The 13th GE: It’s an open field — Sakmongkol AK47
NOV 24 — Rahim Tamby Chik (RTC) says there are attempts by the opposition parties to invite Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to become PM. This will happen, Rahim says, if there is a hung Parliament. Such a situation is untenable, says Rahim, because it will create political instability. So Umno must work hard to get a two-thirds majority.
Those were the observations and musings by RTC on the political possibilities after the GE13. What is intriguing was his warning that a hung Parliament will create instability. I hope we will not be in such a situation. Malaysians would prefer a clear-cut victory one way or the other.
I am not going to respond to his nervous prognosis, being more interested on how such a scenario can possibly happen and what are the implications if it does. I don’t think we are going to have a hung Parliament. It will be clear-cut either way. I am also bemused at his attempt to involve Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in such a scenario. To qualify as a participant in any future negotiations should a hung Parliament comes into being, TRH must be head of a political party. Right now, TRH is in Umno and doesn’t head a party nor is he a leader of any faction in Umno. Could Rahim’s advice be another attempt to isolate TRH from Umno?
TRH is far too principled to agree being appointed as leader of government on a personal-to-holder basis. He will be a figurehead. Oh, because Tengku has never disowned the ambitions to become PM comes the answer from Umno people. So my answer is: why should he not have that ambition? He was cheated to becoming one before. He has all the credentials to become one.
Here is an interesting piece of information. When certain Umno people wanted to kick out Abdullah Ahmad Badawi , they approached Tengku Razaleigh for a solution. Their agenda was only one — because of Najib’s hesitation they went to see Tengku Razaleigh asking him to stand as Umno president and Muhyiddin as deputy president. This group was made up of powerful people, united at that time by their intense disapproval and loathing of Abdullah. My point is this: at that time, they didn’t think it was inappropriate for Tengku Razaleigh to become Umno president and if he had won, he would have gone on to become PM. Tengku’s ambition wasn’t an issue. His age wasn’t an issue. The fundamental objective was to remove Pak Lah.
Why should the opposition parties invite Tengku Razaleigh to become PM if they could win the elections on their own? PAS has Hadi, the DAP has Lim Guan Eng and PKR has Anwar Ibrahim? This assessment presupposes that between the three, neither one accepts the leader of each party as a future PM. It also assumes further, that Tengku Razaleigh commands a number of elected MPs to give him standing in future negotiations. Where will he get the MPs? Rahim says 20-30 people are being lined up to stand as MPs who are aligned to Tengku Razaleigh. Where are these people? In Umno? Within the opposition camp?
So now, let us build up a case why a hung Parliament cannot happen. Just for the moment, let’s not talk about how Umno and BN can lose. Let’s talk about HOW the opposition — the DAP, PAS, PKR — can WIN. Let’s begin by asking: will PR lose its current 82 seats? Possible, but very unlikely. The seats which they lost when some people jumped ship will become theirs again. We won’t see the likes of Zahrain and his types in Parliament again.
The DAP now has 28 seats in Parliament. The DAP has gained substantial ground with Chinese voters. Chinese voters identify more with the DAP. By and large the Chinese do not require the intervention and involvement of the government to improve their wellbeing. They got to where they are now largely by their own efforts and independence. They want to preserve and reinforce that independent streak. How best for them to do that? By staking their future in a party that best represents the independence streak. They don’t want a sissy party perceived as easily compromised, intimidated or even bought over to represent them. The DAP is their preferred choice.
I mean that is the reason driving Hishammuddin pondering a move from Sembrong to Kota Tinggi. To the Chinese in Sembrong, and this doesn’t please me in saying, Hishammuddin is irrelevant to them. He knows if he stays in Sembrong, he can kiss his seat goodbye. They want to kick the ass of the man with the monkey grin.
The Chinese are less dependent on the government and by government, I mean the BN. They need champions for other requirements and that they find in the DAP. So the DAP will more or less pummel the MCA to the ground. They will take most of the 15 seats the MCA won in the 2008 elections. At the very best, the MCA can retain three seats. The worst-case scenario is the MCA wins nothing. The DAP will increase its seats by another 12 in Semenanjung. It gobbles up most of the seats now held by the MCA.
Why will the DAP win over the MCA? Because the Chinese believe the MCA has sold them out. Not necessarily by kowtowing to big brother Umno over many issues, but by retreating from representing the indomitable spirit of the Chinese. The MCA has lost its mandate. That’s how the DAP is winning the Chinese over — where the MCA failed.
On a more simplistic reasoning, the Chinese who have traditionally supported the MCA are asking: how is it almost all our Chinese MCA leaders are being persecuted and prosecuted by the courts once they leave office? How is it Umno leaders who did or are alleged to have done the same things are not? They know Malay leaders stole and swindled more.
What about the DAP in Sarawak? Generally speaking, the urban seats will be taken up by the DAP. That will be another eight or nine seats for the DAP. The seats held currently by SUPP will end up in the DAP’s hands. The DAP will get around 20 seats more than they got in 2008. This time around, the DAP will be in Parliament with probably 46-48 seats.
The newer and younger DAP leadership is taking on Malaysian politics with more finesse and it doesn’t now intimidate modern-thinking Malays as the older generation of DAP leaders once did. And it has shed its umbilical connections with the PAP. So now, if there are attempts for example to link the DAP as a stool or Trojan horse to Singapore’s PAP, such attempts will be laughed at.
It’s difficult to dislodge PAS from where they are now. Has any elected PAS rep jumped ship? This means PAS has been careful to select leaders on the basis of each having convictions and intense belief. It will likely do the same thing for the 13GE.
How can PAS win? It’s difficult for its opponent to dislodge PAS in its traditional role as champions of Islam and serving as the emotional anchor for conservative Malays. It will retain the many seats it now has in Kelantan. It will gain more seats in Terengganu which is expected to go back to PAS this time around. Some of the seats in Kedah, for example, currently held by the MCA and Umno will be won by PAS. The seat now occupied by the MCA’s Chor will be lost to PAS. PAS can win because it’s organised and is motivated by convictions. This is what sets it apart from Umno.
They are not out for personal glory and gratification. They have got a number of secular liberals in the party who can attract younger Malay voters. They will attract the serious thinkers among the younger Malay crowd who are not included in the tweeting about football or about Elton John variety.
PAS currently has 23 seats in Parliament. It will secure a large number in Terengganu, maybe one seat in Pahang, three in Kedah. My guess is they will increase their seats by another 7-8. PAS will enter the next Parliament with around 30-31 seats.
What about PKR? I thought PKR is the weak link in PR. Let’s not forget it won 31 seats in the 2008 elections. Those who jumped ship were either ex-Umno members (that tells us much about the quality and resolve of Umno members) and those who were selected on the basis of urgency and expedience. The “fluid” candidates will be removed this time around, and it is likely that PKR will select candidates with a firmer constitution. PKR will secure a number of seats in Sarawak, taking away seats from SPDP and PRS. Baru Bian will spearhead PKR’s drive in Sarawak. I am thinking that PKR will still enter Parliament with around 33-35 seats.
Let’s take the worst-case scenario. DAP= 46, PAS= 30, PKR= 33. The opposition has 109 seats. They are short of three seats to secure a majority.
We haven’t included Sabah in our discussion. With the disenchantment towards Musa Aman, it’s unlikely that Sabah Umno can retain all its seats it currently has. Unless of course they pay the voters in their constituencies. The non-Umno parties in Sabah are increasingly less enamoured with Musa Aman and they can’t defend their positions by sticking around with Mr Vacuum Cleaner. The opposition will probably gain around six seats outright.
To me Sabah is the powder keg. It’s likely to blow in the face of BN. the non-Malay indigenous people of Sabah are likely to pressure their parties to abandon BN. They have had numerous Umno leaders leading them in the past, all they got was continued marginalisation. They don’t see development in their areas. They don’t see electricity and roads and clean water after years of BN rule. It’s therefore possible for us to see 8-10 seats migrating to PR’s camp. We can say that around 14-16 seats from Sabah alone are PR inclined.
My own personal observations about the coming 13th GE is as follows: PR 118-125 seats, Umno-N= 98-104 seats.
There won’t be a hung Parliament.
* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication, and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.