Malaysiakini Letter

Najib's fatal mistake

Richard Teo
Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Election Commission chairperson Mohd Hashim Abdullah in a recent interview claimed that he had delineated each constituency along racial lines.

This was done presumably to group all Malay voters who had supported BN in the polling station in 2013 together with the rest of the Malays in the constituency.

Since this group from the polling station in 2013 had supported BN. the assumption was that they would continue to support BN in the 2018 polls. This assumption is flawed for three important reasons.

Firstly, the voters who had supported BN in 2013 may not continue to support BN in 2018 for the simple reason that the parameters have changed.

In 2013, the 1MDB scandal had not exploded and many did not know the extent of its losses. With Singapore, Switzerland and the US taking measures to seize assets from the 1MDB scandal, the foreign media has exposed with clarity the manner in which nearly US$4.5 billion in funds from the 1MDB was syphoned out from the sovereign fund.

The 1MDB scandal was followed by a host of other scandals from the purchase of Mara buildings in Australia, the Felda land sale and transfer of its land and the sale and transfer of the Sg Besi land all adversely affected the BN's image of good governance.

To add more grief to BN's badly-dented image, the introduction of the GST caused hardship to the average citizen and this issue especially was absent during the 2013 general election.

Secondly, grouping all Malay voters in one constituency may be a good idea if the majority of the Malays there support you. But this cannot be true in the present scenario.

Presently, the Malay voters are divided into five groups - Umno, PAS, Amanah, PKR and Bersatu. It would be wrong for Umno to assume that it has a strong monopoly of Malay support when there are five groups with their own support groups.

Amongst the five groups, Umno may have a numerical advantage but the question that begs to be answered is whether it can outnumber the combined Malay votes of PKR, Amanah and Bersatu?

Statistically, Harapan would have a numerical advantage in view of their numbers as opposed to BN's standalone.

Thirdly, Dr Mahathir Mohamad was not a force to be reckoned by BN in 2013. Most will agree that the ex-PM still commands a sizeable rural Malay following and his presence could result in a rural Malay “tsunami”.

If Najib Abdul Razak thinks he stands to benefit from the redelineation based on racial distribution, he will be sadly mistaken.

The change in parameters will cause a massive shift in rural support away from the previous 2013 election results. That will be a fatal result for Najib.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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