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10 APRIL 2024

Monday, January 31, 2022

The Focus Of The PM’s Next Six Months


So, six months to go before GE15. What are PM Ismail Sabri’s plans to ensure there will be money, or more money, in the voters’ pockets this 2022? As they say in America: SHOW ME THE MONEY!


Raja Petra Kamarudin

It looks like Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has only six months more to get his house in order before he faces the next general election or GE15. His critics are already saying he is going to be the shortest prime minister in Malaysian history.

How is he going to prove his critics wrong and ensure he gets a full term (or another term) until at least 2027 or thereabouts?

About 20 years ago I attended a course conducted by the political strategist to the then Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder, from the Social Democratic Party. And it was a most interesting two-day course I have ever attended (and I have attended many such courses, two conducted by Oxford University).

What has stayed in my mind until today is what Peter (the chap conducting the course and my namesake) said:

Never mind whether it is in Europe, the US, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, or wherever, the only thing important to voters is what do they get by voting for you? What’s in it for me?

The country can be advanced, or it can be backward. At the end of the day it is all about bread-and-butter issues and about what I personally gain. Everywhere in the world it is the same, Peter said.

Those who have no problems fulfilling or financing their daily needs can afford to talk about equality, racial discrimination, freedom of speech, democracy, civil liberties, transparency, accountability, and all those ‘noble’ issues. For 90% of the voters, it is about putting food on the table, clothes on your back, and a roof over your head.

And the cost of living is going to increase drastically over the next few months (even here in the UK where charges for power, energy, council tax, national insurance, etc., are going to go up by March or April and we will need to spend 20% more this year compared to last year…sigh).

Last month I was down with Covid-19 and my oxygen level dropped to 83 (it’s now back up to 97-98). My wife, Marina, was quite worried and she kept monitoring me every hour so that, if it did not go back up, she was going to phone for an ambulance. At that time I did not even worry about the cost of living in 2022 since I might not even live to see 2022.

Today, the big issue in the UK is Boris Johnson’s party in Number 10. His enemies hope to bring him down with the ‘Partygate’ issue. Honestly, when I am still suffering for Long Covid and worry about how to pay my bills and cover my cost-of-living in 2022, do you think I care about a silly party in the PM’s office?

If Boris Johnson can figure out how to reduce or freeze the cost of council tax, electricity, water, gas, etc., he will get my vote — party or no party in Number 10. And this must be the focus for Boris these next few months.

For Ismail Sabri, this, too, must be his focus. His critics are raising all sorts of unproductive issues such as Azam Baki, Genting Hong Kong, and many more. It is aimed at distracting the government and make it appear like Ismail Sabri’s government is riddled with scandals. Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng are raising all sorts of issues to give an impression that Ismail Sabri is weak and a no-action Prime Minister.

The PM must not fall into this opposition trap. He most probably has only six months to lay the groundwork for GE15. And six months is not long. Come out with plans on how to look after the welfare and wellbeing of the rakyat who will be voting in GE15.

Cost of living. Unemployment, especially amongst the youth and graduates. Minimum wage. Covid-19 and the impact on the economic wellbeing of the rakyat. Foreign investments or FDI. Money, money, money — or the lack of it in this case.

In that same two-day course I talked about earlier, Peter said the 1999 general election was a good first move to ousting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Barisan Nasional. If we continue this way, by the 2004 or 2008 general election, Barisan Nasional would be kicked out.

However, what will happen, asked Peter, If Dr Mahathir retires before the 2004 general election and hands power to his deputy, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi? The 1999 general election was an anti-Mahathir campaign. But if Mahathir is no longer the PM in the 2004 general election, what is going to be the new campaign?

Hence, we have two years to come out with a new campaign in the event Mahathir decides to retire before the election and hand power to his number two.

But we did not do that. On 1st November 2003, Mahathir retired and handed power to Pak Lah. Four months later the general election was held. But we had no ammunition to use against Pak Lah. And the opposition got wiped out and Barisan Nasional won a record 91% of the seats in Parliament.

The voters were not interested in how evil Mahathir was. Mahathir was gone already. The new PM was Pak Lah. What the voters wanted to know was how was their welfare going to be taken care of. And the opposition had no plans. They only had a plan to jail Mahathir if Barisan Nasional was successfully kicked out (which they also did not do when they took over in May 2018).

So, six months to go before GE15. What are PM Ismail Sabri’s plans to ensure there will be money, or more money, in the voters’ pockets this 2022? As they say in America: SHOW ME THE MONEY!

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