Focus on reform policies before DoJ roadshow, analyst tells Harapan

“So far the only two consistent Pakatan Harapan proposals are get rid of the prime minister and reduce GST to zero”

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan must begin convincing voters with its proposed policies and reforms, according to political analysts who cautioned against a campaign based on attack politics.

Following the pact’s announcement of a three-month series of roadshows on the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) legal action linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), one analyst said the federal Opposition pact must explain how it will be a better alternative to Barisan Nasional (BN).

“If voters don’t see radically different proposals, Pakatan [will] present itself as a mirror of BN 2.0… it’s just not inspiring or exciting,” Penang Institute analyst Ooi Kok Hin told Malay Mail Online.

Ooi acknowledged that the pact’s effort to discredit the ruling BN over the US lawsuits was “unavoidable”, but added that more must be done to strengthen its base.

Malay Mail Online reported on Monday a snapshot of Pakatan Harapan parties’ stand on nearly two dozen key issues, with DAP, PKR, Amanah and PPBM unanimously agreeing on six.

Lack of clear information on the pact’s planned policies would prevent voters from deciding it these would usher in a different and improved government than currently available, he explained.

“So far the only two consistent Pakatan Harapan proposals are get rid of the prime minister and reduce GST to zero,” he said, referring to the Goods and Services Tax.

Ooi said Pakatan should refer to Britain’s Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for inspiration on how the the leftist party made gains during the June 8 UK general election.

Like Pakatan, Ooi said the Corbyn’s party was also embroiled with internal issues, but still executed an effective “For the Many, Not the Few” campaign, which helped bag the support from many first time and young voters.

“They didn’t just hit out at the government; they presented a coherent, coasted and radically different alternatives such as free tuition, funds for the national healthcare service, nationalise major transport and infrastructure services,” he said.

Faizal Hazis of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Malaysian and International Studies also said staging a protest or roadshows to explain the DoJ’s action or continuing with attack politics will have diminishing returns.

He similarly said the Opposition pact must begin shifting focus on its intended reforms and policy changes for the country in the event it wins federal power.

The pact should, in fact, be touting these at its planned roadshows, he added.

“Offering a strong coalition and persuasive reform narratives can win them elections,” he said. “The DoJ probe wouldn’t win them the election.”

Oh Ei Sun, adjunct senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, felt Pakatan Harapan must convince voters on bread-and-butter issues.

“The focus should be on telling people how they would revive economy beyond harping on tackling corruption,” he said when contacted.

On Wednesday, federal Opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Pakatan will organise a roadshow to explain to the public about the DoJ’s lawsuits to seize assets allegedly linked to 1MDB.

Last Thursday, the DoJ announced its latest civil filing that sought to seize US$540 million (RM2.31 billion) in assets obtained by funds allegedly stolen from 1MDB.

The latest civil forfeiture complaints from the lawsuit launched last July alleged that more than US$4.5 billion had been misappropriated from the Malaysian state investment firm from 2009 through 2015.

1MDB has since responded saying that the allegations were not backed with proof.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali dismissed the action as politically motivated, claiming the lawsuits were prepared based on information from individuals from Malaysia.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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