BN the underdog? But is the maths correct?

There are so many discrepancies about the outcome of the 13th general election.

By Syed Nadzri Syed Harun

There are so many discrepancies about the outcome of the 13th general election. Either some people got their maths screwed up regarding the coming general election or they are just out to pull our legs. Just look at the discrepancies below.

Dossier 1: Anwar Ibrahim, says Pakatan Rakyat which he leads, will win the election, beating the ruling Barisan Nasional by at least 10 parliamentary seats.

Dossier 2: Leading think-tank The Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) says BN is expected to win 123 to 135 of the 222 parliamentary seats but could reach as high as 150 if Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak could attract Indian and undecided Chinese voters as well.

Dossier 3: The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which is part of the respected London-based magazine, The Economist, predicts that BN will win the election and that Pakatan will finish a “distant second”.

Dossier 4: Many independent observers say there are actually about 60 parliamentary seats considered very much in the air still, and these are key to detemining the overall outcome as they could fall either way.

Anwar’s bold declaration, made during an interview with international business news site Bloomberg, is very interesting, not only because it came five years to the day when BN lost much ground in the last election, which had then led him to try a shot at power through defections, but more so since it now actually shows that he considers the tripartite alliance of PKR, PAS and DAP to be the favourites this time around.

So does that mean, as far as he is concerned, BN is the underdog? It appears so because he had told Bloomberg: “I don’t want to sound over-confident, but I believe looking into the trend now it will be a comfortable majority. Beyond 10 is comfortable.”

He also said Pakatan could take six states, up from four now. So that explains why, unlike the last round when PKR had to scrounge for suitable candidates, there is now a mad scramble among those who want to stand, causing serious bickering in its ranks.

But Anwar, as a former Umno deputy president, should be reminded that Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who had led an opposition foray through the Semangat 46 splinter party, was supremely confident as well in the 1990 general election.

Immortal reply

Tengku Razaleigh, when asked by reporters not long before that election whether the opposition group could give a good challenge to BN, his immortal reply was:

“What good challenge? You are out of date, we are forming the government.” He was serious because he was barking at the poor reporter. And we all know the outcome of that vote.

Some people think that even if Pakatan does not win, its “Malaysian Spring” strategy could be activated. They say it would even live up to its name since the polls would come by next month, “springtime” in the West.

As for the ASLI prediction, it is based on its latest research and reported about a fortnight ago, which said much of the support among rural Malays, which was absent in 2008, has returned to Umno and BN.