Why is the prime minister still toying with the polls date if he is so popular judging by the large numbers who attend his official functions?
For readers who enjoy the 13th general election date-guessing game, the latest from the rumour mill is that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is now also considering an October/early November date besides the September option.
“However, the October or November date is dangerous for him as that is the Haj season and holding the polls during the Haj season will ruin his image as a Muslim leader as it infringes on Muslim sensitivity,” said PAS strategist and Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad.
PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad concurred, saying that “if the Barisan Nasional government holds the general election during the Haj season, it will only serve to reveal the true colours of Umno which claims to champion Islam”.
Besides, why is the prime minister still toying with the polls date if he is so popular judging by the large numbers who attend his official functions? Why is he still dragging his feet over the election date?
Moreover, Najib has also urged the rakyat to stick to certainty with the BN government which has a proven track record instead of choosing the opposition and uncertainty. An important point to note is that it was the prime minister himself who has proclaimed that this date-guessing is a national past-time.
“By certainty does the prime minister mean that we must stick to the certainty of rising corruption and soaring crime rate?
“It is certainly the ultimate in stupidity if, by certainty, we must stick to the same trajectory leading to the abyss of destruction. Is this what the prime minister meant when he said that we must stick to certainty?” asked Dzulkefly.
Dzulkefly also said that Najib has really no choice but to use the September date if he still wants to hold the polls this year because holding the polls during the Haj season will make him lose his credibility as a Muslim leader.
Or else, Najib should just simplify matters and hold the general election next year. But the major problem with holding the polls next year is that the global economic climate has become unstable.
Economy looks bleak
Dzulkefly also said that the current macro-economic figures of growth cannot be used to predict the health of the nation’s economy in the long term as US, Europe and even economic powerhouse China are experiencing a slowdown.
“Malaysia’s economy is powered by domestic consumption and right now the number of non-performing loans of individuals is steadily rising. This is an unhealthy trend. In addition, Malaysia’s debt ratio which stands at RM653 billion is now at a very dangerous level as it has risen past the 55% benchmark of the GDP, which is the level set by Parliament that the nation must not surpass,” he added.
This shows that the situation in Malaysia is not what it seems. There is more to it than meets the eye where economic figures are concerned. Besides, statistics are always debatable. One can always present one set of figures to debunk another set of figures.
Meanwhile, the federal government is daily issuing statements proclaiming the healthy state of the nation’s economy. Does this sound reassuring?
Be that as it may, Najib is cornered where the general election date is concerned and it is due to his own doing. He has lost the element of surprise in the game that he himself initiated. Henceforth, the polls can be held anytime and Pakatan Rakyat is now standing ready.
Also, the Royal Commission of Inquiry set up to look into the problem of the illegals in Sabah obtaining citizenship needs six months to complete its work and the same can be said of the Oil Royalty Payments Committee. Both the RCI and the Oil Royalty Payments Committee will only complete their work next year.
Lacking innovative ideas
The federal government is also lacking innovative ideas on running the nation. When Pakatan or the rakyat bring up an issue, sometimes the government will respond and react. Otherwise, there is total silence as in the case of the dirty electoral rolls. Nothing exciting or awe-inspiring is coming from the BN leaders.
And it is these same BN leaders who keep proclaiming that if Pakatan were to run the country, the nation will go bankrupt. Well, that is to be seen but are things getting any better under the current government?
“Malaysia at present does not seem to be a happening place. No fresh ideas, energy and enthusiasm. The nation seems old and weary and just trudging along at snail’s pace,” said Dzulkefly.
Now the excitement stemming from the RM200 and RM100 book vouchers, the RM500 BR1M cash aid and the tyre aid to the taxi drivers has died down. The rakyat will surely be looking forward to another round of goodies when Budget 2013 is tabled on Sept 28.
1Malaysia shops selling groceries, books and fabrics have been opened. So have 1Malaysia clinics. Still all these gifts have failed to ignite the excitement of the rakyat. As quickly the excitement builds up, just as quickly it dies down. The air around seems to have gone stale. There is no energy in the atmosphere.
Even the much-touted “Janji Ditepati” Merdeka theme for this year fails to generate any “Oomph!” or “Rah rah rah!” effect. In Chinese metaphysics, we say that there is no “qi” or energy force.
The federal government is just not exciting anymore. It is just like an old machine coughing and spluttering after being started up.
Perhaps a much-needed change is just what this weary nation needs in order to inject fresh energy and vigour into the hearts and minds of all Malaysians.
We need rejuvenation and new invigorating energy. Therefore, we need to look forward to something new, something bright and something different to give us hope for the future.
Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.