From a man in the street’s perspective, Pakatan Harapan (PH) is on the way down in the Malaysian mindspace unless they immediately re-write the script.
The non-Malay communities may be the kingmakers in urban areas (and even this can be disputed now), but the Malay communities in non-urban areas are going to carry the vote home for Perikatan Nasional (PN).
What can PH do immediately to change and capture the national narrative such that they capture the collective mind of Malaysians? And thereby carry home the next general election?
Malaysians of the younger generation are really not interested in Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Mohamad Sabu and Lim Guan Eng. These personalities are ancient artefacts of a bygone era of polemical politics.
The younger generation wants a new political epoch with new ideas and innovative means to communicate and reinforce a progressive and united Malaysian consciousness.
Anwar is too tied to scandals of the past, and his charisma is not going to work in GE15. Truth be told, Mahathir carried the emotional vote for PH in GE14. Kit Siang and Guan Eng are polarising figures of DAP.
Just imagine, the echoes of the turbulent late 1960s are still carried over into the present consciousness with the likes of Kit Siang. Yes, he is (perhaps was) a great statesman, and paid a huge price for voicing the conscience of the minority, but, his time is past. He too, like Mahathir, and Anwar, are relics, and too closely associated with the perceived negative politics of the past.
The Malaysian collective consciousness is quite fed-up with these personalities. And it is not for the lack of young stalwarts in their parties who can easily step into their leadership spots.
Guan Eng too should leave the scene. His very persona puts off Malay voters. Unless he tones down the arrogant persona, and “know-it-all” aura, even his good content will continue to be ignored.
It is quite unimaginable that the party (and we all know which one) is still holding on dearly to a logo, one which probably still riles up the Malay community’s consciousness no end with its association with the late 1960s communal divisions.
Why is the leadership team of the Rocket party oblivious to the insignificance of that symbol with the younger generations?
It’s actually quite embarrassing that this party hasn’t seen it fit to upgrade their collective symbol to better reflect a party associated with vibrancy, vigour, and relevance!
Where’s Ong Kian Ming, Tony Pua, Hannah Yeoh, Kashturi Patto and Zairil Khir? And the other young, vibrant and energetic leaders? Or are their young minds being sidelined by the old “towkays”?
PH needs to put together a new and vibrant leadership team that will capture the imagination of the Malaysian collective consciousness.
Every public relations exercise and communication must be in the Malay medium first and foremost before they are translated into Chinese and English.
This leadership team must think in Malay as they communicate their ideas and plans for a Vibrant Malaysia. A Malaysia that will rebound from the Covid-19 crisis, and the current political quagmire into an enviable nation famed for its people’s resourcefulness. A Malaysia energised by the younger generations and built firmly on the Rukun Negara.
PH leaders and their public opinion-makers have to stop the negative-natured political comments and diatribes against the current PN leadership’s policies.
It’s time to change the tone. Switch to positivity.
Think, and ask yourselves, how can I articulate a better, more positive, and empowering position than PN? In any matter or policy?
The Malaysian collective consciousness is quite rightly, fed-up with the amount of negativism emanating from PH leaders.
Show the nation a better way. Get to work and come up with your countermeasures, and provide empirical evidence that these plans are better than PN’s current position and plans.
Get your MPs and assemblymen onto the ground, and actually do more productive work with ripple-on outcomes. Flood social media with genuine community work that touches the hearts of Malaysians. Real work. Work with spillover effects.
Use the budgets in existence and build communities of growth, both wealth-wise, and psychologically. Let Malaysia see what you’re doing.
You now have the benefit of a media which isn’t controlled like how it once was. Use that to PH’s benefit. Better still, for Malaysia’s benefit.
I fear the tide is changing and will favour PN unless PH changes the narrative dramatically. The signs are unmistakable.
With the current Covid-19 and political crises, the people are fatigued. They just want to move on with their lives. They are looking for leadership.
Positive, powerful, and collaborative leadership which will take their voice into genuine consideration for nation building. The winning party simply needs to do the obvious and the most beneficial for Malaysians.
Usually, the party which loses, loses because they shot themselves in the feet and couldn’t make it to the finishing line.
Franklin Morais is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT