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Can Pakatan Harapan pull off a miraculous election victory?

Graphic: freemalaysiatoday.com

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Perhaps the cry for freedom from the shackles of 60 years of Umnoputra rule will finally be answered, writes Turtle Shell.

“You change the thinking of the people, things will never be the same again,” one of the protagonists in the struggle against apartheid told the South African liberal journalist, Donald Woods, about the refusal of black South African school children to learn Afrikaan.

As our country moves towards a general election, that sentiment seems all the more relevant in the battle for change in our country.

I make no pretense as to which side of the political divide I am rooting for, but I am not sure how much of the message for change has reached the rural hinterland.

It is good that Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the rest in Bersatu are on the same side as those rooting for change. The critical question is whether they have been able to penetrate the propaganda cocoon the Umnoputras have weaved over the folks in the rural areas.

Are the rural folks still afraid it will be the Democratic Action Party calling the shots should the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition come to power? Can the rural folks be convinced that a different government other than the Umnoputras will not take away their privileges and benefits?

Let’s not be sneaky about what those of us hoping for change want to see: a more just, democratic and civil society. No thinking rakyat will object to a needs-based helping hand offered by the government. Is this not basic fairness? Once this is in place, one of the basic hurdles of racial integration and harmony in our country will have been removed.

READ MORE:  When Mahathir takes issue with multi-ethnic Malaysia

Meanwhile, Haris Ibrahim has just written an open letter saying he is unable to embrace Mahathir’s leadership of the opposition coalition until the former premier fully acknowledges responsibility for the excesses during his tenure.

I have great respect for Haris and the work he has done for the cause of change. I accept his position and that of of those behind the #UndiRosak campaign as part of the political spectrum we can expect of a free society.

These differences even in urban areas suggest that the opposition coalition could face even greater obstacles in the rural areas. If some of the informed rakyat in urban areas are so resistant to change, how about folks in the rural hinterland with less access to independent information?

It is no wonder many neutral political analysts have predicted victory for the Umnoputras in the coming general election [yes, the gerrymandering by the Electoral Commission has also been factored in].

But as they say, hope springs eternal in the human heart. Rafizi’s Invoke work in marginal constituencies; reports that Mahathir’s Bersatu has been able to reach some Felda settlements and die-hard Umno constituencies; anecdotes from acquaintances who have dealings with folks in some semi-rural areas – all these give me a glimmer of hope that a miracle can happen on election night.

Perhaps the cry for freedom from the shackles of 60 years of Umnoputras rule will finally be answered.

Turtle Shell is the pseudonym of a regular reader of Aliran.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
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16 Mar 2018 11.43am

Whilst it’s hard for urban-based me to predict how rural and semi-rural voters will vote, however history testifies that economic hardships have been the prime mover behind political upheavals and sea changes, and rising prices and cost of living since the last elections, due to the weak ringgit – U.S. dollar exchange rate, coupled with the effect of the introduction of GST under Najib and the legacy loyalty to Mahathir amongst of a sizeable enough proportion of UMNO voters, are likely to favour the chances of the Pakatan winning in GE14, if it promises to address these economic concerns amongst such voters right, if elected.

No amount of propaganda can convince people suffering economic burdens.

That’s just my 2 sen.

Meran Cobain
16 Mar 2018 5.22am

I hope PH will lose big, even Selangor. Hopefully those hypocrites in PH will learn something from it 🤣👍.

Teo Chuen Tick
16 Mar 2018 8.16am
Reply to  Meran Cobain

Meeran, that there are hypocrites in the PH – that’s without a doubt. Wonder what you call those umnoputras?

16 Mar 2018 10.33am
Reply to  Meran Cobain

They can’t be more hypocritical than BN/UMNO members.

Lau Chengkeat
15 Mar 2018 11.04pm

Syabas Tun and Pakatan Harapan!

Charles Joseph
15 Mar 2018 11.13pm

Don’t be over confident… Thief is in control… He may spring a surprise…. So, work quietly .. then pull the rug off his feet… and get that Moideen fella out of sight.. He’s Bad Omen… with a stinking past.. as Johor MB ..

Richard Ng Ting Woong
16 Mar 2018 6.27am
Reply to  Charles Joseph

Cheating n creating chaos is his only way.

Megat Sharifudin
15 Mar 2018 9.01pm

Do not go overboatd in blaming UMNO for everything wrong..it will hv a backlash

Astilbe Merisioux
15 Mar 2018 11.28pm


Richard Ng Ting Woong
16 Mar 2018 6.25am

Maybe not but of it. If it’s an Apple we do not say oranges. It’s a fact

J. D. Lovrenciear
15 Mar 2018 8.11pm

Of the three, faith, hope and charity, hope is the beacon of desperation. That hope will whither easily in Malaysia because we have 60% of voters who have never seen the need to politically grow up. It’s a fault by deliberate design. And that is why I have my doubts about a earth shattering change taking shape this GE14. Remember we are very different from almost all our neighbours in the region. We were never tested with a war after the second world war. Comfort is exploited to max this election. Look around. See the handouts. See the newly paved rural tarmac. The freshly painted suraus.

Teo Chuen Tick
16 Mar 2018 8.26am

Yes, JD…I am on the same page with you here. I have no high expectations of a PH win. I will consider it an achievement if the PH can.again deny BN a 2/3 majority in Parliament

16 Mar 2018 12.42pm

Issues such as the economic burden upon the shoulders of rural, semi-rural and urban lower-income voters are what opposition politicians should highlight and promise to resolve if elected, rather than try to win them over issues such as kleptocracy, 1MDB, Altantuya, corruption, Gerrymandery, liberation from 60 years of UMNOputra rule and so forth, which matter less to such voters struggling to survive in the face of such burdens.

This article and the related comments miss these key concerns of the target votes and so have opposition politicians campaigning amongst such voters until only recently, and when they lose, they blame the blame the voters, UMNO, everyone and everything else except themselves.

Teo Chuen Tick
17 Mar 2018 5.48am

Politi…I am not sure of your take, but , to me, the recently revealed PH manifesto highlight and promise to resolve the economic burden upon the shoulders of rural, semi-rural and urban lower-income voters. But it is panned by economists as being unrealistic as withdrawing the GST[as an example] is deemed economically nonviable for our nation’s economy. Even so, no political analyst feel that will be an monumental election difference maker – no analyst has changed their prediction of a BN win because of that.
So looks like it becomes a question of do, you are damned; non doing you are damned as well.

Jeda Lim
15 Mar 2018 7.45pm


Frank Tan
15 Mar 2018 7.44pm

First and foremost educate people how to differentiate right from wrong. People must be open minded (the medicine for democracy) mature enough to deal with the issue not person

Astilbe Merisioux
15 Mar 2018 11.26pm
Reply to  Frank Tan

The problem is, voting for Malay Muslim championing an almost a corrupt version of Islam that denies any non-Muslim element, is the right thing to ‘them’. Too blinded already to the point of no return.

Johnson Lukose
15 Mar 2018 7.08pm

Mimpi itu indah…

Astilbe Merisioux
15 Mar 2018 6.44pm

PH will lose

Kokkeong Chan
15 Mar 2018 8.56pm

You are entitled to your view.

Astilbe Merisioux
15 Mar 2018 9.52pm

Kokkeong Chan sorry mate i am with PH. I just dont want to rip my heart out when BN wins dirty and abolish Election once and for all. We are all insanely desperate to bring BN down

P.W. Wong
15 Mar 2018 6.27pm

I hope so.

Ganesan Suppiah
15 Mar 2018 6.03pm

Can, provided we the vote them.

16 Mar 2018 2.29pm

No! — Can, provided voters worlds apart from our small, urban, educated, English-literate, intellectual and academic echo chamber vote opposition.

Remember how Clinton called certain voters “deplorables” and Trump won.

Ong Eu Soon
15 Mar 2018 6.09pm

Harapan no more hope as it will the Waterloo for DAP.

Kokkeong Chan
15 Mar 2018 8.55pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

You can have your view. I don’t agree and hope most don’t agree.

15 Mar 2018 10.22pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

Would you like to continue to keep the thieves in power? If ‘no’, vote wisely.

Ong Eu Soon
15 Mar 2018 11.41pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

Agree or not agree is your choice. Unfortunately Chinese educated Penangites hate Lim Guan Eng to the core. They will punish him in the coming election. Only English educated Penangites are still in denial mode.

Teo Chuen Tick
16 Mar 2018 8.31am
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

Are u sure, Ong? I have 3 close friends who are chinese educated in Penang. None of tbem hate LGE…no they dont fawn over him either. He is human, after all – he has made mistakes – but by and large, they are happy with the LGE led state govt.

16 Mar 2018 12.41pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

Haha! Gelakan still wanna bluff themselves about their chances in Penang? Or lack of?

Ong Eu Soon
16 Mar 2018 2.41pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

We do not need 70% Chinese votes to defeat DAP. We only need 30% Chinese votes and deny DAP Melay votes especially those from Pas to cause an upset. Lim Kit Siang won 80% Chinese votes before when he defeated Lim Chong Eu. I will personally make sure that history repeat itself.

Michael Lee
15 Mar 2018 6.09pm

Unlikely, rural areas will vote Umno, small towns will vote MCA, cities will vote MIC.

Kokkeong Chan
15 Mar 2018 8.52pm
Reply to  Michael Lee

Not everyone think like you. Times keep changing.Even rural folks are using smartphones nowadays. My main worry is rural folks might be more corrupted than urban folks. They sell their future just for RM200 cash or in-kind.

16 Mar 2018 1.12pm
Reply to  Kokkeong Chan

Owning and using smartphones is one thing but whether they are able to use it to access reliable enough information about issues is another.

Some of my fellow urban, middle class, generally pro-Pakatan cohorts, go around with their faces buried in their phones’ screens on which they rely upon whatever news and opinions received via WhatsApp and other social media, but either lack the ability or are too lazy to do a search for further details to verify what they received before forwarding.

One of these smartphone wallahs, a law graduate, said that Indonesian police found US$250 million on the yacht Equanimity, which the leader of the raiding party denied finding. Well, the Equanimity is worth US$250 million.

Astilbe Merisioux
15 Mar 2018 11.27pm
Reply to  Michael Lee

Kokkeong Chan they are desperate

Michael Lee
15 Mar 2018 11.31pm
Reply to  Michael Lee

I hope PH wins, the odds are stacked against PH. It will take a miracle but politics is the art of possibility. So who knows.

Lihao Yeong
16 Mar 2018 3.35am
Reply to  Michael Lee

Interesting theory tho

Nelson Lasong
17 Mar 2018 9.44am
Reply to  Michael Lee

Seasonal campaigners help in the rural parts of sarawak.. this is where the obstacles for a PH win is greatest.

Malini Valyetham
15 Mar 2018 6.11pm

Definitely possible if Pakatan and Bersatu work hard to penetrate the rural heartland. It’s the rural folks who need convincing. The urbanites are well informed and ready for change.

Shah Shukoor
16 Mar 2018 7.43am

Pakatan and Bersatu ?? Pakatan is the name of the coalition and Bersatu is one of its component parties.

Malini Valyetham
16 Mar 2018 8.26am

Shah Shukoor thank you for the correction

Pau Kar Liau
15 Mar 2018 5.53pm

Difficult, and we expect Bersatu will behave like umno hooligans after winning

Kokkeong Chan
15 Mar 2018 8.54pm
Reply to  Pau Kar Liau

Anyone in any political party will behave like hooligans until the leaders show their leadership skills in handling the incidents.

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