Opposition admits not ready for polls

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KUALA LUMPUR: If snap elections are to be held by early next year, the Opposition said it might lose due to several “spoilers”, including three-cornered fights, the Lim Guan Eng arrest, the lack of momentum from the Mahathir-Muhyiddin-Mukhriz camp and the swing in Chinese votes to Barisan Nasional.

The Opposition said in order to win, voters needed to know the difference between political Islam championed by PAS and Amanah’s policy of good governance and transparency, which is part of Islamic values.

Pakatan Harapan also needs to create greater awareness on economic issues to diffuse any economic insecurity the Malays might have over the non-Malays.

“In a worst case scenario, if the proposed amendment to Shariah laws were passed in the Dewan Rakyat this October, it might prompt the prime minister to call for the general election early next year as PAS would back Najib,” Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong said.

“Najib Razak is banking on a weak PKR after the exit by PAS (from Pakatan Rakyat). DAP is troubled after Guan Eng’s arrest, Mahathir and the gang are still not able to gather momentum.

“So, by default Barisan Nasional (BN) will win, with PAS being the spoiler in three-cornered fights. People are still getting to know Amanah,” Liew said at a forum called “Malaysia: Is There Hope Yet?” here last night.

He said if the Opposition was not careful it might do worse than the 2004 General Election where a majority of Malaysians voted overwhelmingly in support of the Abdullah Badawi-led BN.

“They voted for Pak Lah with hope. The worst case would be people voting for Najib with hope, too.”

Liew said there was also the mention of “kafir harbi” (non-believers who can be slain) to indirectly stop former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his son former Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz and former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin from working with the Opposition, especially DAP.

“DAP is branded as ‘kafir harbi’. It is to prevent any potential realignment between the Opposition with the 3Ms.”

He said to win, there has to be an economic wave where voters were aware of the “manipulated hatred of the Malay economy being under threat, which is constantly used to create fear within the Malays.”

“It boils down to economic insecurity, especially in semi-urban areas where people run small- and medium-scale businesses. We need to present clearly to the Malays and non-Malays the economic condition and how they can prosper.

“The next few years are going to be hard for the nation as the world economy slows down. We need to show both sides what they can achieve.”

Liew also said that the Opposition has to gain more ground in semi-rural seats, which are seen as the next step for winning the elections. The Opposition did well previously with urban voters while rural Malays supported Umno, he said.

Another factor was that the Chinese who had voted for the Opposition in 2013, where many had felt there would be a change in government, were now swinging back to BN, as was the case in the Sarawak state election as well as the recent Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections.

“The Chinese will vote for a government who is likely to win.”

He said the Opposition would also work together with Amanah and Mahathir and others to win back votes.

Liew added that Muhyiddin could focus on Johor, Mukhriz could focus on Kedah and Shafie Apdal, who was suspended from Umno last Friday, could look at reshaping Sabah politics


‘Takdir Tuhan’

Amanah Communications Director Khalid Samad told the forum that the mentality of Malays leaving things to fate needed to be changed.

“They would say ‘takdir Tuhan’ (God’s will) if something happens. All they need is a brief explanation over a matter and they are happy. They are perfect to be ruled by a dictator.”

He said the only way to change this mentality was by having a better understanding of Islam.

The ex-PAS member said in earlier days, PAS had believed in three issues. The first was the Islamic belief system, then good character and the last was Shariah laws.

“Terrorist groups normally focus on Shariah laws. But PAS’s priority was on honesty, accountability and the welfare of the people. However, their priorities are changing after being influenced by hardliners.”

Khalid said Amanah, DAP and PKR, under Pakatan Harapan, would focus on good governance, accountability and other good values which should be shared with other Malay vo

“During the two by-elections in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar, despite voters not knowing us, we did not come out zero. We manage to reduce the votes of both Umno and PAS. If we continue to tell our story, I am optimistic people will vote for us.”

According to Khalid, based on the 2013 general election results, if Pakatan Harapan can get 10 out of 62% of votes which had gone to Umno, 13 out of 38% of PAS votes and 75% of non-Malay votes, it could form a government.

The Shah Alam MP said PAS was expected to field a candidate in almost all the seats to weaken the Opposition votes. – FMT

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