The hate Najib campaign does not work in Sarawak


Most important of all, most Sarawakians know that the issue against Najib is not 1MDB but that Mahathir wants to remove Najib so that his son can become Prime Minister in 2020. And why should Sarawakians vote Pakatan Harapan just so that Mahathir can make his boboi the Prime Minister?


Raja Petra Kamarudin

With just three-and-a-half more days of campaigning to go before roughly one million Sarawakians go to the ballot box to decide who they want as the government for the next five years (or whether they even want to deny the ruling party its two-thirds majority in the Sarawak State Assembly), you can see that the fight is already over.

In an earlier article I said that the opposition should aim for 15-16 seats. To aim for 42 seats (which is what it would need to take over the state), or even just 28 seats to deny Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in the Sarawak State Assembly, may be a pie in the sky. My wife, Marina, read that article and scoffed. She said she would not want to give the opposition more than ten seats and she thinks I am being too generous in giving them 15-16 seats.

Well, let’s see this weekend who wins the bet. I have the nagging feeling, however, that the result may be something in between those two figures and this is based purely on the feedback I am getting regarding the issues (or lack of issues) being raised during the election campaign.

Basically, the opposition is not able to take personal swipes at Chief Minister Adenan Satem. And the opposition strategy has always been to play on the hate factor. I remember back in 2001 when a two-day brainstorming session was held and it was pointed out that the opposition’s ‘success’ in 1999 was because of the hate Mahathir campaign.

The campaign was simple. If you hate Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad then vote opposition. You vote opposition not because you love the opposition but you vote opposition because you hate the Prime Minister.

It was pointed out in 2001 that this is a very dangerous strategy. If you play on the peoples’ hate and the people vote for you merely because they hate Mahathir, what will happen if just before the next general election in 2004 Mahathir retires and hands power to his deputy? How is that hate Mahathir campaign going to work?

Hence the opposition needed a new strategy if they want to make it in the 2004 general election — in the event it is not Mahathir who is the Prime Minister then. True enough, on 1st November 2003, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as Prime Minister and four months later, in the March 2004 general election, the opposition practically got wiped out in one of its worst election defeats ever.

And that was when Malaysia Today was launched. The opposition refused to listen to us so we had no choice but to take over and do something. And since the opposition only knows how to play up the hate factor, and since the hate Mahathir factor is already off the table, then we need to play up the hate Abdullah factor.

Malaysia Today then launched The Khairy Chronicles in 2005. We knew there was very little we could do to make Malaysians hate Abdullah. But what we could do was to make Malaysians hate Khairy Jamaluddin, his son-in-law. And the message to the voters was: if you hate Khairy then kick out Abdullah because the only way to get rid of Khairy is to kick out Abdullah.

And when Mahathir launched his anti-Abdullah campaign the following year in 2006, we joined him because what Mahathir was doing (undermining Abdullah) was exactly what we were doing as well so an enemy of my enemy becomes my friend.

Of course, Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali were very unhappy that we were working with Mahathir to attack Abdullah because at that time Anwar was negotiating with Abdullah to try to get back into Umno.

Abdullah actually raised this matter at the Umno supreme council meeting but the Umno President was outvoted. (You can read that report about Abdullah’s ‘confession’ on the matter in Wikileaks). In short, Umno did not want Anwar back so Anwar had no choice but to try to rebuild his political career as the opposition leader.

Anyway, the hate-Abdullah campaign with Mahathir at the lead worked. In 2008, the voters gave Umno and Barisan Nasional a drubbing. But then in 2009 Abdullah resigned and handed the Umno Presidency cum Prime Ministership to Najib Tun Razak. So the hate-Abdullah (cum hate-Khairy) campaign no longer worked. And that was when we shifted to the hate-Umno campaign, which we called ABU or ‘Anything but Umno’.

So the opposition success in the 2013 general election was due to the ABU campaign. If you hate Umno then vote opposition (just like in 1999 if you hate Mahathir then vote opposition and in 2008 if you hate Khairy-Abdullah then vote opposition).

Since 2014 the focus has shifted from hate Umno or ABU to hate Najib. And that was when the ANC (Anti-Najib Campaign) was launched. So, from 1999 till now, it has always been if you hate something or another then vote opposition. And the weakness of that hate campaign was revealed in 2004 when the hate factor, Mahathir, was removed.

So the next general election in 2018 is going to ride on the hate Najib factor. The opposition needs to keep the hate Najib factor riding high and not fizzle out over the next two years. And this is also the issue they are riding on in the Sarawak state election this weekend.

They cannot ask the people to hate the Chief Minister like back in 2011. In fact, the feedback the opposition is getting is that Sarawakians love their Chief Minister. And the more you whack Adenan the more it is going to backfire. So they cannot ask the people to hate Adenan. They need to ask the people to hate Najib. And that is why DAP people like Tony Pua are telling the Sarawakian voters that they must vote opposition because of 1MDB.

But then people are tired of hearing about the 1MDB issue. The opposition is going on and on about the same old thing. They are telling the one million Sarawak voters if you hate Najib, and if you hate Najib because of 1MDB, then kick out the government.

Okay, say the one million Sarawak voters do kick out Barisan Nasional. Then what? What is Pakatan Harapan going to do for Sarawak? So far they have never mentioned what they are going to do if they take over. They are just asking people to hate Barisan Nasional because of 1MDB.

There is no Umno in Sarawak. So the ABU campaign does not work. They are talking about Sarawak for Sarawakians. But then the Barisan Nasional parties are all home grown while the opposition parties are all from West Malaysia.

So, if Barisan Nasional rules then Sarawakians rule but if Pakatan Harapan rules then Kuala Lumpur rules. What madness is this?

In Sarawak you do not have any Allah word and Bahasa Malaysia Bible issue. You have that in Selangor. And is not Selangor under Pakatan Harapan? In fact, the ban on Allah and 39 other Islamic words was passed into law in Penang in 2010, two years after DAP took over the state. And it was the DAP Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, who signed that bill into law.

So Lim Guan Eng banned the use of Allah and 39 other Islamic words in Penang. So how can Sarawak be far better under a Pakatan Harapan government? Pakatan Harapan cannot even solve a simple matter like the Allah word and the Bahasa Malaysia Bible issue in Selangor and Penang and they want to take over Sarawak.

And why should Sarawakians replace a local government with a government ruled from Kuala Lumpur? Kuala Lumpur even decides on the opposition candidates and the locals are not given autonomy to decide their own candidates.

Most important of all, most Sarawakians know that the issue against Najib is not 1MDB but that Mahathir wants to remove Najib so that his son can become Prime Minister in 2020. And why should Sarawakians vote Pakatan Harapan just so that Mahathir can make his boboi the Prime Minister?