Monday 30 July 2012

BN is facing pressure ― Lim Sue Goan

JULY 30 ― To determine the date of the 13th general election as soon as possible, Barisan Nasional is now taking every step very cautiously and it is very concerned about the people’s needs.

The Chinese community demanded a new Chinese independent high school in Kuantan and the government gave a nod for it.

Bird’s nest traders assembled to protest against the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and the authority later issued an official notification that the use of the RFID is no longer compulsory.

The people are worried about the recent increase in crime and, thus, the police has stepped up patrols, while the home minister also made a walkabout at a shopping mall.

Pakatan Rakyat questioned the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) for approving applications made by companies linked to Petronas chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan’s daughter, and SEDA rebutted the claims and explained in a full-page advertisement.

Also, the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry is trying to quell the controversy over the Merdeka Day logo.

Such a flexible attitude shows that “everything can be done”.

Take the Kuantan Chinese independent school issue as an example; the Chinese community expected a branch of the Kuala Lumpur Chung Hwa High School, but the government gave a green light for a new school.

The approval shows that there was no agreement reached between the MCA and the government to limit the number of Chinese independent schools when the amendment was made to the Education Act in 1996, as alleged by the Chinese education movement.

Even if such an agreement exists, it could be breached under the current political environment.
Therefore, the dream to establish a Seg Hwa Independent Chinese High School branch campus in Segamat might also come true.

BN has started to feel the pressure, including from the uncertain world economic outlook, as well as the internal problems of the Sabah BN.

The resignation of Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin and Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing allowed Pakatan Rakyat to see an opportunity to shake Sabah and threaten the BN’s regime.

In addition, BN also has to compete with Pakatan Rakyat in terms of money distribution.

The federal government announced to give a half-month or at least RM500 bonus for civil servants while Selangor and Penang state governments give respectively RM200 and RM100 more than the federal government.

Pakatan Rakyat also made a commitment recently to reduce car prices by slashing excise and other duties if they win power, and many netizens were very pleased with it.

After the Bersih 3.0 rally, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s approval rating dropped from 69 per cent to 65 per cent and the current 64 per cent. Although it is still at a comfortable level, it is worrying.

Therefore, BN has been committed to eliminating negative feelings and hopes to keep the good momentum.

According to the National University of Malaysia, about 25 per cent of the 13 million registered voters are swing voters, who are expected to play the king-maker role in the next general election.

BN might be able to win some votes from swing voters after its recent gift distribution movements, particularly the green light given to build a new independent school in Kuantan.

However, most swing voters are highly-educated. They pay attention to their own needs, while hoping that the country to progress.

It is believed that they are still observing to see whether Umno has really changed and whether the political system and policies will be reformed.

If BN does well and listens to public opinion, the votes will naturally return. Why do we want to change the government then? The key lies on how well the people are convinced.

The coming festivals, namely the Merdeka month, Hari Raya Aidilfitrie and Malaysia Day will be good timing to create election atmosphere.

If the people are still restless, however, the election might then have to be delayed until next year. ―

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