Semenyih – Harapan could win even if it loses

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

"Representative government is artifice, a political myth, designed to conceal from the masses the dominance of a self-selected, self-perpetuating, and self-serving traditional ruling class."

- Giuseppe Prezzolini

COMMENT | Who knows how it will turn out in Semenyih today but what we have seen leading up to this big day is that the Pakatan Harapan regime is committed to becoming the new BN. Forget all that big talk of reform and the self-righteous polemics coming out of Harapan before the historic May 9 election last year.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s rejoinder to the folks at Semenyih not to vote BN (or anyone else besides Harapan) because to do so would mean "development" deprivation is the kind of politics that the then opposition was fighting against all those years under BN. And let us be honest, under Mahathir's rule too.

What happens if Harapan loses Semenyih? Will there be no development in this area? Will Harapan just pack up and go? And here's the thing, if you were really a friend of "capitalism" (to use the context of the prime minister), you would be encouraging business in areas like Semenyih. Because regardless of who the residents of Semenyih vote for, the federal government would be collecting taxes.

The reason why this kind of punitive politics is used is that the federal government, like the government before it, has not been able to fulfil its promises.

The then Harapan opposition used to claim that the BN federal government used to keep people dumbed down in the rural and semi-rural areas because they were a reliable vote bank. How is punishing the people of Semenyih for not voting for the federal government any different?

When the prime minister says – and gets no blowback for his coalition partners – that Umno is finished and its members want to join Harapan, what he is really saying is that the era of big government is still the only game in town. And who knows, even if Harapan loses Semenyih to Umno, the Umno candidate may at a later date jump ship to Bersatu...

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