Will PR become the proverbial rabbit ?

As the end of the year approaches, there is still no sign of any election being called. Now it looks like the general election (GE) will only be held after the automatic dissolution of our Parliament in late April 2013. Another possible date is perhaps March 2013.

Malaysia’s political landscape cannot be more different from that of the United States. Yet the recent presidential election there reinforces one important fact. That even if a person or a party cannot win the majority of the biggest ethnic group, the person or the party can still win the election by winning an overwhelming majority of the minorities.

President Barack Obama won because of the votes of the minorities. He carried almost 93 per cent of the African-American votes, over 70 per cent of the Asian and Hispanic votes, but got only 39 per cent of the votes of the White majority. In contrast, his opponent won the majority of the white votes at around 59 per cent but still lost the election.

Based on this, I think it is possible for Pakatan Rakyat to win the next general election in Malaysia, given that majority of the Chinese will vote for the opposition. What is needed is to make certain that the majority of Indian votes go to PR. Most of the Malay votes (my estimate is over 60 per cent) — the Malays form the biggest ethnic group in the country — will be for BN.

Bearing this in mind, I think it is politically unwise for PAS members to publicly suggest that should PR win their party president should be made the prime minister.

The support among the Chinese and Indian Malaysians for PR should not be taken for granted. One of the reasons for the level of support shown is that many of these people believe that even if PR comes into power with little government experience, it has at least a very experienced leader in Anwar Ibrahim and he can be accepted by all the ethnic groups.

While many Chinese had no qualms about voting for PAS candidates in the last election, it was because they supported a coalition in which PAS is only an equal partner and not the dominant one that would head the group. If the PAS president is to be the next PM, PAS would be perceived to be the dominant force inside the coalition, a prospect which may not be unlike that of BN having Umno as the dominant force. If that is the case, expect fewer of these people to support PAS in the next election, thus weakening the prospect of PR forming the next government.

PKR, on the other hand, is seen to be more moderate and multiracial. As such, its leader Anwar would have much more appeal and would be better accepted by all groups.

Those PAS members reminded me of the Taiping Rebellion of China in which a rebellious group which started as a reform group against the Qing Dynasty degenerated into a group of leaders fighting more for the spoils of war rather than the cause, when that war was not even half won.

I suggest that PAS members put more effort into winning the votes rather than harping on about who should be the PM. By doing so, they are actually doing a favour for BN; a situation akin to shooting one’s own foot.

I think generally PR should not be too complacent at this stage. By all indications, they have a chance to win, but the prospect is still an uphill battle, even though the uphill slope now is not as steep as before.

Remember the story of the tortoise and the rabbit. The rabbit, while on the way to victory, became too complacent and thus lost the race to the humble tortoise.

This is a lesson which PAS members as well as their president should take to their hearts if they do not want PR to become the proverbial rabbit.

This article is also available in TheMalaysianInsider .


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Li Li Fa
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 13:20:31

    As the nation inches itself to the 13GE, politicians on both side of the divide are most busy. Whether one likes it or not, ‘campaigning’ has started. It is to garner votes for their own respective parties.

    Very often one will find politicians giving empty speeches rhetorically and gleaming from right to left ear,( despite the GDP is generally not expected to shoot up erratically in 2013) , within and outside the country.

    One even said that he had nothing to do with what his flesh and blood does , while the cow condo issue is still waiting for any substantial outcome.

    One goes on to tell the non-muslims that if hudud laws are implemented in this country, it will be all inclusive of all people.

    But when a politician prompted that he wouln’t mind to be the PM after the 13GE, there was a hue and cry, giving fodder to the rival camp to brand him as power crazy, even before winning over Putrajaya. Even his fellow own component party jumps up and claims that they have had agreed on a PM to be. This gives further striking points to the other side.

    Eventually, I believe all things will find its own level, like water. When the ship is about to harbour, it will find its rightful bearing and berth at the right place and time.

    All these rhetorics are be side shows, to ‘jazz up’ the situation, so to speak to ursher in a new beginning and era for the nation.

    If BN were so confident, they will not do anything, but wait for the timely moment. Why do you think they have been postponing the 13GE for so long?

    If PR has been confident, why do they have such bickerings showing weak human folly, frustration, and over weening desire to take charge?

    In any case, the people will decide in the coming 13GE. They have seen, heard, read, witnessed, what BN&PR have done, and even try to visualise what they will do in the future.

    The people want to vote in peace. No more rhetorics, dramas, sideshows, masked intentions. The truth has to , and will prevail. It is finding its bearing and soon to dock at the right harbour.


  2. A true Malaysian
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 00:30:37

    Your 60% estimate is a bit too generous for BN. I would say 55% is more realistic, even though I see this as quite high.

    With all the scandals exposed and if the Malays are still so supportive to Umno, then I would say the Malays are ‘hopeless’ people. Any decent people will never agrees with such corrupted practices, and if the Malays are still not convinced that Umno is so bad, then I don’t know what more to say.

    Most people know if Pakatan win this time, Anwar will be the PM, not Hadi, not Lim Kit Siang or Nik Aziz. For PAS member to propose their president to be PM, I see this as you-know-who’s motive to create this issue, to break up Pakatan. It was the same trick for them to raise issues on Malay Muslims as to whether they have freedom of religion.

    The Malay votes are already split. This is what Umno fear most and this explain why Najib keep dragging on when to have GE13.


  3. Wave33
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 13:05:59

    It is mission impossible.

    The problem is not in Peninsular Malaysia, it is in the heart land of Sabah & Sarawak. They are the fixed deposit whom decide the outcome of the next federal government. It is not the Malay, the Chinese nor the Indian, it is the natives that holds the joker card. He might be in the Mulu Caves collecting bats droppings as fertilizers but his vote is as power as a postal vote from Manchester, England or The Chief of Election Commission. So don’t be cocky when you talk to a collector.

    Taib Mahmud has more scandals than the number one husband & wife team in Putrajaya, still the natives vote for him. It puzzles me. Do the Sabahan and Sawarakian knows that they have been sodomized for so long? Perhaps it is the talk of town that Peninsular prefer missionary position and being East Malaysia, sodomy position takes priority even it is against the law.

    The urban folks can talk and talk until the cows comes home, the urban folks are “converted”, we enjoy talking cock with people of the same wavelength and it is a waste of time as GE is very close. When we want to engage the people of the rural areas, the possibilities of vomiting blood is high and it will provoke you to use all foul words that you have ever learn in your whole educational life at one go. Just go through all those political blogs, everyone is burning in anger.

    We do have a problem in Malaysia, it is poverty and uneducated conspiracy. The regime knows these and it will continue to maintain the status quote, hence they can stay in power and votes can easily be bought by mere Sepuluh Ringgit Malaysia.

    Chinese and Indians, Chinese are just looking for fairness in distribution, they have the means, they just need license and opportunities given for them to move on with their businesses and education. Indian is more looking for handouts, they can swing easily, who has the money to make them dance to the tune. Why Indians are changing their support preference? Why Hindraf is standing on the fence for so long? Waiting… for the highest bidder.

    Money speaks and it is the UGLY truth.


  4. Simple Sense
    Nov 25, 2012 @ 12:34:43

    The USA Presidential election left the over confident republican in total shock! And Dr Hsu is accurate to highlight that majority vote by minorities, young voters and also women votes helped a decisive win for Obama. Another message is politicians can keep on their bull shit stories and threats, voters can think for themselves and voted their mind and heart.


  5. Dr Hsu
    Nov 25, 2012 @ 18:39:50

    It is indeed an uphill task.

    Out of the 57 seats in Sabah and Sarawak, PR can win only 12 at most. So in order to win more than 112 seats to secure a simple majority, PR needs to win at least 100 out of 165 seats in Peninsular Malaysia. Not an easy task.

    Many sources have estimated that BN can win up to 120 seats, out of the 222. which means that they can win up to 45 in East Malaysia, and 75 in Peninsular Malaysia. Most of these 75 will be UMNO held seats. MCA Gerakan and MIC would not do well, but UMNO will still be able to win many of its allocation.

    For PR to win, they need to go the extra mile and turn at least 10 more seats to their favour..Not an impossible task, but uphill.


  6. Simple Sense
    Nov 26, 2012 @ 01:09:58

    The Republicans were extremely confident that the white American will vote for their candidate in recent Presidential election. The Republican campaigns were colored with influencing the rural White man support, especially from the red neck states. The reality turned out not what the Republican had expected. Even substantial % of white American are very concern about the ‘ make the rich richer ‘ agenda from the Republicans. This is on top of all the unfriendly policies towards minorities citizen in America.
    Malaysia has similar parallelism ! And Malaysia has much higher mix of so called minorities !
    But the outcome also depends on the electoral mapping. The electoral mapping can be made such that BN can still rule with only UMMO winning! In that case, BN will become a true one race coalition front!
    It is likely that enough % of population of majority race voters are victims of high cost of living and want to have a change for more efficient governance. This may turn the tide.
    It is not PR that pull the tide over. It is BN performance that presents the opportunity to PR as an alternative.
    The apparent postponement of GE says BN has weak confidence to take the sweep. Otherwise, GE has already taken place. Betting in blink manship seems a risky bet! Imagine two boxers in the ring waiting for each other to throw the first punch!
    Let us see how Malaysian choose their future.


  7. disgusted
    Nov 26, 2012 @ 18:13:57

    Dr, Appreciate if U can kindly give (email) me contact of Dr Dominic Low (Batu Constituency). Txs very much


  8. Dr Hsu
    Nov 26, 2012 @ 19:44:22

    I hv sent his phone no to your email..


  9. CYC
    Nov 27, 2012 @ 16:45:04

    This election is no more a vote for better policy matters but simply to bury the rotten regime once and for all. Can we expect anymore good thing to come if the rotten regime could openly condone corruption and lies without blinking their eyes. I care not who the candidate is , but will vote him/her out as long as he/she uses dancing logo. You may call me idiot or brainless but it matters not when your opponent is so barbaric in nature. In this country, open corruption is deemed nation building while unseen corruption may be convicted with light or heavy sentence. If u r not corrupt but speak against corruption, you are instigating social unrest. This is the state we are in now.


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