Back to the drawing board
APR 26, 2010 — For the past eight days, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has led a campaign that showcased everything rotten about Umno and BN.
The vilification and assassination on the personal lifestyle of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, candidate of PKR and Pakatan Rakyat was absolutely disgusting but it brought mixed results based on the Malays' voting pattern.
The people of Hulu Selangor did not respond to BN's campaign by giving Zaid a decisive thumping, but instead word has it that they were displeased with the gutter politics on show.
Even though Zaid was not elected as the new representative of Hulu Selangor, it has shown to the nation that Umno has adopted this brand of politics.
Playing the typical opposition's game, Umno moved in to kill off Zaid by accusing him of not being Islamic enough, referring to his liberal character.
Then there was the crossing over of a few of Pakatan's representatives in the hope of destabilising the alliance that has been touted as the government-in-waiting.
The ill intent and misguided efforts were a desperate attempt by Najib to hold on to power and to reverse the potential end of BN's 53-year rule.
The wisdom of the people of all races — Malays, Chinese, Indians, Orang Asal and the rest of the population — should not be underestimated though.
They crave for a government that is able to provide a visionary leadership to propel the country to greater heights economically, politically and socially.
The Malays have expressed their displeasure with Umno's extremism as indicated by a vote swing for Pakatan in some Malay areas of Batang Kali.
The majority of the Chinese in Kuala Kubu Bharu township and the many urban Indians including the Orang Asal showed their abhorrence of Umno's utter contempt of their rights as Malaysians.
It is fortunate that the self-imposed referendum on Najib's leadership did not backfire as it would have been very embarassing for Najib if BN had lost.
BN clearly outplayed Pakatan by dishing out monies and projects for the constituents of Hulu Selangor.
To the Anwar Ibrahim-led Pakatan Rakyat, the goal is to relieve BN's stranglehold on the lives of ordinary Malaysians — in the urban cities, kampungs, estates and the remote areas.
Pakatan needs to deal with the results of the Hulu Selangor by-election with great humility; that the trust of the people needs to be safeguarded and upheld with ultimate transparency, accountability and responsibly.
The people of Hulu Selangor have also shown some affinity to Pakatan and this should not be destroyed with internal squabbling and politicking among Pakatan component members.
The almost non-existent PKR machinery especially in Hulu Bernam and the Felda areas of Hulu Selangor show a lack of engagement with the Malay voters.
This is also similar in the national context, whereby the message of Pakatan does not get across to the Malay population and this has to be addressed by Pakatan as a whole, not just by PAS or to a lesser extent PKR.
The calls for change will not be realised if the Malays do not buy into this message and major effort needs to be given due consideration by Pakatan including DAP in order to break the myth that the Chinese-led party will trample on the rights of the Malays.
There has to be a clear, simple and direct message for the rural Malays that a Pakatan government will protect their rights, their livelihoods, the Malay Sultans, the Malay language and Islam as the religion of the Federation.
If these issues are given due attention, maybe then we will see a second political tsunami in the country come the next general election.
Note : This article first appeared in The Malaysian Insider on April 26, 2010