GE14 : And So It Begins

And so it begins.

Saturday April 7th will be the date the 13th Malaysian parliament is dissolved, with the mandate to govern the nation returned to the Rakyat, to elect representatives to 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat.

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Live telecast by YAB The Prime Minister announcing the dissolution of the 13th Malaysian Parliament on the 7th April 2018, paving the way for the 14th general elections, GE14. (Photo credit : NST)

The Prime Minister’s announcement is expected to be reciprocated by announcements from the respective states’ Menteri Besar and Ketua Menteri, likewise pronouncing the dissolution of the respective state legislative assemblies bar Sarawak, who already had their state elections in 2016.

Protocol dictates that before the respective states’ Menteri Besar and Ketua Menteri can make similar pronouncements, consent has to be given by the respective states’ Sultans or Governors to the dissolution of the august houses.

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The breakdown of seats up for grabs for GE14. (Photo credit : NST)

From the current political landscape, it would be a safe bet to say that the Barisan Nasional-administered states of Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah, Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka would have their respective state legislative assemblies dissolved in time to enable the abovementioned states to hold their state elections to coincide with the parliamentary elections.

The PAS-led state government of Kelantan has indicated that they too would follow suit, to time their state elections to coincide with the parliamentary elections.

At this moment in time, it remains to be seen whether the DAP-lead government of Penang and the PKR-led government of Selangor would follow suit.

However, should the state governments of Penang and Selangor not follow suit, it would then mean that the electorates of Selangor and Penang would effectively face two election processes within a space of a month or two, as the mandates of these states’ respective state legislative assemblies are due to expire on or about the same time as the 13th Malaysian Parliament.

And all this on top of the political fatigue that has already set in amongst the electorate.

All politics and no work make the electorate extremely tired, totally fed up and possibly, very, very angry and disillusioned.

Case in point, remember the British electorate? Two general elections and a (Brexit) referendum DID NOT sit down well at all with them, did it? Never mind, the local council elections and elections to the Euro Parliament due in 2019 (if the elections still applies to the United Kingdom by then).

Add talk of another referendum on the initial referendum (which led to Brexit), the powers that be will feel extremely lucky if the electorate deem the elections (and referendum) to be of any interest and worthy enough of their votes.

But back to sunny Malaysia.

The Dewan Rakyat
The Dewan Rakyat (Photo credit : malaysia.gov.my)

The battle lines for the 14th Malaysian Parliament have long been drawn, theatres of war clearly identified, and strategies and gameplans formulated, debated and refined many times EVERSINCE the conclusion of GE13.

From the moment the last votes from GE13 were counted and tabulated up to the moment the impending dissolution of the 13th Parliament was announced, making way for the election of the 14th Malaysian Parliament, many events had unfolded before our very eyes, which will, in all probability, give us all a preview of what the electorate can expect during the run up to GE14.

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The prize – The Prime Minister’s Office, Putrajaya. (Photo credit : nachmeinemeinung , all rights reserved)

An event of high significance has to be the demise of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or as they like to be known as The Peoples’ Coalition. In plain language, Pakatan Rakyat is no more.

Well, if you are not a Selangorian that is. A bit confusing state of affairs in Selangor that, but generally speaking, Pakatan Rakyat is no more.

That coalition of strange bedfellows of DAP, PAS and PKR had come to their natural (and expected?) conclusion, bearing in mind the stark differences in  their political ideologies.

Ironically, the demise of Pakatan Rakyat can be attributed to the party that had worked so hard(?) to set up the coalition, namely PKR. Remember the farce of a telenovela, the ‘Kajang Move’?

Events unfolding thereafter saw a ‘bloodbath’ within PAS during the annual Muktamar (Annual General Meeting) when the so-called ‘moderates’(?) or was it the ‘progressives’(??) or was it the ‘professionals’ (???) were all left bloodied, by the wayside once results of PAS party elections were announced.

The party elections saw most, if not all, PAS MPs, State Assembymen and women, and members who identify more with the so-called ‘progressive leadership’ of PKR rather than the leadership of the President of PAS, relieved of their party positions.

This in turn led to the formation of Parti Amanah Nasional (PAN), more commonly known as AMANAH.  A bit ironic as AMANAH means TRUST, and trust is a commodity that does not come easy in politics, especially when you have been seen as a traitor to the party’s cause.

The demise of Pakatan Rakyat saw the birth of Pakatan Harapan (PH) or as the parties making up PH ie PKR, DAP and PAN (replacing PAS) would like to tell the electorate, The Coalition of Hope.

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The four-party coalition, Pakatan Harapan (Photo credit : pakatanharapan.com)

However, many would naughtily dub it as a Coalition of Hopefuls and even more naughtily, a Hopeful Coalition.

Completing the makeup of PH is Pribumi, a party primarily made up of ex UMNO members, which included a former Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir), a former Deputy Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin) and vocally supported by several former Ministers who served during Tun Dr Mahathir’s premiership (1981-2003), as well as his son, the former Kedah Chief Minister, Dato’ Seri Mukhriz, around whom many of the theories with regards to Tun Dr Mahathir’s animosity towards the Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib, have been focussed on.

PH would be focussed on upsetting Barisan Nasional, led by the Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Najib.

A coalition of thirteen (13) parties representing the many ethnic groups found in Malaysia, from Perlis up north to Johor in the south of the Peninsular to Sabah and Sarawak to the east, it comprises of UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan, myPPP, PBB, SUPP, LDP, UPKO, PBRS, PBS, PDP, and PRS, it was formed in 1973, replacing Perikatan, a coalition of UMNO, MCA and MIC.

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Barisan Nasional – a coalition of 13 parties. (photo credit : Barisan Nasional Facebook)

Formed by Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, Barisan Nasional is an open book and its track record in administering the country, eversince winning the first ever national elections in 1955 during its Perikatan days and every single general election since then, is there for all to see, warts and all.

The exit of PAS from Pakatan Rakyat has enable PAS to regroup and re-focussed on what PAS is all about. PAS’ statements, when reaffirming their political struggles since its exit from Pakatan Rakyat has indicated as such.

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PAS (photo credit : wikipedia)

During GE13, PAS’ rank and file were instrumental in delivering votes to candidates broadly representing Pakatan Rakyat, regardless whether the candidate was from PAS or PKR or even DAP (loathed to, some may be). But they delivered.

But now with PAS out of Pakatan Rakyat, it remains to be seen whether the new coalition of hopefuls will garner the same number of seats as they did when PAS was with them. For one thing is certain, PAS never had any no shortage of candidates and will contest the elections for the maximum number of seats that they can.

In so saying, the elections will most likely see a minimum three-way contest in most seats, with the ones in Sabah and probably Sarawak seeing their fair share of multiple contested seats, making a one-v-one contest a rarity this time round.

All this will be affirmed on Nomination Day once the Election Commission has received the dissolution notices from the respective legislative assemblies, Parliament and State, and thereafter confirm the timelines for GE14.

Its going to be a tough battle, on all fronts, especially on social media. Fake news will definitely rear its ugly head, despite the recent passage and passing of new laws on fake and unfounded news.

How GE14 will play out, is anyone’s guess. But what is for certain, it will not be a dull one. Just hope that it will be a relatively fair one too.

But then again, maybe I am being naïve and my idealism misplaced. But one can hope, can one not?

Date : 6 April 2018

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