We are now at a crucial crossroads. For the sake of ourselves, our children and the nation, we must exercise our rights as citizens to cast our votes wisely.
The 15th general election war has finally started. Besides the Big Three (BN, PH and PN), we still have a dozen other parties and countless of independent candidates vying for the seats. Undeniably, this election war is going to be the most chaotic ever in the country’s history.
How chaotic could that be? Perhaps the numbers can offer a clearer picture!
A total of 945 candidates have been nominated to vie for 222 parliamentary seats, a national record indeed. In Selangor alone, as many as 24 independent candidates are standing in the election. Multicornered fights are a norm for most battlefields. Three-cornered fights are nothing, as Batu sees a jaw-dropping ten-cornered fight!
In the midst of all the chaos and commotion, several constituencies deserve a little more attention from us.
PH chairman cum PKR president Anwar Ibrahim is moving over to Tambun this time, taking on the incumbent, PN’s second in command Ahmad Faizal Azumu. It is hoped that with Anwar’s presence in Perak, the PH coalition can recapture the state.
While Anwar definitely has an upper hand in Tambun, Faizal is not a weak candidate at all and the fight is expected to be very tough.
This time, incumbent health minister Khairy Jamaluddin is sent to Sungai Buloh which is by no means a “safe seat” as Umno’s second in command Mohamad Hasan has claimed, but rather a “black zone” in which BN has been defeated three times in a row.
That said, Khairy may not necessarily lose, as he commands a sound public reputation, rare among Umno politicians.
Over to Langkawi, the 97-year-old incumbent Mahathir Mohamad is having a tough time in a five-cornered fight, his last anyway.
The former PM’s credibility has suffered a steady decline ever since he left the top government post. His new party Pejuang has not lived up to expectation, and was wholly wiped out in the earlier Johor state election.
Mahathir still boasts robust fighting spirit and will never surrender easily. But, will he still stand a chance with BN, PH and PN besieging him?
So far BN and PH remain the two most powerful contenders while PN only plays a third fiddle and is indeed trailing far behind.
Up till the nomination day, Umno had an upper hand, but with party president Ahmad Zahid ruthlessly axing the Minister Cluster and caretaker PM Ismail’s confidants dropped from the candidates’ list, having to contest on PN ticket instead, BN is beginning to feel the pressure.
Some even believe that with Shahidan Kassim turning against his old boss, BN will likely lose Perlis as well.
Who between BN and PH able to court the support of middle voters and first-timers will have its chance of capturing Putrajaya significantly boosted.
A Merdeka Center poll shows that 26% of voters are more inclined to go with PH, 24% with BN and only 13% with PN, while as many as 31% of respondents have yet to decide.
As such, the 14-day campaign period should be very crucial. Political parties and their candidates must try to convince the voters with their manifestos and political views.
One factor that must never be trifled with is the first-time voters. With the introduction of Undi18 and automatic voter registration, we suddenly see an influx of millions of new voters this time round. The voting inclinations of these new voters remain unknown, although we are sure they constitute a powerful force that will invariably tip the election balance.
Because of that, none of the parties can say for sure it will definitely win, before the votes are actually counted. It is widely believed that no single political camp can win enough seats to rule on its own and a joint government is therefore inevitable.
GE15 will not only decide who gets to helm the federal government, but will also be a matter of life or death for some parties, notably Bersatu.
Bersatu is a very young party with frail grassroots. Although it did see its better days these past few years, this was nevertheless a product of destiny. The party started to crumble after Muhyiddin was forced out of office, putting Umno back at the center of power once again.
GE15 will be the last chance for Bersatu to bounce back. But if it gets beaten again, its future is doomed.
Its PN partner Gerakan Rakyat is not doing any better. If this party fails to make a wave this time, it will only head further downhill.
The 15th general election is going to see the most “chaotic” battles and is a very important election in the country’s democratic history.
We are now at a crucial crossroads. For the sake of ourselves, our children and the nation, we must exercise our rights as citizens to cast our votes wisely in order to put the country’s politics back on the right track.