Friday, 20 April 2018

OH WHAT A RELIEF! TIME TO TAKE A BREAK FROM ALL THE NOISE AND THUNDER SINCE 2013 - QUE SERA, SERA!

Hurrah! At long last, Malaysia's general elections is on 9 May 2018.

After almost five long years of non-stop unofficial public politicking by both sides of the political divide, with accusations and counter accusations - whether real or fake, lawsuits and so forth being hurled at each other in  demonstrations, public gatherings, at talks, on social media, in newspaper reports, on websites, blogs and in coffee shop and bar talk, with all this noise and thunder rising to a crescendo in the final 11 days of official campaigning; I'm now going to sit back, watch and wait to cast my vote (for all it's worth) in Malaysia's 14th general elections on 9 May 2018, then stay up all night to watch the results roll in.

Malaysia's political landscape is radically different from back in the 2008 and 2013 general elections, so the results could be radically different this time round.

Back then, on the opposition side was the Pakatan Rakyat (People Pact) comprised of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a multi-ethnic, though largely Chinese-based, nominally social democratic secular party with strong support mostly in the urban areas, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) a liberal, multi-ethninc, though largely Malay based party with strong support in urban and semi-urban areas, and the Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS), an exclusively Muslim, multi-ethnic though largely Malay-based party with strong appeal in the rural and semi-rural areas.

On incumbent side was the Barisan Nasional (BN or National Front), a coalition of 13 parties, comprised of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), an exclusively ethnic Malay-based party which is strong in the rural and semi-rural areas, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), an exclusively Chinese-based party strong in urban and semi-urban areas, the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), an exclusively ethnic-Indian party strong in areas with a sizeable ethnic Indian presence, the multi-ethnic People's Progressive Party, the multi-ethnic Malaysian People's Movement (Gerakan) plus eight other member parties across the water in Sabah and Sarawak.

In addition, there are several unaffiliated parties which supported either the BN or Pakatan Rakyat, such as the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) (both of which are opposed to the BN) plus a few other lesser-known parties supporting one or the other side.

The objective of the Pakatan Rakyat was to avoid three or more cornered contests against the Barisan Nasional in each parliamentary or state seat and instead to go one-on-one against the BN member party in each seat. The same is also true for BN component parties.

As a result, whilst the Pakatan Rakyat did not win the federal government in 2008 and 2013, however this arrangement allowed it to deny the BN the two-thirds majority of seats it had hitherto won in parliament in earlier elections. It also enabled the Pakatan Rakyat to win control of five states in 2008 and to hold on to two important states - i.e. Selangor and Penang in 2013.  

Since the 2013 elections, the DAP and PAS fell out over the issue of Islamic law in Kelantan state, eventually leading to the breakup of the Pakatan Rakyat, with PAS becoming unaffiliated. Then the more welfare (kebajikan) oriented faction in PAS split off to form the Parti Amanah Negara (National Trust Party) more popularly known as Amanah, which then joined together with DAP and PKR to form the Pakatan Harapan (Pack of Hope).

Later, Malaysia's former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir resigned from UMNO, former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin was expelled from UMNO and together with Mahathir's son Mukhriz and some of their supporters who left UMNO - formed the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), an exclusively ethnic Malay-based party opposite to UMNO. Pribumi was accepted into the Pakatan Harapan, with Tun Dr. Mahathir made the Chairman and now leader of the opposition front.

Very recently, Pribumi's registration was suspended by the Elections Commission due to some incompleteness or errors in its submissions filed, so it was agreed that candidates of all Pakatan Harapan member parties will contest inthe upcoming general elections under a single PKR logo.

The inclusion of Tun Dr. Mahathir into Pakatan Harapan and with him being made its chairman angered some members and loyalists within DAP and PKR, as well as activists within pro-opposition non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who regard him as their arch enemy against whom they so bitterly fought and sacrificed -now being made their comrade and ally in the battle against the incumbent prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and UMNO and see his inclusion and that of Pribumi into Pakatan Harpan as a betrayal by DAP and PKR party leaders.

However, to what extent this will influence voters' sentiment is left to be seen in the results of the 9th May 2018 general elections.

The biggest difference between the upcoming 14th general elections and those in 2013 and 2008 is that this time, we will see three or more cornered fights in over half the seats contested, with PAS drawing away votes from the PKR, DAP, Amanah and Pribumi candidate (all contesting under the PKR logo) and the DAP, PKR, Amanah and especially with the Pribumi candidate (all contesting under the PKR logo) drawing away the votes of Mahathir loyalists from the UMNO's or another BN member party's candidate who may be contesting a seat.

It's hard to tell how the upcoming 14th general elections will turn out come the morning after on 10th or May 2018, so we'll just have to wait and see whether BN wins again, Pakatan (contesting under the PKR logo) wins and for once in Malaysian history forms a different government, or whether Malaysia ends up with a hung parliament and a dysfunctional democracy.

At our last meeting with my remisier, he told us that whatever the outcome of the general elections, life will have to go on. We will still have to eat, we'll still have to fill our car with petrol, our children will still go to school, manufacturers will still manufacturer, retailers will still sell, buyers will still buy,some shares will go up, some will go down, whilst some continue to go sideways - just know which ones are going up.

When is was a boy, my father used to often burst out singing, "Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see, que sera, sera".

Then one day when I was around seven years old, I asked my father, "Daddy, why do you keep singing that stupid song?" and he replied, "I'll sing any song I like".

Well, I never imagined back then, that nearly 57 years later, I would be singing (well actually saying), "Que sera, sera"

Yes! Come the results of the 14th general elections - Que sera, sera!

Anyway, it's all been a load of politischeiss all these years, with latter day warlords battling latter day warlords, whilst rallying gullible plebeians to their respective sides.

Meanwhile, enjoy!

Yours truly

POLITISCHESS