LETTER | Muda, do not join forces or collaborate with Pakatan Harapan with the objective of keeping the Umno-BN coalition and Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition from governing the country.
Join forces only if the planned policies and strategies are for the development and well-being of the nation, not to stop the current ruling coalition from governing the country again.
The rakyat will support any party or coalition that proposes good policies and strategies that are deliverable. Not those policies which are for narrow interests.
Lies and ‘over the moon’ promises will not attract voters to you.
For Harapan, it should be not considered revelatory news that they have been struggling to attract members, particularly younger citizens.
And parties in Harapan rarely attempt to engage with young people or consider issues of youth citizenship or political participation.
Young people have increasingly viewed these parties as remote, infantile, and divisive in their approach to public debate and policy formulation, and embarrassing in their occasional attempts to appeal to the young.
Furthermore, young people have complained that their interests are often overlooked by all existing political parties both in policy formation and electoral campaigning.
Prioritise Muda’s message
Muda should use this coming general election to learn as much as possible about:
Campaigning and canvassing for votes
How to build, maintain, and sustain a network of supporters and volunteers across all constituencies in the country including Sabah and Sarawak
Crowdfund to help these networks to do volunteering and supportive work in all these constituencies for the next five years, effectively helping individuals who are genuinely interested to serve as people's representatives to build their support base within the constituencies they plan to represent and serve
Do not expect Harapan to offer any seats for your party to contest under their banner.
This shall be the fundamental basis that the leadership in Muda should explain to all its aspiring candidates hoping to contest in the general election under the Harapan banner, assuming Muda is accepted into the coalition.
Yes, you are a new party and have been making yourself visible across the young or new voters.
But visibility does not translate into stickiness, i.e. voters may pay attention to your party but that does not mean they will vote for your party.
And your party’s presence generally is still confined to urban voters.
And as witnessed in the last three general elections, urban voters generally will vote for candidates from the Harapan coalition.
Majority of those vying to be nominated as candidates in each of the parties in Harapan would have made their presence felt in the constituencies which they are aspiring to represent by now.
Those aspiring to be candidates, for selfish reasons, would not welcome if their leaders were to allow candidates from Muda to take over their candidature.
Their leadership can instruct these ‘ousted’ aspiring candidates to assist the candidate from Muda but in all honesty, you know that would not be the case.
Strengthen party’s own machinery
Thus, if Muda is humble enough, if Harapan were to admit them into the coalition, use this opportunity to learn the ropes and build your own core network of sustainable supporters and volunteers within the various constituencies that the party aspires to represent in the future.
A check with sentiments on the ground will show and reveal to you that voters in some constituencies represented by parties from the Harapan coalition are not happy with their representatives, some of whom are underperforming.
Specifically in constituencies where Harapan’s representatives have served for more than two terms.
Their continued re-election does not necessarily mean voters in the constituencies are well served by these representatives.
They get re-elected because voters were presented with the option of choosing between pro-establishment and anti-establishment.
Yes, Muda can always argue a candidate from their party will offer a fresh alternative to these jaded voters.
In a perfect world, this argument holds. But in reality, it doesn’t hold.
No one wants to give up their incumbency or power they wield even though their party is not the government.
Everyone will claim they stand a better chance. Be it candidates from Harapan or Muda.
And no one will give way if asked.
Even if they give way, it will be due to pressure from their own political leadership and not due to their own willingness.
Under such circumstances, do you really expect these potential candidates to canvass and support a candidate that was placed to replace them?
Until and unless Muda can demonstrate they don’t need the support of infrastructure from parties in Harapan in the seats they wish to contest, no parties in Harapan will ever offer or give up the constituencies they are vying for.
But then, if this is the case, instead of Muda publicly announcing their intention to join Harapan, it will be the leadership of Harapan who will be actively courting and inviting Muda to join their coalition.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.