Dr M’s upcoming visit to Tanjung Piai is what PH needs to level the playing field

Zainal Epi
Motorists are seen at Kampung Air Masin in Kukup November 3, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

COMMENTARY, Nov 11 — Pakatan Harapan (PH), which is fighting to retain the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat, is banking on the the prime minister’s visit this Wednesday to give their campaign a bump.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s visit is seen by many as the last attempt to turn the tide for the ruling coalition as the odds seem to be in favour of Opposition Barisan Nasional (BN) right now.

Prime minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is already here today with a programme that started at noon and goes on late into the night.

He is doing the prelude or warm-up to Dr Mahathir’s visit.

PH’s Karmaine Sardini is trailing far behind BN candidate Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng who seems to be popular with both the Chinese and Malays.

With voting just four days away, PH seems to be facing both external and internal problems; fighting against the more popular BN candidate as well as crossing swords with coalition partner DAP.

The latest kerfuffle erupted when a video of Perak Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu saying he was fighting a lone battle against DAP in the state went viral.

The fragility of the alliance between Bersatu and DAP is made worse by both parties trying to hold on to strengthen their respective positions with the Malays and Chinese.

When DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said that the party would appoint Liew Chin Tong to handle Chinese affairs in the constituency should PH win, it played to the fear among some Malays that Liew would overshadow Karmaine.

Further, it seemed to reinforce the Opposition narrative that PH is “controlled” by DAP which further distances the Malay voters from the ruling coalition.

The scenario at present is the ruling coalition seems to be losing the ground while opposition BN pulls far ahead with its ceramahs pulling bigger crowds and its election machinery well organised and co-ordinated, reaching every single house in the constituency.

By contrast PH has been drawing just about 100 or so people to their ceramahs and Karmaine’s walkabouts hardly draw any interest.

Over the weekend, national-level leaders from the ruling coalition flocked to Tanjung Piai, speaking at not less than 15 ceramahs, hoping to do some damage control.

Bersatu seems to only have the help of DAP’s election machinery in the Chinese areas while PKR and its own election machinery does not seem to have much impact in Malay areas.

Dr Mahathir’s visit on Wednesday may or may not add “flavour” to PH’s campaign but his presence may make the fight more attractive and interesting.

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