Today we address a topic that PH supporters (yes they still do exist) should be concerned with, namely what will it take for PH to survive past December 2019.
(This is based on the likely outcome of PH losing the Semenyih by election, so if they do win, PH fans are welcome to come here and point this out to The Rembau Times. No)
- Tun Mahathir needs to step down
The number one factor is that the Prime Minister, who is now touching 93 years old, needs to step down. This is because the methods used when he was in power from 1981 – 2003 just does not work in the era of social media and a very complex economy. Furthermore, Tun governed from the benefit of near total hegemony politically, as he could count on a strong man image and 2/3 support from Barisan Nasional. Today, PH is a collection of parties with differing ideologies and most importantly – untested in running a complex Federal and State machinery. Risks emerge on a weekly basis and need to be anticipated. No matter how well experienced he is, experience alone does not count.
Look at how Dato Seri Mohammed Hassan, who was considered an inexperienced leader managed to turn things around 2 months after he assumed leadership from Dato Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. From a marketing strategy point of view, he executed a perfect plan. He focused relentlessly on developing the alliance with PAS, portrayed a relatively modest image and whacked PH consistently on Race, Religion and Royalty. He could do this because PH was literally taking things to easily – remember the picture of the Dewan Rakyat being empty?
2. PH needs to control and coordinate the news flow.
PH currently is extremely disjointed. After last week’s by-election defeat in Cameron Highlands, many Ministers held press conferences on a Sunday. There was a PC held by the Minister of Rural Development and a PC held by the Minister of Primary Industries, a boycott of Israel athletes (yeah blame Israel…sigh) but little follow through. Fast forward today and the news cycle is no longer dominated by what the Government plans to do but the hero’s welcome Dato Seri Najib got in Langkawi followed by news that PPBM lodged police reports against Dato Seri Najib’s selfie sessions. In one word, LAME!
To control and co-ordinate the news flow is perhaps the biggest challenge of this Government because it requires 1) A tactical genius to actually be able to articulate the media strategy in coordination with Government policy and 2) PH Ministers to be disciplined and not run off their mouths. This should be housed within the Prime Ministers Department and must have command sufficient respect from both the Ministers and the Government Machinery – lets call it Strategic Government Control Unit (SGCU).
Item 1) and 2) is lacking in PH’s government right now.
The key thing about the SGCU is they need to be able to formulate strategy very quickly and have a solid understanding of how the Malaysian economy works. It is very difficult to find a group of individuals who can understand political strategy, marketing, news control and economics. But you need this sort of group to be provide a rudder for the Government.
3. Cabinet Reshuffle
The Cabinet needs to be reshuffled. Ministers should realise that they only came to power because on the 14th time of trying and not overstep their supposed importance. They are just too many Ministers who should be dropped so I won’t even dare say who should be dropped. But I can say who should be retained based on performance: Dato Azis Jamman (Deputy Minister, Home Affairs), Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad (Minister of Health).
(Yup I could only come out with 2). It was that bad!
Now what is required to be a Minister. Number one, be able to pull in long hours. Number two, be able to stick to the script. Number three, be very humble. Number four, learn how not to use the excuse, “the BN government did this” but to start a sentence with these words, “Your concern is valid and we will investigate. We will get back to you with an answer
by such and such a date” and actually get back with an answer!
4. 555 Management style
A hallmark of Tun Dr Mahathir’s earlier stint as Prime Minister was the feared buku Tiga 5, or 555 notebook. This allowed the Prime Minister to keep tabs on the ministers and reprimand them when things started to go out of order. What is probably required is a modernised version of the 555 notebook, perhaps an ipad app, with linkages direct to respective Government Ministries. Ministers must meet KPIs which includes visits to constituencies as well as acting on the small and big issues that are revealed. Core issues can then be data-mined and together with the Strategic Government Control Unit.
5. Ignore Najib, Focus on the plan
The silliest reaction the Government has made to date was to get sidetracked by ex-Prime Minister, Dato Seri Najib’s social media status. Najib is popular because PH messed up the first 9 months of Government by ditching their promises too early without even trying to fulfill key promises to 2 very important voting groups: Youths (aka PTPTN and better jobs) and Felda Settlers. So people who now have a lot of anger, felt cheated and have no outlet to express their frustration gravitate to Dato Seri Najib’s Facebook page. PH did not pay attention to the growing voices of discontentment that appeared.
6. Close the Seafield Temple issue
Basically, they lost the public after the Seafield Temple issue. This issue is what is called the casus belli behind the dramatic loss of support among the Malay electorate. This issue needs to be closed. Period.
Now what are the chances of PH achieving items 1 to 6 before it is too late?
In probability terms, zero or near zero.