Thursday, May 05, 2011

13th GE: Battle for the Middle Ground

In the forthcoming 13th GE, political parties need to focus on the middle ground. The middle ground has enlarged partly due to poor publicity and internal issues faced by the opposition.

Apart from the Dap, both Pas and PKR are facing an unsettled electoral base. Erosion of support among the Malay and Indian voters is the biggest challenge facing the opposition.

For Pakatan, it is not good if only Dap is doing its part in winning the majority of Chinese voters. It is difficult to tell when Pas' patience may run thin if the party loses more Malay majority seats or loses Kelantan in the next GE.

Pakatan needs to address the Malay dilemma very quickly. The newly minted coalition has argued against the failure of NEP but it has not been able to do more by introducing an alternative policy to address the multifarious socio-economic issues faced by the community.

In the end, the return of Malay voters to the ruling coalition may be contributed by a lack of alternative policy or a new hope for the community rather than Umno's supremacy chant. The community would rather find comfort within a familiar environment than to venture out into the unknown.

Politicians must take note that 'ketuanan Melayu' to them is interpreted differently from the common people. Politicians want to preserve political power for themselves. Most of the Malay voters fear a worse backlash on their socio-economic situation and livelihood if their rights are no longer protected by the government. Not many Malays seriously believe that they are a far superior race compared to others.

They needed 'ketuanan Melayu' to protect their own well-being. Until and unless there is a programme to empower and to build the capacity of the community, Malaysia race based political model would continue to be effective and relevant. Dominant race based parties will continue to dominate.

Anwar Ibrahim may be an inspirational leader to Pakatan members but his on-going sodomy trial and unending sexual allegations may have taken their toll on his party and the coalition. Most of the leaders in PKR are Anwar's cheer leaders. None of them are ready to step up and step out of Anwar's shadow.

The party depends too much on Anwar to persuade the Malay voters to support the party. Unfortunately, the de facto leader is not in the right position to help his party to galvanize the middle ground.

On the other hand, the Umno led Barisan Nasional is making too many conflicting moves which may not help the coalition to make any significant gains from the middle ground too.

The return of some Malay and Indian support should not be misconstrued as a return of popular support for the coalition.

The lost of Malay and Indian support in the last GE was somewhat contributed by Mahathir's relentless attacks on Abdullah Badawi which had led to an internal strife within Umno and partly Indians unhappiness with Samy Vellu.

With both Abdullah and Samy out of the way, the coalition should claw back at least 5-15% support from both communities. The gains made are actually from Barisan own core supporters which had chosen to vote against them in the last GE.

PM Najib has tried to win over the middle ground through his NEM and 1Malaysia initiatives. However, several conflicting moves e.g. 1Melayu 1Bumi, Perkasa, Pembela, Muslim NGOs, sex video, abuse of power, corruption, overstaying leaders etc. made by his allies are going to dent his hope of winning over the middle ground.

Next GE is going to be a very polarized one for Malaysia. There are two sides of Malaysian politics: urban & rural politics.

Urban politics is largely dominated by a large middle ground. These voters expect less politicking and are less tolerant of bad governance and arrogant politicians. Most of them are expected to still vote against the Barisan if the coalition does not change its political strategy drastically to represent a more responsible and moderate face.

Rural areas are probably going to vote for status quo. They are still somewhat insulated from the issues and challenges by urban folks including inflation, high cost of living and others.

However, a government is run from the city. Policies are being formulated in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

The world, when measuring Malaysia's development and affluence, would be looking at Kuala Lumpur and not Lenggong or Kudat.

So far, no one is winning the battle for the middle ground yet.


Anonymous said...

YOur reading is out. The middle ground is already won by the Pakatan Rakyat. Most of the educated and working classes are not with Barisan anymore. Talk to the taxi drivers. The kampong pie is with UMNNO. Pakatan must focus on this group. Let the DAP deal with the urban masses. Read the main newspapers Barisan is winning back people. Read the writing on the pavements Barisan is gone. But read the writing on the rural roads and kampong paths Barisan is still ..not OK but...

samgoh88 said...


The middle ground will be battle ground
When the next election comes around
Whether or not this observation is sound
Will depend on the final results to be found

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng
Thur.5th May 2011.

Anonymous said...

These is only ONE way for the ground to shift in favour of Pakatan. That is if some influential people and some parties in BN desert the coalition and align themselves with Pakatan.
e.g PBS, PBB, Tengku Razaleigh, Khairy,Ong Kee Tiat and the like.
Only then the earth will shake.

Anonymous said...

An accountant placed an advertisement outside his office for
"GENERAL CLERKS with minimum SPM qualifications".
You know what. There were countless applicants and most were local Malay graduates.
Tell me. Why should Malays be grateful to UMNO.

Anonymous said...

Yes, PKR is the weakest link. Among them are many frogs and so called generals. Even in Sarawak, with 3 elected rep they want to make so much noise on the shadow cabinet. Anwar is very inconsistent and carries too many baggages. He doesn't have the strong support from members of his own party. What type of party with de facto leader. This is bullshit.

HOPEFUL said...

I think the BN has done the right stragedy in 'hentam'Annuar Ibrahim with the sodomy and sex video allegations so that a lot of time is drained from him from party matters.that is why PKR is seen to be in disarray and these tactics worked in rural areas bcos the folks are lacked of internal exposure and also due to their educational level of not be able to decern rationally.
Pakatan needs a strong malay leader who can see beyond racism to steer the coalition to success in GE13.

Anonymous said...

you forgot - the urban middle class , especially the many angry parents are definately voting against the govt - for the Math and Science issue. I have never been a voter but I made it a point to register myself this time to vote. Change our children future, we change yours too.

Anonymous said...

Failure to capture the rural seats in Sabah and Sarawak makes PR winning the 13th GE just a dream. Has PKR made much impact in this area yet? Just look at the Sarawak election. PBB is still very strong.Did DAP win because urban voters love them, or due to the complacency of SUPP,or they have no other viable opposition party beside DAP?
Will the "hate Mahatir" in 2008 and "hate Taib" campaign will still be effective in the coming GE for PR?
Isn't the latest shadow cabinet squabble showing the lack of political maturity on PKR?
DAP Sarawak should be commended for taking the initiative giving their elected candidates a chance learning to be Cabinet member matching BN on issues!