By Mansor Puteh
Many have written their views and analyzes about what had happened in the aftermath of the last 8 March 2008 general elections, but all of them did not get it right. It was not the opposition which had managed to garner more votes to win more seats, including those that had been held by Umno or Barisan Nasional component parties.
The truth is that it was Umno or Barisan component parties that had lost them.
The reason being those that were placed by Umno and Barisan in those constituencies are mostly those that the voters had wanted to remove.
But there were not able to do so, since they insisted on staying put, like they belong there, like they were permanent features of the respective constituencies. And to prove that, they claimed to have got the support of their party members who had also voted for them to hold high offices in their parties.
This may be so, but the reality is that despite that, and having got the support from their party members, they did not realize that in the final analysis, it was the general voters in the constituencies who had the final say.
And they said it loud and clear, that they did not want to have anything to do with those ‘old goats’ or ‘old hats’, and they trounced them with vehemence, causing them to lose big, and in the process threw away their valued votes to the other side.
So it was not their intention to vote for the opposition in the 2008 general elections; they only wanted to get rid of the Umno and Barisan candidates, who they thought did not seem to feel the emotions that had swelled amongst the voters in their own constituencies.
It was not because they were incompetent. The truth is that the voters today do not see anyone sticking on to the same place and doing the same job again and again from one general election to the other.
They had taught Umno and Barisan a valuable lesson.
And in the process, the opposition, too, thought they had got the support from the voters, many of them were also first-time voters who they thought had a leftist swing in their sensibilities.
They are wrong.
Not many of the voters who had ‘voted’ the opposition in the last 2008 general elections deliberately voted for them. All they wanted was for the Umno and Barisan candidates to lose.
Because it does not make any sense for anyone to vote for candidates placed by the opposition who had not campaigned or spoken and written anything that they could analyze their performance.
Some of them could not even speak in Melayu well. So they ended up not saying or doing much or anything at all in parliament.
And so far, none of them had dared to venture to the very constituency that had ‘voted’ for them.
In my area, the opposition won the state and parliament seats. But till now, none of the two members of the state assembly and parliament had come to visit their areas, who they are supposed to represent there.
Worse, one of them had even organized a Hari Raya Puasa gathering in the field, but there was such a small crowd.
The two members of the opposition in the Selangor state assembly and parliament could only hang banners during each of the festive seasons, but some of them were immediately taken down.
The truth is that many of the Umno and Barisan candidates did not realize their own folly; they who had been given the opportunity to climb up their party ladders, to gain trust in the party leadership, and given the chance to run in the earlier general elections and win.
But they did not think it was time for them to move on to doing other things. They wanted to be knocked off during the election.
Yet, ironically, despite that, some of them are still insisting that they are important to their respective parties in Barisan and insisted on staying.
Let’s hope that they are not given anymore chance to run in the next thirteenth general elections again, or they will suffer the same fate.
As for the opposition parties whose candidates had won in the last general election, they should think that they had actually won those seats and also states that they now govern.
The truth is that they are able to do so, simply because the voters in the states only wanted to get rid of some of the Umno and Barisan candidates and long-term ‘leaders’ who they thought should be replaced by their own parties long ago, but which the party did not do so.
So no wonder, the opposition has not actually done much to govern and develop the states because they realize how lucky they were in winning those states, so they are confused with the support they get, from those who had only wanted to get rid of the Umno and Barisan candidates, and not because the voters had liked them that much.