Many analysts and observers claimed that the Hulu Selangor by-election is a referendum on Najib's administration. It is also a test board on the performance of Pakatan Selangor under the leadership of Khalid Ibrahim.
Najib has gone on the offensive with his strings of PR efforts hoping to convince mostly non-Malay voters of his new vision - New Economy Model. Barisan leaders and the coalition friendly media agencies have played up Najib's vision and policies. The sad part is this country will not get better merely through visions and policy announcements but lacking in actual implementation.
Najib had announced numerous big sounding initiatives e.g. the Government Transformation Plan, New Economy Model, 1Malaysia and several others. He had formed a number of committees and work groups. His most controversial decision was to appoint APCO as his government's international PR consultants.
What is lacking is a report card. His administration is facing a tremendous challenge to provide full details of his reform pledges. Hence, the claims of Najib's gaining popularity over these announcements is weird and worrying.
Why so? First, are Malaysians so gullible? Malaysians should be focusing more on the results than announcements. However, slogans have proven to be very marketable in Malaysia.
On the flip side, Pakatan led state governments have been less than innovative and fresh with their governance approach. Pakatan Selangor under the leadership of Khalid Ibrahim is seen as lack of dynamism and new ideas. There is also a serious concern over the support he gets from his own party.
The outcome of Hulu Selangor by-election should provide some lessons for Pakatan. They, especially PKR, need to be more careful with their membership recruitment process, candidate selection mechanism and leadership promotion within the party. Pakatan states cannot merely depend on the misdeeds of Barisan to win elections.
Barisan's excesses are already well known but the opposition coalition must capture the people's confidence that they are able to hold the leadership mantle if given an opportunity to do. Good riddance to PKR because the defectors are mostly from leaders and members with dubious record and low credibility.
Pakatan needs to show how they can govern differently.
It may not be a bad thing if Pakatan losses this by-election. It should not stay complacent and just hope for Barisan's poor perception to win elections.
Pakatan must win over some Barisan's hard core supporters if it wants to form the next federal government.
Hulu Selangor is a also a test of Malaysian mentality. If voters in Hulu Selangor are not committed on reforms, then there is still a long way for this country to become a fully developed country. Race, social morality and developmental politics are key to the HS election.
Power corrupts and should not be perpetuated in any democracies. We need at least a change of government but can Pakatan delivers us more hope and trust?