HERE’S a mystery. Ten months ago, Bersatu polled 2,881 Malaysians and almost all listed rising costs of daily essentials and houses prices as the most worrying issue of the day.
Only one in two believed that the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) debts are a problem. The maths is simple then, based on the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia survey. Cash is king as more people worry about their money than 1MDB’s debts, or lack of money.
So why is Bersatu and its allies banging on about 1MDB and Prime Minister Najib Razak’s role in the scandal-hit investor? Isn’t that discounted news from GE13? PKR’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim had cast doubts about 1MDB in 2010, followed by others in the then Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
That campaign saw Najib’s Barisan Nasional (BN) lose its parliamentary two-thirds super majority for the second time but also the popular vote. It did get back Kedah, though, due to PAS’s inability to keep the state.
One can understand Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s late entry to the opposition camp and campaign against Najib, but the rest should realise that bread-and-butter issues dominate the lives of most Malaysians.
Rising grocery bills, variable petrol pump prices and other living costs apart from ever-rising house prices are the main issues of the day, especially as the ringgit isn’t in the best of health.
Things are pricier now. Wages inch up but not enough to stretch that some people have taken to joining ride-hailing apps to make some money.
National carmaker Proton Bhd knows this, and is giving a rebate to sell cars that otherwise remain in the stockyard. The government of the day knows this and proposes to tax those earning from ride-hailing apps.
The issue is money, or lack of it, for Malaysians living in the cities to those in small towns, villages and collective plantations as even commodity prices stay the same but costs go up.
1MDB is an issue, for sure. But numbers that run into the billions are unimaginable for the average Malaysian who can’t even raise RM1,000 in case of an emergency, as a Bank Negara survey had shown.
See, most people, be it during election campaigns or throughout the year, will go listen to any politician talk about scandals and such. Especially if it is Dr Mahathir because he ran the country for 22 years and would know a bit about the scandals that blighted his rule.
But it is entertainment for them, better than the free satellite television decoder given to them because television means cost in terms of time and electricity. Political talk just costs them time otherwise spent in coffee shops, stalls and homes discussing the scandals of the day.
The opposition needs to get real on issues that matter to the voters. It is really about daily living costs, local matters and ways to make life better for them if Putrajaya changes hands.
Otherwise, the current government will keep Putrajaya, no matter how small the majority is. And the reason that happens will not be a mystery at all.