Bersatu is not riding on Dr M's coattails

Rais Hussin

Modified 28 Dec 2018, 10:36 am

COMMENT | A seasoned analyst does what a seasoned analyst does: reuse the same optic, potentially, the same pool of political whisperers too.

Contrary to what Joceline Tan of may believe, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is not defined by Bersatu, let alone his own age, nor is Bersatu shaped by Mahathir mainly.

Her article weaves in, and out based, mutatis mutandis, on the above logic: the man and the movement are entwined, nor will the twain ever separate.

Thus, Tan's oft-repeated assertions, with the help of her sources, that Bersatu is only as successful as how Mahathir leads it, be it keeping a close tab on racial and religious tensions, and the rising cost of living, and the underperforming cabinet ministers from his own party.

Tan is wrong precisely because Malaysian politics is no longer shaped by the nomenclature of a strong man, a group of racially sensitive Malays or Chinese or Indians, let alone a single or multivariate preoccupation with the economic pressures at hand.

The above is what politicians believe to be relevant. Yet Pippa Norris, at Harvard University, who has done a lot of analysis on democratic suffrage, has time and again, warned of the growing emergence of voters that post values.

Malaysians want change, precisely because change is the common denominator of all the issues that can be loosely grouped and clustered under a single rubric.

Thus the concern with the environment, wastage of public funds, over infusion of sanctimonious religious values in the education system, and the list goes on.

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