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Did you smell anything unusual?

  • Deferring the election to next year may not be a good idea for Najib.

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

Did you smell anything unusual?

I mean, politically?

Several days ago, PM Najib announced RM5,000 special incentives for some 100,000 Felda settlers in the country!

Incentives for what? I'm afraid even the settlers themselves have no idea what the incentives are for, and sure enough no one would bother to find out.

Najib said it was in conjunction with Felda's 61st anniversary. Doesn't make much sense to me!

In addition to the "special incentives", Felda settlers will also get another RM5,000 to pay off their debts for replanting oil palm.

As if that is not enough, the government will also help the settlers pay back the arrears from the purchase of FGV shares.

If you were a Felda settler, with all these goodies coming towards you, all the frustration stemming from FGV shares' lackluster performance and the Felda-FGV scandal would be instantly swept aside.

Similarly, their discontent towards the government will also be changed.

Of course, not everyone thinks the same way, but the humdrum rural life is enough to make them less demanding for life, and reversing their attitude couldn't have been easier.

Two days before that, Najib made a shocking announcement to accept Indian Muslims in the country as bumiputras while he officiated the Permim convention.

It doesn't matter whether all these are politically correct, anyone with the slightest wit could tell that those are vote-buying tricks.

These moves seem to foretell some delicate changes to the country's political climate. GE14 that is widely seen as being postponed to next year could be much nearer than we thought.

What have brought about this shift?

Economic indicators and pressure from the opposition!

Recently released economic figures -- from GDP, export growth to ringgit exchange rates -- all point to the fact that the Malaysian economy is picking up steam.

Even if this rebound is rarely felt in the market right now, it will take some time before the numbers are reflected in day-to-day life.

But from the political point of view, it is absolutely essential to start preparing early. Once the economy is on the track and when people actually feel the improvement, it is time to go to the polls.

Secondly, the opposition camp has shown remarkable progress in settling their conflicts and differences. To a very large extent the Mahathir and Anwar families have reached some kind of reconciliation that will lay the basis for the cooperation between PKR and PPBM.

Freaky as it is, Pakatan Harapan's troika leadership structure with Anwar, Mahathir and Kak Wan all holding the reins will not be an issue if compromise could be reached from within the coalition.

PH is banking on Mahathir to win the trust of the Malay society with the hope of displacing some Malay votes from the fortresses of Umno and PAS.

No one knows whether this strategy will work until the election results are released. Nevertheless, we cannot deny that this has already put a good deal of pressure on Umno.

Umno's leaders and strategists are not going to wait until PH concludes its integration works before they decide to call for election.

Deferring the election to next year may not be a good idea for Najib!

 

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