One of the cornerstones of Bersih campaigns is to increase campaign periods.
The allegation is a far too short campaign period is unfair to non-incumbents. To get the candidate known, to work the ground as the candidate and help voters reach an informed choice, takes time, they say.
It is a cornerstone, not the only pillar of Bersih’s efforts.
They are correct about it, as they are with the thinking in the BN camp that if the other parties have no lead time to campaign, they will have a distinct disadvantage because the ruling coalition will use the full range of the civil service and official mainstream media channels to push their ideas and candidates in a shorter period.
For BN, they believe people vote for the coalition not the candidate.
Pakatan Harapan has often conceded for them, it is a mix of party and candidate to draw votes in each constituency. Pakatan admits it is vital to get the people to know their candidates.
Bersih are correct in wanting longer campaigning period. They are.
Democracy requires a longer period to allow voters to synthesise and get a decision they can live with for five years. Hence, the cooling of period (no campaigning)which can be even 3 days in some countries before polling day.
Knowing all these, and agreeing how important these are, why is Pakatan still not listing out their full line-up for all 222 seats?
Why not get the campaign going?
Ah, the rub.
They fear many things, among them:
a) The presumed candidate does not qualify on nomination day, therefore raising expectations for a non-candidate
b) Avoid candidate buying by opponents. That old chestnut.
b) To keep BN guessing. It is strategy, idiot.
Firstly, disqualifications are getting rarer, and if the candidate does fail to be accepted, it is a problem still, because you lost the seat. It is a bit whimsical, this excuse.
The second one, on buying candidates. If opponents are willing to buy candidates, they will be able to buy them after nomination day too, or when they are sworn in. Remember the PKR rebels from 2009? If your candidate can be bought, it is a bad indictment of you, the leadership of the party, as much as the candidate.
The third one, is childish. There is only a nominal value in nomination day surprises.
The focus of an election is voters, not about surprises that will turn heads and therefore land votes in your hat. There is something dated about this think. Severely.
Fourth, there is a fourth, but not in the list above. The various opposition parties have not agreed on the seats, they want more time.
They are silly people, eating more time to auction, barter, trade, flirt or demand for seats today. It is too late, if they have not worked out seat allocations by now, whether among parties, or even within parties among state leaderships and central party.
Everyday, the voter is asking who is his candidate, is a loss for Pakatan.
They have a chance of turning the campaigning period to 25 days by announcing their candidates tomorrow. To forge ahead while Najib Razak is still perusing the master list of 221 (he is not perusing himself, I’m guessing) parliamentary and 505 state seats.
To show their readiness. But no, that would be too much to ask.
They rather do the cat and mouse game, not knowing they will end up as cockroaches rife for stepping by the boot of present day power if they don’t get going with the process of informing the voter about the choices they have.
Want to beat BN, do it differently.