Commentary Politics

Groping in the dark towards GE14

Telling the world who they want -- and it's not Zaid's Mahathir (in checked shirt).

Written by Aziz Hassan

May 22, 2017.

Recollections & Reflections – A weekly column

MANY expect the 14th general elections to be held this year, with some from the corridors of power talking about October but of course later events may alter the plans.

The Barisan Nasional federal ruling coalition has been zooming in on one-ness amongst its coalition partners and telling those on the ground to go on the offensive.

The opposition was truly upbeat after the last polls in 2013 but since then appears to go a bit downhill, with cracks appearing in its lose grouping since about two years ago, although it has had some additions in the form of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia initiated by former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed and the Amanah formed by the breakaway boys from PAS.

PAS of course is no longer in Pakatan Harapan and this is bound to affect the strategy by Pakatan to have a one-on-one contest against the BN, which Mahathir keeps repeating is the best way to oust BN from Putrajaya. It is also generally agreed that a three-cornered fight in critical constituencies will be detrimental to the opposition.

The latest we hear from the PKR boys is that Mahathir’s presence in the opposition or his ties with PKR is not well-received and in itself causes fraction within the ranks.

So for the moment it looks like the only opposition politician who thinks that Mahathir is god-sent and is the man who will attract the Malay votes in droves to the opposition is former law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who also went on to add that Mahathir should be PM all over again if the opposition wins GE14.

But no one picked it up from there and yesterday’s session of the PKR national congress made it crystal clear who the party wanted as the 7th PM and it definitely is not Mahathir. Only Mahathir knows how it felt to be there while the flyer-like declaration was in favour of someone else.

And if you were Pribumi Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the most recent former Umno and government number two, you would be feeling downcast at being far away from the minds of the opposition as a potential PM. Not good for the ego and an indication of what they think of him as a leader, despite the positions he had held and is holding now.

Well prepared teams in the world go into a contest in a positive frame of mind although half the world is convinced that they would not win but talking down their own chances is something they’ll never do but with the Malaysian political opposition, the approach is the opposite.

Why should the BN feel threatened when leaders from the other side keep on talking about their own differences and limited chances of winning the battle?

People who are not excited about the BN want to see a viable opposition but this is what is missing from the Malaysian political arena.

The sentiments against the BN amongst Malaysians who do not subscribe to any political party look strong but ousting the ruling coalition may need more than just sentiments.

And Mahathir signing that Free Anwar peitition? Fhuhh……

There is a downside, though, to the e-hailing cab service

Further to what was written about Uber and Grab before this, there’s more feedback gathered from those providing the service.

The downside with Uber is that when the driver receives a ping on a potential rider, the apps doesn’t state the destination of that ride.

As the story goes, one young man accepted the ping in the Kuala Lumpur city centre and went to where the ride and his family were waiting. The driver was a part-timer who had to be back at his regular job during the day.

Imagine being told by the man that he wanted to go to Bukit Mertajam, which is about three hours and 15 minutes away from KL!!!

The fare was stated as RM280. Finally both sides agreed that RM350 would be fair value.

On another occasion this man faced a man who wanted to go to Malacca, about half the distance of that Bukit Mertajam ride.

Stating the destination of the next ride however is made available to the drivers by Grab but under Grab, most times the fare is slightly higher than that quoted by Uber.

Regardless, for most people the most important criterion is having options to choose from.



About the author


Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.