Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fight for the Malay heartland

The battle is on between Pakatan Rakyat and Umno for the hearts of the Malays in rural areas because this category of voters will decide who forms the next government.

It is highly probable that the Pakatan leaders know they have most of the urban Malays on their side and as the recent Hulu Selangor by-election showed, the rural Malays - who are still tuned to and are influenced by Government-controlled television stations rather than be swayed by the numerous blogs offering alternative news in the Net - are still backing Umno and Barisan.

What Pakatan will try to do is attempt to convince the rural Malays that they have been left out of development and progress that can so obviously be seen in urban areas. Urban folks have benefitted from the Barisan government's hand-outs and projects, etc, and they are far richer and live in bigger mansions than the rural Malays who still sleep in crumbling wooden kampung houses and live a hand-to-mouth existence.

In Hulu Selangor, observers noted, Umno was still strongly supported in the Felda schemes and that was one of the chief reasons that Barisan won the by-election in April.

Thus it is not surprising that Suara Keadilan recently ran a front-page story alleging that Felda is bankrupt.

This is a stab in the heart of the Malay heartland - winning over the Felda settlers carries more symbolic weight as the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's father, the second Prime Minister, was instrumental in creating the Felda schemes in the first place.

Though it is unlikely that PKR can show evidence that Felda is indeed bankrupt, the damage has been done - which is probably the intention in the first place. Plant a seed of doubt and watch it sprout and grow - I think that's PKR's game plan.

Not only that but by having the Home Ministry 'ban' the Suara Keadilan (actually the publishing permit expired and was not renewed), another political issue is created.

The Barisan Nasional government must be wary of such trickery and not fall into cunning traps set by Pakatan.

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