Friday July 1, 2011
PR ‘rallying’ for lost support
By BARADAN KUPPUSAMY
The July 9 rally is an attempt by PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to shore up its public support ahead of the next general election and in the wake of recent by-election losses and negative publicity.
The July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally is really a Pakatan Rakyat effort to win back the political momentum it once enjoyed after the March 2008 tsunami but has since lost to Barisan Nasional in a series of by-elections – except Sibu.
Even the Sibu by-election was won by the DAP with a slim 300-vote majority.
Although the party went on to win 15 urban seats in the Sarawak state election, the state Barisan Nasional managed to win a two-thirds majority, clinching most of the rural seats and losing only the urban seats to the DAP.
To recapture the political momentum is the unstated goal of the Bersih 2.0 rally going into the 13th general election, which is near, going by the latest hint dropped by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a closed door meeting of the Sabah Barisan Nasional on Wednesday.
PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the man behind it, senses that a major public rally, which would galvanise the public mood, shake the Barisan Nasional and prepare Pakatan Rakyat for seizing Putrajaya, is the best chance of getting the political momentum back.
In tandem with that goal, Bersih 2.0 has lost its public face as an independent NGO and increasingly showing its Pakatan Rakyat face, even as police step up their action to stop the rally, which they have termed illegal and a nuisance.
The political momentum enjoyed by Pakatan Rakyat moved back to Barisan Nasional with victories in the Kerdau, Batu Sapi, Tenang and Merlimau by-elections, which were won by Barisan with large majorities, indicating that Malay and Indian voters have returned to the coalition.
Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad won the Kerdau seat in Pahang with a majority of 2,724 votes while Roslan Ahmad won the Merlimau seat with a majority of 3,643.
In the Tenang by-election on Jan 30, Barisan Nasional also won by a 3,700 vote majority whereas in Batu Sapi, the majority was massive with over 6,000 votes.
Pakatan Rakyat initially had a dream run that left it victorious in eight of the first 11 by-elections held, results which were seen as a sign that it had cemented its support among voters.
However, Barisan Nasional then won two by-elections last November, one in January this year and two more later, in a major boost for its morale ahead of an early general election.Read more.