Muhyiddin Yassin said the ruling coalition is expected to field an experienced candidate to contest the coming Tanjung Piai by-election on November 16. At the same time, the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM or simply “Bersatu”) president said he was confident that his party can defend the seat, which was triggered after incumbent, Dr Md Farid Md Rafik, died of heart complications.
Actually, it does not matter who the Bersatu plans to field. Even if the opposition selects a donkey as a candidate, it’s a sure win. The only question is whether the opposition – Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition – will win with a massive majority. The problem hitting BN isn’t about winning but whether to field a Malay or a Chinese candidate to face a Malay candidate from PPBM (Bersatu).
In the 14th General Election, Dr Farid of PPBM had defeated MCA’s Wee Jeck Seng with only a slim 524-vote majority. Farid secured 21,255 votes, while Mr. Wee grabbed 20,731 votes, leaving PAS candidate with the remaining 2,962 votes. The razor-thin majority was achieved despite the 1MDB scandal and unpopular GST tax regime hitting BN, which triggered a Malay tsunami.
Wee had been a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Tanjung Piai constituency from 2008 to 2018. He had defeated the DAP candidates multiple times – in the 2004 (11,162 majority), 2008 (12,371 majority) and 2013 (5,457 majority) general elections. After PAS officially formed an alliance with UMNO recently, the Islamist party has pledged to support any BN candidate.
If BN sends a MCA candidate, the opposition could gauge the Chinese sentiments – how much do they hate the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition. You can bet your last penny that the Chinese voters, having voted for then-opposition PPBM, couldn’t wait for the day to punish PPBM this round. At best, they would stay at home. At worst, they would vote the opposition in droves.
To make matters worse, Gerakan, a former component of the BN coalition, has announced its plan to join the fray. Hence, the possibility of Chinese voters in Tanjung Piai voting for opposition Gerakan is very real. They might hate UMNO or MCA so much so that they would rather stay at home than to vote for PPBM. But with Gerakan as an option, they may vote for the multi-racial party.
If BN sends an UMNO candidate, the opposition could test the Malay sentiments – how much support has returned after the Malay tsunami hit the old government. The seat comprises 57% Malays, 42% Chinese and 1% Indians. A return of Malays’ support for UMNO and a boycott of Chinese voters against PPBM is certainly bad news to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Yes, the ethnic Chinese voters can’t wait to send a message to the Mahathir administration about their displeasure over the issue of Khat Jawi, Zakir Naik and dozens of other racial and religious extremism played by the prime minister and his minions. With crooked Najib Razak out of the corridors of power, the 94-year-old Mahathir cannot use 1MDB to fish for Chinese votes anymore.
Likewise, Mahathir cannot use GST (goods and services tax), a very unpopular tax regime introduced by Najib, to swing Malay votes for his own PPBM party. The Malay voters can’t wait to punish the ruling government for cheating and lying about delivering its election manifesto, something which Mahathir arrogantly said is not a bible that has to be followed and abided by religiously.
More importantly, the Malays wanted to teach Mahathir a lesson for working with DAP, largely due to the fake news being spread on social media claiming that the Chinese DAP is in control of the government. Heck, pro-opposition cybertroopers, propagandists and bloggers had even started the “Buy Muslim-made First (BMF)” campaign to instil further hatred against non-Muslims.
Mahathir bets the Chinese would still vote for him because he’s the lesser of two evils. But after he recruited UMNO defectors, used Zakir Naik to insult the Chinese, forced SJKC vernacular schools to learn Khat Jawi, told the Malay audience at the recent Malay Dignity Congress that the ethnic Chinese were merely “orang asing (foreigners)” and whatnot, he can forget about Chinese support.
Perhaps the old man has forgotten that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Up to 95% of Chinese voters had voted for his party while only 20% of Malay voters supported him in the 14th General Election. If half of the Chinese voters abandon Mahathir’s party, which they could because this is just a minor by-election, Mahathir needs more than 50% of the Malay voters to offset the losses.
Should Mahathir campaign in the coming Tanjung Piai by-election, knowing very well that his party will most likely lose the parliamentary seat? It will be a huge humiliation if he campaigns tirelessly but still lose anyway. It will be interesting to see if the master strategist could convince the Chinese he isn’t a racist and at the same time convince the Malays he is their protector.
There’s a way out to save Mahathir the embarrassment and at the same time win the Tanjung Piai by-election. If indeed the prime minister is secretly plotting with UMNO warlord Hishammuddin Hussein, PAS leadership and PKR warlord Azmin Ali to create a new coalition made up of all Malays, this would be the perfect time to test the concept of Malay unity.
The Malay Dignity Congress, held on Oct 6, saw calls for Malay parties from both sides of the aisle to unite and defend the majority community’s rights. The calls for Malay parties to unite came from opposition party UMNO, which has formed a pact with Islamist party PAS. Of course, the real plot was to prevent PM-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim from becoming Malaysia’s next prime minister.
Mahathir was rumoured to be using Hishammuddin as the middle man disguised as the mastermind courting UMNO warlords and PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali (who could bring with him at least 15 MPs) – excluding Chinese DAP and Amanah – to form the new “Malay only” coalition government. PAS president Hadi Awang and UMNO secretary general Annuar Musa were visibly happy at the congress.
Even if Mahathir disagreed with the plan, because it could be disastrous to the future of the country in the long-term as it would spook foreign investors, two giants of the opposition, UMNO and PAS, have pledged their support for the 94-year-old premier to stay on. In essence, they are putting a gun to the head of Mahathir to stay for the full 5-year term.
In that case, why don’t UMNO and PAS help Mahathir wins the coming Tanjung Piai by-election? If Mahathir loses the parliamentary seat, he would be pressured to leave before the next general election, due by 2023, under a succession plan agreed by the Pakatan Harapan coalition last year. UMNO and PAS could easily refrain from contesting and give PPBM a walkover.
Unfortunately, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had returned to take over the presidency of UMNO and had even brought his former boss – Najib Razak – back to UMNO as the powerful chairman of the Barisan Nasional advisory board. The new Malay coalition government, if materializes, will be without crooks like Zahid and Najib and a handful of “too dirty to recruit” UMNO warlords.
But that doesn’t mean UMNO warlords like Hishammuddin Hussein, Annuar Musa, Khairy Jamaluddin cannot work with PAS top leadership to quietly sabotage their own party’s machinery to help Mahathir’s party PPBM defend the seat. To prove that they were serious about Malay unity, UMNO and PAS should not allow the prime minister to suffer a humiliating loss.
Source : Finance Twitter