Ak57\’s Weblog

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Posts Tagged ‘Khalid Ibrahim

Thoughts on Hulu Selangor By-election, Part 1

As I write this, BN is leading the voting count. Of course once counting is complete I fully expect the losing side to demand a recount (assuming the rules allow it). This by-election had the most effort put in by both sides so far, more than any by-election to date. (Note: I am aware I left out mention of political issues e.g. no corruption, but I have my reasons to focus solely on PKR).

Why PKR needs to win

  • Zaid Ibrahim needs a win to legitimise the important role (post?) he was given when he joined PKR. Remember when he had to cancel a trip to Sabah/Sarawak because some leaders disapproved?
  • Tan Sri Khalid needs a win because his leadership style has made a lot of enemies among party grassroots.
  • Anwar Ibrahim needs a win because the party hoppers that were his close friends hurt his clout among the grassroots. It surprises me when I hear long-time members make disparaging remarks about him. Since late last year there was serious talk that Zaid should replace him in the near future. Such talk only increases the internal squabbles.
  • PKR needs to show that they can run a by-election with the grassroots and leadership that they have. It will affect member morale nationwide.

So if PKR loses, I expect the usual complaints about phantom voters or even so far as declaring the by-election invalid due to the 14,000 voters that had their voting stations moved.

What works in PKR’s favour

  • Use of state govt machinery to get votes. The MB moved his office to Hulu Selangor and for the first time in history, held the weekly State Exco meetings there instead of Shah Alam.

What works against PKR

  • Lack of cooperation between PKR and PAS. Whether this is due to PAS disapproval of Zaid, or just lack of organisational skills of PKR is anyone’s guess. However PAS did state publicly that it was due to difficulty in coordinating with PKR.
  • Lack of strong PKR grassroots. By strong I mean given a task, they will really do it and not just come back later and say they did.

What works in BN’s favour

  • Crazy sums of money to give out. I don’t agree with bribes but I have to say that if their concerts had attendees (PKR had concerts too), and gifts accepted then the blame lies with the electorate. If bribery was the right way to get their vote, sadly that show BN understands them better.
  • Larger grassroots base. Functional or not I wouldn’t know.

I actually hope BN wins, for several reasons:

PKR members (not just elected reps) have gotten too arrogant. They have forgotten that they were handed power in 2008 and need to earn it in the next GE. They should have invested time in defining party culture and developing leadership at every level, not just blindly recruiting and ordering members to volunteer. Our message is good but our grassroots management strategy is weak.

PKR needs to learn that different communities require different tactics to win their vote. For some people all they understand is how to vote based on race or which side gives more money. The only way to change that mentality is by education and 2-3 weeks of ceramah is not enough. This is where strong grassroots come in, if not ceramah then by leafleting. It’s an epic task but it needs to be done.

All 3 ADUNs under the MP seat are BN. Even though they have been crippled by having their state allocations withheld by the Selangor State govt (and given to Exco members Ean Yong and Elizabeth under ADUN Angkat programme), they still matter. The previous PKR MP could not have achieved much because he did not have a strong grassroots or ADUNs to help manage the constituency. The Exco members are too busy to be there for him as regularly as ADUNs. So if Zaid won, by the next GE the BN candidates can say, “You see? You voted for Zaid but he couldn’t help with local problems”.

Win or lose, an MP gets no allocation if he is from Pakatan. Zaid would have to carry the burden of managing a large constituency, raise issues in Parliament and whatever leadership tasks he has in PKR/Pakatan Rakyat. If he loses, he can still help the voters and work on building a strong grassroots for the next GE. It’s only 2 years away. If he wins he has to hope the Exco members are available to disburse funds from the ADUN allocations for him. They are very, very busy people. The pressure to perform as MP will be high, whereas even as a non-MP he could work with the Excos for the constituency, as preparation work for next GE. That is why I see a loss as a good thing.

You could argue that if BN wins, Kamalanathan will use use his allocation to reinforce voter support. But win or lose he can do that anyway. Zaid does not get that option. The fact is that you need money to solve people’s problems.

I learned a lot these past 2 weeks and saw a lot of ugliness on both sides; I’ll try to document it soon.

Written by ak57

April 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm