The reason why Pakatan’s proposed policies are maligned, mischaracterised, turned into self-serving memes condemning them and general heckling is down to one thing, Pakatan’s overkill of negative campaigning.
They use up all their oxygen shouting at Barisan Nasional (MP).
The fact the government is cutting down space for expression by Pakatan leaders and overloading social media with spending to match their monopoly of state media (owned and friendlies), is not reason to go further negative. Instead it should be reason to go positive.
Time to show class.
For if your ideas are great, then just leaving them in the pages of a manifesto will not do. You have to talk about them, over and over.
In a typical university debate room, participants are allotted about half an hour in total, as are their opponents, to influence probably three judges.
When it comes to policy persuasion nationally, it is an arduous task.
It’s about different amounts of time allocated in reach to different sections throughout a period, and requiring different methods of persuasion, with the opponent having ten times the speaking time.
It is about quality and focus.
Because judging are almost 15 million people among the 30 million roaming in the federation. They roam where they like and with whoever they like.
Ideas take time to germinate in the hearts and minds of the masses.
Always a moving target, these voters.
The talk shop game
Meanwhile, the opponent hardly worries over the misrepresentations they perpetrate.
Worry not, however.
Pakatan has a supply chain the BN does not. Those who can disseminate ideas are in the majority in the Pakatan camp.
Those professionals, lawyers, doctors, middle managers and even accountants. They are the single biggest asset of Pakatan. They may not agree with Pakatan’s politics, but they have pure hatred for BN.
Tell the ideas clearly, outline the rationale, the method and philosophy, and these many downliners will transmit the ideas further to the ground.
Don’t worry about memes. The government pays and hires, while Pakatan has thousands of volunteers, without them knowing.
Pakatan has to dig in and keep explaining their modern and forward-thinking ways to bring the country up and soaring beyond.
Relying on ceramah which only are bent on running down the opponents is outdated.
Also outdated is telling stories about reformation in 1998.
The voters are in the here and present. They want to know the gameplan for 2019.
The one line argument
Pakatan has to do more than say GST will be abolished and the savings from corruption will make up for the shortfall. It is too simplistic. It sells at an emotional level, but can’t last as an argument beyond fifteen seconds.
Doing away with GST will result in cut of government spending, which may include payroll.
There has to be a sensible explanation detailing how even in adverse economic conditions, this proposed government in waiting can weather it without needing a consumption tax.
Otherwise, they are just telling what the people want to hear, which is also what door to door salesmen (millennials may struggle to remember) used to do.
Citizens do not vote salesmen into government.
It is OK to speak of sacrifice expected. Believing the people of Malaysia are only looking for goodies, and more goodies, insults them. They are parents, sons and daughters and taxpayers. Telling them fantastical stories like true salesmen because reality is beyond the grasp of our people to say, only liars will be accepted by our people.
That’s not true. Malaysians have more in them, and expect more of others and themselves.
They vote-in visionaries who have plans and an appetite for work.
The BN will continue to deflate the idea of Pakatan in power by poking fun at the proposals, but the people may not be as interested.
In short, talk more about your ideas. Talk about them often. And if candidates are unable to actually talk about them constructively, either HQ has left the candidates clueless, or the candidates were always clueless, which opens up another huge concern heading to voting day.
So really, talk about ideas.