I have posted in my blog as well as written to Malaysiakini that the by-election in the Hulu Selangor federal constituency and its results tomorrow evening will be a bellwether for the next Malaysian general election.
By demographics alone, it possesses the typical Malaysian political scenario, with the three major ethnic groups in numbers approximating the national population ration (with the Indians in far larger percentage in this constituency).
The first salutary lesson is that no candidate can win solely on ethnic appeal, hence an indication of how we should progress Malaysia – together in close cooperation! But of course organizations like Perkasa will miss this message as it sole motivation has been, is and no doubt will be to ensure the UMNO-BN gravy train continues a choo-choo-ing while the ‘chosen ones’ (mind you, I don't mean Malays but BN-putras) have unfettered access to the happy lucky manna ride.
The second lesson is Malaysian by-elections unfortunately permit the party with juggernaut-sized political machineries and deep pockets to focus all its resources on one locality in one lousy week of official campaigning (itself an outcome of uneven-sided politics) where we see and hear more polemics than policies, where alas, there’s far too much sludge, dirt and dirty tricks but very little civility, vision statements or truths. Malaysian politics has a long way to reach the so-called Vision 2020 status …
… though there was a momentary glimpse of the Vision in the 2007 Ijok by-election as I had posted in Ijok - glimpses of Vision 2020 wakakaka.
The third lesson is the by-election with its congenial opportunities to foster ‘incentives’ has poor PKR undergoing pruning by ‘political attrition’ Malaysian style. If the party survives the fallout of the incentive-ised ‘migration’ it may yet be a stronger party … but be warned (for forewarned is forearmed) the character of PKR after that will be irreversibly altered. Get use to this possibility!
The fourth lesson is PAS, with some exceptional people, has not been a reliable and committed coalition ally. Its lamentably lackluster lukewarm participation in the campaign (until the arrival of Pak Haji Nik Aziz) has been embarrassing and frustrating to its Pakatan allies.
These PAS wonders seemed to have forgotten that Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin’s victory in the Bukit Gantang by-election where UMNO received approximately 53% of the heartland votes had been assured by 80% Chinese support as a result of solid hard work by DAP. The Pakatan is a formidable coalition if every member party and their members play their part sincerely.
As I mentioned, there are exceptions. In Malaysiakini You can't pigeonhole this man, journalist Terence Netto described Pak Haji Nik Aziz as ‘probably the most beloved of leaders of what is increasingly referred to as 'Middle Malaysia'’.
‘Middle Malaysia’ was of course first mooted by Lim Guan Eng, to marshal all Malaysians of moderate views and beliefs to stand together against extremism, bigotry and racism. The venerable Pak Haji, notwithstanding his devotion of Islam and its causes, and indeed his exalted status as PAS spiritual leader, can be unquestionably described as the ‘Prince of Middle Malaysia’.
I only wish the ulama group of PAS and its more conservative members would follow Pak Haji’s example, and not forget the real movement behind Nizar’s resounding victory in Bukit Gantang.
The fifth lesson is that the DAP is by far the most committed and most reliable member of the Pakatan coalition. It has demonstrated its sterling worth in by-election after by-election since March 2008, regardless of which component party of Pakatan nominated the candidate to stand.
In Hulu Selangor, while PKR has been and still is occupied defending its candidate’s Muslim-ness and flaking off its putrefied dead skin, and PAS (until the entry of Nik Aziz) was vacillating, Lim Kit Siang & company have been slogging their backs off.
He has just called for the Herculean task of marshalling 85% of the Chinese votes a la Bukit Gantang to ensure a Zaid Ibrahim victory. Lim has also audaciously appealed to MCA members (comprising half the Chinese population in Hulu Selangor) to see the bigger picture and vote Zaid. I believe this is do-able as was proven in Bukit Gantang ...
... and which may be why Najib has put the onus on MCA to make sure the Chinese votes for Kamalanatan - for more, see my post Najib targets Chinese as key to defeat Zaid Ibrahim.
Finally, the support of the Malays and Chinese in Hulu Selangor are more or less known – it’s only the quantum of commitment that’s still being unceasingly teased out by both coalitions to their max possible. But the Indians’ …?
The Indians in Hulu Selangor won’t be reading kaytee’s blog nor anyone’s, that’s for sure. So how many erudite Tamil speakers are there in Pakatan to present their message to these voters? Is Pakatan really reaching them, or has Pakatan surrendered the initial to MIC-BN?
I need to ask one minor as well as one major question on people who can reach the Indians in Hulu Selangor. The minor question is: Where is Dr Jeya who won the Sungai Siput fedral seat with the help of Pakatan. He is respected by Indian Malaysians for his unceasing dedication to their plight. Why is it we haven’t heard anything about him or PSM supporting the PKR campaign?
The major question is of course: Is Hindraf going to stay ‘neutral’ (there are many definitions of this word with regards to Hindraf) because of the petulance (self interest?) of a couple of its so-called ‘leaders’ and allow the continued exploitation and marginalization of Indians in Hulu Selangor?
As I had said, the outcome of the Hulu Selangor by-election will be the bellwether for the next general election.
If Kamalanathan, a man who has publicly supported Perkasa and publicly embraced Ibrahim Ali, wins tomorrow, let it be on those Hindraf leaders’ heads if the BN consequentially takes the Indians for granted (as it had for 52 years) and continue their marginalization for more years to come.