Malaysiakini News

Can an opposition grand coalition knock out Barisan?

Koon Yew Yin  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | According to news reports on the celebration of Umno’s 71st anniversary, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has teased the Umno supporters by asking if he should dissolve Parliament as early as the next day.

Well, some observers see it as a sign that he is very confident of a victory and that he may call an election soon.

However, there are two sayings which he needs to be reminded.

One is the old saying - “Pride goes before a fall”.

The other is a quote attributed to Harold Washington, the first African-American elected as mayor of Chicago - “Let’s not be overconfident, we still have to count the votes.”

BN-sponsored analysts who dominate the official media have been saying that BN has more than the required number of votes to win the next election by a comfortable margin. In fact, some are so confident that they are assuring BN of a more than two-thirds majority in Parliament. Because these analysts are tied to the BN money machine, this message of a big BN victory will be drummed into our heads for the next few months.

But is this big BN victory a sure thing?

Going by my knowledge of politics in Ipoh and Perak, I wish to differ.

Tide turning against BN

In Perak, most voters have not forgotten that power was stolen from Pakatan by the BN through unconstitutional means by Najib with the assistance of the present MB Zambry Abdul Kadir.

In the next election, many voters will want to correct the injustice and vote for the opposition.

Included in this group will be most of the civil servants as well as Felda settlers who have been regarded as Umno’s and BN’s vote banks.

To some extent these voters have also been PAS’s vote banks.

But will the Malay civil servants and Felda settlers continue to allow themselves to be swayed by racial and religious politics; and vote with their hearts rather than with their heads in the next election?

Or will they realise that both Umno and PAS have let them down badly and are not worth the support that the two parties have been provided with during the past 50 years and more.

Today, everyone except for the elite are suffering from a socio-economic crisis arising from the mismanagement of the economy and pervasive corruption. Food is more expensive, transport prices have soared, education costs have escalated.

According to Ceupacs president Azih Muda, civil servants have ended up heavily in debt to manage rising living costs, to the point that more than 60,000 of them risk bankruptcy.

“This is a direct effect of the hike in cost of living. Civil servants end up taking up a lot of loans and this is unsustainable and they are unable to manage their finances,” Azih told the Reuters news agency.

Of course, this report was not carried in the mainstream Malay media. Neither have been the numerous reports on the financial mess that Umno leaders have inflicted on Felda settlers through the launch of Felda Global Ventures Berhad.

The plight of civil servants and Felda settlers was totally ignored by Umno during its lavish anniversary celebrations.

Correction, it was not ignored because Umno dished out freebies such as sweets, candies, biscuits, and Gardenia sponge cakes. Big show but pathetic deal which has gone viral.

I am sure the opposition parties will be using the images of these Umno freebies in contrast to the 1MDB and other goodies spread by the prime minister to show around the kampungs when election time comes around.

This publicity stunt by Umno that it is taking care of Malay welfare is so brainless that I am surprised that it was agreed to by Najib and his team. But then at the same time I am not surprised. It shows the level of disrespect and contempt that Umno’s leadership has for its grassroots.

Throw them a few goodies and they will be satisfied seems to be the Umno message.

This time though, I am sure the revolt of the Malay masses will take place. And when this revolt led by the civil servants and Felda settlers happens at the polling booth, a new page in our nation’s history will be reached...

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