Twists and turns — Lim Sue Goan
MAY 16 — Socialist Francois Hollande won the French presidential election while the two major parties in the Greek ruling coalition failed to win a parliamentary majority.
The election results have made Malaysian leaders uneasy.
The election result in France might cause the deterioration of the debt crisis in Europe, which might affect our economy and is unfavourable to the ruling party if the election is held. The massive fall of Asian stocks reflects panic in the region.
Besides, the results have also stimulated the opposition to fight. The Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition political coalition, has more powerful foreign friends now.
Will the next general election be held before the holy month of Ramadan beginning on July 19, after the country was hit by the Bersih 3.0 rally? I think the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders are indecisive over the date for the next general election.
Even though an assessment result shows the BN approval rate has not been affected by the Bersih 3.0 rally, and The Economist magazine also wrote that the rally brought a smaller political impact compared to the Bersih 2.0 rally, the people will still remember the violence during the rally if the election is held in June or July. It will inevitably lead to some emotional votes. In addition, Umno also wants the Selangor state election and general election to be held simultaneously.
However, if the election is scheduled in September, the unpredictable European market might bring more trouble.
As for how they deal with and resolve the effect of the Bersih 3.0 rally, we can see that Umno conservatives are striving for the right to speak and to take tough actions.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is worried that the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the government’s emphasis on not arresting and detaining a person merely for his political beliefs might give room for the resurgence of the Malaysian Communist Party (MCP). The law enforcement agencies would be helpless if terrorists form political parties.
The ISA and other outdated laws are the tool of old politicians to defend their power and privileges. They are worried because Najib’s reforms seem to have allowed the opposition to grow.
In fact, the transformation plans are in line with the global trend of democracy. However, the pace of reforms is not fast enough, with too many obstacles. As a result, they are far from the civil society’s expectations. It is not the fault of the reform programme, but malady within the system.
Mahathir’s remarks are specious. He said that MCP leader Chin Ping might return, form a party and win the election, as there is no more ISA to deal with him.
Chin Ping is 88 and in poor health. He is not allowed to return to Malaysia. How is he going to form a political party? Moreover, the Home Ministry still holds the power to approve or reject the formation of parties.
It is not easy to challenge the Societies Act 1966.
Mahathir tries to use the “fear” of terrorist attacks to rope in those who cherish the same ideals and take the same course.
If Umno changes to a tough attitude, the alternative coalition will be very pleased to see it. It is because when Umno takes a defensive strategy to consolidate its basic support, its efforts in fighting for swing votes will then be wasted.
Malaysian politics is full of twists and turns and the real fun is yet to come! — The Nation
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.