When you believe your own lies


Have you heard the saying: a fish that does not know how to keep its mouth shut gets hooked? And that is the trouble with politicians. They do not know how to keep their mouths shut and they talk too much. And the more lies that come out of their mouths, the more they end up believing their own lies.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

If Britain were to do another BREXIT referendum today, this time the voters may vote to stay in the EU rather than leave. In just three months many of those 52% who voted for Britain to leave the EU have changed their minds and feel that they made a mistake in voting to leave.

So why did 52% of the voters vote to leave? And why do they regret voting to leave and have now changed their minds?

Well, that is because their decision was influenced by the better arguments of the leave campaigners compared to the bland arguments of the stay campaigners. It was the way the leave campaigners put forward their points as to why it is in the UK’s interest to ‘take back control of the country’ and ‘not allow Europe to run Britain’ that swung the votes.

For example, no one really believed the stay campaigners’ argument that if Britain leaves the EU then it would face the danger of WWIII breaking out because the entire Europe would be united against the UK. But this was one of the scare tactics the stay campaigners used. They also said property prices would collapse, businesses would go bust, unemployment would increase, Britain’s economy would go into deep recession, and so on, if the UK left the EU.

This is more or less the same way how the secessionists or ‘leave campaigners’ in Sabah and Sarawak talk. An ‘independent’ Sabah and Sarawak is better because we and not Malaysia decide our policies. In the same way, an ‘independent’ UK is better because we and not the EU decide our policies.

Hence, those who voted to leave the EU were swayed by better debaters from the leave campaign while those from the stay campaign were boring and gave silly arguments. And this is what will decide the outcome of the US presidential election in another two months time. Is Clinton or Trump the better talker? And the better talker is going to become the new US President come 2017.

The trouble with all these spins and propaganda is that you end up believing your own lies. When you spin propaganda long enough, which are meant to sway the people, you, too, get taken in by them.

Germany had a great spin-master to the point that a great propagandist is called Goebbels, just like a politician who subscribes to the doctrine of the end justifying the means is called Machiavellian. But then Goebbels was so good at his job that even Hitler himself ended up believing the lies, even as the Third Reich was crumbling all around him.

And this is the problem with Pakatan Harapan, which used to be called Barisan Alternatif and then Pakatan Rakyat. Do you know there are many in PAS, even amongst their leaders, who believe they can form the next federal government on their own without entering into a coalition with other parties? They even believed they would win enough seats in the recent Sarawak state election to form the new Sarawak state government.

Pakatan Harapan believes that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new party, Pribumi, can win enough parliament seats (if not 100 at least 80) to replace Umno as the dominant political party in Malaysia. They also believe that PAN can win at least 20 to 30 parliament seats to replace PAS as the new Islamic party.

So, if Pribumi wins 80 seats and PAN 20 seats that would leave just another 122 seats to be shared. DAP feels it can win 40 seats with another 30 for PKR. So the opposition alliance would sweep 170 seats and Barisan Nasional would have to be contented with just 52 seats.

It could actually be the reverse — the opposition winning 52 seats with 170 going to Barisan Nasional. But because of the hype and propaganda, many believe it will be 170 seats for the opposition and only 52 seats for Barisan Nasional.

That was what they believed in 1999. Because of the large crowd at the opposition rallies, based on crowd strength, Barisan Alternatif believed they were going to oust Mahathir’s Barisan Nasional and Anwar Ibrahim’s PKN-led Barisan Alternatif was going to sweep into Putrajaya. Of course, that did not happen although the opposition did perform quite impressively.

When Mahathir handed power to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 1st November 2003, they said the former was ‘running away’ because he knew Barisan Nasional was going to get wiped out this time around. Spirits were high when the general election was held four months later in March 2004. However, when the dust settled, Barisan Nasional ended up with the best ever performance in history. The opposition practically got wiped out.

Then, because of the large crowds at the Bersih and Hindraf rallies in November 2007, the opposition felt that the 2008 general election was going to see a change of government. Anwar’s political strategists predicted a landslide victory. They did not believe me when I told them the opposition was going to win just five states and 80-90 parliament seats, which is already quite impressive as it is.

In 2013 they, again, predicted a change of government. When it did not happen they screamed ‘fraud’ and said that with less than 50% of the popular votes (although Barisan Nasional won more than 50% of the seats) the government should be formed by Pakatan Rakyat and not by Barisan Nasional. After that the opposition filed a few election petitions but not a single one stated fraud as the reason. They were mostly concerning ‘technical issues’ and all were rejected.

So now we are at it again. In the next general election in either 2017 or 2018, Barisan Nasional is going to get kicked out and Pakatan Harapan, together with Mahathir’s Pribumi, is going to form the next federal government. Actually, the only way that can happen would be if Barisan Nasional shoots itself in its own feet — like what Ti Lian Ker of MCA and Nazri Aziz of Umno are currently doing, or if Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor continues to quarrel in public.

Have you heard the saying: a fish that does not know how to keep its mouth shut gets hooked? And that is the trouble with politicians. They do not know how to keep their mouths shut and they talk too much. And the more lies that come out of their mouths, the more they end up believing their own lies.