Wednesday, 27 March 2013


The much anticipated 13th General Election (GE13) is set to be announced soon, with the political parties, observers, investors and the man on the street probably having one thing in their mind, will BN return with a solid mandate and prove its detractors wrong?

While it is up to the 13 million voters to decide, an academician who has been closely following the political developments in the country believed that the current political tide favours BN.

"BN will recapture the seats taken by the opposition. BN will win big. BN will return with two thirds majority."

This is the personal analysis of Prof Dr Kamaruddin M Said, the head of the Historical Heritage and Socio-Culture Cluster of the National Professors' Council during an interview with Bernama here recently.

Kamaruddin conceded that while some might consider his views being overly optimistic, the views were based on the voter sentiment and fundamentals that favour BN.

As for Kamaruddin, the GE13 would 'correct' the outcome of GE12 in 2008 as the voters now could appreciate better the good and bad, the strength and weaknesses of both BN and the opposition pact (PR).

And the 'correction' made by the voters would help BN wrest back most, if not all, of the Parliament seats that the alliance lost to the opposition in 2008.

As for the record, in the 2008, BN lost its two thirds majority when it only won 140 Parliament seats while another 82 Parliament seats going to PR. At the state assemblies, BN secured 307 seats while PR won 198.

Now a dynamic BN

Kamaruddin's assumption of BN's big win is very much based on his optimistic analysis of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's leadership of the government and BN.

BN's leadership at present is a stark contrast of what it was before 2008.

Dynamism, clear vision and strategic development plans have been the cornerstone of the present leadership.

He believed that these were the fundamentals that would make voters favour BN.

Najib's has proven a dynamic leadership with numerous transformation programmes and the 1Malaysia initiatives have been the battle cry for BN to return with a resounding victory in GE13.

According to Kamaruddin, the 1Malaysia concept has served as a strategic initiative in establishing all-inclusiveness with the Chinese and Indians.

The success of the initiative is largely due to the fact that the Malays no longer fear competing with others.

"This is due to the success of the New Economic Policy that gave rise to many Malay professionals.

"If the same initiative was introduced in 1970, it would not be acceptable due to the May 13, 1969 tragedy. The Malays then were dependent on the poverty eradication efforts and advocacy of their rights.

"But when it was announced in 2009, the new generation of Malays found it acceptable as they were confident enough to compete, and bold enough to take to the international stage," noted Kamaruddin.

For all

Kamaruddin who is also a lecturer with Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) pointed out that Najib has also introduced changes to the sensitive laws viewed as draconian by the opposition.

They include the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance Act and Internal Security Act.

"The University and University Colleges Act 1971 too were revised and there is no longer any restriction for undergraduates to participate in politics.

"The 1Malaysia programmes with the slogan People First, Performance now indicates all citizens will receive help regardless of their ethnicity.

"This will be seen as something fair to all especially by the fence-sitters", he explained.

Not the deciding factor

While some might think GE13 is the mother of all elections, Kamaruddin begged to differ saying the mother of all elections was actually the GE12 in 2008.

"In GE12, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) alone managed to wrestle 30 Parliament seats that previously belonged to BN and the opposition pact also took over five state assemblies.

"PKR had consolidated its position. From winning a single Parliament seat, it added 30 more. As far as I'm concerned the voters who favoured PKR then were the fence sitters," said Kamaruddin.

The aforementioned fence-sitters were the voters of the younger generation and professionals.

The opposition's success then was aided by the sympathy for Anwar Ibrahim who was just released from his prison term then.

"Almost all the voters over the fence gave their support to him (Anwar). If he was to win that was the most opportune moment. And that is why the opposition garnered lots of votes," explained Kamaruddin.

Not difficult

The stakes are big in GE13. The national development, peace and better future for the younger generation are the key elements to be preserved.

The voters of today were not in a predicament like in 2008 where they were hounded by a host of complicated issues.

"In fact GE13 has become straightforward. Najib's leadership is at its best and the majority of the voters including the fence sitters will make a choice in ensuring the continuity of the above elements.

"I'm also of the opinion that fence-sitters will have no difficulty in turning away from Anwar as they have already compensated him in 2008, there is nothing wrong in doing so.

"Even at present Anwar's image as a hero has been dented. He has yet to establish a common ground for the three major parties within PR," noted Kamaruddin.

In fact there is no political compatibility between PAS, DAP and PKR compared with the BN component parties.

"The issue on the use of the term 'Allah' in the bible and who will be the prime minister if PR wins are among the contention within the opposition pact," noted Kamaruddin.

However, he said that hardcore supporters of the opposition parties would once again prove their loyalty to the opposition side during GE13.

Arab Spring

As GE13 draws near, some have come up with the assumption that Malaysia is in for an "Arab Spring", the citizen uprising witnessed in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

Kamaruddin flatly denounced this idea saying the 'Arab Spring' is not an uprising based on the true spirit of the people but the one sponsored by the United States (US).

US was of the view that the Arab leaders were a security threat thus they sought the downfall of the Arab leaders one after the other including the country's long term ally Hosni Mubarak.

Kamaruddin noted that on the other hand Malaysia is a small nation and did not pose a threat to the US.

"Though we are a small nation, our trade with the US is important and big. The US' perception on Malaysia is now different.

"Based on the current scenario, the US will not help in launching an 'Arab Spring' in Malaysia," he added.

BN has kept to its pledges

Since independence, BN has etched a good record in developing the nation.

This is with the cooperation of the Malay, Chinese, and Indian freedom fighters, and later on the freedom fighters from Sabah and Sarawak.

He said that the ruling party has not only made pledges but also fulfilled them.

"If the ruling party only made pledges and failed to honour them, then the government would have been voted out long time ago. That is not the case for BN," he stressed. – Bernama

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