PM Lee Hsien Loong had never thought his best friend ex-PM Najib Razak could lose the 14th general election. Therefore, his government had chosen to count the chickens before they hatched – pouring tons of money and resources to create an ambitious second Central Business District (CBD) at the western suburb region of Jurong, also known as Jurong Lake District. In anticipation of the HSR development in Jurong, Singapore has actually removed the Tanjong Pagar Terminal port and relocated it to Tuas. Heck, the government had even paid tens of billions acquiring over 12 hectares of land from a golf club and several residential developments. Investors had also poured millions in property and commercial investments. National University of Singapore transport lecturer Lee Der Horng said – “There are other development plans for the area, but the HSR terminus would have been the jewel in the crown of the area.” Now that the HSR has changed from “scrapped” to “postponed”, it only adds fuel to the confusion and frustration among Singaporean investors and the government. Straits Times, arguably the mouthpiece of Singapore, the same way Global Times is to Beijing, has been running some articles which appear to be against the new government of Malaysia. The relationship between Mahathir Mohamad and Lee Hsien Loong has since taken a few notches down after the junior Lee was given only 30-minute slot during his visit to Mahathir’s office on May 19th. That was despite PM Lee wearing “Malaysian Batik”, probably trying to impress upon the world’s oldest prime minister. After taking more than 8 hours of travel preparations, it was an insult to cut short the meeting to 30 minutes between two close neighbours. When grilled, Mr. Lee claimed that his meeting was “only a courtesy call.” Of course, that was not true. An hour after the meeting between both leaders, Mahathir deliberately told all and sundry that all bilateral agreements with Singapore will be reviewed, including the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail – obviously an embarrassment to Lee. Adding insult to the injury, Mahathir later said the decision by Malaysian voters to vote out Barisan Nasional on May 9 could inspire Singaporeans.
In his interview with Financial Times, Mahathir cheekily said that the people of Singapore, like the people in Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party since independence. It was perhaps the most provocative statement from a Malaysian leader who suggested that Singaporeans should topple their government when the time comes. Hit by postponement of HSR and “seditious remarks” from Mahathir, the Straits Times’ latest article suggests that the defeated Barisan Nasional coalition government could rise again and make a political comeback. It acknowledges that as compared to 85% Chinese support in the 2013 general election, the May 9th general election saw an increase 95% support from Chinese voters. However, Straits Times argue that only between 25%-30% of ethnic-Malay voted for the new Pakatan Harapan coalition government. Using figures from Merdeka Center, the Singapore mouthpiece said 35%-40% of Malays voted for Barisan Nasional (BN) while 30-33% supported PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party). That’s laughably a very simplistic analysis, not to mention idiotic. Perhaps the news media didn’t receive the memo. The so-called research firm Merdeka Center’s reputation has hit rock bottom ever since the humiliating defeat of Barisan Nasional under the leadership of Najib Razak. In fact, Barisan Nasional has disintegrated since four Sarawak parties unanimously quit the coalition two days ago. Did Straits Times realize that just hours before the voting process starts, the same Merdeka Center has predicted that Najib’s Barisan Nasional is set to return to power? According to the top brains from the research firm, Barisan Nasional was expected to garner 37.3% of the popular vote, while the opposition pact was 43.4% and UMNO-friendly PAS at just 19.3%. The survey had also estimated that there were 100 safe seats for BN, 83 for the opposition coalition and just two for PAS, with 37 marginal seats. In the end, the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan won 121 seats (a gain of 53 seats) while BN only managed 79 seats (a loss of 54 seats) and PAS grabbed 18 seats (a loss of 3 seats). Clearly, the poll sucks!
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In terms of vote swing, Pakatan Harapan (PH) and friendly Sabah Warisan won 48.31% of the popular vote, an improvement of 11.21%. On the contrary, Barisan Nasional (BN) won only 33.8%, a plunge of 13.58%. On the other hand, Islamic party PAS secured 16.99%, a slight improvement of 2.21%. Again, you don’t need a rocket scientist to tell that BN’s loss was PH’s gain. In 2013 general election, Barisan Nasional retained its power, garnering 5,237,699 popular votes. This round, the BN secured only 4,080,797 votes – losing an eye-popping 1,156,902 or 22% of its traditional votes. Pakatan Harapan, despite losing PAS support, has actually increased its votebank – from 5,623,984 votes (2013) to 5,781,600 (2018). Yes, the same Merdeka Center had predicted a swing of 7.9% max in Malay votes to the opposition. Yet, in reality, BN saw 22% of its supporters jumped ships. While it’s true that some of BN supporters had swung to PAS, a huge portion of them had actually casted their votes for Pakatan Harapan. That explains why PAS only won decisively in Kelantan and Terengganu. It was wrong from the beginning for Straits Times to use statistic from Merdeka Center and says that because the Malays are split equally among the BN (20%-30%), PH (35-40%) and PAS (30-33%), the new government is at risk and the corrupted BN could make a comeback. They conveniently ignore the fact that UMNO on its own had only won 2.5-million votes or 21% of popular votes. On its own, UMNO’s 2.5-million popular votes translate to only 20.7% of total votes of 12,299,514 turnouts (82.32% turnout). Similarly, PAS’ 2.1-million popular vote constitute just 16.6% of the total voter turnout. That’s why PAS can only captured Kelantan and Terengganu and UMNO pathetically lost 6 more states and only rules Pahang and Perlis, after losing Sarawak through defection 2 days ago. Straits Times also agreed with Merdeka Center’s research that although traditional BN supporters were unhappy with ex-PM Najib Razak and his GST (goods and services tax), they did not trust Pakatan Harapan coalition. Using the same logic, why should the same supporters vote back BN and risk having the regime re-introduce the tax again, now that GST has been scrapped? Merdeka Center and Straits Times appear to be stuck at ancient time – arguing that UMNO and PAS would try to win over the Malays using the familiar baits of race, religion and royalties. They spoke as if UMNO’s ex-president Najib and PAS president Hadi Awang hadn’t sleep together and beat the drums of extremism and racism before the 14th general election. They also foolishly assume that if both UMNO and PAS parties work together, Pakatan Harapan would be doomed. If they hadn’t figured it out already, both UMNO and PAS were working together for years since Najib bribed Hadi with RM90 million to split the Malay votes. And see what had that little brilliant plan gotten UMNO into. Perhaps Straits Times thinks Malays are a bunch of stupid people. They thought majority of the Malays would still blindly worship monarchies and PAS’ extremism and fake Islam, so much so that they won’t care about putting food on the table. After scrapping GST, the next stage would be re-introducing subsidies for certain necessities so that cost of living can be contained. At the end of the day, it’s all about bread and butter. If the magic wand of 3R (racial, religious and royalty) could not do its magic tricks on May 9th, how could it now? It was the Malay Najib Razak who had stolen billions from national coffers, and it was the Malay rulers who didn’t care to stop Najib from plundering the Malays’ treasure. And it was the Islamic party PAS that had supported Najib to steal more. Source : Finance Twitter
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