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Friday, December 30, 2011

Will BN win the 13th GE?


It certainly has the edge but the big question is why is Najib running scared of calling for the polls.
LOOKING AHEAD 2012
Yes, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is too afraid of holding the 13th general election. He is afraid that BN will not win, and in reality he has no confidence of winning.
Otherwise, why would he not immediately call for the polls to be held the moment after he had presented the Budget on Oct 7, 2011?
After all, it is blindingly obvious that the civil service, the national institutions, the rural folk and those in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak are supporting him. With this so-called overwhelming support, it is indeed amazing that he still lacks the courage to call for the general election.
In addition to that, he has also thrown in the RM500 aid as bait. However, the RM500 is no big deal as it is only a one-off. Even if he were to give this sum every five years, it only amounts to RM100 a year. And that is equivalent to RM8.45 a month – peanuts and pittance! Is Najib trying to make monkeys out of the rakyat?
Be that as it may, here is a brief guide highlighting the unique features on the scenario in all the states in Malaysia:
Perlis: If you think the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is in disarray, think again. In Perlis there are four warlords jostling for power: Azmi Khalid – he of the Public Accounts Committee fame; Radzi Sheikh Ahmad – well known and with much clout; Isa Sabu – present Menteri Besar (MB) and; Shahidan Kassim – previous MB.
The smallest state but giving the biggest problems to Umno. PAS has two state seats here and hope to make further inroads and DAP has also set up a branch in Perlis after being absent for more than three decades.
Penang: The Indian-Muslim NGOs try to annoy Chief Minister (CM) Lim Guan Eng but the Malays have never had it better. The support for Lim from the Malays is blanked out by the mainstream media and this could work out to Pakatan’s disadvantage because the Malays in other states will think that the Penang Malays are being marginalised by the DAP-led state government.
Kedah: PAS MB Ustaz Azizan Abu Bakar seems slow and sleepy but that is the style required in Kedah. Things are moving along fine although the mainstream media tries to paint a picture of no-progress. For example, a road in Kubang Rotan was tarred and repaired by the PAS state government but the mainstream media said it was done by the BN federal government.
The PAS government was also accused of not helping the rakyat during the flash floods in 2010 although they had disbursed RM2 million to assist the flood victims.
Kelantan: PAS MB Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat has helmed Kelantan since 1990 and this time the Malay daily which is Umno’s mouthpiece tries to drown him with the water issue by publishing front-page headlines proclaiming that the water in Kelantan is dirty and smelly.
In fact the water is clean and crystal clear and the dirty, smelly water proclaimed in the said daily is the water dug from the ground by some of the locals and this type of water is referred to by the Kelantanese as ‘boring water’. How dull can BN get! The PAS state government has not kept quiet and has issued newsletters to try to counter the BN media.
Terengganu: This state is ever-elusive for PAS although they have won it in 1959 and 2004. There are two warlords in the power struggle of Terengganu: Former MB Idris Jusoh versus current MB Ahmad Said.
The stadium-collapse and the bridge with no river are the main issues here leading the opposition to question who gets a percentage cut from the construction works. In regards to the bridge which is part of the stretch of the Jabor Highway, the cost of the said bridge has ballooned from RM174 million to RM210 million. The construction cost of Jabor Highway itself has increased from RM3.7 billion to RM5 billion.
Pahang: The home state of Najib. The hottest issue here is no doubt the one in regards to Lynas Corporation and the rare earth plant in Gebeng located in the constituency of PKR MP Fuziah Salleh. She is currently heading a people’s movement which involves the rakyat with the intention of booting out this plant.
Battle of all battles
Perak: The state that made headlines in 2009 due to BN’s illegal power-grab. Since then, the Silver State has lost its shine due to Perak MB, Umno’s Zambry Abdul Kadir and his lacklustre line-up of Exco members. Ho-hum, yawn!
But the bright spark here is the PAS Supporters Congress – the non Muslim section of PAS which has one of the most active branches in Malaysia in Perak. The co-ordination among the three Pakatan component parties is also the best in Perak.
Selangor: This is in clear and present danger of going back to BN’s grasp due to extremely aggressive campaigning by Umno using racial issues and scare-mongering tactics to win the Malay vote. Although Umno uses the same racial and scare-mongering tactics in all the states, it is the most prevalent in Selangor.
Negeri Sembilan: One might think that nothing much happens here but lest we forget, Gemas in Negeri Sembilan is the location of the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) cattle ranch – ground zero of the Cattle-Condo scandal. Enough said.
Malacca: Welcome to the Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Melaka in Batu Berendam which has only five flights a week. At other times, it is a good place to hone one’s skills in kite-flying.
Malacca is also home to the largest go-cart circuit in Southeast Asia but rest assured it is not so much a go-cart circuit as a ghost-cart circuit. Costing more than RM12 million to construct, there is no one and no activity there!
Another waste-money project is the roller coaster costing more than RM10 million. There are no thrills and spills here but the roller-coaster is a gold mine for the scrap-metal dealer. It has never been in operation even for one hour! Is it a work of metal-art? Another project that is deserving of mention is the Eye-On-Melaka Ferris Wheel which is also a white elephant project.
There is also the Melaka International Bowling Centre which has 52 lanes – RM15 million in construction but the cost will certainly not bowl over CM Ali Rustam, no way! Then there is Jonker Walk, the golden 600 metres pedestrian walkway constructed at a cost of RM1.8 million.
Indeed, there is much madness and mishaps in Melaka’s spending – too many misadventures in managing the money.
Johor: This is Umno’s homestate and fortress. Although awareness among the rakyat is seeping in slowly, this will remain a BN state.
Sarawak: The Chief Minister is Taib Mahmud. That is all that needs to be said.
Sabah: The Identity Card Project has resulted in many foreigners being given MyKad, even the local Sabahans themselves are feeling overwhelmed. Of course infrastructure is very poor in this state and the people in the interiors live in abject poverty. If you were helping out in the campaigning in the Batu Sapi by-election more than a year ago you will definitely find yourselves asking this question: Am I really in Malaysia?
Federal Territory of Labuan: This is BN’s stronghold of course.
Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur: This is the fort of the opposition except for two seats: Setiawangsa (army camp and postal votes) and Putrajaya (civil servants centre, offices and residences).
BN to win
Overall it can be said that it looks likely that BN will win the 13th general election due to three main reasons: Use of racist, fear-mongering tactics to woo the Malay vote; control of mainstream media to bad-mouth the opposition plus no alternative media in rural areas; and lack of impartiality (to put it in a refined manner) by the Election Commission.
Although it is going to be the battle of all battles, BN certainly has the edge due to the abuse of government machinery.
In Chinese astrology it is said that the Water Dragon of 2012 is a symbol of change but chances are the Water Dragon will bypass the country known as Malaysia.
Selana Tay is a FMT columnist.

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