Small boy Pribumi acting big

 |Aug 21, 2016
Mahathir's Pribumi needs to win at least 85 seats to boss Malaysian politics post-GE14.
Mahathir’s Pribumi needs to win at least 85 seats to boss Malaysian politics post-GE14.

I remember back in 1999 when the opposition coalition Barisan Alternatif almost did not happen.

Just a few days before nomination day we were told to prepare for the possibility of three-corner fights.

It seems PKR (then called PKN), PAS and DAP (PRM was also in that coalition) could not agree on the seat allocation and negotiations had broken down.

We told the party leaders that if the November 1999 general election was going to be fought on a three-corner fight then we might as well close shop and go home.

Contesting the general election would be a total waste of time.

This news went back to Anwar Ibrahim in the Sungai Buloh Prison who then asked Jomo Kwame Sundaram to take over the seat negotiations.

That night around midnight we had a meeting in Jomo’s house in Petaling Jaya to discuss what to do and at the eleventh hour an agreement was reached and we faced the 1999 general election as Barisan Alternatif.

The seat negotiations in the 2004, 2008 and 2013 general elections were not any easier but at least we had the basis of ‘traditional seats’ to work on.

This merely means if your party had contested that seat in the previous general election then that seat ‘belongs’ to you.

But what happens if you had contested that seat in the last couple of elections and lost every time?

In short, you may have contested that seat a number of times but you have never won it so far.

Can you still claim that seat ‘belongs’ to you when it has always been a Barisan Nasional seat?

Yes, there are those in Pakatan Harapan (and Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Alternatif before this) who feel that ‘winnability’ should be the formula applied and not ‘traditional seats’.

“In other words, you may have contested that seat many times but you have never won it. However, if my party contests that seat we have a better chance of winning it.”

Based on this formula, the party that has the better chance of winning that seat should contest that seat rather than the party that contested that seat in the previous election or the previous few elections but never won that seat (or sometimes wins but most times loses).

Yes, come the next general election in 2018 or so it will be almost 20 years or five general elections since the opposition coalition was officially formed in 1999.

But still they have not been able to agree on a workable seat allocation formula like Barisan Nasional has, and this is the strength of Barisan Nasional, which is the opposition’s weakness.

The opposition agrees to disagree and disagrees on seat allocations.

If the opposition cannot come to an agreement with just three parties, how are they going to solve this now that there are going to be eight non-Barisan Nasional parties contesting the coming general election?

Anyway, Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Malay-only Pribumi party has said it was going to be the replacement or alternative to Umno.

That means Pribumi is the new Umno or Umno ‘Lagi’ Baru since Umno is actually Umno Baru, which in 1988 replaced the old Umno of 1946.

That would mean Pribumi will face Umno is every single seat that Umno is going to contest and this would come to 119 seats, or more than half the 222 parliament seats up for grabs. (Those are just the parliament seats and we are not yet talking about the more than 500 state seats).

For Mahathir and Pribumi to be taken seriously and to be really considered the replacement or alternative to Umno they must announce now that they are going to contest 119 parliament seats.

We already know where those seats are and can even tell you where.

We just need Mahathir and Pribumi to officially announce they are contesting these 119 seats to prove that Pribumi is the replacement or alternative to Umno.

No one disputes that Barisan Nasional is an Umno-led Barisan Nasional.

The question is, is Pakatan Harapan still a DAP-led Pakatan Harapan or is it now a Pribumi-led Pakatan Harapan?

With Mahathir’s or Pribumi’s announcement on the number of seats they are going to contest this question will be answered.

If we base it on ‘traditional seats’, then Pribumi would only be contesting two parliament seats and one state seat.

That would not make Pribumi a serious player or the leader of the opposition.

Pribumi will only be at par with Berjasa, PRM, PSM and PPP, parties that wait for scraps to be thrown at them.

Is this what Mahathir and Pribumi are going to do, wait for scraps to be thrown at them?

They are telling us that Pribumi was going to be a game-changer.

They tell us that Pribumi was the new Umno.

They tell us that Pribumi was going to lead the opposition to victory and take over the next federal government.

For that to happen, Pribumi must contest 119 parliament seats and win at least 85-90.

The same goes for PAN.

DAP said PAN was the replacement or alternative to PAS. Well, PAS contested 71 parliament seats in the previous general election.

PAS will for sure contest these ‘traditional seats’ plus the seven Berjasa seats.

That comes to 78 seats in total.

Will PAS give way to PKR and DAP and not ‘disturb’ their ‘traditional’ seats?

There are some seats which PAS ‘gave way’ to PKR.

However, since PAS is not in Pakatan Harapan, they no longer need to give way to PKR and can now contest those seats.

So PAS will most likely contest 100 parliament seats this time around.

PAN will also need to prepare itself to contest each and every one of those 100 seats.

With Umno and Pribumi contesting 119 seats each and PAS and PAN 100 seats each, the other parties in Barisan Nasional will have to face PKR and DAP in the balance 100 or so seats.

That means 650 candidates (or maybe even more if independent candidates are included) will be contesting 222 seats.

So, every single one of those 222 seats is going to see three- or four-corner contests.

Muhyiddin: Parti Pribumi may contest in ‘suitable’ PKR-PAS seats.

Now that is probably what they meant when they say game-changer.

They will need to budget at least RM10 million per seat per party.

So this next general election is going to be the most expensive in history — even more costly than the 2013 general election — where a budget of RM5 billion will need to be spent — Barisan Nasional and Pribumi RM1.5 billion each and the balance RM2 billion by PAS and Pakatan Harapan.

What! You thought elections are cheap or what?

It is even more expensive if you want to win.

Mahathir said he not only wants to win but in fact is going to win.

So if no RM1.5 billion then don’t talk kok lah!

The talk is that Mahathir is not really serious about contesting the next general election (let alone beat Umno) because Pakatan Harapan will never give Pribumi 119 seats to contest.

They might not even give Pribumi 20 seats because Pribumi does not have any ‘traditional seats’ other than just three seats.

PKR and DAP will want to keep their traditional seats while PAS’s traditional seats will be given to PAN.

So if PAS wants any seats it needs to contest three- or four-corner fights, as would Pribumi.

So where would Pribumi fit in?

Are they really serious about contesting the next general election?

If so they need to contest 119 seats.

Are they prepared to make this announcement?

If Pribumi wants to be taken seriously they have no choice but to make that announcement.

If not then they would be proving the rumour that Pribumi was not really serious about contesting the next general election but was just gempak to frighten Umno so that Muhyiddin and Mukhriz can make a deal to go back into Umno with some sort of ‘lucrative offer’.

We all know what that ‘lucrative offer’ was supposed to be.

This thing about Pribumi being formed to replace Umno and to lead the opposition to win the next general election is just a dog and pony show.

In truth Mahathir needs to just tutup kemaluan because of his failure to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak last year.

So, he needs Pribumi to show strength when actually he had nothing (not until and unless you ‘own’ 80 or so seats in parliament).

Pribumi is actually a small boy trying to act big.

All they have is three seats and they act as if they have 100 seats.

To get 100 seats you need to contest at least 120 seats.

So tell us now you are going to contest 120 seats or else forever hold your peace.

And until you confirm that then the rumour that this is just a gempak exercise is true.

There are some who say that Najib was scared shit of Pribumi and that if Mahathir offered him a deal the Prime Minister will take it.

That deal, of course, would be Mukhriz’s future as Prime Minister.

If you think that then you were more stupid than you look.

Did it not occur to you that Mahathir did precisely what Najib wanted him to do — form a new party?

By forming a new party is this not a sure way of uniting Umno and ensuring that it was game over for Mahathir?

What Mahathir did is what Najib wanted him to do.

By forming Pribumi, Mahathir played right into Najib’s hands.

That is precisely why Mahathir cannot seem to oust Najib.

Najib is too many steps ahead of Mahathir and is playing Mahathir for a sucker … Read More

Source: Malaysia Today

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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.