I read the letter from Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong lambasting analysts as being biased in justifying a Barisan Nasional victory. In fact, just the day before, PPBM’s strategic director did the same.
I’ll start with the main question – who are they trying to convince?
Liew is correct by saying that if Pakatan Harapan should win over 50% of the Malay vote, they would win the next general election (GE14). Yet, herein lies the problem – Pakatan Harapan does not have that vote.
And here is something he is perhaps less keen to admit, his side lost a lot of Malay votes when it dumped PAS, while their replacements PPBM and Amanah are not yet gelled together nor have they gained the momentum of membership to take on both PAS and Umno.
Thus, if anything, his analysis is biased towards not counting the fact that PAS supporters will be the kingmakers in GE14.
And we saw this immensely during two showpiece gatherings by the opposition supporters, both Bersih and the Anti-Kleptocracy rally – both of which did not have the numbers to impress even if you had compared it with the lesser Blackout 505 rally, in May 2013, shortly after the last general election.
The word on the ground is that the Malays are now divided three ways between PAS, Umno and Pakatan. Even giving each an equal share of the Malay votes, it would be a 33% split among them.
Yet, Liew believes Pakatan can secure an additional 17% from PAS or Umno, while somehow maintaining the waning non-Malay vote, which is also another concern.
He has forgotten that there is also fatigue enough to end up stopping people from voting altogether due to the teaming up with PPBM, mostly due to the disapproval of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad being the leading voice in this campaign.
While media was keen enough to point out that this has affected mainly Chinese voters to the point of forming Facebook groups, it may in fact be symptomatic among all Malaysians, especially the youth population.
This can be seen by how 40% of youth voters are not keen to even register themselves. Thus, Pakatan hosting voter registration rallies on a monthly basis if not weekly, focusing on malls and markets, hopefully nationwide.
But more to the point, it is the hypocrisy of lambasting analysts for having a point of view. Are things so dire in the outlook that Pakatan and Liew need to convince voters by hitting out at any analysts who say otherwise?
Has this become the new propaganda tactic by the Pakatan coalition, to the point that any analysis giving a contrary viewpoint to what is done by their own internal polling and sponsored research institutes must be discredited to stop voters from leaving them?
Doesn’t that sound interestingly desperate?
Yes, people are unhappy with the way things are run, but if Pakatan is so convinced that they had the 50% Malay votes, it certainly doesn’t show. In fact, I would say that the Malay vote will be fractured between two major parties – PAS and Umno.
This is because Umno managed to secure the Malay voters more recently for standing up for Jerusalem and Palestine, while DAP supporters discredited the move by laughing at the thought of us leading a peacekeeping mission by insinuating it was a military challenge against Israel.
At the same time, PAS inching their promise to strengthen sharia law through amendments to Act 355, further consolidated their support base and even some of Umno’s own fence-sitters.
Additionally, the recent headscarf row in both hotels and the airline industry, are also affecting Malay voters.
If Liew was serious about somehow winning the Malay vote, these are issues of support among the group of voters he’s trying to cater to. Which is perhaps why Amanah’s women decided to support a ban on “Despacito” on public radio.
Liew once predicted a Malay tsunami which would happen in GE14. The major problem with his viewpoint is that he believes that the voters from PAS are still in his corner. Either that, or he believes that PPBM and Amanah have managed to retain those votes given in GE13.
Both assumptions are misleading.
Therefore, if Liew and Pakatan believe that they can somehow secure 50% of the vote without the oldest Malay opposition party in the country that brought them the crowd in all their gatherings, the rural votes and even stopped them from voting the Budget bill in parliament, then perhaps it is not the analysts who are blindly justifying their points.
Perhaps it is instead, Liew and Pakatan itself.
Hafidz Baharom is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.