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Monday, December 2, 2013

In GST, slashed subsidies, Kit Siang sees rural exodus to Pakatan

NOVEMBER 29, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Lim Kit Siang told his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) colleagues today to focus on the rural vote to win Putrajaya in the next federal polls, saying their likely disappointment when living costs spike owing to reduced subsidies and the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) would work in the opposition’s favour.

The DAP veteran said the increased financial burden and expected decrease in disposable income caused by the new policies of the Barisan Nasional (BN) would present PR with a “unique opportunity” to wrest rural support from their political foes, enough to help the pact plant its feet in Putrajaya.

“Only when the rural voters feel the negative effects of the BN government in their own pockets will a majority of them vote against the BN and support Pakatan,” Lim said in a statement here.“This will have to be one of Pakatan’s main strategies in reaching out to the rural areas.”

The proposed rural outreach initiative is among the 12 strategies Lim outlined today in his blueprint for PR to capture federal power in the 14th general election five years from now.

Lim reminded his PR colleagues not to rest on their laurels, saying each strategy must be observed in order to cement the pact’s position at the helm of Putrajaya after the next polls.

“If Pakatan can address each of the main challenges outlined above, I am confident that we will be in a good position to capture Putrajaya in GE14, with each party pulling its own weight and enhancing the appeal of Pakatan as a whole,” he said.

Among others, the Gelang Patah MP stressed the need for full commitment from all three parties in the PR pact — DAP, PKR and PAS — at both national, state and local levels, to enhance public support over the next four years.

This, he said, should be the common agenda for every DAP, PKR and PAS meeting in the run-up to the polls, in order to maximise not only PR’s electoral ability to win federal power but also to maintain the support and confidence of the electorate.

Lim Kit Siang calls for cooperation at all levels, and to keep
internal disagreements private. — File pic
Lim said PR should also ensure all three member parties cooperated with one another at all levels, and keep its internal disagreements private.

He said mechanisms could be identified at both national and state levels to address some disagreements, which he said should be managed internally before they were blown out of proportion in the media.

“Pakatan Rakyat has come a long way in terms of inter-party cooperation since 2008,” he pointed out.

“Joint statements can be made by Pakatan state leaders on national issues and issues which are important to the particular state. More activities should be conducted on a cross-party platform.

“Each party can leverage on its strengths to open doors for leaders of the other component parties,” he said.

In the just-concluded PAS muktamar, the issue of political cooperation in PR took centrestage as conservative members rose to question the benefits for the Islamist party in the loose political pact with the DAP and PKR.

The ulama wing even called on PAS to leverage its membership in the PR federal opposition to implement Islamic law in the states administered by the pact.

In stressing its call for PAS to re-examine its partnership with DAP and PKR, the wing consisting of Islamic clerics questioned whether the coalition had benefited Islam, even as they conceded that it had succeeded politically.

As it stands, talk of possible cooperation between Umno and PAS over the hudud issue still hangs in the air. Yesterday, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak but the outcome of the meeting is yet to be made known.

Lim in his statement today also urged PR to ensure the coming delineation exercise was done as fairly as possible to reflect the principle of one man, one vote, one value, which he said was key to a fair distribution of votes in each constituency.

He pointed out that for the first time in history, BN would not have the two-thirds parliamentary representation necessary for it to bulldoze a delineation proposal without support from their political foes in PR.

“In addition, Pakatan has two-thirds control of the state legislatures in Kelantan, Penang and Selangor and more than one-third of seats in the Kedah, Terengganu, Perak and Negeri Sembilan state legislatures,” Lim said.

“This means that the number of seats at the federal level and in these states cannot be increased without the support and consent of Pakatan Rakyat.

“Pakatan’s challenge then is to ensure that the delimitation exercise is as fair as possible in terms of the apportionment of seats between the different states so that it follows the one-man, one-vote, one-value principle while at the same time, recognising the unique positions of Sabah and Sarawak,” Lim said.

Among his other suggested strategies, Lim also urged PR to target areas that it failed to win in Election 2013, defend the new seats it won, particularly those won with marginal majorities, and to target the marginal BN seats.

PR should continue to use as ammunition examples of its success in PR-led states such as Penang and Selangor to woo new voters to its fold, outline a more focused strategy to capture more support from east Malaysian voters, emphasise more on PR’s inter-generational leadership, and work harder to counter BN’s propaganda.

In the just-concluded Election 2013, BN lost another seven seats from the 140 it had won five years ago, allowing the opposition PR to gain further ground by taking 89 of the Parliament’s total of 222 seats

BN also lost the popular vote for the first time since 1969, when it had last contested as the Alliance Party.

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