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Reflection on Three Cornered Fights: What is There to Fear?

There are quite a number of prominent civil activists and analysts who are against Pakatan Harapan de-linking it's partnership with PAS, thus, precipitating 3 corner fights that are bound to split the Malay votes in at least 119 rural constituencies.

But the Malay votes can only be split when there are major controversies that confuse the voters. Is UMNO telling the truth? Is PAS doing the same? Or is Bersatu or PKR, and indeed, Amanah, giving the real version of events affecting the country?

When such confusion reigns, then the specter of three corner fights are indeed scary. Without a doubt, three cornered fights can and do split the votes, as seen in the 2013 general election in Kota Damansara in Selangor.

But the key word being confusion. Three cornered fights are only a shocking scenario, when the voters are so confused as to be gullible and vulnerable to the rhetoric of all three or four political parties that ostensibly claim to represent the Malay interest.

However, there is currently no or very little confusion in the Malay rural, semi urban and urban constituencies. They know the Malaysian economy is in a rump. The fluctuations of palm oil alone range from MYR 2600-3500 between 2015-2017.

Had Malaysian economy been doing well, the share prices of Felda FGV would be pushing northward. Yet, it is hovering at RM 1.6.

The Malays are also not easily hood winked by "Islam" for show. If Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Hadi Awang of PAS are keen on making Malaysia more Islamic, why is the wife of Najib not in "hijab," they ask?

Indeed, there are other enabling factors, that have totally eliminated the confusion of the Malay electorates. For example, the GST! It is not a tax that is applied in the city centers alone but in and across the entire stretch of Malaysia.

At 6 per cent, GST was a top down imposition. And, when GST is enforced, all vendors and services provided are obliged to inform all customers of the nature of their service tax. Yet, no such effort has been forthcoming.

In any cafe, hotel, or, even restaurant, there are several taxes embedded into the receipts, to inflate the cost of living further. When an onerous GST tax is imposed, the real or added cost are passed on to the consumers, therefore, allowing the loyal customers to be ‘skinned alive’.

Trickle down economics, as purveyed by Najib's Blue Ocean Strategy, has not worked to lift the welfare of the average Malaysian. If anything, the income chasm between the have and have nots in Malaysia has widened and deepened further.

With only 14 richest people in Malaysia controlling up to 75 per cent of the country's wealth and kleptocracy working at full force, either the state has been captured and hijacked by the powerful families and elites or it’s wealth is being plundered daily by those in power. Either way, neither scenario bodes well for Malaysia.

When one goes down to the field, one can feel in one’s bones how hard Malaysians have had to work, just to survive. This is the perfect storm to produce a Malay and Malaysian tsunami, which no third party can become a spoiler.

Voters would want to choose either a strong government with a decent coalition, or, give a super majority to the government to correct the policy mistakes of the previous era. In 2004, one had witnessed how Malaysians resonated with the rallying call of "Work with me, rather than for me," of the then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.

But when Abdullah Badawi failed at all his reforms, the Malaysian voters placed their faith firmly in the opposition ie Pakatan Rakyat, and gave it a resounding victory in 2013.

Come what may, with an electoral showing of 83-85 per cent between 2008-2013, Malaysians are showing that no amount of gerrymandering can save Barisan National and UMNO from facing the inevitable: which is a popular backlash against the incumbent.

Why? Precisely because the incumbents in the government have forgotten to look into the welfare of the people, especially how to combat the rising cost of living coupled with meager job prospect even for those with university degrees. Not only have they failed to handle these issues, they even deny the need for the issues to be handled. Najib remains, as he has always been, in an Ivory Tower, high above the stark and difficult realities faced by the common people.

The question of confusion is also being handled by early notification of three cornered fights in this coming election. It is what differentiates past elections from the 14th GE. So the confusion that occured in Kota Damansara in 2013 will not recur in 2018. As all and sundry are aware, it is between BN and PH with PAS being no more than a spoiler. And if a change in Government is what is desired, then PH is the answer.

So why fear the 3 cornered fight?

As the Malay proverb goes, “sepandai tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga”. This is the election when the tupai will fall to the ground.

WaLlahu 'Alam
KHALID ABD SAMAD

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