Sunday, June 12, 2016
Amanah Can Still Pull It Off
A Kadir Jasin
SINCE I am involved in the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections campaign in support of the Amanah/Pakatan Harapan candidates, via the Deklarasi Rakyat, it is fair that I do not comment on it here.
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Thus I am grateful that the same member of the Kedai Kopi Assembly (KKA), who penned the last article on the Hadi’s Bill, is willing to pen another article on the by-elections.
Here is his commentary:
“ln the contest for Kuala Kangsar, the BN picked Mastura Mohd Yazid, the widow of the late MP. It’s obvious that BN is trying to fish for sympathy votes. Whoever suggested this must have thought of Mrs Bandaranaike, the widow of the assassinated Ceylonese PM.
During the campaign, the widow became known as the crying widow and won. But Bandaranaike was a big name in Ceylonese politics and his widow went on to become the PM and her daughter later became the President.
With due respect to BN’s widow, she is neither a local person nor a member of the Umno divisional committee. Worse still she can’t campaign because she is in the iddah period. Others have to campaign for her. It’s not clear if UMNO Bahagian was consulted and they agreed on her candidacy. Before this, the big mouth Nazri Aziz said UMNO must choose a local candidate but since the announcement, he has kept his mouth shut.
The candidate can’t weep but Zahid shed tears when he announced her as candidate. We will see if sympathy swings votes. PAS has too puts up a woman – a local a medical doctor - Najihatussalehah Ahmad.
Amanah, which is contesting on behalf of Pakatan Harapan, is represented by a nuclear scientist, Dr Ahmad Termizi Ramli, who is the party divisional deputy chief.
ln Sungai Besar, PAS could not find a local member to stand and imported a Hadi loyalist from Kapar, Klang. BN too has no suitable candidate and has to settle for a local state assemblyman. While PAS couldn’t find a local, BN couldn’t find an acceptable local candidate.
The UMNO divisional chief is not suitable as he is the leader of UMNO’s red shirt and no Chinese would vote for him. Would he sabotage his own party by asking his supporters not to come out to vote? Reports say his grilled fish business is not doing well and to survive, he has become close to the Najib’s wife.
Amanah, named a religious teacher Azhar Abdul Skukur who is the son of a former Umno MP. Amanah as a splinter of PAS has not been tested. If we study the history of splinter parties, it is very tough for Amanah more as since Amanah is being labelled by both Umno and PAS as DAP’s baby and DAP is seen as pushing Amanah to fight.
The PKR through Selangor Menteri Besar, Azmin Ali, tried to negotiate with PAS to give Sungai Besar to PKR and PAS concentrates on Kuala Kangsar. Except for Hadi, the rest in PAS agreed. Many believed that Hadi had done a deal with Najib. The motion to move Hadi’s private member’s bill to amend the Kelantan lslamic Enactment is the result of co-operation between the two leaders. It was Najib’s attempt to divert attention from 1MDB and this RM2.6-billion “Arab donations”.
The last few days, the media has only been reporting on the threats from non-Muslims BN members to resign and those from Sarawak not supporting. They complained that the matter was never brought to cabinet or the BN for discussion. One Minister claimed that Zahid mentioned it in cabinet.
Was 1MDB brought for discussion in cabinet by the PM when it was established? Was debt of RM42 billion and now gone up to over RM50 billion discussed? Why didn’t these cabinet Ministers question Najib? Why didn’t they support Muhyiddin when he questioned Najib on 1MDB? Where is your credibility?
PAS has made it clear the motion is for the by-elections and Hadi thanked Putrajaya for it. PAS’ youth leader said this would help PAS in the by-elections. Hadi is now back as a ‘hero’ to PAS members.
In Kuala Kangsar, the four-way fight gives the BN an edge even when its candidate can’t campaign. It’s not likely Chinese will vote PAS even if they are not happy with BN. The fight will be for Malay votes and Amanah will take away PAS votes and gives victory to BN. Even a 15-per cent swing against BN will not result in its defeat.
It is different with Sungai Besar. If Azmin had succeeded in persuading PAS not to contest, PKR has a good chance. PKR is the government in Selangor and Azmin can campaign on behalf of the candidate and he will brings issues like 1MDB and donation and he knows the local issues. PKR will have a better chance of winning.
PAS can’t produce a local candidate and Amanah is not prepared to put a heavyweight, the BN’s chances improve. Other than right candidates, the opposition has to realise that the campaign is in the month of Ramadan when the ceramahs could be held mostly at night and issues like the 1MDB crimes, the mismanagement of the economy and the perversion of the laws have to be explained in simplest possible language for the people to understand.
The opposition, because of disunity and always thinking of their vested interests, will find it very tough to beat BN. It’s time that they really sit down and agree that their priority is to beat BN and they can’t achieve that unless they are united. If opposition parties learnt nothing from the recent Sarawak election, they will never succeed.
To the Umno, its members and supporters, the key word is “raya” (celebration). Plenty of “duit raya” is being given out.
Announcements have been made of more development. I wonder where the money is going to come from. Government has no money. It has cut scholarships and other social expenditures but the First Lady continues to travel in style.
Amanah has a hope of pulling it off for Pakatan Harapan but it has no money and machinery to match the BN. Its candidates have to be aggressive in the next faw days exposing Najib’s corruption and economic crimes involving 1MDB, Tabung Haji, Felda, the GST and many more if they hope to win.
- A KADIR JASIN
- I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).