Compared with the frenzy atmosphere in the 308 and 505 general election, the election fever seems to be receding this time, especially among the young voters as between 40% and 50% of them have no intention to vote. A negative trend of casting spoilt votes seems prevailing; several opinion polls have forecast that floating votes would be the highest in the 14th general election. The opposition’s attempt to whip up another tsunami has been greeted with growing doubts, confusion and silence.
To a certain extent, the phenomenon is due to the fact that up to now, both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan have not presented any impressive policy propositions. Many voters have the perception that both the ruling and opposition are incapable of offering any concrete measure to resolve the many economic, education, employment, religious and safety issues close to their hearts.
Barisan and Pakatan are now busy attacking each other. They are pecking at each other’s wrongdoings and scandals. They are in a war of words as one on 1MDB while in retaliation the other picks on the undersea tunnel project. The leaders of both sides have never wanted a serious debate on policy issues. While they expose other’s wrongdoings, they are also displaying their own weaknesses. Both fail to be transparent. People have grown tired of seeing such gimmicks after a long while.
People have high hopes in Pakatan to lead in the reform of the nation. But the opposition camp has not only failed to offer any stirring policy proposals, instead, they are embroiled in factional struggle. In order to achieve their objective of taking over Putrajaya, they even team up with their traditional enemies. They said they have set aside their enmity for the greater interest which only sounds good. It can, however, be seen as discarding their original spirit and principle.
Barisan, which has ruled Malaysia for 60 years, should be bold enough to innovate and rebrand itself when people are eager to see changes. However, it is still singing the same old tune, becoming even more conservative and taking the nation further away from secularism.
Pakatan is trying to brainwash people that they would have a clean and liberal government if they give their support. All the things they hate would be there no more. However, it is not convincing. Barisan is brainwashing the people to continue giving their support as Barisan can show all those glowing data. However, many voters are unhappy with the wrongdoings still on-going.
In every election, we choose the direction of development of our nation for the next five years. Voters will decide based on the manifesto of each camp that suits their needs most. When they cannot see any clear direction or political propositions that suit their needs, they would find it difficult to cast their votes and thus their interest in the election would drop.
Times have changed. With the rise of the internet and higher education level, public perception on issues and even their value system have changed. In the past, people would be shocked by the scandals of the candidates or the political parties; nowadays, they are more interested in seeing how such corruptions or scandals could be stamped out. In the past, voters would be swayed emotionally by the rhetoric when rival parties attack each other. Now they are more interested to see a debate on policy and political propositions.
As the election is nearing, it is the best opportunity for the ruling and opposition parties to display their manifestos to give voters a choice. However, both Barisan and Pakatan have not done brilliantly in this pre-election battle.