(Petaling Jaya, Monday): I agree with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad when he forecast in Tokyo that the Barisan Nasional would still be able to form the Government in the next general election, although with a smaller majority.
The real question at stake in the next general elections is whether the Barisan Nasional would lose its traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament, which would be a political sea-change in Malaysia ushering in a new era of greater openness, accountability, transparency and integrity.
The Barisan Nasional Secretary-General and Information Minister, Datuk Mohamad Rahmat said the Barisan Nasional was confident of retaining the two-thirds majority in Parliament “as the people were satisfied with its efforts to steer the country out of the economic problems”.
It may be advisable for the Barisan Nasional leaders not to count the chickens before they are hatched and let the Malaysian electorate decide at the next general elections whether the time has come for the Barisan Nasional to be deprived of its traditional parliamentary two-thirds majority to ensure that there are stronger checks-and-balance to put a stop to the massive abuses of power and arrogant disregard for the legitimate wishes and aspirations of ordinary Malaysians of all races.
Although the Barisan Nasional will again be returned to power, the next general elections will be a watershed in Malaysian politics it the traditional two-thirds majority of the Barisan Nasional in Parliament is denied by the electorate.
In the past few years, there have been deep-seated stirrings in the country for change as Malaysians want their aspirations for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance to be taken seriously by the Government, which is not possible when the government has a five-sixth majority in Parliament.
The Barisan Nasional’s unprecedented landslide victory in the April 1995 general elections is the root cause for the multitude of crises facing Malaysians in the past few years, not just the worst economic crisis in the nation’s history, but a generational crisis, a political crisis of the first magnitude, crisis of confidence in the judiciary and the instruments of government, water shortage crisis in a country abundant with rainfall, the haze disaster, the information deficit crisis, and a host of others.
This was why the DAP scored a Richter-6 by-election victory in Teluk Intan in May last year and PAS scored a Richter-5 by-election victory in Arau recently. If there is a Teluk Intan wind in the next general elections, 27 MCA and Gerakan parliamentary seats are not safe; and if there is an Arau wind in the next general elections, 23 UMNO parliamentary seats would not be safe.
This was the political scenario in Peninsular Malaysia, even before the seismic political events and forces sparked off by the shocking dismissal of Anwar Ibrahim as Deputy Prime Minister and his manifestly unjust treatment by the instruments of government, whether the trial and conviction by the media, his initial arrest under the Internal Security Act or his “black eye” while in detention. Furthermore, these forecasts about the possible electoral arithmetic in the next general elections have not taken into account the likely swings in Sabah and Sarawak.
The possibility of denying the Barisan Nasional its traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament in the next general elections is clearly on the cards.
The question is whether the Malaysian voters would make history in the next general elections in denying the Barisan Nasional its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in Malaysian history - which would have far-reaching political consequences, unleashing forces which could only be for the good to promote justice, freedom, democracy and good governance for Malaysians.