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EXPERT ANALYSIS OF ANWAR'S VICTORY

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) political scientist Associate Prof Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff said tha tthe BN government could not accept the fact that people were no more vulnerable and could not be easily swayed by whatever was dished out through some mainstream newspapers. "The people are becoming more and more politically informed, thanks to the alternative media."

Whilst Wong Chin Huat, a journalism lecturer of Monash University Malaysia who is doing a PhD thesis on electoral systems and party politics, told the Sun that Anwar had "solidly captured the middle ground" to win in Permatang Pauh.

For Assistant professor of Southeast Asian studies, Bridget Welsh, of Johns Hopkins University credited Tuesday's big win to a fundamental desire by Malaysians to "see changes in how their government governs."there are three things that matter -- corruption, inclusion and respect."




Analysts: Plus-points that hailed victory for Anwar


©The Sun
by Tan Yi Liang and Karen Arukesamy

PETALING JAYA (Aug 28, 2008) : Tuesday's thumping win by Parti Keadilan Rakyat de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was due to his party's ability to win over the fence-sitters, political analysts say.

Wong Chin Huat, a journalism lecturer of Monash University Malaysia who is doing a PhD thesis on electoral systems and party politics, told theSun that Anwar had "solidly captured the middle ground" to win in Permatang Pauh.

"In Malaysian politics, you have the both the BN and Opposition parties controlling 30% of the hardcore base vote, and the 40% in the middle will determine victory, and in Permatang Pauh, he (Anwar) solidly captured 70%."

He pointed out that the landslide victory was proof of the failure of Barisan's tactics to deny Anwar Permatang Pauh.

"There were two things that turned off voters in the recent by-elections. One was the sodomy allegations, and the other was the playing up of racial sentiments. The twin attacks on Anwar did not hold water; they actually backfired."

He said the support given to Anwar by senior Pas leadership was also a determining factor in his victory.

On the sodomy allegation, a replay of the one in 1998 which had failed, and on the challenge to swear on the Quran, Anwar was supported by religious figures such as PAS's Datuk Nik Aziz and Datuk Harun Din who debunked the necessity or even appropriateness of swearing on the Quran, said Wong.

He also said BN's divided messages to Malay and non-Malay voters had also contributed to their defeat.

"With regards to why Anwar gained Chinese support, despite a BN candidate fluent in Chinese, the Chinese saw the message over the candidate. BN tried to play a divide-and-rule game by portraying (Datuk) Arif Shah (Omar Shah) as a pro-Chinese candidate on one hand, while attacking Anwar as a Malay traitor," said Wong.

He cited an incident where a leaflet was circulated calling on the Malays to reject the DAP-led government in Penang, with an image of a pig's head placed next to the heads of Kit Siang and Karpal. This did not go down well with Chinese voters.

"So no matter how proficient Arif Shah was at Hokkien or Mandarin, it would not have helped," said Wong, who pointed out that Umno's exploitation of the UiTM issue raised by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had also contributed to alienating Chinese support.

Wong said the consistency in the messages from Anwar were also major factors in his big win.

"Anwar has been consistent in his message for change, to free the country from racial politics and corruption and that message has gone down well across communities. The key factor was that people were frustrated with the status quo, with BN politics and just wanted a change," said Wong.

Assistant professor of Southeast Asian studies, Bridget Welsh, of Johns Hopkins University credited Tuesday's big win to a fundamental desire by Malaysians to "see changes in how their government governs."

There are three things that matter -- corruption, inclusion and respect.

She said Malaysians are tired of being talked down to, and that the Barisan government now "faces a problem of credibility."

"No one believes in BN like they did before, and there is a lack of trust in BN leaders. Umno has remained in a state of denial since March 8."

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) political scientist Associate Prof Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff attributed BN's dismal performance to its failure to learn from the last general election results.

He said the BN government could not accept the fact that people were no more vulnerable and could not be easily swayed by whatever was dished out through some mainstream newspapers.

"The people are becoming more and more politically informed, thanks to the alternative media.

They are insulting the intellectual voters by trying to use the media to play up their stories. The BN government's thinking gap is far from the people's. Their campaign strategy is a failure. It is too out-dated and it is just not working."

He said BN should stop using the same old strategy.

Agus said the the vote swing to the Opposition was probably due to the rakyat feeling that BN had failed them.

"The people want something but the BN gives a different thing. Those who believed that the BN government would do something to change their lives are probably upset," he said.

"The ruling party could not answer or respond to all the questions put forth by Opposition leaders. Anwar's promise of a new hope for Malaysia has somehow convinced many, even some strong BN supporters," Agus said.

"BN has also lost the confidence of the Malays and non-Malays, especially among the middle class group. It failed to understand the people's grievances and that is how they become silent voters.

"I am not denying that the BN government has contributed a lot in the past . But the present leadership has failed to address the rakyat's grievances.

"It needs to rebuild the confidence of the people in BN and its image. Stop all personal attacks on the Opposition and show more transparency," said Agus.

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