Wednesday 17 October 2012

Is March GE too late for Najib? - Selena Tay

PM Najib has missed his best opportunity to hold the polls in March this year. By next March, he would have lost the element of surprise.

All throughout this year, from January till now, it can be seen that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has got no clear strategy in regard to the general election.

He will only call for the polls once he is sufficiently sure that he has gained the rakyat’s support. Hence the second round of the RM500 cash aid to strengthen the people’s support for him.

This can only mean that after the first round of the cash aid, he is still not confident of the people’s support and it is now extremely obvious that he is playing it by the ear.

At first, most people were thinking that he was busy crafting a strategy and that he is the cautious type but his indecisiveness has shone through and revealed that he has no game plan after all.

Now after announcing the second round of the RM500 cash aid and various goodies to be given out, he is again pondering the scenario of “before and after”.

He is now thinking whether to hold the polls after the goodies have been given out or before the goodies have been distributed. There are two schools of thought concerning this matter.

This columnist has interviewed 11 people in Kuala Lumpur who are eligible for the cash aid and their response in regard to BR1M 2.0 can be summed up into two groups which will be categorised as Mr A and Mr B.

Mr A said, “If the general election is held this year, it shows that the prime minister is insincere in regard to the goodies as he is just fishing for votes and so I will vote for Pakatan Rakyat. If the election is next year, I will vote for Najib as it means that he is sincere in giving because he gives the goodies to everyone although he is not sure whom we will vote.”

On the other hand, Mr B said, “If the polls are held this year, I will vote for Barisan Nasional as I am afraid I will not get the goodies next year if they were to know I voted for Pakatan. If the polls are held after I have obtained the cash aid, it is bye-bye to BN as I cannot be bothered with them anymore. This Budget 2013 is their zenith, their last hurrah, their final fling and therefore I will vote for Pakatan.”
To sum up:
  • The first group will vote for Pakatan if polls are held this year and vote for BN if the polls are held next year. Their vote is based on whether they perceive Najib as being sincere or not.
  • The second group will vote for BN if polls are this year and vote for Pakatan if the polls are next year. Their vote is based on fear that they will lose the cash aid if they were to vote for Pakatan.
The above results show that it is difficult to read people’s mind as the results are evenly matched. Thus the results are inconclusive.

The Pakatan voters

There could be more people in the first group or more people in the second group whether the polls are held this year or next. Difficult to tell and it is this difficulty that Najib is facing now.

However, the purpose of the survey above is to ascertain if the cash aid has any bearing on the voting patterns and is not done to predict election results.

Still, there is yet a third group of people who will vote for Pakatan regardless of whether the polls are held this year or next. These people are of the opinion that they will get the cash aid whoever is the government of the day as the aid is from public funds – taxpayers’ money and therefore the rakyat’s money.

Najib would not have been in such a predicament if he had held the polls in March this year after the first round of BR1M cash aid has been distributed. March was also before Bersih 3.0 was held.

Not calling for the polls in March is now causing Najib to re-evaluate the situation all over again.

He must be regretting the fact that he had not acted earlier. If he had, he would have been home and dry by now. As it is, he is currently in a quandary.

He has to act quickly if he still wants to hold the polls in November. December is out as it is so near to the time when BR1M 2.0 is to be distributed that he might as well hold it next year in March after everyone has obtained their goodies.

Or is a March date too far? Time is running out.

“Holding the polls next year will cause Najib to lose the element of surprise,” commented Khalid Samad, the PAS Shah Alam MP.

If he really cannot make a decision, then it is best to let Parliament automatically be dissolved on April 28 next year. From then on, he has another 60 days extension of time.

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