Sunday, July 13, 2008

Whistling in the Wind

There is a tendency amongst some political charlatans to spin yarns about the March 8 events being a watershed in local politics. I use the word “charlatan” because this group of analysts are quite inclined to see the political tsunami with a rose tinted glass of change, new politics and all that hogwash without one iota of evidence that this seismic event is due a genuine political awakening among the local electorate. If one analyses the results in toto, one may note that there has not been a significant shift in the rural heartland excepting in Kedah and to a certain extent in Perak and Selangor, (I am leaving Kelantan out of this discussion for it warrants a separate post by itself). Yet, that has not doused the excitement of the opposition that they have made substantial gains in breaking the hegemony of UMNO in particular over the Malay electorate. What is pertinent to note was that UMNO did reasonably well in the circumstances. This is not to absolve the dominant ruling party of any blame for the overall performance of the coalition which was clearly dismal to say the least and whose trouncing was due to the commissions and omissions of UMNO itself as well as of its allies in the BN.

It should be noted that the slide in BN hegemony only came about because of a shift of entrenched voting patterns amongst Chinese and Indian voters plus the desertion of traditional Malay vote banks in the semi-urban and urban enclaves. The shift in voting patterns among these communities and areas had, in my opinion, more to do with disaffection with certain events, the unfulfilled promises of yore and the impact of a slowing and increasingly stumbling economy. What has happened is that Malaysian have not embraced the notions of civil society, social justice etcetera with fawning alacrity but rather voted more out of disillusionment and anger, emotional responses, that do not in any way portend the development of critical evaluation of policy and politics. In fact, it would be safe to surmise that with some tweaking of current policies, the infusion of new personnel and a window dressing of sorts coupled with an economic recovery, the so-called winds of change may merely be a passing fart in the air….. momentarily stunning to the senses but a fart all the same. In another blog, I will try to analyse the reasons for the state by state “transformation” so touted by the opposition to be winds of change.

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