Lim Sue Goan, Sin Chew Daily
A Pakatan Rakyat double-decker tour bus has been repeatedly splashed with red paint, reflecting that the next general election is approaching and the conflicts between the confronting coalitions have been intensified. Meanwhile, the route of the bus has also exposed the Pakatan Rakyat's political strategy.
The bus carrying Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was attacked in Kelantan, Malacca and Johor. Why was Anwar touring these states, instead of Selangor which has been greatly attacked by the BN?
Anwar made an announcement recently that the Selangor state election will not be held simultaneously with the general election, as the Election Commission has not cleaned up the electoral roll.
The Pakatan Rakyat predicts that the general election might be fall in October or early November and it is also estimated that the Kedah and Penang state elections will be be delayed. However, the Kalantan state election will be held simultaneously with the general election.
The strategy brings several advantages to the Pakatan Rakyat. First of all, leaders of the alternative coalition can first attack the BN's fortress states, including Johor, Malacca, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.
Secondly, when the Pakatan Rakyat is attacking the BN's fortress states, they can at the same time, alleviate the BN's force in Selangor. The BN has recently attacked the Selangor state government with water supply, Talam debt and people's livelihood issues, putting Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who is not good at counterattack, in a disadvantageous situation. The Selangor Pakatan Rakyat could take a breath if the state's regime warfare is delayed.
If the Pakatan Rakyat takes over the office, it can then clean up the electoral roll. Also they will have more political resources for the Selangor state election. Even though if the BN stays in power, the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat will still be able to gain sympathy votes.
Selangor is important for both the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat and thus, Anwar tries to siege the BN's fortress states to save Selangor. With his silver tongue, he hopes to first set off a political tsunami in the BN's fortress states. A feast in Skudai alone had attracted 8,000 people.
The MCA can no longer stand for the attacks and thus, party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek announced to hold eight banquets nationwide, including two in Johor. Attendees of the Pakatan Rakyat's events were mostly Chinese and if a wind of anti-incumbent is triggered in the Chinese society, the MCA's performance in the next general election might be worse than in the 2008 general election.
In conjunction of the Malaysia Day, leaders of the Pakatan Rakyat have recently been working hard in Sabah and Sarawak. They have also signed the Kuching Declaration, promising to restore the rights and autonomy of the states under the Federal Constitution, according to the Malaysia Agreement.
Relying on Anwar's personal networks, Pakatan Rakyat has successfully roped in some BN leaders and if the general election is further delayed, once the anti-BN forces are combined to strengthen activities in the inland areas and stir up emotions, Sabah and Sarawak might no longer be the fixed-deposit states of the BN.
In addition to votes in the BN's fortress state, the Pakatan Rakyat also tries to win women's votes by introducing the Agenda Wanita Malaysia, hitting the 1Malaysia concept.
From now on, the political heat will gradually rise. The Dong Zong is going to hold a protest on September 26, the 2013 Budget will be tabled on September 28 and the Pengkalan Himpunan Hijau will be held on September 30. Also, the confronting coalitions will compete through their annual general assembly. Some people estimated that about 100,000 people will attend the Pakatan Rakyat Convention scheduled on November 3.
Therefore, politics will drown everything, including blurring the national development agenda in the next few months.