Will BN win again in a snap poll ?

In April this year, a friend told me that some people within UMNO wanted to call for a fresh poll. (Pls see my post: Another Barisan and Pakatan fight? ). When I told this to my friends, a lot of them are quite skeptical. However, we must remember that there is normally no smoke without fire.

Today even the Star reported that (who else) the Election Commission chairman is asking his staff to be prepared for a snap poll (“Be prepared for a snap poll, officers told”, The Star).

I think a snap poll is certainly an option that cannot be ruled out, amidst all the political uncertainties. This is especially so after Dr Mahathir quit UMNO, putting more pressure on Pak Lah to resign. Coupled with the unhappiness of certain Sabah politicians and the confidence shown by Anwar that Pakatan can form the government, the chances of another election cannot be ruled out.

If you are UMNO and you know that you are going to lose the ‘power to rule’ to Pakatan , what will you do? You may think that you have  nothing to lose to call another election. If you win bigger, that will be a bonus and you stay as government, if you lose another round, so be it…..Since even if you do not call for another election, you are going to lose the governing power anyway. (You may think that there is nothing to lose but there is actually something to lose… read the last paragraph).

 A lot of UMNO people ( and many in other BN component parties too ) are still in a self denial mode and think that perhaps in another poll they will win back some of the lost seats. This is not unlike a gambler, who has lost many rounds, but who still believes that in the next round he can win back what he loses. This is human psychology and difficult to change. Most of this type of gamblers will have nothing left at the end of the day night, except perhaps the loan agreement papers with loan sharks.

The million dollar question is– perhaps I should say the billion dollar question since so much is at stake to the UMNO politicians– will they win more than the last election if a snap poll is called now??

In urban and suburban areas, they might lose more. With the pressure of inflation worse than even 3 months before, urbanites will not vote for BN again. This is what I gather from the ground as well as from the comments in the blogs. The Chinese and Indians are still angry over the perceived unfair treatment. The urban Malays are still fed up of UMNO’s excesses and corrupt practices. Granted that there are some snail-pace reforms being announced, eg MCAC and the Judiciary Commission, majority of urban people are still sceptical.

What UMNO will probably do in a snap poll is to harp on race and play up racial sentiments, just like Mahathir does nowadays. But playing racial cards may backfire. some of the other component parties like MCA or SUPP may be forced to quit and join Pakatan if increasing racial rhetoric is used… and that means unless UMNO win big, (more than half of total seats by itself) it will still lose the government to Pakatan. Bearing in mind that many Malays now  agree with Anwar that race based politics and policies benefit only a selected few. Bear in mind also that in the last election, many Malays voted for Pakatan and even DAP.

To think that people will change their minds and perception within a short period of 2 -3 months is not realistic. To think that UMNO will win by itself more than half of the total seats is not realistic. So in another General election, UMNO might keep its present number of seats, it may even win a few more by its racial rhetoric, but the component parties might lose even more, and Sabahan and Sarawakian  might follow the trend of West Malaysian and choose more opposition members, and that would be big trouble for BN .Overall, I think BN will lose more and not win in a snap election now.

The risk is : if UMNO loses the ‘power to rule’ in a snap poll, then it will face even more problems than now. It will even lose its relevance and the party might implode……


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. VJ
    May 26, 2008 @ 13:36:52

    may hard to predict how will the Malaysians overall react towards snap polls .
    But i seriously hope the current ruling party looses furhter . This is the only way to secure safe future for our next generation . One cant fool the people with the May’1969 story for the next 100years .


  2. Peter Yew
    May 26, 2008 @ 15:16:10

    Dr Hsu,

    It is a worrying period whatever the outcome. We are having domestic political turmoil while the world ‘burns’ with inflation, natural disasters, high food costs and discontent over mismanagement of resources and money.

    A snap election will again see voting based on emotion rather than reasoning. This is dangerous because we cannot see right from wrong. The rakyat have too many issues to deal with in making their choices. People will vote with short term vision. They are shortchanged with very limited choice of good leaders.

    In a way neither BN nor Pakatan will govern the country well in these trying times. Manifestos cannot be kept because of cost overrun. Human greed will thrive over the welfare of the nation. Worse of all, I believe if Pakatan takes over the federal government there will be confrontation between BN controlled states and the Pakatan government just as what is happening now between the BN federal government and the Patakan controlled states. This may brew more trouble. I also believe Pakatan lack capable leaders to run the federal government since most of the good ones are now serving state level. But many will not care because they believe in giving them a long short since BN has really failed to convince them in the past 75 days that they are sincerely reforming.

    It is a shame really that in the face of external threats we, rakyats and politicians, are not learning to bury their differences to confront the common enemy.


  3. folo4
    May 26, 2008 @ 15:53:06

    ” It is a shame really that in the face of external threats we, rakyats and politicians, are not learning to bury their differences to confront the common enemy. ”

    who’s the common enemy? There is no common enemy apparent enough to warrant the attention of Malaysians.

    This is why natural disasters are a blessings in disguise; the devastating damages they bring will be extensive, sure, but it would bring about unprecedented unity between societies.

    peh, it’s gonna take alot more punishment for Malaysia to buckle up, but then, it would be too late.

    Overall, the safety of our geological terrain had brought upon complacency.


  4. Dr Hsu
    May 26, 2008 @ 16:04:19

    Peter yew, you are right. That is why I came out so strongly to support Lee Kah Choon because he has cast politics aside and work for the betterment of the people.

    There is too much politicking in the country and not much serious work was done. No much brain storming was done.

    If UMNO calls a snap election now, it would actually be detrimental to the interest of the people. But bear in mind that this is one of their options .


  5. aadya
    May 26, 2008 @ 16:10:01

    Peter Yew, I agree with you that with the snap elections, the people would be more compelled to vote emotionally, well just as what happened in the last elections too, most of them are mad with BN and UMNO, hence votes even from the malays swayed to the Opposition.

    I beg to differ Dr. Hsu, but judging from this, if indeed the people are still “emotionally driven”, it might also work in BN’s benefit. Do remember that like in Selangor, many people are disappointed with how the new Selangor MB is handling things. Pakatan promised many things yes, and these people can get impatient when they do not see Pakatan “fulfilling” any as of yet.

    And also, some Malays too would sort of, how can I say this “regret” that by them voting for the Opposition in the last elections, the 5 states are being controlled by the non-malays. So yes, the possibility that the malay votes will sway back to BN is a high too.


  6. novice101
    May 26, 2008 @ 16:24:50

    BN may lose many of the seats they now hold in the parliament. The people of Sabah and Sarawak may join their mainland compatriots and vote for PR candidates this time around. In most states, the voters may vote in more PR assemblymen as they have seen the abuses dug out in the states where the PR had won in GE12.


  7. Kenny Gan
    May 26, 2008 @ 19:57:15

    In a new Election, Sabah and Sarawak cannot be relied on to deliver the seats to BN. With the possibility of regime change, the people there will vote “for broke” rather than the status quo of being marginalized in a BN govt.

    As for the Peninsula, I don’t see the votes swinging back to BN. Umno’s pushing of Ketuanan Melayu since the GE is not helping to bring the minorities back. In fact they will be swing further to PR.

    As for the Malays, Umno leaders seem to think that a change of leader will bring them back to the fold. But the reasons that caused the Malays to swing to the opposition are still festering. Many can see through the Ketuanan Melayu charade of leaders using it for their selfish ends. For the poor Malays struggling to survive, the concept of Ketuanan Melayu rings hollow.

    So I see the Malay vote pattern not changing much. But coupled with a stronger swing of minority votes and a tsunami in East Malaysia, it could mean the end of BN rule.

    However, I see the possibility of a snap election as unlikely.


  8. monsterball
    May 26, 2008 @ 20:11:26

    If UMNO is 100% sure..a snap election will benefit them….they will do it.
    But I think they know…it will swing more votes to People’s Party…..as after the 12th election….just watch all the events….and how they behave.
    I think Anwar is waiting for the snap election….to stamp his authority as new government PM ..fair and square….instead of waiting for cross overs..to strengthen PP’s position…and get all sorts of bad labels.


  9. romerz
    May 27, 2008 @ 01:05:57

    On this I agree with you Doc. Given the current sentiment on the ground, it would be suicidal for BN (UMNO) to call for snap elections.

    To what purpose would it serve them? As it is, they currently still have a comfortable majority of 140 against 82 of which 79 of the 140 are UMNO seats. By far the single largest bloc of seats held by a single party.

    The only reason for them to call for snap elections would be to strengthen their present position.

    For them to strengthen their position, they would have to contest in a lot more seats than they did last time round and this won’t go down well with the component parties.

    And this time round, the component parties won’t be so accommodating knowing full well that their very survival is at stake if they are seen to bow to UMNO again.

    Moreover, you have also to take into account that this time round, the 3 parties of PR will be more coordinated and I’ll bet my last ringgit that every single one of the 222 seats will be contested.

    If UMNO decides to go to the polls again then it would be a case of self-denial, as you rightly pointed out. The inability to come to terms that a 2/3 majority may never be given to them again or to any ruling coalition by the rakyat.

    Having said all the above, personally I would welcome snap elections called now. I say this because I believe it will truly usher in a 2-party system.

    Momentum is with the anti-BN (UMNO) side and the non-UMNO component parties can see it too so this might just push them to leave BN (UMNO) and form their own coalition of multi-racial parties as an alternative to PR.

    Doc, I need to check with you and others who might know this, but calling for snap elections will only be for federal elections?

    My understanding is that none of the states will have to follow suit, as in the example of Sarawak, which is not in sync with the rest of the country.

    If I’m not wrong, the only reason why we have general elections at the federal and state level concurrently is because of convenience and costs.

    If I am right in assuming that none of the PR states are required to hold elections if the PM calls for snap elections, then the BN (UMNO) has even less to gain.

    Bring on the 13GE I say! Get this over and done with and then maybe we can get down to serious government and tackle all the problems heading our way!


  10. Dr Hsu
    May 27, 2008 @ 07:56:57

    romerz, you are right. The states do not have to call for another election even if we have a snap poll for Parliamentary seats.

    The PR governments in the 5 states do not have to dissolve their assemblies and go to vote if they are stable and not facing any vote of confidence.

    I think the chances of a snap poll is remote, but is an option to be used only when MPs start crossing over to Pakatan, as hinted by Anwar.


  11. rcchia
    May 27, 2008 @ 11:47:44

    I agree with Peter Yew and others to say that we really are walking around with blinkers over our eyes, when the world today is ravaged by global warming disasters, natural catastrophe and escalating food, fuel and resources crisis.

    Shouldn’t we be putting all squabbles aside and work towards the survival of the nation? This is wistful thinking, I know. Sigh !


  12. romerz
    May 28, 2008 @ 16:22:55

    Dr Hsu,

    Word on the ground is very strong on the possibility of snap elections. Have we miscalculated in saying that the possibility is remote?

    Raja Petra has addressed this possibility in Malaysia-Today :-



  13. Dr Hsu
    May 28, 2008 @ 22:07:20

    yes, romerz, the possibility is there. Like I said, many BN leaders, including some in component parties, still think that the 12 GE is a fluke. They think that now people will vote BN again if an election is called. That is why I put up this article to argue that in a snap poll, BN might lose even more, granted that UMNO may win abck a few seats.

    The East Malaysians may blow their own tsunami this time, seeing that so little posts are given to the East Malaysians despite the fact that they are the ones who help BN to rule.

    The Chinese and Indians will still vote oppsotion, what with the pressure of inflation and so on. Some Malays may vote UMNO because of the race card used, but not enough to let UMNO win big, especailly now UMNO is split.

    Gerakan will not win Penang in a snap poll. From what I gather, Penang people are willing to give DAP a chance to try out, and they are willing to give more time for the Pakatan government to show results.

    If anything, a snap poll will complicate matters even more, and may push Pak Lah out sooner than expected, if BN again do badly.

    Pak Lah is still the better of the lots. I think he is better than Najob or Muhidden….. At least he has opened up the country…


  14. pohwatchdog
    May 30, 2008 @ 11:50:02

    We don’t need a snap election in a short time. BN have the mandate to continue review, reinvent and revise their policies for a better Malaysia. People are savvy and rational minds to decide who can do better for their well being. it doen’t matter whether BN or PR government administer our state. What the people want is a better qualities of life?

    Have been travelling around Thailand, our government needn’t follow the demonstration style of the Thais. we need a stable government that can deliver. As I have mention earlier, we need a government that can do better for the people, to the people and by the people.

    No points wasting millions in a snap poll. Malaysia have to face a lot of challenges in term of economic development, social development and infrastructure development. The people know better, they can think for themselves. Move on and BN or PR prove to us who can deliver the goods for the betterment of Malaysia.


  15. monsterball
    May 30, 2008 @ 23:03:43

    pohwatchdog….do you like real hynanese… chicken rice?


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