The Cameron Highlands by-election has been a homage for the hillside escape, from both sides.
For a constituency left behind, wedged-in by poverty — homes without water and electricity supply — to seasonal floods from the indiscriminate felling of forests for commercial purposes, the current attention must be overwhelming.
Malaysian politician are enamoured by it, for now.
There are operatives arriving from Borneo to campaign, sticking to the idiom, leave no stone unturned to procure victory for Pakatan Harapan.
Diminished as they may be, BN are giving it their all in the only major state they run. (Apologies to Perlis).
However, I fear, the locals can smell the bullshit a mile away, or even further till Tapah.
[While this is the fifth by-election, it is the first where BN have a fighting chance, even if it is slim. Unfortunately, Pakatan does not know how to embarrass BN’s leaders despite them all being in the doghouse.]
If it’s been left mostly to its own devices despite possessing so much potential as an escape from our tropical weather, would the residents feel the promises will be any more than tall tales expected at an election?
It would be a colossal surprise if Pakatan ends up losing, but perhaps now as the federal government, they should not copy the BN style of going for an overkill?
Before, Pakatan were against the wall, as BN threw the entire weight of the federal government to any particular by-election, including promising wild things just to have the win.
Today, they can’t. The roles are reversed.
The BN “overkill” forced Pakatan before the call in every dude and dudette from across the country to come in to balance the BN scales by sheer volunteerism. Match BN’s metal and gold with Pakatan’s zeal and numbers.
But it appears Pakatan has not got the memo that the roles have changed.
Today, for all of Putrajaya to descend on Cameron Highlands makes Pakatan look petty. Give candidate M.Manogaran all the resources and support necessary, like access to Orang Asli settlements, but why not leave the electioneering to an adequately sized team? Do Pakatan supporters from all parts of Malaysia have to arrive to curry favour?
Why not, remind the Malaysian people, Pakatan trusts the core team at the constituency to do the job, and is now focused on administrating the country and providing the support necessary for the economy.
Some claim the aboriginal people are led to believe BN and Najib Razak are still in control of the country. It’s pretty insulting when the news is spread for it insults the community.
Pakatan can learn from BN media, on how to not get rankled.
The experience Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, The New Straits Times and The Star have with being BN propaganda outlets is to not overreact and always stick to their own version of the truth. Stay with it till the bitter end, remember, a consistent message however weak survives better than multiple messages tripping on each other however strong they are.
Pakatan had a chance to change the culture of by-elections, where they become competing circuses. They shut the window of opportunity for now. But there is always Semenyih.