Think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) predicts that UMNO will lose a lot of Parliamentary seats currently contested for the 5th May 2013 just as MCA lost their seats on the 8th of March 2008.
KPRU made these predictions based on several factors. The first factor relates closely to the fall in Barisan Nasional (BN) President, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s popularity as opposed to the steady rise of Pakatan Rakyat (PAKATAN)’s leader, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
A survey conducted by University Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (Umcedel) found that that Najib’s support to hold the reign as a Prime Minister fell to which only 39 percent of respondents believe Najib deserves to be the Prime Minister as opposed to Anwar Ibrahim which gained as much as 43 percent on the same survey. This is a fall of 4 percent from the survey conducted in early 2013. This is in line with the increase of trust in PAKATAN to become the new government post 13th General Election (GE13).
Just as MCA lost its support significantly during the 2008 General Election, UMNO has lost its support significantly in the 2013 General Election. And for that, BN’s campaign strategy for an individual known as Najib is to portray him as a good leader even though he has no courage to face Anwar Ibrahim in a debate on policies and each other’s manifestos broadcasted live through the television.
The second factor is the failure of the 1Malaysia to raise the living standards of Malaysians. Najib announced that the poverty rate fell to a mere 1.7 percent. Yet, it is predicted that the real number of the poverty rate in Malaysia is actually 19 percent, taking into account the household income and the 2009 Basic Amenities Survey Report by the Malaysian Statistics Department. At the same time, the BN government had to spend as much as RM3 billion for the 1Malaysia People’s Assistance (BR1M). Also to be noted is the 60 percent of public servants are financially incapable to purchase a house as well as the failure of the First Home Scheme to assist the young adults in purchasing their first homes.
The 1Malaysia brand is also seen as a failure of Najib’s when approximately 250 1Malaysia People’s Shop (KR1M) is opened all across the country to provide cheap items to Malaysians. Najib also plans to open another 57 KR1M shops across the country. This also means the Malaysians are financially incapacitated to purchase quality products at affordable prices as BN has to open more sundry shops that sell cheap items at lower prices than those at supermarkets such as Giant, Aeon and 99 Speedmart.
The third factor is the individual called Anwar Ibrahim whom has a better reputation that Najib in terms of the ability to administer the country’s finances and new policies that encourage reforms in line with contemporary demands.
In 2007, Malaysia’s debt was RM267 billion. In 2013, the debt soared to RM502 billion. During Anwar Ibrahim’s tenure as Finance Minister, the country’s deficit actually turned into surpluses as in 1998 before he was fired, Malaysia gained a 2.4 percent in surpluses. This surplus then became deficit right after Anwar was fired from his position. This as opposed to the deficit rate under Najib that shot up to 5.4 percent in 2010.
As for Malaysia’s workforce, Najib also failed to raise the number of skilled employees in this country considering the fact that 80 percent of workforce in this country is only armed with a Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) certificate. Also to be noted is that Anwar Ibrahim has a better reputation in the eyes of the public. An example of this situation are the Indians having no interest whatsoever in the Anwar Ibrahim’s personal life and views the sex scandal towards Anwar as a mere dirty political trick of UMNO’s. Coming back to Najib’s reputation, the government’s decision under the guise of the Public Prosecutors’ Office to do the sex trial against Anwar actually stained Najib and his administration as a cheap and dirty political tactic.
Indians are not the only one to not care about Anwar Ibrahim’s personal life. According to the survey conducted by Umcedel, 54 percent of Malay respondents concurred that Anwar deserves more to become a Prime Minister as opposed to Najib who only gained 28 percent in the same question.
The fourth factor that will influence the results of GE13 are Najib’s weak policies and his inability to stand firm on his decisions. This follows the sample of 10 failed policies of Najib’s administration as reported by KPRU prior to this. Amongst the failed 10 policies of Najib include the Lynas controversy, the failed share swap between Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia to the failed Public Service New Remuneration Scheme (SBPA) after rejections made by the public sector.
The fifth factor are the scandals that continue to haunt Najib and his administration. Amongst the list of scandals are the Scorpene scandal, Altantuya, his excessive retaliation against the participants of the Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0 demonstrations, the National Feedlot Center (NFC) scandal, the failure of his administration to deal with the Lahad Datu intrusion swiftly and effectively, the sodomy trial scandal against Anwar Ibrahim, the crony scandal of the AES, the 1Malaysia email crony scandal, the scandal involving the Chief Minister of Sarawak and the inability of Najib’s administration to deal with it, his failure to act against the scandal involving a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Nazri Aziz, the scandal involving Najib’s wife Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah binti Mansor and the RM24 million ring, the scandal of Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysa, (Perkasa) protection and given approval for it racist tendencies, and the current failure of Najib’s administration to address the increasingly prevalent and growing danger of political violence.
Following these scandals, the people get a picture that corruption that is supposedly being actively eradicated by Najib is actually being encouraged by Najib. It would seem that Najib would rather protect his cronies than to help the people to escape debt and poverty.
This situation can be more clearly demonstrated by the graph made from the survey conducted b the non-governmental organisation, Merdeka Center that maps the percentage of support towards Najib since he heralded the position as Prime Minister until 2013.
*Graph taken from Merdeka Center
Graph 1 shows that since April 2012, the people’s confidence in Najib’s performance as Prime Minister continuously decreases and this is recompensed with the slow but steady rise in dissatisfaction of the public towards his performance as the Prime Minister. The satisfaction percentage began to fall in December 2011 in which 71 percent dropped continuously till January 2013 in which the percentage was 61 percent. Meanwhile, the dissatisfaction showed a slow and steady increase starting from May 2012 from 23 percent to 32 percent in January 2013.
GE13 sees Najib as being becoming increasingly irrelevant in the public’s eye as according to the five factors mentioned. These five factors will undoubtedly influence the direction of Malaysians to either choose PAKATAN or BN as the new government for the next five years. As according to the above-mentioned information, the chance of PAKATAN to win the GE13 is clearer than BN.