Since Barisan Nasional’s resounding win in the Malacca state election, taking 21 out of 28 seats in the state assembly, there is a perception that the coalition will win the coming general election, as the state polls were seen as a barometer for national polls.
However, if one looks at the substantive vote, there is only a 2.6% difference in the popular vote that separates the front-runners. It is the first-past-the-post system that brought BN to victory, rather than the distinctive substance of votes.
What has been missing in the discourse is how the whole campaign process leading up to the election was muzzled due to Covid restrictions, creating an unequal playing field for the opposition.
The standard operating procedures that restricted campaigning, the poor turnout among voters and the amount of money used without accountability placed Pakatan Harapan at a disadvantage. The turnout percentage, unrestricted access to the electorate and fair campaign financing is what a competitive democracy is all about.
The pertinent question is, will the Covid situation be used to muzzle the required interaction and fair electoral processes in the coming general election?
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The Malaysian electoral culture has always been more about the end results rather than focusing on what constitutes fair electoral processes in a competitive democracy.
Having said that, PH seems to be lacking the credibility of hope when its leaders in PKR and Amanah manoeuvred a political situation in Malacca which resulted in the collapse of a government during a pandemic. The advice given by the DAP leadership of not accepting unethical politicians was not heeded.
Anwar Ibrahim’s “the ends justify the means” leadership reveals a coalition that seems to be in line with BN when it comes to attaining political power using unscrupulous means.
While returning the mandate of the people in the 2018 general election is important, it should not be at the expense of the health of the people.
Hope is built on a foundation of principles that are consistent in all areas of governance. One cannot pick and choose principles according to one’s whims and fancies and political expediency.
PH has to project hope before providing hope. What is right cannot be sacrificed on the altar of politics. – Malaysiakini