KUALA LUMPUR: An opposition politician today accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of using three manipulative tactics to ensure the opposition loses in the 14th general election (GE14).
DAP’s Kluang MP, Liew Chin Tong, said Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, was delaying the registration of the opposition bloc and using the redelineation exercise and the anti-fake news law to “eliminate” the opposition.
“MCA president Liow Tiong Lai, MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong and Gerakan Penang chairman Teng Chang Yeow have been slamming DAP for supposedly wanting to eliminate MCA and Gerakan, whereas in fact, it is Najib who is going all out to eliminate the opposition from the Malaysian political scene,” he said in a statement.
Liew added that after the last general election, Najib understood that BN would lose federal power if it were to have a straight fight with the opposition again.
So, he claimed, Najib tried to destroy the opposition pact at the time, Pakatan Rakyat, “by taking Anwar Ibrahim out of the equation, luring PAS into Umno’s fold and playing up the narrative that the opposition coalition was dominated by DAP and Lim Kit Siang”.
However, Liew said Najib did not foresee that 1MDB would be embroiled in “such a huge scandal” which would eventually lead to a split in Umno.
Neither did he expect Dr Mahathir Mohamad to establish PPBM and form a coalition with the other Pakatan Harapan (PH) parties, allowing the opposition to bounce back, he added.
Now that PH was set to take over Putrajaya, Liew said, Najib had resorted to these three tactics.
“First, it’s the manipulation of the election system through the redelineation exercise. Should the new electoral boundaries with significant shifts be adopted, BN will win power by gaining 60% of the parliamentary seats with a mere 40% of the popular vote.”
He said the new electoral boundaries would mean an uphill battle for PH in GE14, especially in Johor, Selangor and Perak.
Najib’s second move, he said, was to crack down on digital media. He said the anti-fake news bill might be abused during the election as a weapon against critics and opposition leaders while “masking BN cybertroopers’ spread of slanderous news online attacking” PH.
“The BN government is directly or indirectly in control of all mainstream media outlets but it is still fearful of the power of digital media. The fake news law is hence created to block all currently available platforms for the opposition to reach out to the masses.”
Liew also accused the government of interfering with the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to make things difficult for the opposition, “including an ill-masked effort to deregister DAP and PPBM”.
“Since the era of Pakatan Rakyat a decade ago until the formation of Pakatan Harapan today, we have been trying to register as a formal coalition and contest under a unified banner but the RoS never approved our application.
“The result is an unlevel playing field where BN and Najib have all the power and resources to rig the elections,” he said, urging voters to “turn the situation around” and win this “David vs Goliath battle”.