LETTER | Since BN had a resounding win in the Malacca state election, taking 21 out of 28 seats in the state assembly, there is a perception that the coalition would win the 15th general election as the state polls were seen as a barometer for national polls.
However, if one looks at the substantive vote, there is only a 2.6 percent difference in the popular vote that separates the front-runners. It is the first past the post system that brought BN to victory, rather than the distinctive substance of votes.
What has been missing in the discourse is how the whole campaign process leading up to the election has been muzzled due to Covid- 19 restrictions, creating an unequal playing field for the opposition.
The SOPs that restricted campaigning, poor turnout among voters and the amount of money used without accountability had placed Pakatan Harapan at a disadvantage. Turnout percentage, unrestricted access to the electorate, and fair campaign financing is what a competitive democracy is all about.
The pertinent question is, would the Covid-19 situation be used to muzzle the required interaction and fair electoral processes in the upcoming general election?
The Malaysian electoral culture has always been more about the end results rather than focusing on what constitutes fair electoral processes in a competitive democracy.
Having said that, Harapan seems to be lacking the credibility of hope when its leaders in PKR and Amanah manoeuvred a political situation in Malacca which resulted in the collapse of a government in the context of a pandemic. The advice given by the DAP leadership of not accepting unethical politicians was not heeded.
Anwar Ibrahim's “the end justifies the means” leadership reveals a coalition that seems to be in line with BN when it comes to attaining political power using unscrupulous means.
While returning the mandate of the people in the 2018 general election is important, it should not be at the expense of the health of the people.
Hope is built on the foundation of principles that are consistent in all areas of governance. One cannot pick and choose principles according to whims and fancies and political expediency.
Harapan has to project hope before providing hope. What is right cannot be sacrificed on the altar of politics.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.