“Incumbency of good governance not enough to thwart PN’s political ambitions”

THE green wave unleashed by Bersatu and PAS in Perikatan Nasional (PN) has unsettled Pakatan Harapan (PH) to some extent.Now that the parliamentary elections are over, the focus is on the PH winning state elections in Penang, Selangor, and Negri Sembilan, while at the same time reducing the majority of the PN in Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu.While there might not be much hope for PH or PH-UMNO to combine to exhibit a strong showing in PAS controlled states, denting PN’s majority is important.This time around, there is a new political landscape in the PH front. There is a good chance that Umno and PH will band together to derail PN’s plans. To what extent UMNO can attract Malay votes to the side of PH remains to be seen. It must be realised that even UMNO was the victim of the “green wave” phenomenon in the recent general elections.Since the unity government was formed with the help of UMNO, its alliance with PH seems to be a forgone conclusion.There is no real choice as PH and UMNO have to combine to thwart the possibility of PN making inroads in the three PH-controlled states of Penang, Selangor, and Negeri Sembilan. Compared to Penang in the north, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, being more urbanised and being outside of the northern belt, might dilute the impact of the green wave.In 13 of the state constituencies in Penang, either ethnically mixed or Malay majority seats, PH might have problems. With UMNO in, there is a need to shore up support for Amanah and PKR, parties that may be vulnerable to the impact of the green wave, depending on the state seats it may contest.While there may be differences between state and federal elections, the PN’s influence, particularly in Penang, cannot be underestimated.The “green wave” felt during the parliamentary elections might not have abated. It is still around, and there is a possibility that it might come back.This is the reason why the unity government at the federal level must ensure teachers and school principals do not use the platform of schools to influence parents and students to think along the lines of Bersatu and PAS.The social media, particularly Tik Tok, were extensively used by the PN in the propaganda campaign before the last parliamentary elections. Rather than banning the use of Tik Tok and other features of social media, PH and possibly UMNO might want to engage in their own cultural propaganda war to dent the success of the green wave.It serves no purpose to complain about the extortion of PAS or Bersatu when nothing is done to counter the ideological propaganda. A new cultural front has to be opened in the battle for the hearts and minds of the Malays.

Apart from the use of social media, not so much religious places of worship or schools, PH should rely on its incumbency both at the federal and state levels to enhance its reputation on the grounds of good governance.It is not that Malays did not support PH in the federal elections, but their support was low. In certain areas of Penang, Malays voted for PH on the grounds of good governance and competency.Why should such practises not be given more political clout in PH-managed states?It is not that the green wave is going to be perpetual, but the political propaganda surrounding the green wave has no material base.In other words, it rests on a shaky foundation; its continuation needs a sound economic rationale.However, PAS or Bersatu cannot give a solid foundation to the extensive propaganda because of the internal contradictions.Therefore, it dawns upon PH to exploit the contradictions of the strange racial and religious alliance between Bersatu and PAS to the fullest.Good governance alone is not enough, it must be judiciously combined with a new battle on the cultural front to expose the lies and deceit of PN, especially with PAS’ holier-than-thou attitude.The unity government might be helmed by PH at the federal level, but its longevity might depend on winning the three states. — Jan 8, 2023


Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also deputy chief minister II of Penang.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main photo credit: Gemilang Daily

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