Sungai Besar is the most marginal and most unsafe parliamentary seat in the Peninsular Malaysia won by UMNO in the 13th General Election while Kuala Kangsar is eighth on the list of UMNO’s most marginal and unsafe seats in Peninsular Malaysia.
If the AMANAH/Pakatan Harapan candidates can win in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections, it will be a major signal that Malaysia is ready to become a normal democratic country where voters can change the government through the ballot box like other developed countries.
It will also mean that the AMANAH or Pakatan Harapan candidates stand a good chance to win the 10 most marginal and most unsafe parliamentary seats won by UMNO in Peninsular Malaysia, namely:
1. Sungai Besar
2. Kuala Selangor
3. Pasir Gudang
4. Bagan Serai
8. Kuala Kangsar
Many people look at this list and conclude that these seats are not winnable, but I belong to those who look at the list and think of the ways Pakatan Amanah can win in these ten seats.
We are almost at the half-way mark of the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections on June 18.
In both constituencies, the AMANAH/Pakatan Harapan candidate started as the underdog in the three-cornered fight in Sungai Besar and the four-cornered fight in the Kuala Kangsar by-elections.
It is now clear that the contest in these two by-elections is between UMNO/BN and AMANAH/PH candidates, as a vote for the PAS candidate in both constituencies would be a wasted vote as there is no chance whatsoever that the PAS candidate can win in either one of the two constituencies.
In fact, I had said publicly that I expect the PAS candidate in Sungai Besar to lose by some 10,000 votes and in Kuala Kangsar to lose by some 5,000 votes as compared to the votes polled by the PAS candidates in these two constituencies in the 13th General Election in 2013.
To defeat the UMNO/BN candidate in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar in the by-elections would cause quite a political earthquake as both constituencies had been UMNO strongholds, never won by any Opposition candidate in the past six decades.
It will mean that all the ten UMNO marginal seats in Peninsular Malaysia I had listed are winnable by AMANAH or Pakatan Harapan candidates in the next general elections.
Even more important, it will signal that after six decades of nationhood, Malaysia is prepared to become a normal democratic country where the people can change government through the ballot box without this being regarded as a national catastrophe.
Under Vision 2020, Malaysia aims to become a fully developed nation in four years’ time in 2020 – but how can the country become a fully developed nation when we are not a normal democratic country where voters can change the government peacefully through the ballot box without warnings of national catastrophes?
Let us not look at the West, like the United Kingdom, which had changed the political party in government six times in the past sixty years, but at our neighbours, Indonesia and Philippines, where they accept the ballot box as the means to change the government without bringing the country to ruin and damnation.
The Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections are therefore important milestones in the journey of the country to become a fully developed and normal democratic country.
These should be our major concerns, how Malaysia can become a fully developed and normal democratic country, which should be the main issues in these two by-elections – how good governance, democracy and the national unity of the diverse races, religions and cultures can be leveraged to transform Malaysia into a world show-case of political freedom, economic prosperity, educational excellence and multi-racial and multi-religious harmony in a troubled and divided world.
Instead, hudud seems to have become the biggest issue in the two by-elections, and the MCA even had a ceramah in Sungai Besar town last night specially focused on the hudud issue.
If there is any single issue which should dominate the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections, it should by the two global financial scandals of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak – the RM55 billion 1MDB and the RM4.2 billion “donation” scandals.
Did Najib give a full and satisfactory accounting of these two global scandals, which have given Malaysia world notoriety as a nation of global corruption; did the BN candidates or the BN component parties explain these two global scandals?
Dare the UMNO/BN candidates raise the concerns of the voters and people in Parliament about these two global scandals?
Of course not.
After the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said moved the Ministerial motion in the last day of Parlaiment on May 26 to fast-track Hadi’s hudud bill, I had said that it was Najib and not Hadi who was the greatest winner.
In one stroke, Najib achieved two things: (1) to sideline the 1MDB scandal which had been haunting and hounding him for more than a year; and (2) make hudud the single biggest issue in the two by-elections completely overshadowing Najib’s premiership and the 1MDB global financial scandal.
We must not allow Najib and his strategists to succeed – to use the hudud issue to escape accountability for his two global scandals when other countries have started to close down banks and initiate criminal prosecutions in connection with 1MDB’s global embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption.
This is the reason for the holding of the two Colloquium on 1MDB global scandal, for Malaysians can never hold their heads high in the world and we can never achieve our potential greatness as a nation, whether as a fully developed nation or a normal democracy, unless we are prepared to get to the bottom of Najib’s two global scandals.
(Media Conference Statement at the Pakatan Harapan Sungai Besar by-election Ops Centre in Sekinchan on Friday, 10th June 2016 at 11 am)