Mahathir’s conspiracy-fuelled ceramahs are designed to pull curious onlookers

TTF: Crowd-pleasing rhetoric.

That’s what Mahathir is going for these days. It’s not as if he believes that the military or the police are out to get him, or that his aircraft was sabotaged by government agents. Quite the opposite, he knows that incredible claims beget incredible crowds, a fact he himself witnessed during the 1990, 1995 and 1999 general elections. 

Basically, Mahathir knows what every seasoned politician knows, that people flock only to ceramahs that quench their thirsts for conspiracy. They’re not necessarily there because they believe in any of these conspiracies, but because those delivering the ceramahs may add more spice into the already sizzling details, spice they’re not likely to get off the mainstream media.

That explains the turnouts at PKR, PPBM and DAP ceramahs. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, bigger turnouts don’t necessarily translate to more votes (READ HERE and HERE), a fact that was made manifest in 1995 when everyone thought Barisan Nasional had seen the last of its days. On the 25th of April 2018, I wrote the following (in orange):

“Back then (in 1995), whenever a DAP and Barisan candidate held ceramahs in spitting distances, it is the latter who would be seen sitting down and swatting flies. An exaggeration, no doubt, but an apt depiction of just how the chauvinist party “sucked the dear life” out of Barisan-sponsored events. Many a time, you would find candidates from the ruling coalition speaking to rows of elderly makciks and pakciks who didn’t seem to have the energy to venture towards the DAP tent.”

But the end result?

Barisan won not two-thirds, but over four-fifths of the total number of seats contested! The DAP, on the other hand, recorded its lowest ever electoral performance in its (then) 30-year history, bagging only nine parliamentary seats and 11 state seats. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s Semangat 46 did even worse – slated to wipe UMNO off the face of earth, it managed an embarrassing a six-seat win, a far cry from UMNO’s 89-seat tally. Now, are you going to tell me that dollars and cents helped Barisan secure the landslide win?

If you are, you’re just as delusional as the next guy who believes that Leprechauns exist or that crowds are factors in determining the outcome of elections.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told the authorities today to just prosecute him if they are confident that he has been spreading fake news as alleged.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman is currently under police investigation under the month-old Anti-Fake News Act 2018 after he voiced his suspicion last week that his plane to Langkawi might have been sabotaged to prevent his contest in the Kedah parliamentary seat.

“They can charge me in court. I have no fake news. Only truth,” he was quoted by The Star Onlineas saying while on the stump in Pekan, the federal seat of Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Last Friday, Dr Mahathir alleged that a plane he was about to board for Langkawi had been sabotaged after the pilot cancelled the flight just before take-off after realising the Bombardier Challenger CL60 aircraft had a problem.

The 92-year-old, who is contesting in the Langkawi parliamentary seat, said he had to switch planes to ensure he could file his nomination paper as immediate repairs could not be done.

On April 30, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) said it had investigated the matter, including interviewing the pilots and maintenance personnel of the plane, and concluded that there was no recent reported defect except for an air leakage from the left hand nose wheel.

While Dr Mahathir spoke in Pekan, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Paloh, Johor that his party’s former president was practising double standards with his travel to Langkawi by a private plane.

“In the past, he has accused Barisan Nasional leaders of using private jets but he himself had chartered a private jet to travel everywhere.

“So what they want to throw at us by claiming all sort of issues are double standards because the sabotage claims showed at least that he was in possession of a private jet,” the incumbent Sembrong MP said during a Felcra event in the Chamek settlement this morning.

Hishammuddin added that he would leave any action to be taken by the authorities as there were many allegations raised during the campaign trail that have been found to be baseless.

“Many issues that was thrown at the public were completely or immediately forgotten after the election results are announced.

“This would be the same this time around and I hope the people would not be influenced by present issues thrown around as polling day approaches,” he said, adding that the investigation should be allowed to run its course.

Malaysians will be voting next Wednesday

Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, has also called out to Umno members to switch their support to the PH pact in GE14.

In an open letter dated April 17, the former BN leader said PPBM is opposing Umno “because it is no longer Umno”.

According to Dr Mahathir, the current Umno no longer upholds the original spirit of its founders, which he claimed to be the reason why the Malays have come to “hate” the party.

Dr Mahathir remains widely popular with Langkawi’s residents, and is seeking a comeback by wresting the seat from BN’s incumbent Langkawi MP Datuk Nawawi Ahmad.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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