Tun Mahathir’s Popularity Referendum; Be Careful What You Wish For!

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The Opposition cannot claim that Sarawak was a fluke or had nothing to do with Team Barisan Nasional being the rakyat’s party of choice!

Today’s (June 18th) by-elections further proved that having Tun Mahathir out campaigning or in his case out complaining did not help one iota.  If anything, having him with the Opposition has probably damaged the little hope that they thought they had.

For all of Tun Mahathir, Lim Kit Siang (DAP), Ibrahim Zaid’s and the rest of their ilk’s efforts to make the by-election about 1MDB, GST; the rakyat flat out rejected the Oppositions campaign.

Tun Mahathir will probably come out with the same excuse he used when he said had he not been busy with trying to remove the Prime Minister; he could have prevented his son Mukhriz from losing his seat as the Kedah Menteri Besar.

Now he (Tun Mahathir) will say, had he not been so busy with the ‘Save Malaysia’ campaign and counting the 1.2 million unverified signatures, he could have made sure that his candidates of choice won in the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections!

Several months ago Tun Mahathir with the confidence of one who knew the answer to a rhetorical question; wanted a referendum on who was more popular; he or Prime Minister Najib Razak.   Leading up to today’s vote, Tun Mahathir was saying that by-election would serve as a referendum on the Prime Minister’s leadership and of course, his (Tun Mahathir) popularity!

It is often said, be careful what you wish for.  If the results of today’s by-election were a referendum on popularity, then it is quite clear that voters in both East and  peninsular Malaysia are of the same mind; The Prime Minister is moving Malaysia in the right direction!

The aftermath of the election also proved something that many of us have been alluding to for some time now; and that is Tun Mahathir is done!  He is not the ultimate political weapon that the Opposition can send to secure an election win!

Tun Mahathir mistakenly thought that all he need do was to show up and start rambling on about how the Prime Minister did this or that wrong doing and the people would by into it.  It is obvious that the people did not buy into any of what he (Tun Mahathir) and the rest of Pakatan Harapan had to offer!

Given Tun Mahathir’s ineffectiveness with both Sarawak and today’s by-elections, it will be interesting to see how the Opposition will extricate itself from him now that they see he (Tun Mahathir) is a spent brand way past its due date!

Still while many Pakatan Harapan will lament over the decimation which occurred during the by-election; there is at least one in the Opposition that can have a sense of satisfaction with the loss!  And that one is Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim!

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has probably started dancing in his prison cell when it became clear that BN was headed for a win!

He (Anwar Ibrahim) needed Tun Mahathir to lose the popularity referendum to sure up his own de facto leadership status within PKR and at the same time, keep Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali from becoming too ambitious! Now he (Anwar) can say to his people ‘told you so’!  Not that he would have made a difference, but at least he can say that he was not directly responsible for the loss!

The good news for the government is that with roughly a 71 % turnout, the voters in Sungai Besar and Kula Kangsar have spoken loud and clear.  They have given Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Team Barisan Nasional a mandate to continue moving Malaysia forward!

One can almost say that if today is the latest phase in a trend, then Team Barisan Nasional is positioning itself for a GE14 win!


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