Why wait three years to punish Pakatan, when we can do it now?

Why wait three years to punish Pakatan, when we can do it now?
By Zan Azlee

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed has spoken when it comes to voters in the Tanjung Piai by-election in Johor. He has said that the locals should not shoot themselves in the foot by not voting for Pakatan Harapan just because they are angry.

He is, of course, also the chairperson of Pakatan Harapan. And he was at that time campaigning in Johor when he said it. He had been campaigining together with other members of his cabinet, such as Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Mahathir went on to say that if the voters act out of anger, they would suffer for the next three years till the next general election under the wrong candidate.

“If we reject the candidate who can serve us, because of anger or other reasons, we will be the ones at a loss. In English, they say don’t shoot yourself in the foot,” he said.

I guess Mahathir realises that his coalition faces a tough uphill battle in the by-election, for whatever reason. He obviously thinks that the voters there are angry and that this could be a cause for them to not want to vote for Pakatan Harapan, but for the opposition instead.

It wasn’t just him. His colleague Lim Guan Eng also said the same thing.

“If we fail to fulfil our promises in three-and-a-half years, it won’t be too late to punish us then. But why vent your frustrations based on opposition slander? Three-and-a-half years. Surely you would not deny this opportunity to yourselves? You will not be punishing Harapan, but yourselves,” Lim (below) said.

Although they can sense that people are angry with them, they don’t seem to actually know what is it that they did to deserve the anger. In fact, it more or less seems like they actually don’t think they deserve it and it is all slander from the opposition.

So let me remind the Harapan leaders why voters might be angry with them. For you readers, do chime in the comments section if you have anything to add. But please do it objectively and professionally. No naughty and indecent postings please.

One of the most obvious reasons is that many Malaysians feel that Harapan, after being voted into government, has not fulfilled many of the promises that they have made. We can list down the promises, if they want.

The 30 percent women quota in the government, which they promised to fulfil, but after more than a year it still hasn’t been reached. The economy is still bad and the unemployment rate is still high. Let’s not even mention how religious and racial intolerance has not got any better.

Basically, many of the old grouses that Malaysians have been complaining about have not been addressed. It’s the same now as it was then. So, what is the difference who we vote for, right? It’s just going to be the same old same old.

Sure, there are some improvements. We can’t deny that corruption has been dealt with quite aggressively. Certain forms of transparency and accountability have also improved among the administrators. Yes, the media has seen some significant improvement.

But it’s not enough. It’s not enough because Pakatan Harapan promised us a whole list of things that they would do if they were voted in. We voted them in because they said that they would fulfil all the promises and not just a part of them.

What is not acceptable is once they are voted in, they start to say that their promises were a little bit too much and now they can’t actually fulfil them. In my books, that is akin to making empty promises and, basically, lying to us. Saying they can do something when they really can’t.

Even Mahathir admitted this a while back when he said that Harapan didn’t expect to actually win the election and take over the government. That was why they created the manifesto that they did. In their minds, they were going to lose, so just promise whatever, lah.

What they are saying is that – we didn’t think we would win so we promised you bullshit. So please keep quiet for now. Let us finish our term and don’t punish us right away. Just punish us in another few years when the general election comes about.

A few days ago, Mahathir even said during a press conference that if voters in Tanjung Piai voted for Harapan, then they will be able to fulfil their promises. But if they vote for the opposition, then all promises wouldn’t be fulfilled.

How do they expect us to believe that now when it has already been quite obvious that Pakatan Harapan are prone to making big promises that they can’t or don’t even intend to fulfil? And they expect us Malaysians to just take it sitting down? Come on.

Many people ask me if I actually prefer that the old regime comes back and take over the government. Of course not. They are the worst and I do not want them back in power, unless they totally change themselves to a party that I would agree with, which seems highly unlikely.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to just allow Pakatan Harapan to continue to dupe and con us. If anything, I would want to start punishing them now so that they will actually take notice and do something before it’s too late.

And the way to punish them, aside from constantly critiquing, is to show in the ballot box. Right now, the most immediate ballot box available is in Tanjung Piai. This just could be the right message to make them take heed. Hopefully.

[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]

Get Zan Azlee’s latest book ‘JOURNO-DAD: The chronicles of a journalist who just happens to be a dad!‘ today!


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