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If Pakatan is losing the ground war, it needs more than a propaganda machine to win it back!




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Observers and analysts are out in droves calling on the Pakatan Harapan government to go back to its days on the ground to win the hearts or risk losing to the Barisan Nasional in coming by-elections.

The Pakatan Harapan government lost a by-election for a state seat in Selangor on Saturday, beaten by a coalition of Islamists and the Umno. This is causing a lot of people to point the fingers at the Pakatan for what they are calling a ‘failed’ agenda.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Islamists joining hands with Umno brought the defeat of the ruling coalition, adding that the precarious economic situation inherited from the previous Barisan Nasional regime also contributed to the defeat.

He says this meant his administration could not fulfil its promises overnight.

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Deputy PM Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says the vote against Pakatan is a message for the ruling party to study issues deeply.

Wan Azizah, the Harapan president, says Malaysia’s democratic system gave the Pakatan government a choice. The people should know that Pakatan is doing its best for them.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim believes in time, the people will understand why reform is slow but the defeat gives PH an idea of the sentiments of the people, especially the Malays but insists the government should represent the sentiments, needs and aspirations of all the races in Malaysia.

The point is there is a shift in Malay sentiments against the PH and this showed in the results at the Semenyih by-election. A rising anti-PH trend is also seen on social media where the criticism seemed to come mostly from Malays.

However, the opposition’s victory was achieved thanks to the PAS and the Umno working together and the fact that the Bersatu (Dr Mahathir’s party) fielded a weak candidate that did not make the cut with the electorate who were voting to fill the vacant state seat.

While it is too early to say whether the Pakatan government of Dr Mahathir has completely lost its mojo in the eyes of the public, it is reasonable to believe this by-election defeat may craft the path for the Bersatu and for the push to get Anwar Ibrahim, the PM in waiting, up the ladder.

Conspiracy theorists are arguing the election was lost due to the DAP and the PKR of Anwar Ibrahim not working hard enough to snatch a victory for the Bersatu candidate last Saturday.

The truth is all the component parties fought on Bersatu’s side but the reality is that PAS and the Umno together forms a lethal combination for a weaker PH.

But all is not lost. It is actually the beginning of everything for the PH regime, if they do the right thing.

Dr. Mohd. Tajuddin Bin Mohd. Rasdi, Professor at the School of Architecture and Built Environment, USCI university in Malaysia lambasted the PH with his latest comments on Free Malaysia Today.

Tajuddin says he told the PH they must reactivate their ‘ceramah’ (local street speech machinery) and send out second and third level leaders to the ground “because TV and policy papers are useless in the battle on the ground.”

He says ex-PM Najib Razak’s tweets and ‘Malu Apa Bossku’ literally translated to ‘why should there be any shame boss’ “were effective to small-minded Malays.”

Fight the rumour mill

Nevertheless, the message is clear: Malaysia will not forgive any missteps by the government while the infighting within the ruling coalition and the successful churning of the rumour mill by the opposition is a lot for Pakatan to chew.
Pakatan will probably need more than leaning on traditional and national TV stations or closed-door meetings with intellectuals to win back positive sentiments from the population, especially from the Malay-Muslims who feel threatened by an apparent lack of powerful Malay figures in the current cabinet lineup.
The coalition – in particular, the PKR – is in need of the support of think tanks and ngo’s that can touch the hearts of the people and a solid propaganda machine that can dissipate the fake news machinery launched against them since May 9.

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