PETALING JAYA, May 17 — It was blind arrogance and faulty intelligence reports that led to Barisan Nasional (BN) losing the 14th general election (GE14), a ranking MCA source has conceded to Malay Mail.
The MCA central committee member who requested anonymity said there were already signs on the ground that public support towards the Umno-led coalition had waned and eroded, but BN’s top leaders failed to accept or remedy the problem.
“The signs were there but they were in a denial and not to mention they were also surrounded by people who provided them with false positive news.
“The reports and intelligence are now proven incorrect. It was either the ground shifted or the information given was unreliable,’’ the source told Malay Mail.
“It was this incorrect report or denial syndrome and taking things for granted that led us to our defeat,’’ the source added.
GE14 delivered a devastating blow to BN which lost the federal government, and had only retained three states: Pahang, Perlis, and Sarawak.
MCA also faced horrible results; of its top leaders, only deputy president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong had defended his seat in Ayer Hitam.
The ethnic Chinese-dominated party and other BN component parties such as MIC have since questioned their relationship in the coalition, while Sabah’s Upko and Liberal Democratic Party have already quit.
“It was clear that Umno voters voted against the party and the coalition. Umno did have the numbers but their voters have voted against the party and some in favour of PAS over non-Umno component parties,’’ said the source, who was closely involved with the campaign.
The source also admitted that returning prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had given Pakatan a massive advantage with his influence on the public.
“Although Mahathir may not have the numbers on the ground such as major election machinery like that of Umno, he had a hidden support base and this fact was overlooked by Umno.
“Tun Mahathir even had access to Umno as there is still pocket of support within the party not to mention the support Tun has from the old guards and the government servants. Eventually this is the pocket of support that came and flipped the elections to PH,’’ he said, referring to Dr Mahathir.
The source also claimed that the strategy to bank on three-cornered fights involving PAS had on the contrary pulled away Malay support for BN’s component parties.
“As PAS is seen as friendly to Umno, Malay voters pted to cast their ballot for the Islamist party rather than BN component parties.
“In three-cornered fights, PAS had effectively absorbed the Malay votes from component parties. The three-cornered strategy essentially backfired on BN,’’ said the source.
The MCA insider however claimed the results have been a blessing in disguise, showing the disastrous effect of Umno exploiting “ultra-right sentiments”.
“This shows Malaysian have become more mature as they have broken through the racial and religious divisive lines. It shows that we prefer moderation and the voices of the reason still prevails,’’ said the source.
“We must eat humble pie and swallow our pride and accept that we have lost. What we can do now is re-strategise and figure out a new approach.”