KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — Malaysians will vote out Barisan Nasional (BN) by the 14th general election if the prime minister does not immediately guarantee free and fair elections, says Raja Petra Kamarudin.
The controversial political blogger warned PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the political tsunami of Election 2008 could come full circle at the 14th general election if he did not listen to the demands of the “middle ground” who made up 40 per cent of the country’s electorate.
“It will be the 40 per cent middle ground that is non-partisan but just want to see good governance and a fair election,” he said in a blog posting.
“The era of when governments can stop its citizens from speaking and from expressing themselves is long gone.”
Pointing to the “Arab spring” uprisings in Egypt, Raja Petra said it was proof that governments could no longer ignore demands for a good, clean government.
He said Najib could only remain as PM if he won more than 111 parliamentary seats, and that the votes that would determine this came from “non-partisan”, middle-class Malaysians.
“And my Wawasan 2020 is: by the 14th general election, say in 2017 or so, what started in 2008 during the 12th general election is going to see maturity,” Raja Petra said.
“Hence you either change now, in the coming 13th general election, or else Wawasan 2020 is going to be the era when Umno Baru and BN are as dead as Umno ‘lama’ and the Alliance Party,” he told Najib.
He said the PM ought to learn from the British colonists and how they handled the communist insurgency before Malaysia’s independence. The British won the hearts and minds of the public, not with guns and bullets.
Unlike the British, Raja Petra said the current administration did not understand the “pulse of the nation”, and that was a sign of impending electoral defeat.
“The failure of many renowned leaders is that they do not have their hands on the pulse,” he said. “These types of leaders live in the past or in a fantasy world.”
Electoral reform groups as well as opposition lawmakers have repeatedly accused the government of endorsing an unfair polls process.
Polls reform group Bersih announced last week that it would have a third rally for free and fair elections on April 28, expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s refusal to implement key electoral reforms before the next general election.
This time Bersih will hold simultaneous events across the country.
Bersih’s previous rally on July 9, 2011, turned chaotic when riot police used tear gas and turned water cannons on the crowd of thousands in Kuala Lumpur.
The crowd had converged on the streets of the capital from the early hours, defying earlier warnings that their participation could result in arrests.
More than 1,600 people were detained, including Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and scores of opposition lawmakers, but Bersih 2.0 declared the event a success based on the number of participants and the publicity it had in local and international media.
The government enacted the Peaceful Assembly Act after the event and formed the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms, but Bersih 2.0 maintains that these moves were insufficient.