Sunday, March 31, 2013

Will Semangat 46 Ghosts Return To Haunt Pakatan Rakyat


Remember, Tengku Razaleigh and Semangat 46?

Semangat 46 was formed by Tengku Razaleigh and Team B of UMNO, a breakaway faction to challenge the then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad and UMNO.

Razaleigh had the support of two former prime ministers, Tungku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn, both had fallen out with Mahathir and threw their weights behind Razaleigh.

The birth of Semangat 46 was the result of a battle for the presidency of UMNO between Razaleigh and Mahathir.

Mahathir won by wafer thin majority but as he says "a win is a win, even if by one vote." and went on to become Malaysia's longest serving prime minister.

On 3 June 1989 Semangat 46 was officially registered as a political party to challenge UMNO.

In the 1990 General Elections an overconfident Razaleigh formed two coalitions with other opposition parties to take on BN. Gagasan Rakyat coalition was formed with DAP (Democratic Action Party) and PRM (Party Rakyat Malaysia) and Ankatan Perpaduan Ummah coalition was with PAS, BERJASA, HAMIM and newly formed Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress.

There were much talk that UMNO will face the toughest challenge ever and may lose the elections to Semangat 46 and its allies.Despite these alliances, Semangat 46 did poorly, winning only 8 out of 180 parliamentary seats.However, the alliance with PAS was more fruitful, but only in the state of Kelantan, winning all 39 state seats. PAS took 24 seats and Semangat 46 won 15 state seats.

Strained relationship between Mahathir and Sabah Chief Minister Joseph Pairin of PBS led to the party sudden withdrawal from BN at the eleventh hour. PBS ditched BN after nomination of seats have been made and joined Semangat 46 as an ally to fight the BN. Unforgivable treachery that led to the downfall of the PBS government in the next general elections brought about by departure of its top leaders, a coup engineered by UMNO led by its deputy President Anwar Ibrahim.

In the 1995 General Elections after having changed the party name to Parti Melayu Semangat 46 to challenge UMNO on Malay communal issue, Razaleigh again tried his luck by taking Semangat 46 to the polls, However, his relationship with DAP have by then soured and squabbles with PAS over power sharing in Kelantan compromised the party credibility and was the beginning of its end. Semangat 46 and all other political parties that contested the elections were almost decimated with Semangat 46 the worse performer, winning only 6 parliamentary seats. The other parties performed slightly better than Semangat 46 (DAP 9, PAS 7 and PBS 8)

However, they failed to punch a big hole in the BN fortress and Mahathir stayed the winner.

Over the next few years Semangat 46 lost its support and many of its members left the party to rejoin UMNO. In October 1996, the coffin was finally nailed. Razaleigh announced he would disband the party. He and most party members rejoined UMNO.

Was 28 March 2008 a twist of fate and stroke of good luck for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat that gave them the most unexpected windfall and a near shocking defeat of the BN?

Much of the erosion of supports for BN was due to former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi failure to implement reforms that he promised the people before the 2004 General Elections. This new broom did not live up to the people's expectation.

After having given him a rousing victory in the 2004 General Elections, Badawi failed to spark the people's imagination and was the final straw that broke the camel's back. A wrong man for the job, a grave mistake made by Mahathir, who appointed him as his successor for selfish reason, to complete all his unfinished projects, particularly, the crooked bridge to Singapore and continue with his legacy.

Abdullah proved otherwise, he shelved most of the projects, which angered Mahathir to no end. Mahathir, being the man he is, started a vicious "remove Abdullah" campaign. Mahathir vicious and inundated attacks on Abdullah, infighting and sabotage in UMNO contributed to the poor performance in 2008.

Can Najib turn the table and give the opposition Pakatan Rakyat a run for their money?

Have the Chinese completely deserted BN, or are they keeping their cards close to their hearts and would spring a surprise come election day?

On the surface, it seemed obvious that the Chinese have completely abandoned the BN and trust the DAP and PKR would be able to control and stop PAS from pursuing its Islamic agenda. These are die hard chauvinistic DAP supporters and are concentrated mainly in urban and semi-urban areas and consider themselves Chinese first. This group will vote PR without hesitation.

There are about 30% smart Chinese voters who are fence sitters and pay no allegiance to anyone other then themselves. They would decide, without undue influence from any party, which side they'll cast their votes. They are voters suspicious of PAS tie up with DAP and PKR and suspect PAS of using the platform as their stepping stone to further their ambition to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state.  PAS recent encroachment into their lives by imposing Islamic values on non-Muslims have angered this group. Some have openly displayed their outrage and said if PAS can do it in the states presently under their control what makes you think they won't do it when they take the Federal government. These are the Malaysian first Chinese. Good chance this group likely to vote BN.

Though, small in numbers they can raise the highest decimal of noise to make their presence felt to whoever want to court them. These are the Indians.These are people who felt discriminated, marginalised, sidelined and abandoned by their leaders and the government. They sided with Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 to show their displeasure. They have now come to term that Pakatan Rakyat was all talk and no action and is no better than BN when it comes to looking after their interests. Most have become disillusioned with PR unfulfilled promises made in 2008 GE. Majority likely to vote BN.

The Malays, if united they alone can decide who should be the government. Unfortunately, that is not the case, they are split three ways with UMNO taking the bulk of supports and the rest divided between PKR and PAS.

The educated urban Malays, who think themselves as the intelligentsia and "I can do without the NEP" attitude are disillusioned with UMNO leaders and detest abuses of power and corruptions among Malay politicians in the party. They are also Anwar's diehard supporters, who believe he is the right man who should lead the country and won't believe any allegations of his wrong doings, or any of the videos of his illicit sexual acts, no matter how much alike the man in the video is to Anwar. These unshakable awe-stricken Anwar's supporters think Anwar is a victim of frame-ups and conspiracies by UMNO. These group is small in numbers but come, rain or shine, will vote PR.

The bigger block of Malay votes will come from the rural and semi-rural areas and with the threat of Chinese political power gaining strength majority of Malays in this group are expected to vote for UMNO, including PAS followers who are angered by PAS leaders subordinating the party to DAP and looked at these leaders as ineffectual, cowardly and interested only in power grab. There is  50/50 chance Kelantan may fall to BN.

Penang will stay with DAP,  Selangor and Perak can go either way. All other states in Peninsula Malaysia are likely to stay with BN.

Sabah and Sarawak will again be the jewels in the crown, losing some Chinese seats to DAP and nominal seats to PKR, which will not put a dent in the BN armour even if situation in Peninsula Malaysia may not be so favourable to the BN.

The rural/semi-rural areas are where the real battle will be fought and whoever win this will take Putrajaya. The greatest number of seats come from this sector, which is the basis of our electoral system.

Our electoral system is based on the Westminster system of Britain and on the basis of "first past the post, a "winner takes all" system that can make a party with more seats but fewer votes the winner.

There is a strong Malay political awakening in Peninsula Malaysia. 

The rural Malays biggest fear is that DAP may become the biggest winner in Pakatan Rakyat if their votes are split three ways and the country could end up with a weak Malay administration should Pakatan win the 13th GE.

The infighting and jockeying for seats in Pakatan Rakyat will kill their chance of taking over the Federal government.

Anwar has screwed himself big time for running the party autocratically, choosing candidates himself and without consensus of opinion.

The result of the elections could be one big surprise and one not many people would have expected.


Mr. Nig Nogg said...

Wow! Spot on! Damn.

Anonymous said...

Good assessment. I think DAP too will pay a costly price with their overconfidence and sheer arrogance.

Anonymous said...

Push hard ! Shove Hard BN as led by the UMNO with the 14 component parties ! A huge victory awaits you !

Koh Neck Khuat said...

DAP will be the big winner in PR but PKR will be wiped out. PAS will go back to its pre-2008 numbers.

Purple Haze said...

As mentioned by HL, 2 ex-PMs of Malaysia supported S46. The question that should be asked is why did these 2 venerable leaders do so? What was being done by the incumbent President of UMNO/BN that made these 2 men of stature make the choice to go against their own party ?

It is also rumoured that Dr M only managed to obtain his majority when Najib changed his vote from Razaleigh to Mahathir. The rest is history.

So, it is not a return for the S46 ghosts ... we have been living in their realm for the past few years !

The S46 saga is a shameful event in the history of UMNO and hence, not many people want to refer to it.

Anonymous said...

The 2 ex PM chose to support razaleigh because they were jealous of mahathir's wisdom and far sightedness, two things neither of them had.

Purple Haze said...

Why BN is still favourite to win the elections ?

The ruling coalition may still prevail because of the way the electoral system is structured. BN won only 51 percent of the popular vote in the last election, but that translated to 63 percent of the seats in Parliament.

The reason: In what critics describe as gerrymandering, urban constituencies, where the opposition to the government is strong, tend to have tens of thousands of voters represented by a single lawmaker, while rural constituencies, the strongholds of the ruling coalition, typically have far fewer.

Anonymous said...

I love how the Malay "intelligentsia" are the main perpetrators of the Anwar cult of personality. "Oh corruption! Anwar will save us! Anwar will give us freedom of speech."

They are so intelligent that they do not see that every leader who had an insane cult of personality because of his supporters often turned out to be nutcases. Example, Hitler was seen as the "savior" by his supporters against the weak Weimar Republic. Mao's cult of personality allowed him to implement policies that starved many and disenfranchised the poor.

When the man insists upon becoming larger than the party, you can forget about there being any kind of democracy in rule. Just as we have seen, Anwar is undemocratic within his own party and if made prime minister will be worse. Think about it.