PAN wants Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to contest the next general election and they have offered him Putrajaya, a PAS seat, to contest. Actually, Putrajaya is an Umno seat and has always been an Umno seat but PAS ‘owns’ that seat since it contested that seat and lost (except for the 2004 general election when PAS ‘lent’ that seat to PKR, who also lost).
Anyway, the way seat negotiations are handled in Pakatan Rakyat (and now Pakatan Harapan) is that if you contested that seat in the previous general election then that seat ‘belongs’ to you even if you lost or have never won that seat.
In the next general election there will be a slight variation to that arrangement. Since PAS is not in Pakatan Harapan, and since PAN is DAP’s new Islamic party in the coalition, then all PAS seats would ‘belong’ to PAN. And since Putrajaya used to ‘belong’ to PAS when that party was in Pakatan Rakyat (although they never won that seat thus far), that seat now ‘belongs’ to PAN. And since Putrajaya belongs to PAN then it has a right to offer it to Mahathir to contest on his Pribumi ticket.
Muhyiddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir will have to contest in their ‘traditional’ seats or else they would be seen as ‘running away’. If they accept DAP’s offer of a safe Chinese seat to contest they would lose face. It would look like Pribumi does not really have the support of the Malay voters as they claim and hence they need to run away to a Chinese seat instead.
Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Mukhriz (the 3Ms) are the three key players in Pribumi. Hence it is very important that they contest the ‘right’ seat. If the top party leaders were seen as ‘running away’ or ‘playing safe’ that would affect the performance of the entire party. Therefore they have no choice but to stand firm and hold their ground or else suffer ridicule and contempt.
Furthermore, Pribumi is supposed to be the replacement to Umno and the party that is going to lead the march into Putrajaya. So this means Pribumi must contest in every seat that Umno contests just like PAN is going to contest in every seat that PAS contests. If Pribumi does not contest in every seat that Umno contests and PAN does not contest in every seat that PAS contests this will again be a very serious loss of face.
This loss of face will be worse than the loss of face yesterday when hundreds of thousands of Malaysians came out for the Merdeka Day celebrations while they could not get even 1,000 people to come out for the anti-government demonstration a few days before that.
And that is why DAP is asking that the Merdeka Day celebrations be banned in states like Sabah and Sarawak. They are worried that the Merdeka Day celebrations are attracting a huge crowd whereas they want Malaysians to boycott the Merdeka Day celebrations as a sort of anti-government protest.
Anyway, no one if forcing you to attend the Merdeka Day celebrations so you can boycott them and stay home if you wish. You can even boycott the holidays and go to work on 31st August if that makes you even happier. In a free country you can do what you want, even take a holiday in China on Merdeka Day if you wish.
The announcement by the United States Justice Department and the United States Attorney General on 20th July 2016 created a lot of waves in Malaysia. The opposition played up this matter to the hilt and because of that the expectations of the people are running very high indeed. But there is a danger when you do this because then you have to manage peoples’ expectations.
Malays call this indah kabar daripada rupa. You build up peoples’ expectations and raise them very high but if you cannot meet their expectations then it becomes an anticlimax.
This reminds me of the Suaram exercise five years ago in 2011. Suaram announced that a court case or trial is about to commence in France to investigate the alleged murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu and that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is going to be implicated in that alleged murder. Suaram even brought the French lawyer to Malaysia so that he could tour the country and explain the facts of the court case or trial to Malaysians.
Then we found out later that it was not actually a court case or trial but merely an investigation based on a complaint that Suaram lodged with the French court (just like you lodge a police report in Malaysia). So it was merely akin to a police report and every police report needs to be investigated. That was all it was and nothing more than that.
But Malaysians did not know this. Suaram told Malaysians it was a court case or trial, whereas it was not. Hence Suaram actually lied to Malaysians.
Initially, the French court rejected Suaram’s complaint because Suaram did not have locus standi in France. Suaram then told the French court that it was an international NGO that fights for justice, human rights and good governance. Hence it does have locus standi in France, said Suaram. The fact is Suaram is actually a private limited company, Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, and not an international NGO that fights for justice, human rights and good governance like what it told the French court.
Then we found out that the French investigation was not at all regarding Altantuya. The investigation was about something else altogether. So what Suaram told us was not true one bit. What is even more damaging was the French investigation report that said Altantuya was NOT involved in the submarine contract and was not an interpreter and that she had never been to France or met anyone from France either on French soil or in Malaysia.
After that Suaram dropped the matter like a hot potato. The whole thing actually backfired. Instead of implicating Najib in the murder, as what they tried to do, the French investigation actually cleared him and confirmed that Altantuya had no part in the submarine contract as what the opposition alleged.
So there you are. This is the danger with playing poker. Sometimes your card ischekai and you lose. They lost the poker game in France five years ago and now they might lose the poker game in the United States as well if they are not careful.
The opposition has built up the peoples’ expectations and has raised it very high. So now people expect ‘good news’ just like the so-called ‘good news’ from France five years ago. But then what is going to happen if it is not ‘good news’ like what happened in the French matter five years ago?
The French actually cleared Najib. And it was because of Suaram that Najib was inadvertently cleared. What if the investigation by the United States Justice Department and the United States Attorney General ends up like the French investigation of five years ago? Instead of nailing Najib the United States Justice Department and the United States Attorney General clears him like in the French matter.
This is the problem with this exercise. In 2011 Suaram stirred things up by lodging a complaint with the French authorities. This time around Matthias Chang and Khairuddin Abu Hassan stirred things up by lodging a complaint with the US authorities. But if the whole thing falls flat like it did five years ago in France, then they might end up clearing Najib instead.
The way the whole matter has been spun, people are expecting the US to issue a warrant of arrest and for the Marines to come to Malaysia to arrest Najib like what happened to Manuel Noriega in 1990. And this must happen over the next few months up to early 2017. If it does not then the whole exercise would have been in vain.
This is the trouble with over-playing the issue. When you build up peoples’ expectations too high then they expect something fantastic. And when it falls short, anticlimax sets in. And it would be an anticlimax to those who were expecting Najib to be arrested and dragged back to America in chains like Kunta Kinte but it does not quite happen that way.