NOVEMBER 19 — There are many factors that are to blame for Pakatan Harapan’s defeat in Tanjung Piai — chief among them would be the continued inability of Bersatu as a party that appeals to almost any voter, including Malays.
Their actions as of late such as the Malay Dignity Congress and continued refusal to extradite controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik are enough of a reason for any sane thinking Malaysian to reject their brand of politics.
It is a shame then that the party leadership prefer to act like ostriches in the sand rather than take their share of responsibility for the events of November 16.
No one in Pakatan would have expected have been dealt the crushing 15,000 loss in Tanjung Piai — it even took Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over 25 hours to issue a public statement.
Those who had hoped that the old man would have admitted weakness were no doubt disappointed. He not only refused to directly address the failures of his party, but he chose to “share” it with his coalition–blaming them for not supporting Bersatu at their time of need.
Truth of the matter is that no amount of campaigning by DAP, PKR or Amanah would have helped Bersatu build their credibility with Chinese and Indian voters.
No one really put much expectation for equality from a party that proudly boasted that non-Malays could only be honorary members anyways.
While many were disappointed that their leaders insisted on lecturing voters on believing that they would fulfil Pakatan Harapan manifesto — they have crossed the line.
Despite widespread protest over the khat issue, Mahathir and Mazslee Malik ignored these concerns and went ahead with it, albeit with a scaled-down version.
As if to add insult to injury, Bersatu pushed even further with their brand of racial politics by plotting with Barisan Nasional — placing Dr Mahathir as the key speaker at the racist Malay Dignity Congress.
They even allowed Dr Zakir Naik to enter Malaysian politics, giving him free reign to insult Chinese and Indian Malaysians as “pendatang”.
Youth Minister Syed Saddiq showed his sincerity as “reformist” during this time, as he called for the deportation of the preacher to gain credibility before inviting him for dinner and asking Malaysians to move on the very next day.
The events of the past two months are than enough for anyone to see that Dr Mahathir’s party is interested in only one thing: to preserve their power at all costs.
This is not just an issue for national politics it seems.
In almost every state that Bersatu controls, we see how their governments seem to take every opportunity to mismanage their states as much as they can.
For example, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu showed a clear disdain towards his partners as he complains that he fights a “desperate battle” for the rights of the Malays against the DAP “hordes”.
He says this as he evicts Orang Asli from their ancestral lands, rewards 400ha of forest land without open tender to a RM2 company while criticising the public in their lack of inaction in tackling illegal logging in the state.
In Johor, we see how constant interference by party leadership have led to a government that has Bersatu leaders such as Mazlan Bujang snipe each other at every opportunity despite having to rebuild their credibility after the disappointment that was Datuk Osman Sapian.
If these actions of this party have unsettled the average Malaysian, what more our politicians in Parliament and Cabinet.
Sadly, despite their greater contributions to Malaysia Baharu, they have been more than happy to be led by the nose by Dr Mahathir.
Given the results of last weekend’s by-election, one can see that their faith in the old man was not rewarded.
The voters of Tanjung Piai had made their grouses loud and clear to the Pakatan Harapan government — we are confronted with a weakening ringgit, rising cost of living, a continuation of wasteful megaprojects (that Pakatan had campaigned against) and cuts in social services.
This is not the Malaysia Baharu that we voted for. So it’s time for Pakatan to put Bersatu in its place and start delivering it.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.