Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Lost to ISO certified candidate

PKR was given a nasty bite of reality for losing last Saturday's Sungai Bakap by-election. 

Not only Institiut Darul Ehsan's predication of a PH narrow win did not materialise, PAS widen their 2023 majority of 1,563 votes to 4,388 votes on a voters' turnout reduced from 74.6% to 61.7%. 

PKR's Election Director, Nurul Izzah blamed the defeat to racial and slanderous allegation against her father. PN unfairly accused Anwar for allegedly compromising on the Palestine cause and repeating past allegation of succumbing to IMF 

Penang Chief Minister Chow Koon Yeow immediately conceded defeat. He acknowledged public backlash towards urgently necessary subsidy rationalisation, rise in cost of living, basic public amenities problems, and failure to communicate. 

Problems with water, road condition, vernacular school request, and pig rearing cannot be redirected blame towards PAS. It takes a different significance when the 16,000 majority Nibong Tebal MP was appointed full Minister. 

Together with the usual political brickbats, these were issues the state opposition capitalised on during campaign. Joceline Tan's Saturday column touched on these issues in her reporting of the going-ons at the by-election.

However, there are more than meets the eye. There were deep rooted political structure problems unresolved. In fact, PH-BN were in-denial and shooting their own feet.

UMNO sabotaged? 

Sunday morning, this blogger received the above online poster allegedly viral among the Chinese which accused UMNO for the loss. 

Chow denied saying so and its likely fake news. Obviously its a common election propaganda in the same manner as the Tik Tok message viral by Chegubard, former PKR activist turned Mahathir's cybertrooper as follows:

Chegubard was capitalising on UMNO grassroot reaction to the UMDAP labelling. After more than a year and a half, suzeable number are in-denial of UMNO's "damn if I do and damn if I don't" predicament to continue alliance with Perikatan Nasional. 

The poster below reflect such sentiment:

While UMNO members at Sungai Bakap were not exactly exuberent towards the state unity government and lip service of support but voted PN widespread, both PKR and UMNO campaigners were not unaware. 

UMNO campaign machinery went all out to woe votes from members for Dr Joohari. 

Najib's missing royal addendum? 

However, a bigger challenge awaits campaigners due the unfavourable decision of the Judicial Review on the existence of former Agong's addendum order to commute Najib's imprisonment to house arrest. 

Without the physical proof of Agong's addendum, Judge Datok Ameerjit Singh ruled Zahid Hamidi's affidavit as hearsay. But he had raised eyebrow for refusing to accept the affidavit by Tengku Zafrul, who showed Zahid a copy of the addendum order.

The silence of Pahang Istana did not stop the suspicion of Najib diehard that Anwar had no intention to honour his side of a bargain. Many Najib diehard believed releasing was part of the deal for UMNO to support Anwar as Prime Minister.

More so, lawyers associated with Tommy Thomas remain involved in civil cases piled up by MOF-controlled 1MDB against Najib and Rosmah. 

The Najib diehard is not a problem, but the few fanatics are. They have the unrealistic expectation that Najib should be pardoned after serving only one of the 10 years sentence, and without any justification and narrative build-up for such.

More so, a pardon or commuting to house arrest now will make an international mockery of the country's prison system should he be found guilty for any of three criminal charges on trial. 

More efforts like RCI on Tommy's memoir and civil lawsuit by Shahrir Samad needed. Getting acquited for the three criminal charges and capture of Jho Low and Nik Faisal would convince the public.

On the addendum order decision, accusations are hurled at the Attorney General for allegedly hiding the evidence; specifically the alleged original Addendum order issued by the previous Agong. 

This sentiment was exploited by Noh Omar who expressed sympathy and claimed only Perikatan Nasional will save Najib. 

It does not jive that he joined Mahathir and Muhyiddin side, who is widely believed to not only fix Najib up, but expedite the process and deny him a fair hearing, including being denied representation by a Queen Counsel and his day in the Federal Court. 

Recently it was revealed to this blogger that Mahathir had people fix Anwar's first sodomy trial.

Feeling neglected?

To put in perspective the sentiment of Sg Bakap UMNO members, the party last held the seat in 2004-2008 before losing to PKR during the 10th General Election in 2008. 

Over the years, UMNO and BN's influence in the area has waned and the feeling of being neglected by the state government among UMNO members have sinked-in.

The outstanding problems of Sungai Bakap generally remains unattended, but the current sentiment among UMNO members is that being part of the Kerajaan Perpaduan did not come with any benefit. 

This trace back from the early days of Unity Government in Penang. Despite DAP-led PR and then PH seized control of Penang, PKR played a dominant role in the state coalition. 

When Unity Government was formed in 2022, the PH-BN cooperation was not translated at the grassroot level. In Penang, PKR remain insecure with UMNO's presence in the state Unity Government. 

Naturally being a former federal Minister, UMNO assemblymen Reezal Merican did not have enough UMNO seats to support his appointment for Deputy Chief Minister. 

Despite that PKR Penang viewed UMNO as a threat and not sufficient effort to extend an olive branch. Reezal's name did not even made it as exco member but UMNO's lone representative is Nibong Tebal's UMNO Division Chief, Rashidi Zainol. 

Deputy Chief Minister attitude?

It did not get any better with the attitude of PKR's Deputy Chief Minister. 

PKR's Deputy Chief Minister 1, Dato Dr Mohamad Abdul Hamid, whose takes up the portfolio of Islamic development, education and national unity, not only did he not give face to Reezal, but also to  other PH leaders. 

Mohamad appointed himself to all the positions under the state Islamic affair. There is growing resentment among the masjid congregations in Penang on his tight control over the Masjid. He is seen as arrogant, defensive and refuse to accept suggestion and criticism. 

As Deputy Election Director, Dr Mohamed was seen more focus to promote himself than assist Nurul and Fadhlina run an effective and cohesive campaign. He overshadowed the candidate.

History repeating itself?

Rafizi factor?

The one who is not suppose to campaign end up taking an active role. 

PKR Deputy President, Rafizi Ramli is responsible for the diesel rationalisation, blamed for the rising cost of goods, and reminded of his past campaign promises. He should have limit his presence in Sungai Bakap.

The video below summed up his attitude to respond to criticism of his policies to call them "bodoh" and "bahalol" during campaign:

The egoistic Rafizi is known to be condescending and combative to downright nasty to conflicting views from friends and foes. As a result, elders in his party are reluctant to offer advise to correct his mistakes.

Below are among reactions to his behaviour during campaign:

Among the Chinese voters, he is already being branded as "manyak sombong itu budak". 

In the midst of campaign, he displayed insensitivity to the rakyat in an interview with a foreign media. With a smirk on his face, he told the interviewer there will be a surprise on the Ron 95 rationalisation. 

This was a self inflicted bomb that cost PKR the by-election. Rafizi need be reminded that it is no more GE 13 and 14. He is not riding on the wave of resentment but going against it.

After more than 10 years, public is beginning to be more discerning and calling his campaign bluff. UMNO's Dr Akmal Saleh blatantly expressed the public anger and questioned his "formula". 

During campaign Rafizi claimed water for Sungai Bakap will come from Perak but the state water reserve is low and has no room to spare for Penang. 

And Rafizi was caught blatantly lying the PADU system will not cost the government. Similar with Invoke funding and vending machine program, public will suspect the RM85 million spent was awarded to friendly parties.

Market is suspecting hanky panky going-ons linked to Rafizi and Nik Nazmi in new energy deals of government companies.

Low non-Malay voters turnout?

The absence of Chinese and Indian voters was obvious. Rafizi tweeted:

The non-Malays delivered a message to both the state and federal leadership. 

The message below from a political analysts coveyed the points:

Here are the translations of each writer's comments to Bahasa Malaysia
Sumber: ruang komen FB Oriental Daily News.

1. Mas Wong:
   - Chinese: 看得出马来人不支持公正党
   - Translation: Dapat dilihat bahawa orang Melayu tidak menyokong PKR.

2. Shenghan Ng:
   - Chinese: Mas Wong 看来公务员起薪也救不了公正党
   - Translation: Mas Wong, nampaknya kenaikan gaji penjawat awam pun tidak dapat menyelamatkan PKR.

3. Danny Yeap Teik Seng:
   - Chinese: 黄志强在这一次的补选华人区有40%选票给了国盟,这是选民给予政府的一个警示
   - Translation: Wong Chi Keong, dalam pilihan raya kecil kali ini, 40% undi di kawasan Cina telah diberikan kepada Perikatan Nasional. Ini adalah amaran dari pengundi kepada kerajaan.

4. Ching Hong Goh:
   - Chinese: 哈哈哈哈,都说了,短短几个月的时间,没有可能会翻盘的。这次就给政府一个警示,不要不听取民意。从原本输1563到现在输4269,翻倍啊。政府还不听取民意,大选等打包了。
   - Translation: Hahaha, sudah dikatakan, dalam masa beberapa bulan yang singkat, tidak mungkin akan berubah. Kali ini memberikan amaran kepada kerajaan, jangan tidak mendengar suara rakyat. Dari asalnya kalah 1563 sekarang kalah 4269, berganda. Kerajaan masih tidak mendengar suara rakyat, tunggu kalah besar pada pilihan raya umum.

DAP Penang internal rivalry?

And NST short headline below may mean more than that:   

Chow did not acknowledge but his rivalry with Lim Guan Eng may have contributed to PH's colossol loss. The powerful Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce are up in arms against the Chief Minister for corruption.  

UMNO Veteran Club Chairman need not urge the Penang Chief Minister to explain the poor turnout. He may need to reveal that Penang Municipal Council raised garbage disposal charges days before votes are casted.   

Who knows, Guan Eng campaigners may have pulled the brakes and Chow intended to embarass Guan Eng.


Basically Anwar has no choice but to remove his biggest liability in Fahmi Fadzil.

His poor engagement and high-handed ways to block blogs, portals and social medias contributed to Anwar's increasing unpopularity. Inside sources in MCMC and his Ministry claimed it is own personal doing.

Anwar's fiscal and economic reform is far from over. For nation's economic continuity and sustainability, he cannot do a reverse. He need to soldier on and desperately beef up his PMO and communications.

If PKR capability is limited to opposition agenda setting and not have the people to do communication as government, they have to acknowledge their inexperiance, remove their pychological insecurity and seek those with experiance in past BN government.

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