Note: Hate or love PH, but read this objectively and with a pinch of salt. I myself am not in favour of PH, but that is no excuse to for me to deny truths. Coming to terms with reality is the only way for us to improve.
PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli has conceded defeat in what was arguably the most tightly contested deputy presidential race in the country’s political history. Already a party with the most complex polling system in Malaysia, PKR elections are never complete without the regular occurrences of flying chairs as incendiary rhetoric is hurled across halls by troublemakers. Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim calls it democracy. I simply call it Anwarism at its best, as everything Anwar has always been chaotic and incendiary since before the PKR de facto chief was sacked from government in 1998.
But credit must be given where it’s due, and PKR polls are indeed the most democratic of party elections ever conducted in Malaysia. Mind you, this isn’t your regular UMNO or PPBM election where only delegates get to cast ballots. In PKR, all of the party’s 800,000 or so members are eligible to determine who gets to become what in the party. In the case of Rafizi, Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali emerged the clear winner in the deputy presidential race with a 2,500 vote majority. That’s two percent of the 114,000 or so who turned out to vote, meaning, PKR now comprises two factions that are almost equally strong but at odds with one another.
Or so says Rafizi, who committed not to pressure the party’s political bureau into conducting re-elections amid multiple allegations of electoral fraud. According to him, the most controversial poll was the one conducted in Julau, where the presence of a “Prey app” in e-voting tablets resulted in the loss of data. The party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) initially admitted that the tablets were hacked and announced the suspension of voting results. However, in an about turn, the CEC defended the results by insisting that no data was ever lost. But to Rafizi, there is no point in fussing over the matter, as the elections already succeeded in proving that the party is split right down the center.
I doubt this.
I keep saying, that our politicians are using old-school logic to explain new-school outcomes. The 14th general election (GE14) was the second of its kind in the nation’s 61-year history, the first being the controversial and somewhat boisterous 1969 general election. Back then, Gerakan emerged a third force amid claims by ultra-Malays that the late Tunku Abdul Rahman leaned favourably towards the Chinese. The country was then just 12 years into independence, with the vast majority of voters being able to differentiate between British rule and Malay rule. Had Gerakan contested nationwide, the party could well have swept the country and secured a two-thirds representation in parliament.
Not many are aware, that the Malays and Chinese of the era had become ‘risk-takers’ once it dawned upon them that Malaysians were just as capable of running the country as the British were. However, the vast majority of them are dead and gone and couldn’t possibly influence voters today. On the 9th of May 2018, there was genuine fear among the Malays that a shift from Barisan Nasional rule to Pakatan Harapan rule would trigger untold calamity. Six months on, and the man on the street is heaving sighs of relief seeing that his livelihood isn’t that badly affected after all.
Yes, we now have yet another breed of risk-takers who may no longer give a hoot whether or not Pakatan delivers on its pledges. They’re aware, that even if Barisan were to return to power, its leaders would never be able to fulfil the promises Pakatan stands accused of reneging and are likely to stick with the status quo even if the 15th general election were to be called for tomorrow. As we speak, the man on the street could be looking back at the 14th general election and telling himself that voting Barisan back to power would be the most foolish thing to do. To him, not only would it make very little difference, the coalition probably has a cat in hell’s chance of ever making a comeback given the manner in which Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is leading UMNO.
Rafizi needs to rethink Malaysian elections.
He needs to understand, that a risk-taking crowd is a crowd that is ready to gamble an outcome at the slightest hint of success. While it is true that Azmin won the deputy presidency with a meagre 2,500-vote majority, because he’s Mahathirist, it may seem worth the while to a vast majority of voters to align themselves with him. So, even though the party elections are over, Azmin’s victory ‘margin’ is likely to have widened so much, that should there be re-elections, Rafizi would probably emerge a far bigger loser than he already is. Factor that with the former Padan MP’s allegiance towards Anwar, and you will see just why his defeat is likely to have sounded the death knell for the PKR de facto chief.