Today’s 14th general election preparations meeting for DAP Johor in Batu Pahat may be the last pre-election meeting as we do not know when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will dissolve Parliament, followed by the dissolution of the various State Assemblies, leading to the 14th General Elections – whether on his return from his shameful and humiliating visit to the White House and US President Trump on Sept. 12 in his capacity as a “kleptocrat” and “MO1”; or after Najib’s 2018 Budget presentation in Parliament on Oct 27; or the beginning of next year by May when the puasa month for Muslims next year begins.
Be that as it may, the 13th Parliament is already in the final fifth year and three months, and the dilly-dallying about dissolution of Parliament and the calling of the 14th General Election stem from the weakness and not from the strength of Najib and UMNO/BN government.
Pakatan Harapan parties must seize the political initiative and momentum sparked off by the seismic political milestone on July 14 when the four Pakatan Harapan parties of DAP, PKR, Amanah and Pribumi Bersatu decided to put their differences aside and get their act together, announcing the structure, logo and new leadership line-up of Pakatan Harapan.
There is no doubt that the July 14 decision of Pakatan Harapan reignited the hopes and expectations of the people, regardless of race, religion or region, on the possibility, however how difficult, of political changes in the country.
Malaysia has travelled quite a long way since the last two general elections.
Just 10 years ago, those who questioned before the 2008 General Election whether it was possible to change the Federal Government would be regarded as either naive or crazy. The same response would be given to anyone who asked before the 2013 General Election whether it was possible to change the Johor State Government.
Now, as mentioned by the Johor DAP State Chairman and MP for Kluang, Liew Chin Tong this morning, the Pakatan Harapan objective in the 14GE must to be change the Federal Government as well as the Johore State Government.
It will not be an easy job to accomplish, but at least, both these objectives are within the realm of possible achievement in the 14th General Election.
In the past week or two, there had been some setbacks in intensifying and revving up the political momentum for change which was initiated by the July 14 announcement of Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council of its structure, logo and new leadership line-up, but all Pakatan Harapan leaders and parties must be mindful of the imperative that they must not allow the Pakatan Harapan political initiative and momentum launched on July 14 to lose steam, direction and power.
Pakatan Harapan is fighting against time, and if we want to build up the political momentum and pressures for change, there is no turning back to political dilly-dallying and procrastination.
There are those who think that the UMNO/BN coalition stands to gain from a three-cornered electoral contest involving BN, PH and PAS, and if UMNO/BN is to be defeated in the 14GE, there should be no three-cornered contests involving PAS.
This is not necessary the case, with the new political dynamics in the country.
PAS under the leadership of Datuk Seri Hadi Awang is not interested in defeating UMNO, but only helping UMNO to win through split votes.
PAS under Hadi is very different from PAS under Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat or PAS under the two previous Presidents, Fadil Noor and Yusuf Rawa.
Thirty-six years ago, Hadi came out with Amanat Hadi to destroy Umno; but today, Hadi has become the greatest apologist and defender of Najib and his 1MDB scandal, turning Malaysia into a global kleptocracy.
Pakatan Harapan parties and leaders must face the political reality that there will be three-cornered fights involving PAS, even in Selangor, in the 14GE.
This is why the earlier this political reality is faced, the greater the chances that Pakatan Harapan can beat UMNO/BN even in three-cornered fights to bring about a change of a Federal Government in Putrajaya and the Johore State Government in Nusajaya for the first time in the nation’s history.
I have said that if there is a swing of 10% of the Malay voters and 5% of the non-Malay voters from UMNO/BN to Pakatan Harapan in the 14GE as compared to 13GE, then the chances are good that Pakatan Harapan will be able to form both the Federal and Johore State Governments.
In the 2013 general elections, PAS achieved some 22% of voter support in the Johore State, but the overwhelming majority of this support for PAS would have come from DAP and PKR support.
PAS has not been able to win a single state assembly seat in 10 general elections from 1959 to 1999, and won its first state assembly seat in Johore in the 2004 general election. But this was PAS striking a lottery, for it won by default in a walkover as a result of the disqualification of the UMNO candidate in the 2004GE.
PAS won two state assembly seats in the 2008 and four state assembly seats in Johore in the 2013 general election, riding largely on the support for DAP and PKR.
I believe that if there is a three-cornered electoral contest in Johore in the 14GE, PAS will not win a single State Assembly seat in Johore and the percentage of votes polled in the state by PAS candidates will be reduced to between 5% to 8%.
This is because I do not believe that the majority of the PAS voters will agree with Hadi’s political support for Najib, the 1MDB and Malaysia becoming a global kleptocracy.
But there is a need for a clarity of the political situation without any delay, and just as it is important that there should be time to reach out to the 3.5 million UMNO members that Najib must be defeated to save Malaysia from global kleptocracy, time is also needed to explain to the million PAS members that Hadi’s support for Najib and his global kleptoclracy is something Nik Aziz, Fadhil Noor or Yusuf Rawa would never have countenanced or supported.