Grassroots Support The Key To Forming The Next Government

By LH Chew

Really, the battle for the hearts and minds of the Malaysian voters come GE13 is not the educated and internet-savvy voters but in the grassroots, deep in the kampungs, new villages and estates. The Sarawak state election held a while back proved that statement. And I am sure our Pakatan Rakyat brothers and sisters knew that.

No amount of mud-slinging and korek would unseat the BN government. The BN machinery is just too slick working effectively in the rural areas. If you think about it, this is actually the reverse in Thailand where the elites and educated and urbanites worked hard to exclude the parties that have the support from the rural population (the have-nots) from forming the government. Your guess is as good as mine, eventually, the elites and internet-savvy still have to give way to the grassroots.

The recently completed Singapore elections also proved this point. It was touted as an internet election with young voters reading up on the alternative media before deciding who to vote but alas, it was the mainstream media that won, according to a survey conducted jointly by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and Nanyang Technological University (see link to the story

That is the reality in Malaysia and those who are internet-savvy can be easily counted with our ten fingers versus the masses in the kampungs, new villages and estates. BN knew this is where the battle will be fought and won and they knew this is one of the main oppositions’ weaknesses.

As for me, like many of you, I would like to see reforms, hopefully by voting in a new government. Unfortunately, facts are not on our side. I wonder if our pakciks, makciks, ah peks, ah sohs, aunties, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers ever know what is Pakatan Rakyat because to many of them, they only swear by the dacing symbol.

The opposition parties have to unite and go to the grounds, not squabbling who is going to be the Prime Minister and whether hudud is the way to go. They need to take a leaf from the Workers Party in Singapore where their party members worked the grounds for many years in one of the areas they contested despite losing in several elections and eventually they won it in last year’s election, along the way knocking out one of the most prominent Cabinet minister. And now this party is working on a long term plan to replace the PAP government. Well, you can laugh at it. At least they are already working on that plan.  
It is a tough journey and whether BN can be voted out, depends on how organized the opposition parties are.