What will be the aftermath of the Manik Urai by-election?
I expect a few things to happen that both PAS and UMNO have learned something from and would be making changes to their political strategy.
The result of the by-election must have sent shock waves within the central power in PAS.The doyen of Islamist PAS in Kelantan Nik Aziz overestimated his popularity against the preservation of Malay political power which UMNO has successfully sold to the Kelantanese in Manik Urai.The trend will continue in most Malay majority constituencies and any by-election in those areas, even if it was held by Pakatan, would be for UMNO takings.As usual Pakatan leaders, short of any better ideas to tell their supporters, accused UMNO of vote buying.Although, money might have been spent in Manik Urai, the voters change of heart might not have been for that consideration.
From now on UMNO will be taking full advantage of the new political awakening among the Malays.They will make an example of Manik Urai the benefits of going with the BN government.Despite the loss, I believe Manik Urai will get the new bridge and other developments funded by the Federal government.
It would be foolish of UMNO not to take this opportunity to prepare a long-term plan to make further inroads in Kelantan in preparation of the next general elections.Kelantan probably has the highest concentration of Malay voters.The unity talk mooted by PAS would become less important as UMNO gradually renew its influence in Malay dominated areas.
UMNO biggest problem is its other coalition partners in Peninsula Malaysia, particularly MCA, Gerakan and MIC. All three are suffering from credibility problem.Majority of Chinese have abandoned MCA and Gerakan for DAP.Gerakan was almost decimated in the March 2008 General Elections.MIC suffered the same fate when Hindraf activists took to the streets demanding equal treatment for Indians whom they claimed were discriminated and marginalised.The Indians are slowly recovering from their infatuation with Hindraf and majority are likely to return to the BN's fold in the next general elections.
Being a big minority and one that would take more time and more difficult for BN to recover would be the Chinese votes.The breakup of the Chinese votes depended on two factors, the break up of Pakatan Rakyat, which is likely to happen or the effectiveness of Najib's 1 Malaysia concept.More need to be done to convince non-Malays that 1 Malaysia is not a mere slogan but a serious and sincere attempt to correct the imbalance of the 'dacing'.
Sabah and Sarawak could be considered safe states for the BN but all depend on how Najib handles the funding for development projects in the states. The oppositions have not made much inroad here and are not likly to in the near future.In politics anything can happen.Changes can happen with the blink of the eye.
What's happening in Penang, Kedah and Selangor under Pakatan didn't go unnoticed in Sabah and Sarawak.The squabbles between the coalition partners showed the amateurishness of Pakatan administration.If they can't get their act together at state level how could they be able to administer the Federal government as effectively as the BN.The suspicion, discords and infighting among the partners could make the nation and the people suffer the consequence.
Penang which started as a model state for Pakatan is now showing a very untidy picture.The suspicion and squabbling between DAP and PKR is tearing the coalition apart.It would be a matter of time before the umbilical cord burst.
The sacking of PKR councillor by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng unilaterally got PKR Penang leaders on the boil. The handling of the Kampung Buah Pala land crisis by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng left much to be desired.All he did was keep blaming previous BN administration for the crisis.It reflects his inexperience, ineptitude and that he is not an astute problem solver.Hindraf is now championing the squatters demand of right of abode and accused the state government of neglecting its election promises and accused the CM of racial discrimination because the villagers of Kampong Puah Pala were mostly Indians. Even Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng almost had a tiff when Anwar announced the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Fairus Khairuddin without Lim's prior knowledge.By right of protocol it should be Lim who should announce Fairus resignation as DCM.Anwar is not part of the Penang government and should have restrained himself from getting involved as far as the DCM position is concerned.
In Kedah, DAP has pulled out its sole represenatative from the PAS controlled Kedah state government over a trivial matter. The demolition of a pig abattoir.If they can fight over such trivial issue what chance have they got to resolve much bigger issue at Federal level.
In Selangor, a new problem is brewing which could also split the coalition.Again it's PKR versus DAP.A row broke out between PKR vice-president Azmin Ali and DAP Theresa Kok over his call for the state exco to be reshuffled. Azmin is unhappy with the line-up but rumours has it that Azmin is interested in Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim's job.He thinks Khalid lacked political experience and have made unforgiveable blunders in administring the state.Adding to the already tense atmosphere was another crisis with PKR assemblyman Wee Choo Keong and DAP.He alleged a state executive councillor, without naming name, of having links with the underworld.Ronnie Liu of DAP, probably feeling the heat, demanded that Wee name the person of which Wee says he will at the appropriate time.The police has begun investigation into the allegation.
There is no mutual understanding in this group but only mutual distrust for each other.It's a matter of time before a coup de grace ends this marriage of convenience.
That may not be the end of the story.After all that, UMNO and the BN is not as safe as one would like to think.The breaking up of Pakatan before the next general elections doesn't mean the BN will roam home without a hitch.
There is a serious wave of discontent among the people particularly in Peninsula Malaysia against the BN government. The corruptions, the abuses of power, the ills in the police force, leaders who indulged in self preservation more than caring for the nation, the powerful and corrupt who flaunt their ill-gotten wealth openly were major causes of discontentment among ordinary Malaysians of every race, colour and creed.
Prime Minister Najib has this opportunity to repair the damage and bring back some semblance of honesty into the administration.
Pakatan is certainly not a good alternative but if the people continue to distrust and hate the BN than Pakatan, short of a better choice, could become the accidental government.
Than Malaysians will have a taste of what real bad governance is.