The guessing game that is the date of the 13th General Elections or to use its Malay acronym PRU13 (which stands for Pilihanraya Umum ke 13) continues unabated with bets now placed for PRU13 to be called in November 2012. Thus far, the Prime Minister and Chairman of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), YAB Dato Sri Mohd Najib, has played his cards very close to his chest and has not given the rumours any credence by confirming nor denying the validity of such rumours. But since the current term for Parliament runs until April 2013, it is safe to say that the PRU13 is imminent.
Prior to the latest round of rumour mongering, elections was thought to be called in February 2012 and when that didn’t happen, bets were then placed for June 2012. However, the month of June coincided with the Gawai Dayak and the Kaamatan celebrations. Since it was a time when families get together, community leaders voiced their objections to having PRU13 in June. After all, the community leaders wanted families to get together during these celebrations, not bicker and fight with each other just for the sake of politics. A line must be drawn somewhere and to that we agree wholeheartedly.
When the dissolution of Parliament, which would have been a precursor to the PRU13, didn’t happen, thoughts then moved towards the probability of the elections being called during the Hajj season, which will be in late October. The irony of it all was that the possibility of PRU13 being called during the Hajj season was first expounded by PAS, an opposition party and a member of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), which was then followed by calls (panicky and desperate, one might add) from the PAS leadership to their members to postponed their pilgrimage to the following year.
The calls from PAS’ leaders were roundly and justifiably criticised. Judged as being presumptious as it was based on the thinking that only PAS’ members were going for the Hajj, and therefore only PAS would be affected should the PRU13 be held during the Hajj season. On a hypocritical note, the call from the PAS leadership portrayed PAS as placing more importance on the otherwise worldy PRU13 rather than allowing its members taking up the opportunity and privilege to perform one of the five Pillars of Islam, one that may come only once in a lifetime. With over 900,000 having registered to go on the Hajj with the queue stretching to the year 2049, it would really be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many.
Also conveniently ignored was the fact that the maximum number of Malaysian pilgrims allowed to perform the Hajj as specified by the quota set by the Government of Saudi Arabia is 28,000, which is less than 0.2% when compared to the more than 13 million Malaysians who have registered themselves as voters. So in all reality, would having the PRU13 during the Hajj season affected it so? That is something for us all to ponder.
Although the Prime Minister has not yet sought an audience with DYMM Yang DiPertuan Agung for the dissolution of Parliament and thus calling for the 13th General Elections, that has not deterred the political parties from campaigning. It is a well-known fact that PAS have been campaigning ever since the last elections, in the guise of ‘ceramah’ (literally translated as lecture or talks). This has been an ongoing event, for as long as one can remember. Never shall a week pass by without PAS having a ‘ceramah’ here and there. This ‘ceramah’ bug has now passed on to its PR partners, DAP and PKR, with some non-Muslim DAP leaders going one further by reading and quoting the Holy Quran to its Muslim listeners, which is ironic, to say the least. Trouble is, not many Muslims are smiling or are amused.
Attendances for these ‘ceramah’ depends on the speakers but by all means and purposes, the attendances do not provide a true indicator as to the level of support PAS can command at the ballot box. It is common knowledge that some people attend these ‘ceramah’ for its entertainment content which is akin to that of a gossip column ie unsubstantiated and devoid of actual facts, whilst some attend as a matter of curiosity. Nevertheless, it is a worrying trend when people attending these ‘ceramah’ begin to accept whatever the speakers say as the truth and nothing but the truth. When that happens, then truth will have been the victim.
Events leading to the yet-to-be-announced PRU13 have shown some alarming trends. It is noticeable that the politics of hate has come to the fore with irresponsible elements sowing seeds of distrust and disunity amongst the population. Everything that is connected to the ruling BN Government is deemed as corrupted and incompetent and unfit to govern. Fifty five years of independence, during which time the ruling BN government and its predecessor, the Alliance, has been mandated to govern and manage the country to bring it to where it is now has been conveniently ignored.
The opposition PR and its NGO cohorts in its various guises of Bersih, Janji Demokrasi, Himpunan Hijau and whatever else have you, have repeatedly claimed that the election rolls is tainted with phantom voters, and that the Election Commission in nothing but a tool to ensure the continued rule of the ruling BN Government. The fact that the PR is now governing four states out of thirteen through elections conducted by that “BN government tool” that is The Election Commission, using the very electoral rolls alleged to be tainted, is somehow lost on the PR and its supporters.
The Judiciary is accused of being subservient to the ruling BN Government and the laws of the land is claimed to be designed to oppress any opposition to the continued rule of the BN. But the reality today is that the Opposition is making a mockery of the existing laws and showing its middle finger at the agencies entrusted to enforce the laws, and at the same time pushing all boundaries of tolerance to the limit through constant provocation and rabble rousing.
But whats even more troubling is the way issues are being drawn along the lines of the terrible twins, namely communal and religion. Questioning and demanding a review of the rights and privileges of Malays and Bumiputeras, the position of Islam as the official religion of the country, and the institution of the Malay Sultanates are becoming more and more common, either by words or by action. This trend if left unchecked could prove to be a powder keg in inter communal and inter faith relations especially during the run-up to PRU13, and bring the country to its knees if exploded.
The young may not know of 1969, some may not even want to believe that 1969 happened and some may even deny that it happened, but the reality is that 1969, in all its infamy, happened and for us who accept this as reality, there exists the fear is that 1969 will repeat itself IF the trend today is left unchecked. The same questions are being directed at Bukit Kepung, the Communist Insurgency, Bintang Tiga and whatelse have you. Is history being denied and if so, just who is denying history? Definitely not those who have lost fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and other loved ones during the forementioned episodes.
It must be noted that legislation is in place for enforcement agencies to employ and stop the rot but the popular public perception propagated by the PR is that if the law is employed on the opposition and their supporters, then the enforcement agencies are being brutally oppressive BUT if the law is employed on pro-BN and BN supporters, then it is fair game. And here we are thinking that the law applies to all and sundry.
Taking into account all that has happened or is happening, there is a growing feeling that PRU13 will be more than just a watershed election and one which might, in all probability, end up with the following results :-
(a) BN will continue to form the Federal government, with a 2/3 majority, or at the very least 1 or 2 seats shy of a 2/3 majority,
(b) the majority of the Opposition in Parliament will comprise of mainly the DAP, with the combined might of PKR and PAS being very much in the minority. This turn of events would eventually lead to the breakup of PR as the two then largest components, the DAP and PAS, would be at loggerheads amid disagreements over key issues,
(c) the states of Kedah and Selangor returning to BN with BN being one or two seats shy of a 2/3 majority, if not two-thirds, thus reflecting the outcome at Federal level,
(d) the states of Penang and Kelantan will have closely balanced State Assemblies, with BN forming the respective state governments on simple majorities,
Should the above predictions become reality, then it might lead to :-
(I) the beginning of the end of PKR, sealed by or before the 14th General Elections (PRU14). Proponents of PKR may argue vehemently against this but history has shown that movements based on ideals lasts longer than those that were based on personalities and/or personal ambitions,
(II) PAS reverting to what it was, maybe even more so, before they got blinded and heady by the promise of temporal power and joined the PR, becoming into somebody else in the process, and
(III) DAP facing an internal battle for the soul of the party itself, and a serious one at that between those that want the DAP to be purely Chinese in nature and those that want DAP to be open to all races. That and the thorny issue of political dynasties within the party.
We cannot deny the existence of families prominent in the Malaysian political landscape, as is the case of the current Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib (son of the 2nd Prime Minister), Dato Sri Hishamuddin Hussein (son of the 3rd Prime Minister and cousin to Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib), Dato’ Mukriz (son of the 4th Prime Minister) BUT the fact of the matter is that they only came on prominently onto the political scene AFTER their respective fathers have either passed away or have retired AND NOT whilst their respective fathers are still holding political office.
(IV) UMNO members understanding and re-living the credo and ideals of UMNO, ‘Demi Bangsa, Agama dan Negara’ (literally translated as ‘For the People, the Faith and the Country’), with
(V) BN’s fortunes enjoying a revival in fortunes but to quote a line from Spiderman, no matter how corny it sounds, ‘ with great power comes great responsibility’, cough and all. It is of utmost importance to the unity and well-being of the country which, no matter how corny it may sound, political leaders may do well to accept and understand the credo, and
(VI) a reality check with the future of the country not left entirely in the hands of the young but one that is more potent which combines the energy, idealistic fervour, sense of purpose and enthusiasm of the young, tempered and guided by the experience, perspective and sense of history of the older generation.
Of course, when all this will happen is anyone’s guess as the DYMM Yang Di Pertuan Agung has yet to dissolve Parliament. But as the current Parliament’s mandate will end by October 2013, then PRU13 is, as stated earlier, is imminently close. It is the hope that PRU13 shall put to rest, once and for all, pertinent questions as to the direction of the country, bringing peace and harmony to the nation and sowing seeds of unity and trust amongst the people instead of disunity and hate.
Enough hate and vitriol has been spewed by irresponsible parties that could have serious repercussions for the country to last a few generations. In a blessed country as is Malaysia, let us pray that there will now be peace and harmony for the sake of future generations of Malaysians. They would have at least deserve that and maybe, just maybe appreciate what they will have inherited from us as we have appreciated what we have inherited from our forefathers.