Anwar has finally won, and his route to Parliament is clear. But what next? Will he be able to garner enough support by way of a crossover of BN parliamentarians to form the ‘people’s government’ come September 16, as he has so convincingly claimed? There were also lots of promises made during the campaigning, and will Anwar be able to fulfilled those promises? Will he be able to stamp out corruption which he has so passionately pledged, since his release from prison. These are some of the questions that Malaysians wants answered, more so for those avid supporters of Anwar.
With Anwar’s win, what then was UMNO/BN’s failure during the by-election?. To say that Anwar won primarily because Permatang Pauh is his home ground is unacceptable and lame. And to say that Anwar had used the race card, to appeal to the Chinese and Indians to vote for PR is not right either. Clearly, for me, the manner in which UMNO/BN had strategized its campaigning was all wrong, and UMNO/BN must accept this fact.
UMNO/BN has misunderstood and failed to read the sentiment of the people of Permatang Pauh. Acting like instant Santa Claus, by giving out huge amount of cash to mosque, madrasah, schools and others, is counter productive. The people are cleaver enough to understand the actual reason of the instant cash handouts. Why now they say. Why not several months or years before. To claim that the instant cash handout is not politically motivated, and has nothing to do with the by-election is dumb.
Even the swearing of a politician in a mosque at Permatang Pauh, did little to change the opinion of the voters, especially the Malay voters, and this is easily proven by the increase majority obtained by Anwar.
I was not anywhere at Permatang Pauh throughout the by-election period. But I have a lot of friends (both UMNO and PR), whom I am in constant contact throughout the period. From the very outset, they knew that it was very difficult for BN to win. They felt aggrieved at the way the UMNO/BN campaign was being done. The nightly show featuring Saiful’s swearing for one, had caused more hatred for the BN, than joy. Accusing Anwar for being a traitor of the Malays for accommodating the Chinese and Indians, as well as being a Jewish agent, must have alienated the Chinese and Indian voters, and for them to cast their votes for PR.
UMNO/BN big wigs that came in droves to support their candidate, did little to appease the voters. Their speeches were nothing but to condemn Anwar, with little to talk about issues affecting the people and the nation at large. One UMNO speaker even want to the extend of saying that this by-election is meant to bury Anwar. Now with the results out, who is to bury who?
There are lots of lessons to be learnt from this by-election, which I dubbed, the dirtiest ever. However, having heard the news over TV 1 this morning, I am glad that Najib has graciously conceded defeat for the BN, and said that democracy is still very much alive in Malaysia.