Here is the news. No-one has said this week when the general election (GE13) will take place. So we can all relax, right?
Well not exactly. This week while opening the RM200 million Iskandar Malaysia People’s Housing Project in Lima Kedai, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak uttered one word, which should spark panic amongst his opponents. It happened while he was speaking about how projects such as this 1500 unit housing complex will benefit low and middle income families.
“The units range between three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments to four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments. I am pleased to see such developments taking place in Iskandar,” he said.
“You vote for us and this is what you get. We want to provide the people with quality living. You vote for the same government for state and federal, thus, creating a proper synergy between the two.”
It’s the V-word: “vote” that should cause alarm in Pakatan ranks. Until now Najib has been assiduous in not using the language of an election campaign. Instead he has been calmly drawing attention to the government’s economic credentials and its record in delivering big-ticket projects such as Iskander Malaysia. Over the weekend it was the opening of Johor Premium Outlets. On Monday it was affordable housing.
The fact that the PM mentioned voting doesn’t tell us any more about when GE13 will take place. But having watched him say it on television, wouldn’t it be a good time to switch channels and see what the opposition parties are up to?
We start, as ever, with DAP. While the Prime Minister was talking about how private investment in projects such as Iskander Malaysia are well on the way to creating the 3.3 million jobs as outlined in the Economic Transformation Programme, the Penang DAP annual convention was degenerating into farce and school-yard name calling (as reported by The Choice).
Penang DAP deputy chairman P. Ramasamy labelled DAP national chairman Karpal Singh “Godfather” after Karpal said he wouldn’t tolerate “warlords” fielding cronies for the election. This got Karpal very upset. He has since demanded an apology. Despite the fact that The Godfather is one of the highest grossing films and is ranked the third best film of all time very, Karpal helpfully explained the insult to the uninitiated.
“Godfather portrays the image of a mafia group, while the DAP has never tolerated the mafia,” he said.
Phew! Thanks for that.
Meanwhile, over at PAS, the very idea of an election seems to be a distant concept. Although the Pakatan parties have claimed they are on a “war footing” in readiness for GE13 the public jockeying for candidacy is the latest saga at PAS.
In the latest episode, the rumour mill has been turning at high speed with stories circulating about how Datuk Dr Hasan Ali has been dropped by Selangor PAS with the blessing of the PAS central committee. In other words, with the blessing of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi. When the story became public, Hadi denied all knowledge.
“Not true, as we haven’t even looked at the list of candidates,” he said.
He then reprimanded the Selangor PAS leadership for “speculating on the candidacy of Datuk Dr Hasan Ali”. In everyday language that means he gave them a slap for letting the cat out of the bag.
What is clearly needed within the Pakatan Rakyat coalition is a man at the top with an iron fist. If anyone sees or hears from Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim please let us know.
Contrast all this drama with the unity shown at the recent Umno General Assembly. Najib could have used the party jamboree to allow old party hacks to feel safe and loved. Instead, he publicly issued a warning that he wants to purge the party of dead wood ahead of GE13 in favour of younger, hungrier candidates. And there is a bit of dead wood to be cleared away inside Umno, and Najib was right to focus on winnable candidates. Umno will never get it right unless its embraces both generational change and a change in mind-set that rids the party of some of its own warlords and makes way for the Facebook generation.
The election is coming – is everyone ready? Clearly not.