After the stunning defeat in Kuala Trengganu, Deputy Prime Minister and in-coming premier Najib Razak has shown the way for the continuation of BN denial syndrome.
He told the press, "Barisan Nasional’s loss in the by-election is only a setback and has no impact on the national political landscape."
He said the coalition was still relevant and was confident of regaining the support of the people very quickly. Najib felt the mood of the people would be different in the next general election.
The problem is UMNO's coalition partner MCA is blowing its own trumpet. "I was told that Chinese support for Barisan actually increased" - Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat. “In fact, I was told that Chinese support for Barisan Nasional actually increased, compared with the last general election.
In Petaling Jaya, MCA political analyst Chua Goh Tong said the swing of Chinese votes towards Barisan was a reflection of the service they enjoyed under the Barisan state and federal government.
“We have 8,735 Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu, and 63% to 65% of them voted for Barisan compared to 58% to 63% in March 2008,” he said.
He said the increase in Chinese support could be attributed to concern over PAS’ proposal to introduce hudud laws, and their experience under PAS rule from 1999 to 2004.
“Unfortunately, the Malay votes swung the other way. Even with a full turnout of the Chinese community, I don’t think we could have turned the result around because of the large majority this time,” he said.
Like Najib, MCA strategist Chua is inflicted by the same sense of denial. The Chinese support did not return to MCA. Being a smaller community in KT, coupled with numerous threats from MB Ahmad Said and the looming economic gloom, they were more intimidated with the lose of TOL (some renewable annually) and being targetted if seen to have voted for the opposition.
Thousands of youths are working outside of KT and may find it difficult to return twice to vote in a short period of a week. Most had probably made plans to return next week to usher in the Chinese New Year.
What did MCA do to ensure the return of Chinese support nationally?
Has the issue of NEP being resolved? Is MCA still a second class party? Has the issue of teaching of maths and science in English being resolved? Is UMNO finally admitting that all Malaysians are equal and drop their "ketuanan Melayu" tagline? Has Ahmad Ismail, Mukhriz Mahathir, Khairy Jamaluddin and a host of other racist leaders apologized for their remarks?
None of the above.
This sense of denial will ensure many other stunning defeats by the coalition. Najib has shown that he is not a renaissance leader who will soon bring a change of fortune to the front.