Will Anwar Win the War?


It’s always stimulating to hear what comes out next from Mahathir’s mouth. But it doesn’t take a smart aleck like him to recognise that the tides are changing and it is in the Oppositon’s favour. And, hate him or love him, the man had and still has much to do with this changing times. Recalling the past, it was Mahathir who created and obliterated Anwar. And it was Mahathir who chose “Mr Clean” / “Mr Cleanup” Tun Abdullah Badawi, who’s largely to blame for the massive loss of seats in the last general election, as his successor. So contrary to popular belief that Datuk Seri Rosmah Mansor is the one making all the calls behind scene it is actually Mahathir who is still a force to be reckoned with in influencing the governments decision-making.

by Syed Zahar, Malaysian Digest

A lot has transpired since the unforgettable March 8 General Election which embodied the changing tides in Malaysia’s socio-political scene thanks to Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic) and his team of strategists. Credit also goes to his partners in the coalition – PAS and DAP, as well as the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties themselves that were evidently perceived as complacent and arrogant at that time. Like it or not, one can no longer deny that the Pakatan Rakyat has gained a plenty of confidence (and grounds) owing to Anwar’s charisma, charm and doggone tenacious nature.

So confident is Anwar that he had said that people will still vote for the Opposition even if he is in prison during the process. Meanwhile, PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat has said that his party is ready to face a general election any time. The move to establish an opposition pact was more than a stroke of genius; it was practical and absolutely necessary. Now with and the possibility of snap election happening anytime soon (rumour has it that it is going to take place next year), will this newfound adversary of BN under the leadership of Anwar be able to unleash a second tsunami in the 13th General Election with what they have achieved so far?

PKR-Pakatan vs Umno-Barisan: The Plan So Far

The 12th General Election is over and done with. Substantial gains were secured by Pakatan Rakyat but this is just beginning. The newfangled political climate requires a different game plan and, in terms of image-building, it must be said that the Opposition has fared pretty well considering their disadvantages in terms of media exposure, non-authority Federal government side and their lack of experience in governing. Somehow, these drawbacks are met with counter-actions like their clever use of new media (blogs, websites, news portal, twitter, Facebook etc) and alternative news providers (The Rocket, Suara Keadilan, Free Malaysia Today, Harakah Daily). PKR, while for some are newbie and somewhat less experienced, to others they come across as a fresher, friendlier, more energetic and proactive alternative.

It is definitely not going to be smooth road to Putrajaya for PKR-Pakatan Rakyat and there will always be some potholes along the way. Strings of departures by PKR MPs, Anwar’s ongoing Sodomy 2 / Fitnah 2 trial and the sand thieveries in Selangor are just some major ones. Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s (pic)  defeat in Hulu Selangor in April – the last by-election contended by PKR – was only by a 1,725 (out of 48,269) vote majority – that’s just 3.57 percent margin. The result does indicate that PKR is not as popular as it would like to be but at the same time it also shows that BN still don’t get to enjoy the massive winning margin it used to or let alone achieve their targeted 6,000.

Last Three By-Elections

The loss of that precious Selangor seat to MIC’s P Kamalanathan is not near as bad as PAS contender Zulkefly Mohamad Omar’s defeat to Umno’s Tan Sri Isa Samad by 5,435 vote majority (51.32 percent). Almost immediately after Hulu Selangor, DAP’s narrow victory (1.07 percent margin) in Sibu by way of Wong Ho Leng over MCA’s Robert Lau Hui Yew was also a reminder that both sides still have a long way to go before they can guarantee a comfortable win in the next general election and by-elections for that matter.

That’s as far as by-elections go. They may not be a reliable indication of the most likely winner of the upcoming general election but they do more or else impart us on the latest voting trends and swings (for the certain districts anyway). The last three (N.31 Bagan Pinang, P.94 Hulu Selangor and N.31 Sibu) are the most recent ones that were contended by all the six biggest parties – three from both sides – and the score sheet looks like this: