Sunday, October 25, 2009

Next general election expected in 18 months but should not rule out possibility of one in 12 months

The 2008 general election was described as a political tsunami. It was indeed the most important political development in the nation's electoral history.

The unprecedented opposition success in smashing the BN's traditional parliamentary two thirds majority and capturing Perak, Penang , Selangor , Kedah and Kelantan was made possible by the people power of the multi racial voters.

The people who have longed for political changes finally unleashed their power and dealt the BN its worst ever electoral defeat.

The people have placed their trust , hopes and expectations on Pakatan Rakyat ( PR) and we must never fail them.

Hence, there are a few issues which PR leadership must give its utmost attention:

1. public inter spat among PR component parties must stop.

2. PR state governments must be able to deliver to meet or even surpass the public expectation

3. PR must be able to provide confidence that it is a better alternative to the BN federal government

4. PR must be prepared to go into the next election as one united coalition with common objective and even with one contesting symbol.

Although Prime Minister Najib's 1 Malaysia still lacks real substance, we must not underestimate Najib's determination and ability to regain popularity for BN.

Many people had said that it was impossible to defeat BN in the by election as Bagan Pinang had always been UMNO's traditional stronghold..But we had hoped for an upset win.

So when BN won the by election, it was not a real surprise at all. What was surprising and unexpected was the thumping majority won by BN's candidate, Tan Sri Mohd Isa. There was a swing of the Malay and non Malay support to the BN and Isa had won all the eight streams..

Isa won with a majority of more than 5000 votes while in the 2004 and 2008 general elections, the BN candidates had won the same seat with a majority of 4411 and 2333 votes respectively.

The PR 's defeat must serve as wake up call to the PR's leadership as a swing of such magnitude in the next general election will have detrimental effect on PR's chances in many constituencies currently held by PR's elected representatives, whether parliamentary or state constituencies. If we do not learn the lesson from this by election defeat, the political tsunami in the next general election will be one that destroys the PR.

It is expected that Najib will , for the next 18 months , go on national road show with heavy promotion and campaigning of his 1 Malaysia concept, after which he is likely to dissolve the Parliament.

However, with BN's huge Bagan Pinang victory and the haste in which Najib has forced MCA 's Ong and Chua factions to accept a peace formula which goes against the decision of the MCA central delegates, we cannot rule out the possibility of the next general election being held in 12 months, though it does not seem likely yet.

However. the PAS leadership turmoil, if prolonged and is able to cause serious internal party disunity, will make this possibility even more probable as Najib may be tempted to bring forward his electoral battle with the PR.

The PR's victory in the last general election did not come easy. But our mission in the next general election is not to maintain the 2008 victory, but to go for bigger victory, at the Federal and state levels. We must therefore begin preparing for the next general election.

Let us never forget our mission to bring about a better Malaysia . Let us all work hard and march towards the great electoral battle .

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