Yesterday, I covered three states in one day – in Teluk Datuk in Selangor in the morning, Senawang in Negri Sembilan in the evening, and Johor at night.
This the fifth parliamentary constituency I am visiting today in my lightning tour of Northern Johor in my “Voters’ Registration Within Two Weeks” as the next two weeks may be the last chance for eligible but unregistered voters to register on the electoral roll if they are to be able to cast their vote if the 14th General Election is held in September this year.
I started in Segamat parliamentary constituency this morning, then visited Labis, Ledang, Bakri and am now the Muar parliamentary constituency.
Everybody is talking about the next 14th General Election.
When will it be held?
It is very near, as the Information Department has confirmed that it has issued a circular freezing applications for personal or unofficial trips overseas from May 1, because of the impending 14th general election. In fact, I will not be surprised if similar circulars are being sent out by the police and all government departments who will be involved in the 14GE.
However, I don’t think even the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak knows when Parliament will be dissolved for the holding of the 14GE, for he must be toying with various dates and possibilities.
Will it be September, or even earlier in May or July or much later than September?
As at present, I think the most likely date is September – especially after the big 60th National Day Anniversary nation-wide celebrations, creating “feel good’ factor among Malaysians before calling the 14th General Election.
There are those who predict that general election might be held in May or July, but I think this is improbable as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib
Razak would want the new redelineation of electoral constituencies to be used in the next general election as it will involve more gerrymandering of the electoral constituencies which is beneficial to Najib and UMNO but unfavourable to the Pakatan Harapan parties and Pribumi Bersatu.
This is why the Election Commission is rushing headlong to complete the redelineation of electoral constituencies, even resorting to the most unconstitutional gambit of a second display of new redelineation of electoral constituencies in Malaya (minus Selangor) because of a court challenge by Selangor state government – although the Federal Constitution regards all the states of Malaya as one unit, which means Selangor cannot be excluded by the Election Commission!
As Parliament must approve any redelineation of electoral constituencies, the earliest the Election Commission can submit its final report on redelineation of constituencies is the July meeting of Parliament – or even longer, if the courts uphold a constitutional challenge to the second display of the new redelineation of electoral constituencies for the states of Malaya, minus Selangor.
In the circumstances, the most likely date for the dissolution of Parliament for the holding of 14 GE falls on September – before the end-of-the-year budget Parliamentary meeting which is scheduled to meet for 25 days from 23rd October to 30th November 2017.
The next commonest question is whether Najib and UMNO/BN can be toppled in the 14GE.
There are those who think that the 13GE in 2013, where the slogan is “5th of May, Change Government” is the high-water mark of the “change government” campaign, and that such a target is no more achievable in the foreseeable future – especially with the break-up of Pakatan Rakyat and the disunity of the Opposition parties.
Apparently, the UMNO President Datuk Seri Najib Razak does not think so, for he and his UMNO “braintrust” are clearly frightened that UMNO/BN could be toppled from Putrajaya in the 14GE.
This is why there is the strange phenomenon where in the past three months, I have suddenly become a very “famous” character in the UMNO-owned and controlled mainstream media, with articles (which are mostly lies and falsehoods or in Najib’s own words “fake news”) appearing together with my pictures almost daily either in Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Berita Harian or TV3, when for the past fifty years, I was blacked out in these UMNO mainstream media and my pictures not allowed to be published, as if I had become a “non-person” as happened in Stalin’s Soviet Union.
What has happened? Why have I become a daily staple diet in the UMNO media, although the subject of “fake news”?
The reason is simple – Najib and his UMNO “braintrust” strategists and advisers are worried that UMNO/BN can lose the 14GE, and they are doing their utmost to frighten the Malay voters from supporting the DAP, Pakatan Harapan and Pribumi Bersatu by escalating and intensifying their demonization of DAP and myself.
I am described as a devil, an hantu, puaka or even jembalang, as if I breathe fire or eat babies for breakfast, that I am anti-Malay, anti-Islam, that I was the cause of the May 13 racial riots in 1969 although I was never in Kuala Lumpur after the May 10, 1969 general elections and was in Kota Kinabalu on that tragic day of May 13, 1969.
If Najib and his UMNO advisers are fully confident that they will win in the 14GE, there is no need for them to manufacture fake news and escalate and intensify their demonization of DAP and myself, to the extent of reversing their 50-year policy of blackout of all references to me and the use of my pictures in UMNO-owned/controlled media to one of daily publication of fakes news and lies about me.
In my 51 years of politics, I have not come across such widespread restiveness and unhappiness with the UMNO leadership, even among the Malay population and the 1.6 million civil servants and I will not be surprised if the majority of the 1.6 million civil servants vote for Pakatan Harapan and Pribumi Bersatu and against UMNO/BN in the 14GE.
The third question is whether the Malays will be oppressed and marginalized if UMNO is toppled from Putrajaya.
Even Najib has personally alleged, for instance in his UMNO Presidential speech on Nov. 30, 2016, that institutions like MARA, FELDA, RISDA, FELCRA and TERAJU will “become and disappear” if UMNO loses and the DAP, PKR, AMANAH and Pribumi Bersatu win the next general election.
In Pahang yesterday, Najib said that if UMNO loses the next general election and DAP is in power, the Malays and bumiputeras will lose out in education and economic opportunities for advancement.
In fact, Najib had as good as said that if UMNO loses power, I will become the Prime Minister!
All these are untrue. Firstly, if UMNO loses, the Prime Minister will continue to be a Malay and Muslim as that is the political reality in Malaysia.
Let me use this venue to declared that if UMNO loses in the 14GE and Pakatan Harapan comprising DAP, PKR and Amanah together with Pribumi Bersatu form the new government, we will compete with UMNO’s 60-year record to demonstrate that the new government can do better to serve Malays and all Malaysians – that we can do more to uplift the educational and economic positions of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans, i.e.e all Malaysians than the UMNO/BN coalition in the past 60 years.
If DAP, PKR, Amanah and Pribumi-Bersatu fail to show we can do better than the UMNO/BN coalition in uplifting the economic and educational standards of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans, we will be voted out of Putrajaya five years later in the 15th General Election as every five years, the government must go back to the electorate for a fresh new mandate.
The possibility that the Malays will be oppressed and marginalized does not exist at all, as the government that replaces the UMNO/BN government would want to continue to be re-elected to Putrajaya and not just be a one-term Federal Government – which means we must be able to prove to all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Dayaks, that we are a better government than UMNO/BN!
(Speech at the Parit Jawa DAP Branch “Voters Registration Within Two Weeks” coffee-shop talk at Restoran Makanan Laut, Parit Jawa on Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 7.30 pm)