Thursday, April 28, 2011

UMNO's New Strategy To Win GE?

This will only lead to a Hung Parliament giving way to a Two-Party System Of Governance. Yes, a two party system has worked very well in many countries but i have my doubts when it comes to Malaysia. However, we wouldn't know until we give it a shot!

KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — Utusan Malaysia’s increasingly strident, pro-Malay tone is a sign the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) senior party has written off support from the Chinese community and is banking on Malay votes to win in the coming 13th general election, said political analysts.

They told The Malaysian Insider today the Malay-language daily’s latest call for a “1 Melayu, 1 Bumi” movement reflects Umno’s — or at least that of an influential portion within the party — decision to return to a tried-and-tested formula that has kept it politically afloat over the years since even before independence.

Political analyst Dr Abu Hassan Hasbullah called the Umno-owned paper’s latest campaign a mark of “neo-conservatism”, which shows it was returning to its pre-independence position as defender of Malay rights because that was the only space open to it.

“This space is being used by Utusan to tell the Malays they still need political strength to protect their rights from being further eroded,” he said.

The Universiti Malaya senior lecturer in media and communications studies observed that even as political parties embraced a more liberal and pluralistic approach to draw voter support, there will always be those who push a singular racial rhetoric, which resounds with the hardcore conservatives.

Abu Hassan noted that since the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact has seized “control” of the plural platform, championing better socio-economic opportunities for all, regardless of racial background, the only avenue open to Umno was the protection of Malay rights, and it was milking it for all it was worth.

Merdeka Center’s Ibrahim Suffian shared the same view. The director of the independent research house said that the strident pro-Malay tone adopted by Umno and its owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia lately was caused by the loss of the popular vote in the recently-ended Sarawak state election.

He added that the racial formula has been proven to work, time and again, so the leadership likely figured it can pull it again for the next election. “Perhaps in their calculation, they see it as less likely that Umno and BN can gain much in the next general election, so they’re doing this to mitigate the problem and maximise Malay support,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“Umno knows it is the party of independence and Malay nationalism, so they’re harping on what they perceive to be their strength,” he said, noting it has been the party’s position since the landmark election in 2008 when a massive wave of Chinese and Indian support deserted the BN.

However, Ibrahim doubted the Malay electorate will be moved by this approach, noting they are have moved on from the mindset of the 1950s and 1960s and are more aware of current issues and politics. matter. It’s now about the quality of the debate. This is where many players, including the opposition politicians, fail,” he said. It’s a question of whether the people trust the messenger. In this case, Utusan appears to be a paper trusted by party loyalists,” he said, adding that Umno does not appear to have realised that.

Tony Pua, DAP publicity chief, did not quite share the analysts’ views. “I don’t think they have written off the Chinese vote entirely,” he said. “In their mind, they are not thinking about the Chinese vote. They are so fearful that the revolt among the Chinese constituencies is so big it will infect the Malay community,” he explained to The Malaysian Insider.

“What they are doing now is an attempt to protect the Malay votes from being infected, no matter what the cost,” he added. He also said the DAP has not benefited from Utusan’s shift to a hardcore stand as the opposition party was being dragged into a race debate against its will. “We are not winning among the community that relies on mainstream media as their source of information... We will definitely have limited gains if GE called this year,” he said, admitting that it will have an uphill battle outside of the urban areas where Internet access is limited by poor broadband infrastructure, which curtails access to alternative views. - Yahoo News

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