The Sungai Limau by-election tomorrow will answer the question: Will Mahathir and Mahathirism suffer a third and probably final set-back in six months?
Last week, former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir said that the “lunatic fringe” have taken a hold of Malaysia as the ruling Barisan Nasional struggles to deal with diminished public support despite retaining its hold on government.
Mahathir is right when he claimed that the administration of current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is weak and feels it needs to entertain “unreasonable demands” from extremist groups to remain relevant to the public but wrong when he identified such extremist groups as coming from Pakatan Rakyat.
In fact, Mahathir has himself become the very personification of the extremist “lunatic fringe” holding the “moderate majority” to ransom with their “lunatic” lies and falsehoods, undermining and even sabotaging the country’s nation-building, national unity and national development.
In Sungai Limau Dalam on Oct. 21 to announce the Pakatan Rakyat candidate for the by-election, I had expressed the hope that the Sungai Limau by-election would herald a new chapter of Malaysian politics with the by-election as a model of clean, honest and decent politics where there is no campaign of lies, falsehoods, character-assassination or the corruption of money politics.
But this was not to be, as right from the very first day, lies, falsehoods and character-assassination were the staple diet of the UMNO/BN campaign in the Sungai Limau by-election, including the dastardly lies that the DAP wants to form a Christian state, abolish the system of constitutional Monarchy and that the DAP is anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
The lunacy of these lies and falsehoods are no different from the lunacy of the lies and falsehoods perpetrated by Mahathir during and after the 13th General Elections where he made the false, irresponsible and vicious accusations that:
• I contested in Gelang Patah to cause a confrontation between the Malays and Chinese in Johore as I wanted the Chinese in Johore “to dislike and hate the Malays”; and
• that DAP rejected the concept of Malay/Chinese/Indian power-sharing as the Chinese want to oust the political power of the Malays.
But Mahathir and Mahathirism suffered a great setback six months ago during the 13th General Election on May 5, when thanks to Malay voters who did not succumb to their lies and falsehoods, I was able to win in Gelang Patah with a majority of over 14,000 votes.
In fact, my message in the Gelang Patah campaign in the 13th General Elections was the very opposite to the lies of Mahathir and Mahathirism – as I had sought to summon an unprecedented unity of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans and Kadazans under the vision of a common Malaysian Dream to build a more united, democratic, free, just, competitive and prosperous nation for all Malaysian citizens.
Similarly, in Shah Alam and Pasir Mas, Mahathir and Mahathirism were unable to deliver victory for the “lunatic fringe” as represented by Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali and vice President Zulkifli Noordin in the 13th General Elections.
In fact, the Shah Alam Umno division chief said after the general elections that if Mahathir had not campaigned in Shah Alam, BN might have earned more votes.
The second setback for Mahathir and Mahathirism was in the UMNO party elections last month and Mahathir blamed money politics for his failure to ensure victory of his son Mukhriz Mahathir as one of the UMNO Vice Presidents.
The Sungai Limau by-election on Monday on November 4 falls exactly six months after the 13th General Elections on May 5.
Mahathir today turned up on the UMNO/BN campaign trail in Sungai Limau by-election and has adopted the stance that money politics in Umno party elections against his son Mukhriz was reprehensible but “OK” for UMNO and Mukhriz when practised in the Sungai Limau by-election.
But the more interesting question is whether Mahathir and Mahathirism will suffer a third and probably final setback in six months after the 13th General Elections in the Sungai Limau by-election tomorrow – which will be the case if PAS and Pakatan Rakyat candidate Mohd Azam Samat can secure the constituency, and even better, with an increased majority.
This will be the best political news for the country.
This article is also available in English at: http://goo.gl/mZTn0x