GE14 can be won by black swan events, says analyst

From left: Moderator, UiTM mass communications senior lecturer Ismail Sualman, former IGP Musa Hassan, MPN political consultant Mazlan Ali, MPN governance, law and public administration cluster head Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood.

SHAH ALAM: Mazlan Ali, a political consultant with the National Professors Council (MPN), believes the general election will be won by whoever can provide the best “black swan” events.

A black swan event is something that is unpredictable or unforeseen that typically brings extreme consequences.

“There are bound to be black swan moments before polling takes place tomorrow,” Mazlan said when speaking at a forum at Kumpulan Media Karangkraf in Shah Alam today.

“Although by law, all election campaign activities must stop by midnight today, with social media there’s no way to really stop political parties from continuing to canvass for votes. Watch out for those last moments.”

He added that political parties are well aware of how to reach out to voters at the last minute despite not being allowed to campaign on polling day.

“The final decision on who will form the next government very largely depends on those last few moments and I’m sure some parties are keeping that final knockout punch for the last minute,” he said.

Mazlan said this is what happened in 1990 when the opposition, led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah from Semangat 46, challenged the ruling Barisan Nasional under then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Back then there was only the mainstream media. Razaleigh seemed to have the winning formula and was moments away from victory.

“However, on the final day before polling, BN came out with a picture of Razeleigh wearing a Kadazan headdress which had an image resembling a Christian cross.

“Thousands of leaflets with the photo were distributed across the peninsula and the photo was also published in every newspaper. The opposition could not answer that (on time) and they were destroyed.”

Mazlan added that it was also dangerous for party-aligned research houses to present results that gave the assumption that victory was assured.

“If the results don’t turn out the way you expect them to, then it could cause chaos.”

Another panellist, former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan, urged politicians and voters to refrain from saying things that could incite people.

Musa said both Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional supporters were issuing a lot of statements on social media which were not reflective of a peace-loving society. This was due to the rhetoric coming from politicians from both sides.

“PH has been bringing out the hate in people towards current leaders.

“BN, on the other hand, is working on the fear factor, especially among the Malays and Muslims.”