Malaysiakini Letter

Pakatan Harapan won't win, full stop

Manjit Bhatia  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Malaysian politics can’t survive without racism, corruption and fraud generally and especially at elections. Same old rusty barrow is wheeled out poll after poll, as if the same old politics isn’t played out enough in the everyday life of the country.

The accusations are always the same, so politics in Malaysia is awfully mind-numbing. It’s so tedious and predictable. So, too, election results. So let me make my prediction now, to get it out of the way: Pakatan Harapan won’t win. Certainly not, unless a miracle happens, in the time left to May 9. Can it smarten up its act? I’m not hopeful.

There are folks who base their faith on BN losing on the Donald Trump “factor”. Trump’s unpredicted win in the 2016 US elections gives them belief. Belief, or faith, isn’t a synonym for confidence. Still, they say Harapan can, could, would or will - pick your verb - win.

Such whimsies happen as regularly as corruption in Malaysia. There’s no point rehearsing the tedium of Malaysian politics. For all its promise, this election is for Harapan to lose. An organisation is only as strong as its weakest link. And it has several fundamental ones.

Harapan isn’t ready. Harapan isn’t unified. Harapan is in disarray. To use the football analogy, Harapan’s defenders have stopped man-on-man marking of the opposition forwards. Might as well chuck out the offside rule. And the Diego Maradona “hand of god” to score illegal goals is allowable.

In fact it has been happening. Harapan has been making it even easier for Umno to win GE14.

What do you see? I see Umno messing up big time - from its wild and woolly political promises, its regular, juvenile vilifying of and infantile actions against Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to its so-called economic policies. Incredibly, Harapan supporters suggest Umno is running scared.


Labelling Umno racist is pointless and stupid when the whole country practises racism and bigotry. They’re in Malaysia’s DNA, especially as each political party, on all sides, is historically and contemporaneously carved out from the tombstone of bigotry.

Harapan’s politicians, with the possible exception of Bersatu’s Mahathir and DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, keep missing the obvious targets, even as these stare them in the face. Umno knows to play only one game. It’s the one that matters most to it. Without it, it’s as naked as a new-born baby, shorn of its legitimacy and ideology.

The game Umno wants Harapan to play is “bangsa dan agama”. There’s nothing else to look forward to in Malaysia than the aridity of racism. Umno wants Harapan to play on its turf. It’d be stupid for Harapan to fall prey to Umno’s canard. Umno will always play dirty.

Change the game plan. Take BN on in its obvious areas of fundamental weaknesses. Here Harapan might be able to knee-cap Umno. Najib’s 1MDB money-laundering public money Ponzi scam is a free kick to Harapan. Yet nobody’s stepping up to shoot the penalty. And that’s just one of Najib Abdul Razak’s weaknesses.

So what’s the problem? Harapan is the problem. It’s a circus when a supposedly professional outfit was until the eleventh deathly nomination hour still finalising its candidates. Shows how incompetent it is.

All the horse-trading could have been done late last year or early this year, knowing the time, political and emotional energy this consumes. It’s like a student attempting last-minute homework.,

Then there’s the parachuting of candidates into constituencies where they’re unknown, where they do not reside. This is sheer lunacy and political suicide. It’s also grossly unfair, especially when candidates with runs on the board are shafted for “new blood”. And if the new blood loses, who cops the blame?

Then there’s PKR. Aiyo … susah kes! PKR and its scandalous factional war. Whenever these backstabbing moments happen, one name always crops up front and centre - Azmin Ali.

It’s as if this fellow hasn’t learnt from his 2012 caper that factional wars kill the party’s chances and vapourises supporters’ “faith”, their “belief”. They want so much for Harapan usher in regime change - at long last.

But, no: Azmin wants to be the tsar. He wants Anwar Ibrahim to retire. He wants Wan Azizah to disappear. He wants Rafizi Ramli to shut up. Then he shalt be king.

Meanwhile, who’s checking Umno every step of the way, with May 9 full in Harapan’s rearview mirror? And where’s Mahathir? Harapan needs grow up and get real. As for 2018: it’s curtains, I’m afraid.

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

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