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……