Can you win a general election without having a debate and winning it? Curiously, Najib Tun Razak and Barisan National seem to think so but the principal opposing alliance Pakatan Rakyat’s Anwar Ibrahim do not seem to think so. My take is, Najib Tun Razak and Anwar Ibrahim  should debate about “more food, less fear, for future Malaysia.” But this is not going to happen.

The government has a vested interest in fudge. After all, there can be no opposition if there is no position. Its best hope is to muddle through the 13th General Elections and return with roughly the same numbers through a strategy of least resistance. What is less comprehensible is the response of the Barisan National. It looks befuddled before fudge. Instead of raising issues, its spokespersons throw pebbles. If you cannot clear a haze, the haze has won the day. The Pakatan Rakyat has been more successful in creating the tension of a debate, but its resonance is limited to a couple of pockets, while the Third Front is too thin to be considered a net, let alone a magnet.

This is going to be a cold election. Neither candidate nor party will be able to waft on hot air. If the Barisan National wants to succeed, it has to remember a key fact: the young voter is outgrowing communal rhetoric. He wants more food and less fear. At the moment he is getting the reverse.

The UMNO has one advantage: Malays, its main vote bank, do not vote for something; they vote against someone. This suits the UMNO perfectly. It feeds fear to Malays, and offers development to other electorates.

Success breeds imitation, but change, the slogan which dazzled the US when Obama became President of America, will be insufficient in Malaysia. Frustration has stripped the Malaysian voter of illusions. Offer him change, and he will demand to know to what. Promise him a job and he will ask where, when, how and to whom. Americans gave Obama a pass on delivery systems and destination. The relevant slogan is not the one that ousted Pairin Kitingan’s  Sabah government in 1994 state election despite PBS securing a victory, but the one that laid out Pairin 18 years ago: It’s the economy!

Since no government in its senses would want to contest an election on the economy when jobs are disappearing in cities and farmers are finding hard to sell their produce because of the escalating prices on seeds, fertilizers and chemicals and even the rising animal and poultry feed prices is hitting poultry processors hard, the Barisan National/UMNO seems poised to offer a virtuous trinity of vitality (Khiry Jamaludin), morality (Najib Tun Razak) and nobility (Rosmah Mansur). The voter will, however, check for substance behind the advertising. The chief minister of the biggest Barisan National state, Sarawak, Taib Mahmud, has become synonymous with illegal land grab, a thousand plots of land acquired in recent years by the state, much of which have been passed on to Taib’s close relatives and cronies at dirt cheap premiums. Many of these plots of lands, which total more than 1.5 million hectares, were in fact NCR lands, secretively sequestered from the natives. Taib has lost the plot. Or, more accurately, he has sold the plot.

The arithmetic of a cold election will be determined by the sum total of regional numbers. The formation of the next government could depend on how well the allies, rather than the principals, do. The Pakatan’s partners seem more confident than the Barisan Nationals’ friends. But such is the perceived fluidity of options that Anwar Ibrahim, Tuan Guru Hadi Awang, Lim Kit Siang, see themselves as possible occupants of Putrajaya. They may not agree on anything else, but they believe that neither the Barisan National nor the Pakatan Rakyat will cross the 111-seat mark necessary to become the plank on which a government can rest. The politics of the 90’s and the 20’s has seen the rise of flexible morality leading to an explosion of opportunity in March 2008 GE12.

Will the politics of the 2010’s be different? Yes. There is likely to be fatigue in West Malaysia with the insular dynamics of regional parties in Sabah and Sarawak, trapped in concentric rings of family and state; and a yearning for political formations that offer more than stagnant regional horizons. The next government in Putrajaya, like this one, might be less than the sum of its parts, rather than more. There are no institutional methods of re-nourishment once the leaders of small parties in Sabah and Sarawak become vulnerable to age or accident.

You might then, with good reason, consider 2008 the semi-final election. The finals will take place in the elections after this, probably this year 2012, when the Barisan National and the Pakatan will square off in most parts of the country, sufficient to give one or the other over 111 seats. They will have younger, if not newer leaders, creating the base for Sabah and Sarawak to be the kingmakers in Putrajaya.

The debate will not change, because the problem will not have been resolved. Whoever wins the argument on food and fear in 2012 will control the decade.

  1. Bei Soo Lang says:

    To: All Sabahans
    From : Queen Counsel for criminal sexual cases Siew Yin Luan at Tel : 0321663384
    Agenda : Bring your abominable snowman lewyer back to the peaks of Mount Kinabaluto retire to his cave.The snow around him will melt immediately under PR government.
    He is prosecuting and appealing an impossible to happen anal sex case.
    Analysis : A normal healthy boy will start to get a full and strong penis erection at the age between 12 to 16 years.By the age of age 62 a man can still get an erection but it would be a very weak and soft erection.It is because the tissues,muscles and blood vessels has grown weak, soft and worn down over the years.The penis would be standing up at 10 clock position when it is fully erected.He would have an old wife who has given birth to 8 children.It would be easy and possible fo him to put the weakly erected penis into her weak muscled and enlarged vaginal cavity.
    In this case here we have a young man of 24 years old.He would have a very tight anus ringed by strong and young circular muscles.If the 62 years old man with the weak penis tries to push the penis into the tight anus cavity.The penis will be bend to the 7 oclock position.There would be no penetraion.It is an impossible case under the laws of human bodies.
    Under CPC for sexual cases,if a 62 years old man is arrested for alleged anal rape.
    1) He would have to take a erection test.The guy would surely fail from millions of record case over the years.
    2) The urologist who is a specialist in male sexual organs can testify the impossibilty of the penis of a 62 years old man penetrating the tight anus of a 24 years old man.
    3) We can find so many old prostitudes working the the bars in all the red lighted districts.They have have handled tens of thousands of male penis in their sex careersThey have all said to me the impossibilty of a 62 years old man having a penis hard enough to penetrate the tight anus of a 24 year old man.Come to my office at 17 th Floor,Wisma MCA.Jalan Ampang to view the evidences.

    Such a case can only be prosecuted by THe Abominable Snowman of Mount Kinabalu


  2. kedah man says:

    Our weak PM definitely don’t have the gut for the proposed open debate, why? Maybe Rosmah Mama wouldn’t allow him to the debate as the debate will open up cans of worms !!!
    Maybe PM cannot why not the Deputy Prime Minister ? Also no Guts? I think so.


  3. Gary says:

    Yes, a debate on policy will be nice for a change.

    No more character assassinations, questionable videos, whispered innuendos and spin doctoring. Just a good old fashioned jaw-jaw on topics of substance.

    Step up, Najib!


  4. micheal says:

    Mr. flip flop is too busy looting and plundering the country’s wealth, or whatever is left of it whilst his FLOM is busy shopping. He doesn’t have the gut to a public debate for he only knows all the meaningless slogans some of which make us sick to the core.


  5. Ali Bakar says:

    UMNO and its putras just cannot stand up for a debate; they would rather cook up videos and fitnahs to score against their opponents. Shame on them for being yellow-livered chicken hearted crooked and corrupt politicians stealing from the rakyat and hiding behind Putrajaya.

    If Najib is scared to face off Anwar, then let Mahathir be his proxy.


  6. mutalib says:

    Najib Tun Razak is too scared to debate with DSAI. Najib is no match with DSAI. No one in UMNO can debate with DSAI. UMNO leaders got no class, no standard.


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