The entire country today was shaken with the decision by the Director General of the Registrar of Societies to slap a temporary disband order on the Pribumi Bersatu party, helmed by Tun Dr Mahathir, Tan Sri Muhiyiddin Yassin and Dato Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
Even though many had feared that this decision was on the horizon, the news came as a shock and was met with disappointment among the many segments of the rakyat who saw Pribumi as a the natural successor to break the BN-UMNO hegemony and to return the country to a path of normalisation after languishing under 9 years of rule by the ‘Cash is King’ Prime Minister.
However, at the same time this bad news was released, the latest election polling data indicates that the support for Pakatan Harapan is on a firm upward swing and now rivals that of Barisan Nasional. In the Institute Darul Ehsan, IDE, survey released today, support for Pakatan Harapan was at 41%, which matches BN’s support at 42%. At the same time, all indications seem to validate the common wisdom that PAS will be wiped out at this election as its support fell to 13% from 18%.
IDE’s survey also indicated that Pakatan Harapan is poised to capture almost the entire West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. PH will retain Penang and Selangor easily, and will most likely capture Kedah, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan. This study was among 4,920 respondents and was conducted in middle of March.
Crucially, the IDE survey indicated that 61% supported for Tun Dr Mahathir to become Prime Minister as opposed to only 39% which supported CIK Najib. This is a massive 22 percentage point gap in favour of Tun, which gives a better indication of how upset the voters are with the current Prime Minister and how much they are willing to trust 93 year old Tun to helm the country. This is the key statistic as BN supporting voters may vote BN for state but Pakatan for parliament.
However, the Rembau Times is issuing an ever more bullish call and is predicting that Perak will fall as well to Pakatan Harapan, as well as many seats in Pahang as well. Pahang may be in play and a strong push into the heart of Najibland may see the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia fall into the hands of the more determined, more respectable and more youthful Opposition.
This is because of several reasons, namely the revelation of Nik Abduh’s admission that PAS accepted money from UMNO will further sap support from PAS, the undersampling of the key swing segment – Saluran 1 Malay voters who will only pretend to support the Government until polling day and the outpouring of sympathy after ROS controversial decision.
There is also another factor that is very unique to financial markets, but is equally relevant to political situations as both involve human emotions.
That reason is ‘Momentum.’
Momentum is a purely emotional decision. And ROS decision has given Pakatan Harapan the best possible Momentum because it will trigger sympathy among the ‘BN leaning’ voters, who may have hated to vote BN but were still going to do so.
This is because nobody likes a coward, and people slightly lower in the economic ladder will see this as further evidence that the Government is trying to deprive them of the one thing that is equal among all Malaysians – their right to choose their own party.
Like a momentum stock, Pakatan Harapan, under which ever logo it chooses to contest has already broken key resistance levels by being able to penetrate ‘impossible to penetrate’ Felda settlements. For the Government to think that this was purely due to a prettier Bunga Raya motif reflects a shallow understanding of how brands work.
To think voters as being so stupid that they would vote Pakatan Harapan based on a fancy colour is stupid. To think that those disappointed UMNO voters will somehow be unable to vote a PKR logo is stupid as well. This sort of differentiation only works when people make a low involvement decision, like buying a cola. ROS decision has made the election a high involvement decision as it will anger many people. Many who were secretly interested to find out more about Pribumi , but were unwilling to commit will decide that the only way to find out more is to vote whichever logo that is not the Dacing or the Bulan.
While previously, Pakatan Rakyat lost the bulk of Felda PDMs by a wide margin, Pakatan Harapan may actually win some or lose others with a small margin. In those parliamentary seats, such as the Pahang VIP corridor, Pakatan Harapan will run to victory due to strong support in the town areas. PH can expect to win the entire Pahang VIP corridor, from Bera, Cameron Highlands, Raub, seize Temerloh from the PAS and even make BN sweat in Jerantut.
This is the ‘stretch target’ that Pakatan Harapan can aim for as the heavy bombardment on the West coast has made previously BN safe seats now firmly in Pakatan Harapan territory. The Rembau Times reiterates its bullish call – 110 seats in Peninsular Malaysia for Pakatan Harapan, and the end of the CIK regime is about 60 days away.