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GE13 political marketing farm

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Satu Malaysia must be made, not bought from a gigantic mall of concerts and buffets, says Constantly Constant.

1Malaysia sell out
1Malaysia sell out

If George Orwell had to rewrite “Animal Farm” today, he would probably not critique Stalin’s special way of applying communism. He would probably not talk about how the farm animals revolted against the farmer and in turn were dominated and controlled by Napoleon the Pig.

He would probably talk about how politics became a market like any other market. Politics has become a market where politicians are the sellers of policies, slogans, flags and so on; and citizens are the consumers of these products.

As in many commercial transactions, customers search for the best offer, the most affordable product. They will usually search for a product that will maximise their own convenience without regard to that of others.

In this special political market, the best product is one that politicians think is favoured by the majority. Or, one they think that the majority will vote for, because they think that the more a product is advertised, the more people are convinced to ‘buy’ it i.e. vote for it.

As in many markets, consumers make their choices and must pay the price. In the political market, the electorate pay the price for their choices. It can be in money terms. The politicians we vote for increase taxes, implement wrong economic policies that open the door to inflation, offer more public opportunities, which can be a social cost too.

Our vote or political affiliation can result in marginalisation of certain groups in society, as happened to the communists in the USA during the McCarthy period (1950-1954, this period was also known as the Red Scare).

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As in all markets, political marketing follows certain patterns: political products are recycled to look new with apparent improvements made on the quality of promises. Politicians promise ‘singing tomorrows’, and change for a better life.

According to the same marketing principles, politicians sell what people want to buy. Not what they need.

Is Satu Malaysia … a joke? Satu Malaysia cannot be sold by anybody. Satu Malaysia cannot be bought by anybody.

In reality, Satu Malaysia has to be made by everybody, by the Rakyat, by both sellers and consumers. No one can make a profit from it. Everybody has to benefit from it.

If Orwell had to rewrite his book, he would perhaps take Penang as an example. The ruling party’s election campaign in Penang turned it into a market. Flags and banners were raised everywhere in order to sell products. The organsers were gathering in every corner to sell the “idea” and slogan of Satu Malaysia, with free food and concerts to catch the “attention” and imagination of the electorate. Penang was turned into a gigantic Mall, where political marketing was king in the period before elections.

Did the Rakyat ‘buy’ 1Malaysia?

The result of the election in Penang shows clearly that the Rakyat want to stand against this ‘horse-trading’ as they should against unjust laws. They massively voted for the Pakatan Rakyat coalition parties and proved that they were no more influenced by thousands of flags, posters, free food and other “free gifts” distributed by the BN.

Politics is no more a marketplace in Penang. Politics is politics, for the common good, and every free Malaysian has their own thoughts about it.

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The result of the election also shows that the Rakyat is actually cleverer than any political party. It is obvious that many Malaysians attended the BN’s 1Malaysia free dinners to satisfy their hunger or to listen to music. The Rakyat are not fools. They “ate all they could, but cast their votes elsewhere”.

However, even though the Federal Government has not been changed (yet?), even though the vote seems to have been “hijacked”, the Rakyat appear to be the winners. Or at least, the ones that have lost less than the political parties or institutions. The Rakyat have in fact gained a greater political awareness in these adverse circumstances and show determination to rise to the challenge.

“You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time (…). Stand up for your right”. –Bob Marley.

Constantly Constant is the pseudonym of intrepid traveller and observer of world affairs.

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
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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27 May 2013 11.19am

Najib is a PM who thinks too highly of himself and has isolated his thinking from reality. He is highly prone to believe in his own and his party’s hype especially regarding his standing rather than facing the truth (as far as he and his cohorts are concerned) that is ‘out there’. How did all this happen? Simply put, BN is a tangled mess, years in the making, starting quietly from Tunku’s days, and became a lot more tangled as soon as Dr M took over. The mess of its own making stands on a foundation (now bedrock) of corruption of all shades of financial, moral and whatever else that started out well that could be and was indeed, corrupted. This corruption feeds on itself and, like a cancer, seeks all ways to prolong its life and continue to grow out of control. During Dr M’s time, the cancerous corruption growth saw checks removed and thus it seemed to have no limits and religion, in this case, one specific branch of Islam, was hijacked by the ruling party’s political aims to divide the largest group of… Read more »

24 May 2013 6.29am

Dear CC I believe the one thing we must do as responsible mind movers is to legitimise that meaningless political gimmick Najib coined to bluff the entire Nation.. He is from not only a Malay based Party but is himself a feudal Malay product! At leaset Muhyiddin was forthright in saying what he stood for Malay ist and 1Malaysian second! Whoever gave Najib the ridiculous notion of a 1Malaysia he aspired to must be having cotton wool for brains but as always with every new PM he must defined his difference from his predecessors by appearing extra smart! But after four years of various experimenting and spending well over RM 8 billions on humbug ETPs and KPIs as ell as bribery and cash handouts to indicate his closeness and concerns over the hardcore poor and the deprived masses, the result of the 505 GE13, eloquently showed he was no better than Pak Lah or Mahathir for that matter! It is always them first (UMNO leaders nepotism and cronyism of the highest order) and the much touted 1Malaysia a far third.. Hence the rejection by a whopping… Read more »

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