Intellectual process of choice between BN and PR or why the people voted for Pakatan Rakyat


Much has been done to try and understand from where the vote of confidence given by the people of Malaysia to Pakatan Rakyat in the 12th General Election in 2008 came from. And much has been said about the shift in loyalty from BN to PR but let us look at this reality.

The numbers of those who have traditionally voted for DAP before 2008 have numerically been small. Enough to win DAP a few constituencies but never a State!

Those with PAS might enable them to give BN a fight in Trengganu but it would not be a sure thing. Only Kelantan is PAS dulu, kini and maybe selama lama nya!

PKR has not been around long enough to have any claims to a proven vote base that they could depended upon. It is still to be seen if those that voted for PKR in the 12th general election will vote PKR again this time around. Lembah Pantai is already on shaky ground even as we speak!

What have made the difference in the 2008 elections were those voters who chose to vote for Pakatan Rakyat through an intellectual process – all it means is that the majority of Malaysian voters made a conscious effort to understand the issues and choices available to them when they voted for Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat. In the main, intellect not race or religion decided the outcome of the 12th general elections and BN lost big time!

Some thought it essential and reasonable to vote PaKatan Rakyat because Barisan Nasional needed to be taught a lesson in humility in order for them stop endemic corruption and the arrogance of power that defined the UMNO’s led Barisan Nasional. 

Some wanted to see a strong and effective opposition to keep those in government honest.

And some wanted change and Pakatan Rakyat promised that change.

But all these votes were given conditionally – conditionally to their reasons for voting becoming a reality!

If Barisan Nasional did learn a lesson from their losses at the 12th general election these “intellectuals” might go back to voting for Barisan Nasional.

If they see that an effective opposition has been  good for the country then they will again vote to ensure a strong opposition – be it BN or PR.

If the change Pakatan Rakyat promised did happen, then they will vote again for Pakatan Rakyat!

So this is why I say that the votes taken from Barisan Nasional and given to Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 were conditional.

UMNO did instituted change within our economy and our society but the changes they made were largely for the interest of UMNO and Barisan Nasional not for the people. However in making these changes UMNO inadvertently reinvented the Malays and the non-Malays. Reinvented them in the way they think and they way they look at each other.

For a start the Malay Intellectuals were indignant at that manner in which the Malays and the non-Malays were being treated – and they were sufficiently committed and passionate about this to do something about it!

They started by discussing this amongst themselves; amongst their non-Malay friends and very soon race and inequality were no longer a taboo subject banned from open discussion by the ISA. The catalyst that enabled these discussions to spread to all Malaysian was the Internet. Now any one and every one could self publish their thoughts and their take on this once forbidden subject. And we must not forget the role Petra and other bloggers contributed to the dynamism of this new medium that enabled us all to participate in these discussions. And this is still in evidence today as the Internet is still the platform of choice to vent our frustrations and passions on these matters

And the Malay intellectuals soon realized that their non-Malay counterparts were as indignant as they were in these matter. And in these beginnings was the epicentre of the earthquake that caused the tsunami that overwhelmed Barisan Nasional at the 12th general elections.

UMNO failed to keep up with the change mentality of Malaysians and in failing to do so sounded their death knell! UMNO hears but no longer listens to the voices of the people…and for this they paid a very high price – lost votes. Nobody in UMNO had the character, the leadership or the intelligence to understand this reality and tell UMNO that it was out of touch with the new psyche of these Malaysians back in 2008!

The Malays numerical superiority can no longer be depended upon to support UMNO unconditionally.The question now for the 13th general elections is whom will these transient intellectuals vote for this time around – and for what reason? What we are all agreed on is that neither BN nor PR has control over how they will vote.

Just as these intellectuals were critical of what Barisan Nasional leaders have failed to do while in government, they too are now critical of what Pakatan Rakyat has failed to do since 2008.
‘But the real test of leadership – amongst all the test of policy, judgement, politics and ability – is whether, in the final analysis, you put the country first” and are you “ultimately, prepared to put what you perceived to be the common good of the nation before your own political self”
Tony Blair

And this is what BN and PR leaders must ask of themselves. Who amongst them have failed to do this?

Can we believe that what Najib have done since he became Prime Minister has been for the country and not for himself and the political interest of UMNO and BN?

As Minister of Defence did Najib put the interest of our country first in the purchase of the Scorpene Submarines or did he put the interest of his crony Razak Baginda ahead of all other considerations?

As DPM did Najib put the interest of our country first when he engineered the take over of Perak? He did it not through the ballot box but through the use of money, coercion and deceit. All questionably legal and certainly not in the interest of our country.

And as PM was not his decision to descend into gutter politics to neutralize his political nemesis something our country could do without?

Najib had been tried and tested many times and each time he has put the interest of self and party before country.

Anwar had fared no better. I do not intend to go further into this other then to say that his political self has always been his first priority.