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Father of election

  • Whichever side that pledges to deliver a vision and dream and can put together a team of new era candidates with "oomph", will be Malaysians' number one pick.

Sin Chew Daily

It's been said that the election countdown clock has been started.

So who will eventually become the father of election?

I won't give an answer, as the answer is non-existent right now.

Politically, even a day is too long, some argue, let alone a hundred days. Too many things can happen, too many unknowns.

These 100 days can take a strongman downhill, or reverse the fate of an underdog.

Speculating on winning chances now is meaningless.

The thing is, how will they make the best of the next 100 days to win the trust of voters and make them agree to let you form the next government?

Slogan-shouting, banners, dinners, paving roads, unclogging drains, additional allocations, free gifts, etc. are no longer that useful today.

People have grown indifferent to slogans of parties, both ruling and opposition. Can't you see a sharp decline in attendance at ceramahs?

Dinners, handouts can no longer satisfy average Malaysians. They know their votes are much more valuable than just a dinner or a few freebies. Your generosity will still be accepted gleefully, but it will not promise you a good return.

How to win the election, then? Or how to make the voters vote for you?

1. Sell a dream. Politics is some sort of marketing science. Election is all about marketing, with the voters the gullible consumers.

The biggest consumable in life is .. Dream. Many people live for their dreams. Students dream of scoring many straight A's and getting into reputable colleges.

Young people are dreaming about a Mr Right or Miss Right; the middle aged about wealth and status, while the old aged about health and long life.

Politicians are also selling dreams.

Abdullah-led BN won by a landslide in 2004 by selling a dream of clean governance, equality and solidarity, which many bought.

In 2008, Pakatan Rakyat won more than half the popular votes in West Malaysia by selling reformation and prospects of a new regime, which many bought, too.

But, dreams not only have to be attractive, they must also be practical.

Abdullah provided a dream, but no one saw the corruption-free administration, social equality and inter-community harmony he had promised. Hence, the defeat in 2008.

Pakatan's dream could not materialize, and to add to its woes, it was stabbed at the back by its allies, not to mention a lack of reforms in the states they run.

Can Pakatan Harapan today sell the same dream again? And will the consumers still buy their dream?

What is BN selling this time? Stability? Thats is not what Malaysians want. Battling corruption and reformation? Who will believe again?

PAS is going to sell RUU355 or even prospects of an Islamic state. But, this is much dreaded for non-Muslim voters.

2. Candidates with the wow factor.

Generally, Malaysians voted for the party and not the candidate in the last general election. Voters in Temerloh rather picked Nasruddin Hassan who opposed to concerts and drinking, over a more moderate and forward-thinking Saifuddin Abdullah.

Many get disenchanted by both the ruling and opposition camps. To put it simply, they don't feel like picking between two rotten apples.

Moreover, there are going to be a whole lot more middle voters this time. They are still watching, not knowing how to vote.

Under such circumstances, people may look for the right candidates rather than right parties. A candidate with "oomph" may get the nods of voters.

It is suicidal for parties to field ageing, uncreative and unprincipled candidates, or those who are corruption- or scandal-hit.

Whichever side that has a pool of refreshingly young, vibrant and respectable candidates will have the day.

Whichever side that pledges to deliver a vision and dream and can put together a team of new era candidates with "oomph", will be Malaysians' number one pick.



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