By Lim Kit Siang
There is one person who is working even harder than the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to ensure that UMNO/Barisan Nasional not only win the 13th General Election but also regain its two-thirds parliamentary majority.
This person is Tun Dr. Mahathir, who is supposed to have retired from politics when he stepped down as Prime Minister after 22 years at the end of 2003.
Yesterday, Mahathir was in Sik to remind UMNO members to rid themselves of the feeling of dissatisfaction over candidates chosen by the top UMNO/BN leadership if they want to see UMNO/BN remain in power after the coming 13GE.
He said UMNO members must all set aside their differences and give their full support to the selected UMNO/BN candidates as the priority should be ensuring victory so that BN can win big and form a strong government.
It is most extraordinary but typical Mahathirism that Mahathir should be warning of the “Melayu mudah lupa” complex as the cause of the disgruntled in UMNO not supporting the chosen candidate, when Mahathir himself was the best illustration of the “Melayu mudah lupa” complex when he campaigned actively against the premiership of Tun Abdullah in the 2008 general election.
It is clear that to Mahathir, what is at stake in the 13GE is not so much the Najib premiership but the Mahathir legacy, and no one has any doubt as to which would get the priority if there is a clash between the Najib premiership and the Mahathir legacy!
This is why Malaysians find Najib’s statement in his interview with Malay Mail last Friday that he needs a mandate from the voters in order to reform UMNO so outrageous.
Firstly, it flies in the face of his UMNO Presidential Address at the 66th UMNO General Assembly ten days ago, where he clearly admitted that the UMNO/BN’s debacle in the 12th General Elections in 2008 was “a clear signal of the Malaysian people to Umno and its partners in the Barisan Nasional to change, according to the tastes, aspirations and expectations of the people”.
When Najib said he needs a mandate from the voters in the 13GE in order to reform UMNO, he is in fact admitting that he has failed to reform UMNO despite the “clear signal” of the people in the 12GE that UMNO must change – reason enough why UMNO/BN must be replaced by Pakatan Rakyat in Putrajaya in the 13GE.
Secondly, Najib’s statement also flies in the face of what Mahathir said three days before the 66th UMNO General Assembly, and captured in the headline of Malaysiakini report : “Dr. M: We’ve reformed, what more do you want?”
Be that as it may, whether it is for the sake of Najib premiership or the Mahathir legacy, Najib has put up a front of supreme confidence after the UMNO General Assembly to achieve a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the coming general elections.
Will UMNO/BN regain its two-thirds parliamentary majority or will Pakatan Rakyat capture Putrajaya in the 13GE?
If UMNO/BN recaptures two-thirds majority in the 13GE, the total number of Pakatan Rakyat parliamentary seats would be slashed by at least eight seats to 74 from 82 won in the 12GE in 2008, giving the BN a majority of at least 74 seats.
However, if Pakatan Rakyat can win an overwhelming majority of the four million middle ground voters in the registered electorate of over 13 million voters on the electoral register – comprising three million new voters and one million swing voters from the 12GE – Pakatan Rakyat can defeat UMNO/Barisan Nasional and win a majority of over 20 parliamentary seats.
In such a best-scene scenario, the likely distribution of Pakatan Rakyat seats in Parliament would be 45 seats for PKR while DAP and PAS would each have 40 seats – yielding a small Pakatan Rakyat majority of 28 seats over UMNO/Barisan Nasional.
However, Pakatan Rakyat parties must work hard to win over the middle ground voters, for developments in the past month have given reasons for middle-ground voters to hesitate as to whether Pakatan Rakyat parties of PKR, PAS and DAP are fully committed to the PR Common Policy Framework and Buku Jingga common platforms.
These doubts and hesitations, which are fully exploited by the Barisan Nasional mainstream media and cybertroopers, must be addressed immediately or Pakatan Rakyat will lose the golden opportunity to win Putrajaya in the 13GE by sheer default.