BN may scrape through in GE13

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim might have to wait for the GE14 to become prime minister.

Christopher Fernandez, FMT

While coffeeshop politicians are firm in their convictions that Pakatan Rakyat will sweep to power in the 13th general election (GE13), based on prevailing realities, it looks quite certain that they might have to wait for the 14th general election (GE14) for their dreams to come true.

While more Malaysians now hope to witness a change of government – and this has caused a groundswell of support to surface for Pakatan – the likelihood that Pakatan can end 55 years of Barisan Nasional rule is still distant. Most Malaysians will need a longer time to adjust to Pakatan, a relatively new player.

Malaysians tend to be creatures of habit and are very slow, suspicious and wary of making changes. They generally find themselves comfortable and do not want to change or will want a longer period of time to be convinced to make changes to the political environment in the country.

But the good news for Pakatan is that all its good and hard work is paying off. But to wrest power is most likely not forthcoming in this general election.

The opposition coalition should, however, maintain its growing momentum and work patiently and diligently to come to power in the GE14. Or it may be even earlier if snap polls are called.

Some political analysts are of the view that a “hung” Parliament might emerge. This most definitely will be a tricky issue to deal with by both sides of the political divide.

But it looks most likely that BN will emerge a narrow winner in the GE13, holding on to a reduced or a simple majority compared to the GE12 in 2008.

While most political observers think that a completely free and fair election is unlikely in the GE13, a landslide victory by BN will arouse great suspicion. This is especially so when BN is seen to be loosening its grip on power.

Over at Sabah and Sarawak

Ever since the political tsunami of 2008, Pakatan has emerged as a formidable force and has started to cause cracks to appear in the impregnable BN façade in Sabah and Sarawak.

The recent defections by BN politicians are a clear indication that the ground in Sabah and Sarawak is starting to shift more in favour of Pakatan, though BN has a vice-like grip on the two states it considers to be its perpetual “fixed deposits”.

In the GE13, while much headway will be made by Pakatan in Sabah and Sarawak, it is unlikely the opposition pact can stage an upset as the Sabahans and Sarawakians are probably more comfortable with BN and need an even longer time than West Malaysian voters to adjust to Pakatan.

While it’s hard to predict the final outcome, it will be certain that BN’s fixed deposits will see their value dwindle as Pakatan is expected to swing more voters to its side in this GE13.

Pakatan should be motivated to roll up its sleeves to work harder in East Malaysia to build up its power base and capitalise on the fact that its influence is beginning to grow and needs to be carefully nurtured.

The feel of the ground in Selangor

Unlike the distant East Malaysia, West Malaysian states are feeling the full fervour of the BN and Pakatan campaigns and it is really in the Pakatan states that a lot of politicking has been going on.

All indications point that Selangor will be hotly contested, but it looks as if Pakatan is more aggressive as it goes all out to stop BN.

Pakatan politicians in Selangor are wise to the tricks of BN, after the incident in Perak where they were removed on dubious grounds. Now Pakatan leaders in Selangor are on their guard.

Selangor voters, too, know BN tricks and have indicated their interest in seeing Pakatan continue with its rule. Besides, Pakatan has consolidated its position in Perak, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan.

In Perak there are signs that the voters are just waiting to vent their anger on BN over its manipulation of power in the state. Pakatan is expected to score a landslide victory in the silver state.

In Penang, owing to the sterling performance of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Pakatan is likely to chalk up a bigger victory, with DAP winning more seats.

While BN has been trying very hard to grab power in Kedah and Kelantan, the two states, effectively PAS strongholds, are not going to give way to BN.

While certain stunts have been pulled off by BN to try and topple the Pakatan governments in the two states, they were ineffective.