organisations) is eternal except God. Even the Roman Empire had its day too. To any living organism or for that matter any human organisation, life is finite. The question is when.
Anonymous: There is no respect for the voters who have made their decision. Pakatan supporters are so fond of shouting ‘rakyat this' and ‘rakyat that'. Now that the rakyat in Galas and Batu Sapi have spoken, at least give them some respect lah . This is their choice.
Baqaalam: The saying, "changing government is like changing diapers, do it when it is dirty", will still be my stand.
Double BN win riddled with ambiguity
Sarawakian: Some may despair that the BN won the two seats but all is not lost. A swallow does not make a summer. If one analyses the situation, it's no surprise really.
In the case of Batu Sapi, the area is populated mostly by Muslims and a high number are actually illegals given ICs by the BN government. Hence these are people who are grateful to the BN. On top of that, they have never seen so much cash being thrown in their direction. And above all, the stupidity of PKR and SAPP in fielding separate candidates. The lost there is therefore a foregone conclusion.
As for Galas, the Ku Li factor played a very important factor. He's a popular guy and even the Chinese are very fond of him. And PAS this time seem to have fallen into Ku Li's trap by also going low-key unlike past by-elections. All the talk about the BN getting back its two-thirds majority are just ‘shiok sendiri'.
Tony: Free speech does not win elections. It's all about strategy to win the hearts and minds of all Malaysians and this is not forthcoming from Pakatan after almost three years. Free speech and democratic practice is necessary to stay in power after winning the big prize. Now you need to be ruthless but above all, you need to be united.
Some negative comments about Hindraf will definitely alienate many. Pakatan needs the support of all despite differing in views. I pray things would change for the better from Pakatan.
To BN, ‘syabas'. I must say BN knows how to win an election. You don't see their leaders mud-slinging one another. There is total control by the main leadership in BN. Pakatan, on the other hand, is full of dreams but no unselfish strategy to win the hearts and minds of Malaysians.
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