It’s the incumbent government – not Najib – that won in by-elections

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Graphic: freemalaysiatoday.com

The outcome of the two by-elections was most definitely not a vote a confidence in Najib; it merely reflected the reality of the state of politics in Malaysia, observes Wishful Accountant.

Look at the euphoria engulfing the self-serving jalra masters of Umno and its merry men who are falling over themselves over the notion that the two recent by-election victories were an endorsement in a referendum on Najib’s leadership.

Most analysts also seem to support this idea.

I am not an analyst; merely an astute observer, and I’d like to think I am a logical thinker. My take is different.

Najib didn’t win

The outcome of the by-elections was most definitely not a vote of confidence in Najib; it merely reflected the reality of the state of politics in Malaysia.

The BN would have won even if they had been led by the perceived trouble-maker from Sungei Besar, Jamal Yunos, or even that infamous Ali Tinju. No one cares who the prime minister is. What they care for is merely what they can get out of the government.

Many non-urban voters are busy daily making ends meet or avoiding capture by the Indonesian navy or Abu Sayyaf rebels to care too much about the state of governance in Malaysia. The BN could be led by Garfield or Mickey Mouse, and it would not make a jot of difference to many.

The previous Sarawak chief minister had so many scandals allegedly tainting him, but did Sarawak BN suffer? Zilch. Zero

Najib did not win the last general election in 2013; Najib did not win these two by-elections in June 2016. I won’t even say that the BN won the by-elections. It is the government with its vast resources and machinery that won the two by-elections for Umno. So why the big hoo-ha?

This is why Mahathir has no effect now: he does not control the purse strings now.

Voters may have decided strategically that even if they voted for the opposition, the BN government would not be affected. After all, in spite of losing the majority vote in the last general election, Najib shamelessly clung on to power as he controls every single instrument of authority that keeps him in power no matter what.

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So the voters decided to vote for the BN, take all the goodies and reconsider their position at the next general election.

Pathetic performance

The BN aka government also won the same two seats in the last two general elections; so what is the big deal? It is not as if they wrested back the seats from the opposition parties. The share of the BN votes was not that much higher than the last election. So what is new now?

If anything, I think it is pathetic that after such an outpouring of taxpayers’ money into these two parliamentary constituencies, the BN only managed 50-plus per cent of the votes only. By right, if this was a vote of confidence in Najib, surely the percentage should be 80-90 per cent?

But no. Even after the outpouring of goodies at these two places during the campaign period, many still did not vote for the BN. I suggest all the jalra masters chew on this.

Selangor may very well fall to the BN in the next election. But this won’t be because 75 per cent voted for the BN. It will be due to multi-cornered fights, which will split the opposition votes.

Nationally, I predict the share of BN votes will be lower than GE13. This despite even more gerrymandering and all sort of gimmicks from the BN supported by an array of taxpayer-funded government organisations. These organisations forget they should serve the rakyat – not just the pro-BN rakyat – as their salaries are paid from taxes collected from all rakyat, not just from the pro-BN rakyat.

When the 1MDB scandal broke, everyone was so sure that it was the end of Najib. But I told my wife and a colleague that nothing would happen to him – and I have been proven right.

Personal interests?

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The major issue with Malaysia is that many have their whole arms in the cookie jar.

They may include some of those in the executive and the supporting cast.

They may include certain retired politicians being appointed chairmen of government companies and bodies for which they are totally clueless or lack the required expertise.

Then there are those employed in GLCs and civil servants, those in private companies relying on government contracts and those relying on government licences or on board the gravy train.

They will not upset the apple cart – as they don’t want the gravy train to stop. These people will not care whether there is a severe lack of intellectual capacity at the top of our government. Neither will they care if taxpayers’ money is being squirreled away either by corruption or through incompetence and largesse. As long as they get some cherry out of it, semua OK.

Some of this non-government jalra gang are more vociferous than government ministers such as Rahman Dahlan or Salleh Keruak.

To be honest, I wonder if I would care two hoots if I was earning a fat salary or enjoying a plum government contract. I would probably remain quiet and not say much and continue to support the current government as well, at least from the outside.

If one recalls, the PKR only came into being after Anwar was kicked out of Umno. Some of those behind the party were not protecting democracy and accountability from day one unlike the DAP, which between Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh, has been championing consistently the same set of principles.

The PKR was not born out of a long struggle for democracy or justice. It was born in the aftermath of the sudden loss of power for Anwar Ibrahim. So apart from some really hard-core enthusiasts demanding accountability such as Rafizi, the rest appear little different from Umno. Are they in it for their own self interest? Just look at the mess in Selangor now.

Whither Malaysia?

Many in this country (I won’t say a majority as, after the last election, the BN has been a ‘minority’ government) are apparently not interested in values such as accountability, democracy and justice. It is all about what is in it for them.

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In rural areas, subsidies and small goodies tend to sway the votes. In urban and suburban areas, it is all about personal interests rather than national long-term wellbeing.

Meanwhile, the budget allocation for the prime minister’s department keeps going up yearly. But some essential spending including on education has been cut. Instead, a lot of useless spending is taking place – and waste is prevalent.

In summary, we are doomed. More and more laws will be introduced by the BN to control us, passed by a clueless parliament. More and more funds will be used to protect and further the cause of the BN rather than our country. Our debt level will continue to rise and our national coffers will continue to be depleted. They will then do some magic to show that this ratio and that ratio are OK.

If Najib, Rahman Dahlan and Salleh Keruak are so certain that this is a resounding vote of confidence in Najib’s leadership, then have a national referendum as well as an open Umno election, where each member gets one vote each. Surely Najib would win hands down as, according to the jalra gang, the rakyat are fully behind him.

But hold on a minute; Najib lost the ‘referendum’ in the 2013 general election as he lost the popular vote. In most other so-called democratic countries, the leader of the ruling party would have resigned. Even in Malaysia, Abdullah Badawi gave way after a dismal election performance in 2008 – though even he did not lose the popular vote.

Wishful Accountant, who practises his trade, is a keen customer services and rights champion who spends his own time and resources chasing banks, utility providers, highway concessionaires and local councils on various public interest issues. Occasionally, he feels compelled to comment on political and social issues.

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