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Who Is Really Ready for GE13?

Who Is Really Ready for GE13?

Barisan Nasional state leaders are beginning to report in on the ‘turun padang’ (‘going to ground’) programmes launched in last year’s party conventions. So far, the reports are favourable.

Kedah MCA chief Datuk Chong Itt Chew, in a wide-ranging interview, spoke of the outpouring of support BN has received in this Pakatan Rakyat state (lately home to the latest chapter of the internal PAS drama). According to Chong, the ‘turun padang’ programmes have not only primed the party faithful, but have served to remind voters of the contrast between Barisan and Pakatan in governance.

One can reasonably expect party leaders to applaud their own sides. However, DAP’s rising prominence has MCA on guard, and MCA’s inclination to bluster is low. More important, however, is the fact that BN component parties are beginning to feel confident enough to talk up their chances with the general election still looming, and not yet called.

This suggests that BN’s internal metrics and party-building are paying off. The potential benefit is that it will encourage more voters to believe that Barisan Nasional has its collective house in order. The potential risk is that its showing in GE13 will be worse than projected, making any boasts of strength suspect.

Credibility is not received, but earned. In what may be one of their few cagey decisions of the last year, it appears Pakatan Rakyat’s component parties have learned that lesson. All of their traditional brave talk has been lost in the swirls of the Kedah PAS madness and DAP’s ongoing leadership dispute.

The lack of usual bluster is remarkable, given that it is a vital part of the Opposition’s stock-in-trade. No recent calls for marches to Putrajaya, no promises of expanded state takeovers, not even the usual promise that this year will be the year when Pakatan finally takes Sarawak and Sabah — all quiet. With the NFCorp scandal dying down as charges are pressed and the investigation continues, it is almost as if Pakatan has lost its steam.

Credit goes to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for putting Umno and Barisan Nasional on a true ‘war footing’ — recognising the importance of this election and of reaching out to the rakyat to develop policy and a feel for the leadership it needs and wants. Pakatan has repeatedly appeared ready to do the same, but every time it comes close, it falls short — the most recent example being its aborted attempt at a manifesto.

BN is ready. PR is not. GE13 cannot be far away. Will PR catch up, or continue to waste energy and precious time on internecine internal wars?


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