Malaysiakini : Why are non-Malay voters becoming disillusioned with Harapan? Is
it because their daily lives have not improved under the new government?
Or is it because Harapan has not delivered what was promised? – P Ramasamy
| I wonder what P Ramasamy means when he says that “painful and
unpopular decisions” have to be made to get the support of the rakyat.
The problem with Harapan is that they are a pack of lily-livered
politicians who care more about winning over the Umno/PAS crowd than
taking care of their mostly non-Malay base.
politicians who claimed to have cajones of steel before assuming federal
power, now appear to be fatigued and deflated. They spend their time
simpering around Malay powerbrokers and whacking the non-Malay
components of BN, and doing everything in their power not to spook the
It is kind of funny. The stereotype of the Umno voter is a
“dedak” eater who votes in kleptocratic politicians for the “tongkat”.
Well, in these last three by-elections, the Malays who voted for
opposition politicians, did not give a damn about the enticements thrown
their way by Pakatan Harapan, but instead voted opposition.
would mean they did not care if the opposition could not do anything for
them. This also means you either have to be really pissed off with the
federal government, or you do not care if voting for the opposition
disenfranchises you in some way. This was the narrative Harapan was
pushing when they were the opposition, right? If you are Malay, you can be sure the Harapan government isn’t going to marginalise you, even if you do not vote for them.
know some people in this by-election who voted for the opposition just
to troll Harapan. Could this be some sort of bellwether when it comes to
the non-Malay vote? Is KJ right when he says Umno could survive in
mixed race constituencies? Who knows?
PM-designate Anwar Ibrahim (above, on right, standing)
says the Rantau defeat is a reminder to focus on the people’s plight.
This is typically what politicians say when they lose an election. What
does this mean anyway? Was Harapan not focusing on the people’s plight,
which is why the voters in Ranatu rejected the federal government? What a
silly excuse to make in the defeat.
Harapan has been doing
everything in its power to alienate their non-Malay base and screw over
the progressive Malay element in Harapan. Non-Malay operatives have been
bending over backwards attempting to project a benign face of Chinese
influence in Harapan.
A lot of this has to do with the Bangsa
Malaysia, now New Malaysia, nonsense that is seriously impeding Harapan
when it comes to engaging with various communities, and instead
attempting, in rhetoric at least, a one size fits all approach. M Kulasegaran (photo)
must be embarrassed that there was an Indian swing to Umno. Does this
tell us something about the Indians in Rantau, or does this tell us
something about the way the Harapan elite deals with the Indian
urban/rural divide is Harapan’s safety net. By safety net I mean
enclaves where economics and culture are not beholden to the vagaries of
religious, cultural and social diktats of the religious component in
Malay power structures. It was like this when Umno/BN ruled supreme, but
was supplanted by the various incarnations of what would become Pakatan
Harapan led by Anwar Ibrahim.
While all politics is local, what
the federal government should be doing is ensuring the Harapan base that
voted for them (even when they were losing, but managed to break Umno's
two-thirds majority in one of their defeats) is satisfied with their
performance. Instead, what the federal government is doing is
attempting to replicate BN-style politics for a base which has no use
for it. A base which believed that the reign of Harapan would move them
away from the race-based and religion-influenced politics of Umno/BN.
politicians tell me they have to walk on eggshells when it comes to
certain issues. They tell me the demonisation of the DAP seems to be
working. Well, here’s the thing: if people are going to hate the DAP,
they are going to do it regardless of whether the Umno/PAS coalition is
in power or not. The narrative that the majority of Malays hate the DAP
has always been around, but the DAP has survived, and even thrived. So
do not use this excuse when it comes losing out to Umno/PAS.
know what Harapan should be doing? They should be endorsing those
so-called liberal Malays, because there is very little difference
between the centre-right and far right when it comes to mainstream Malay
politics. Instead, what the Harapan government does is bend over
backwards attacking the very demographic which could change the
narrative and encourage a new paradigm of mainstream Malay politics. A
Harapan politician called me after the Rantau defeat and complained
that the Harapan government needed more time. This is a red herring.
As I said in a piece warning that Harapan turning into BN was not the problem:
“There is this dumb argument floating around that we should give
Harapan more time since BN had six decades (or thereabouts) to “destroy”
this country. This argument is not only ignorant, but it is also
ahistorical. BN had functional policies at various times (just ask the
current prime minister) and the opposition had a decade (or thereabouts)
in control of certain states to differentiate itself from the federal
It must be embarrassing to lose a by-election when
Harapan campaigned “BN style”. It is as if the people rejected the
politics Harapan claims it wants to do away with. Which is worse? Losing
an election because you tried to ape Umno/BN, or losing an election
because the voters rejected your progressive, egalitarian politics that
could save Malaysia? I know which is worse.