PETALING JAYA: A consultant on political strategies has criticised the conduct of campaigning in recent by-elections, saying both Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) have yet to rise above pettiness.
“Both sides are harping on the same old issues, saying the same things, picking on each other and fighting over small things,” said Syed Arabi Idid, a communications expert who is known to have advised BN parties on campaign strategies for several general elections.
He told FMT it appeared that BN had yet to adapt itself to its role as an opposition coalition and PH to its newfound power.
Noting that Malaysia has seen six by-elections since last May’s general election, he said it was time for BN to stop “picking small fights” with the government and start posing serious questions on its policies.
PH, meanwhile, must go beyond “harping on old issues such as 1MDB and corruption”, he added.
He speculated that many Malaysians had become “tired of politics” because of the name-calling and other petty tactics both sides had been using in their campaigns.
He also said the by-elections were teaching the component parties in PH hard lessons on the importance of working as a team.
He attributed DAP’s defeat in the recent Cameron Highlands by-election to the coalition partners’ failure to combine their efforts towards victory.
The result of this Saturday’s Semenyih by-election would show whether they had learnt their lesson, he added.
He said it would be advisable for PH to try to convince voters that the parties in the coalition could work together to tackle economic and welfare issues.