Malaysiakini Letter

Is the opposition really stronger now than it was before?

Jason Chin  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | The pedal is to the medal now with the 14th general election looming closer.

Compared to GE13, BN appears stronger this time as there were numerous internal squabbles in 2013.

But what about the opposition? Is Pakatan Harapan stronger now with Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin, then when they had Karpal Singh, Tok Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat along with Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang?

Waves are definitely felt in every opposition gathering. Although reports suggest that turnouts presently are huge, the numbers reported is significantly less compared to 2013.

It was reported that 3,000 people turned up in Muar when Mahathir and Muhyiddin announced that Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman would be the opposition candidate for the area. Back in 2013, online media reported that 15,000 people attended the opposition gathering in Muar.

In Johor so far, we read opposition leaders boasting crowd turnouts ranging from 5,000 to 15,000. Prior to GE13, 10,000 people attended their rally in Tanjung Piai, more than 10,000 people were present in a PKR rally outside Larkin Stadium, and close to 70,000 thronged the opposition rally near Gelang Patah.

In Mahathir’s home state Kedah, DAP leaders claim that there was a turnout of 15,000 at their recent rally. In 2013, when Anwar Ibrahim was present at the rally in Kedah, more than 20,000 people were present.

Although crowd turnout does not necessarily guarantee the exact number of votes, the numbers this time is lower than it was in 2013. Maybe the most glaring factor for the relatively lesser turnout is the absence of PAS.

In terms of character and personality, Mahathir does not come close to Nik Aziz. During an opposition gathering in Johor previously, Nik Aziz said Malays, Chinese and Indians were all created by the same God.

Over the past six months, Mahathir, in contrast, has insulted plus sized individuals, spoke negatively about the Bugis race, ridiculed Sabahans and Sarawakians, insinuated that the Malays are lazy and always dependent, and uttered a disparaging word to the ethnic Indians.

In 1998, the most violent and physical street rally took place when Mahathir was the sitting prime minister.

About a decade ago, Mahathir was attacked with pepper spray in Kota Bahru airport, leaving him choked momentarily. No sitting or ex-prime minister in the history of Malaysia received such reception.

This pseudo hero-worshipping of Mahathir is just a smokescreen for the upcoming polls.

While some may say this is the opposition’s best chance at snatching Putrajaya, many of us believe the best opportunity was GE13, when they were the strongest.

There are too many negatives about Mahathir and Harapan compared to the righteous Pakatan Rakyat statespersons of yesteryear.

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

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