Saturday, May 4, 2013

13th Malaysian General Election (#GE13): A Preview

Hello everyone.

Would you like some taste of the upcoming 13th Malaysian General Election? Stay tuned. I'll try to cover all the bases while remained as unbiased as possible. Haha.

I will break down the situation into state by state. Lets see what we have in store, Malaysians. 13 millions of us will decide about the future of this country this Sunday. This general election will be the most tightest contest between the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposing Pakatan Rakyat (PR). Last season's 92th minute league winner by Manchester City's Sergio Agueroooo sprung to mind when we are talking about close contest.

Here we go.


He who came and gone by the wind

The unpopular Datuk Seri Dr Isa Sabu (in my opinion) was shown the door while former chief Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was moved into federal seat. The people in the most northern state of Malaysia will get a new chief minister, again. 

The opposition has to fight this time without PAS state commissioner Hashim Jasin as they look to improve the result of winning 2 state assembly seats in 2008 general election.

Spotlight: Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim battles the PAS' spritual advisor deputy, Dato' Dr Harun Din for the parliament seat of Arau, previously occupied by Shahidan's brother, Datuk Ismail Kassim. Clash of the titans.


Why are you sad, Dato'?

Will the state PR government led by PAS survive for a second term? Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak has done a decent job but not without controversies here and there. Kedahans will decide if the current state government are good enough to lead them into the next 5 years.

Poor Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanifah. With the arrival of Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir from Putrajaya, his chance of becoming the new chief minister (if BN managed to win in Kedah) has deteriorated quite significantly. An exco post should be good enough as some consolation. This state is up for grabs.

Spotlight: PAS deputy president Mohammad Sabu return to Kedah to contest in Pendang Parliament seat. To combat him, BN summons the veteran Dato' Othman Abdul. Another clash of the titans.


May Allah continue giving him a good health to lead us!

It is 23 years already since Tok Guru Dato' Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat led PAS to the victory in Kelantan. Tok Guru and PAS Kelantan has became almost synonymous. However they surely cannot do this forever as people will also evaluate the service provided to them by the assemblyman they chose. Time to step up.

UMNO Kelantan (BN) has said that for years, PAS Kelantan is not actually that strong. Only 'cah keting' in previous elections by their own members has given PAS the victory. If they can really become united and forgot about their 'cah keting' tradition , they will surely give PAS Kelantan a tough day at office. 

Spotlight: Dato' Mustapha Mohamed (Jeli and Ayer Lanas) and Datuk Husam Musa (Putrajaya and Salor) are both contesting in the two seats in Parliament and State Assembly Seat. Damage limitation?


This man leads the fifth most popular state in Malaysia, 
evidenced by the television show Terengganu Kita (TV3).

Amazingly this state was oblivious to the 'political tsunami' that hit Malaysia in 2008, although nobody predicted that the aftermath was a havoc one. Former chief minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was given the boot by the palace and Kijal assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said was chosen instead, much to the fury of UMNO state leaders.

5 years after that incident, Terengganu's PAS took the matters into their hands, as evidenced by clashes in 3 state assembly seats with PKR as they try to seek a second chance for redemption after 1999. Will the people Terengganu ready to give them chance?

Spotlight: In Kuala Terengganu, 94-year old Maimun Yusuf decided to give it a go again. Zubir Embong (BN) and Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Raja Abbas (PAS) also involved in a 3-way tussle here. Respect your elders, please.


You can just talk to my hand

The DAP-led PR state government sets out to defend their hold of Penang. Say what you want about them, they have done a good job. 

After constant bombardment of state policies and actions in mainstream medias, BN must really hoped that all their efforts were enough to change Penang people's heart especially the Chinese. Looks like their defeat in 2008 has woke them up from their long slumber.

Spotlight: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was challenged in Permatang Pauh Parliament seat by BN's Dr Mazlan Ismail and independent candidate Abdullah Zawawi Samsudin. A certain Papa was nowhere to be seen..


Dato' Seri Nizar Jamaluddin's tenure as chief minister 
was shorter than a candle's life

The year 2008 and 2009 were not a pleasant one for the state. Pakatan Rakyat was intially winning by 3 seats majority and ruling for about 8 months before they are struck down rather shamefully. Defection of 3 PR's assemblyman opened a chance for BN, who grabbed the opportunity to relinquish the power with both hands.

Now, almost 4 years after the time for general election has come. Please, no more of that crap. Make sure your voices are louder, Perakians!

Spotlight: Wanita UMNO vice chief Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim created a ruckus - quit (and fired) from her party to contest as an independent candidate at Kuala Kangsar Parliament seat. She will be up against Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad (BN) and PAS's Khalil Idham Lim Abdullah, both not without their own controversy.


You want my ear? 
This is not Laksamana Do Re Mi movie you know!

Dato' Seri Adnan Yaakob was once reported saying that he will cut off his ear if the opposition managed to win in Bentong (one of the Parliament seats in Pahang) although he subsequently claimed he did not mean it literally. 

PR's chance to win in Pahang depends on their ability to penetrate Felda and rural areas, which were the stronghold of BN. Whether Lynas issue can affect people's judgement remain to be seen, so was the alleged problem of water supply. I thought it was all dandy there...

Spotlight: Deputy minister of Higher Education, Dato' Saifuddin Abdullah will defend the Temerloh Parliament seat but he will face PAS youth chief Nasruddin Hassan Tantawi. A battle between two wise men.


5 years of fighting, more to come?

The PR government led by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was constantly attacked right, left and center with issues such as water problem. sand, reflexology houses, religion and various unfulfilled promises. Selangorians, as citizens of the most developed state in Malaysia should be intelligent enough to evaluate whether the current state government should get the nod again. 

BN views Selangor as a 'must win no matter how' state. That should be enough to explain why they use every tools they have in order to wrest the control of the state. They even composed a song for this! One thing they lack, an obvious candidate to take the lead (in case they win at Selangor).

Spotlight: The controversial Dato' Zulkifli Noordin get the nod to contest at Shah Alam parliament under BN banner, where will face the incumbent Khalid Abdul Samad from PAS. Only in Malaysia.

Federal Territory

Towards the future

In the 2008 general election, BN lost all Parliament seats in Kuala Lumpur except Setiawangsa (won by ex-minister Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique). Victory in Putrajaya and Labuan was able to somewhat cushion the blow, but the result left them shell shocked.

Fast forward to 2013, BN is raring to go again and reclaim the seats from PR and redeem their previous shortcomings. In other Federal Territory seats, a very hot and spicy contest is taking shape in Putrajaya while PAS and PKR clashes in Labuan.

Spotlight: Dato' Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin got his wish to contest in Lembah Pantai Parliament seat, but he will have to beat PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar. This can end either in laughter or cry.

Negeri Sembilan

The second coming of Isa Samad

One of the best performing chief minister in BN's camp, Dato' Seri Mohammad Hassan has done well to stabilize the state government while resisting the increasing influence of former state leader Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad. As a result, he stays in.

After suprisingly managed to deny the state BN a 2/3 majority, the Negeri's PR may think that the state is there for taking. However it is not easy. Perhaps they will stand a chance if they can break into Felda areas (Tan Sri Isa is Felda's chairman) and convince the Malays and Indians to trust them.

Spotlight: Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad left the Bagan Pinang state assembly seat to contest in Jempol Parliament seat. His opposing number from PAS is not a normal one. She is Wan Aishah Wan Ariffin, formerly known as Aishah, the singer. David and Goliath springs to mind.


Football? What is that?

Melaka will get a new chief minister after Datuk Seri Ali Rustam was moved to Parliament seat. Some possible replacement names are circulating around including Datuk Idris Haron and Datuk Abdul Ghafar Atan. Oh, first BN must retain the control Melaka in order for this to happen..

PR do not have much chances of victory here, maybe they can win some assembly seats and give a good fight. This battle will be a difficult one unless something extraordinary happened.

Spotlight: Datuk Seri Ali Rustam will contest the Parliament seat of Bukit Katil, where he will square up against PKR youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin.


Say cheese, we are in front of cameras

The birth state of UMNO. Check. The fixed deposit state. Check. The fiercely loyal people to BN. Check. Even the 2008 political tsunami was unable to cause much ruckus here in the southern peninsula except some majority reduction and some seats won by opposition (albeit because of internal sabotage). That said, the last time Johor's BN scored a perfect 100% was in 1999. In other news, former Higher Education minister Dato' Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin is likely to become the new chief minister after he returned to contest a state assembly seat.

In order to make breakthrough in Johor, PR send some of their best leaders to deal with Johor. DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, PAS's Salahuddin Ayub and former federal minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng will combine to breach this fortress. 26 Parliament seats are too much to be let go. Your choices, Johoreans?

Spotlight: Two big names clashes in Gelang Patah, where Lim Kit Siang will fight chief minister Dato' Abdul Ghani Othman for the Parliament seat. The king is dead, Long live the king.


A black spot in our history

BN try to look confident in retaining their control on Sabah but some issues remain to be solved. Will the Suluk invasion incident influence Sabahans' decision? Are the local bumiputeras satisfied with their current representatives? Any last minute votes swing can be a significant one to determine the winner. What a bunch.

PR's attempt to force their way into Sabah got thwarted by an unlikely source - Sabah's local opposition parties, SAPP (formerly of BN) and STAR. By fighting in the same areas, their real intentions are questionable. Some may question why there is no compromise between the opposition factions, but clearly they do not trust each other enough. A certain thing is Sabah's politics is not in the same climate with the Peninsula's. 

Spotlight: Formerly of BN, Datuk Lajim Ukin contested under PKR banner to defend his Beaufort Parliament seat. The incumbent will be fought by BN's Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun and Gee Koh Hai of STAR. 


So long.. au revoir

With only Parliament seats are going to be contested this time, the result of state assembly election in 2011 does not look too promising for the opposition. Early forecast that BN can win about 26 of 31 Parliament seats looks bright this time after a confidence boost from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

PR can expect the Chinese voters to side with them, but the local bumiputeras, especially the ones living in rural areas need to be convinced more as they may be afraid to vote the other side for a change. Threats of stopping development and money pumping looks still a relevant tactic nowadays.

Spotlight: With the incumbent Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui chose to withdraw, the task of defending Miri Parliament seat was given to Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew. PKR's Michael Teo Yu Keng and STAR's Chong Kon Fatt will provide stern opposition to the BN newcomer.

See You Again.
Lets go out and vote!

My prediction: Close victory for the winning side. I am happy to be wrong though, in the right way.

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