Mahathir’s blunder, Bersih’s slump, advantage BN

 |Nov 21, 2016
Mahathir addressing the Yellow Shirts at KLCC during Bersih 5 street demonstration.
Mahathir addressing the Yellow Shirts at KLCC during Bersih 5 street demonstration.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) claims it has 50,000 registered members – although it has not yet submitted this membership list to the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

My insider sources tell me that Pribumi does not even have 10,000 members yet – less than half that of Amanah, which has 20,000 members (10% of the target of 200,000 members: which was supposed to be 20% of the one million PAS members they are supposed to steal).

The target was simple.

Amanah has 20% support, so at least 200,000 of the one million PAS members were supposed to leave PAS and join Amanah.

Pribumi has 50% support so at least 1.75 million of the 3.5 million Umno members were supposed to leave Umno and join Pribumi.

Then PKR and DAP have another one million supporters combined, even if they are not registered members (or so they claim).

So that means the opposition has, in total, three million members and/or supporters (and Pakatan Harapan hopes to garner at least five million votes in the next general election: which means Barisan Nasional is going to win the next election).

Anyway, taking this three million into consideration, and also taking the 1.3 million Malaysians who were supposed to have signed the Citizens’ Declaration  six months ago – which Anwar Ibrahim condemned, – at least 400,000 should have come out yesterday.

But only an estimated 15,000 to 40,000 (depending on who is doing the estimating) came out.

That is very bad for Mahathir Mohamad and his ANC (Anti-Najib Campaign) and his stooges in the DAP-led Pakatan Harapan.

Mahathir arriving at Bersih 5.
Mahathir arriving at Bersih 5.

Number game

That is the problem when you play the numbers game and try to demonstrate a show of strength based on a numbers game.

You have to make sure you meet your target or else it would backfire.

When you shout that your numbers prove your support base, that is also like shouting that if you do not have the numbers then you lack support.

That was the message that Mahathir, the ANC and the DAP-led Pakatan Harapan sent out yesterday — that they lacked support.

That has always been the opposition sickness.

They shouted about their support in Sanggang and lost the by-election.

They shouted about their support in Indera Kayangan and lost the by-election.

They shouted about their support in Pendang and lost the by-election.

They shouted about their support in Telok Kemang and lost the by-election.

They shouted about their support in Hulu Selangor and lost the by-election.

They shouted about their support in Kuala Kangsar and lost the by-election.

They shouted about their support in Sabak Bernam and lost the by-election.

The opposition never learns that just because their crowd is ten times, or more, bigger that does not mean they are going to win the elections.

In the Indera Kayangan by-election in January 2002, the opposition ceramah on the eve of the by-election attracted 50,000 people while there were less than 100 people at Shahidan Kassim’s house.

But Barisan Nasional still won the by-election the following day.


Even if 400,000 people came out on Saturday I would still not put my money on Pakatan Harapan winning the next general election.

There are about 18 million eligible voters in Malaysia with only 14 million or so registered to vote.

Normally about 80-85% or roughly 11-12 million voters would come out to vote.

That means, even if 400,000 people came out yesterday, 11 million or so people did not come out.

So the votes could go either way.

Malays saw that Bersih had been infiltrated by Christian agenda.
Malays saw that Bersih had been infiltrated by Christian agenda.

Saturday only 15,000-40,000 and not 400,000 people came out.

How many votes do you think that represents?

And 15,000-40,000 voters does not even represent one state seat (and they are not all concentrated in one seat but spread out all over the country).

We have 800 seats to be contested at state and parliament level in the next general election.

DAP and Pakatan Harapan were expecting PAN to steal 20% of the one million PAS members and for Pribumi to steal 50% of the 3.5 million Umno members.

That would mean about two million Malays would abandon Umno and PAS, the two most prominent Malay political parties.

However, less than 5,000 Malays came out yesterday.

To add insult to injury, even the entire Pribumi committee members and leaders did not turn out.

Where were all the Pribumi leaders and its ‘crowd’ of 1.7 million ex-Umno defectors and those 1.3 million Malaysians who signed the Citizens’ Declaration six months ago?

Where were the 20% of one million DAP and PKR supporters who were expected to turn out yesterday?

Let this be a lesson to the opposition people: never play the numbers game unless you are sure you are going to win.

Mahathir and his ANC are novices at this game.

They could, of course, have got a crowd of 200,000 had PAS supported Bersih 5.0.

But the instant PAS declared it was not supporting Bersih 5.0 they knew they had lost the game even before it started.

PAS did not support Bersih 5.0 because it does not want to have anything to do with DAP and with its anti-Islam and Evangelist Christian agenda.

Bersih 5.0 was a huge mistake, a tactical blunder.

You should keep people guessing and should never reveal your weaknesses.

However, yesterday, Mahathir, Pribumi and the DAP-led Pakatan Harapan, revealed what they should have kept hidden, which is they did not really have support.

Now Prime Minister Najib Razak knows he can call for the next general election any time he wants and whenever it pleases him.

BN has the edge in GE14.
BN has the edge in GE14.

BN has the edge

Barisan Nasional has practically got the next general election already in the bag.

Mahathir and his friends in the opposition need to go back to the drawing board, as I had predicted in my previous articles.

The opposition needs to win 60% of the votes to form the next government.

Barisan Nasional can win just 45% of the votes and still get to form the government.

This is the same as in the UK.

The reason is because the ruling party has spread out its support base all over the country while the opposition’s support base is concentrated in the urban areas (just like in the UK as well).

Not only was yesterday’s event predominantly Chinese, it was also predominantly Evangelist Christian Chinese, a double-whammy for the opposition.

That would make the Malays even more wary of Bersih.

This point has not gone unnoticed.

Amongst themselves the Malays, whether rightfully or wrongfully, are talking about the Christian agenda of Bersih.

This is a further setback for what started as a non-partisan and non-racial movement in 2007.

We have seen the photographs (some doctored to show a far larger crowd) of Bersih in Kuala Lumpur.

What happened in DAP’s enclave of Penang?

Why was DAP not able to mobilise a crowd in their own kubu (fort)?

They knew that Penang will not get a crowd so DAP did not want to do it in Penang lest not many people come out.

At least when PAS does an event in Kota Bharu they get a massive crowd, as the photo below shows.

In our previous article, I wrote about the origins of Bersih when it was first launched in 2007 and what we hoped to achieve with the 10th November 2007 march to Istana Negara.

Wikipedia has also written about this, which you can read.

Anyway, as what we wrote in Friday’s article, Bersih 5.0 is not the fifth rally in a series of five rallies because our objective on Nov 10, 2007 and the objective yesterday, Nov 19, 2016, were a world apart.

On Nov 10, 2007, it was about electoral reforms and yesterday it was about ousting Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Even Nurul Izzah Anwar agreed with this when, today, she wrote in her blog, “Thousands of anti-government protesters marched in Malaysia’s capital on Saturday demanding the resignation of the prime minister, Najib Razak, over his alleged involvement in a multi billion-dollar misappropriation scandal.”

So, Bersih in Nov 10, 2007 was seeking electoral reforms while Bersih on Nov 19, 2016 was an Anti-Najib Campaign.

Former EC chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.
Former EC chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

Irony of ironies 

The reason we were forced to march to Istana Negara on 10th November 2007 and delivered a petition for electoral reforms to His Majesty the Agong was because we could not get SPR (Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya Malaysia: the Elections Commission) to listen to our grievances.

When the new Election Commission chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, took over in November 2000 (one year after the November 1999 general election), a few leaders from Barisan Alternatif went to meet him to discuss electoral reforms.

I was also in that delegation.

But when we raised a few issues that we felt needed addressing, he replied that if he agrees with our demands then not a single minister would be able to retain his or her seat.

We were stunned and appalled by this arrogant and blatant response.

We then asked Rashid is not the job of SPR and he as chairman of SPR to ensure that Malaysia had free and fair elections?

Rashid then replied that the job of SPR is to ensure that the Malays do not lose political power.

With that reply we decided to just end the meeting.

It was utterly useless to continue the discussion if that is the attitude that the SPR chairman had.

As far as we were concerned, Rashid was an obstacle to free and fair elections and was the Number One enemy of democracy.

In 2004, the opposition almost got wiped out and we knew that in the 2008 general election it was going to be equally drastic if we did not do something.

That something that we did was we marched to Istana Negara on Nov 10, 2007, just four month before the March 8, 2008 general election, to complain to the Agong.

Today, that same Number One enemy of democracy, Rashid Abdul Rahman; the ex-SPR chairman who said that the job of SPR was not to manage free and fair elections but to ensure that the Malays do not lose political power; that person who refused to discuss electoral reforms in 2000 and forced us to form Bersih and march to Istana Negara to deliver a petition to His Majesty the Agong in 2007, is now the vice president of Mahathir’s party, Pribumi.

Can you see the irony?

Bersih would not have existed in 2007 if not because of people like Rashid Abdul Rahman, Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin and so on.

It is because they shut the doors to any dialogue that we were forced to launch Bersih in 2007 and march to Istana Negara to deliver our petition to His Majesty the Agong. A

On Saturday Nov 19, these were the very people who marched for Bersih when if they had not been so arrogant in 2000 we would not have needed Bersih in 2007 … Read More.

Source: Malaysia Today

Raja Petra Kamarudin or RPK, cousin to the Selangor Sultan, is one of Malaysia's earliest online 'citizen journalists'. He started his website in 1995 before the internet 'explosion' triggered by the Reformasi movement in September 1998. Malaysia Today was launched as a blog in August 2004 and is one of the few pioneer blogs still active and posting articles on a daily basis 24-7. RPK, 66 years old, has been writing since 1990.