Don't treat political supporters like idiots

Wong Chin Huat
16 Nov 2023 02:30pm
Siti Mastura Muhammad - FILE PIX
Siti Mastura Muhammad - FILE PIX

LAST week, Kepala Batas MP Siti Mastura Muhammad 'revealed' that veteran DAP politician Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang allegedly had familial ties with the former Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew and the Communist leader, Chin Peng.

She also implicated other DAP leaders, including its Secretary-General and Transport Minister Anthony Loke, National Vice Chairman and Housing and Local Government Minister, Nga Kor Ming; Beruas MP, Ngeh Koo Ham and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok had familial relations.

Bersatu Information Committee member Badrul Hisham Shaharin, also known as Che'gu Bard, also revealed that the same material was found in the Barisan Nasional (BN) Communication Campaign Materials book which was labelled 'secret' for the 15th General Election (GE15).

So far, Mastura is still keeping her mouth sealed. No correction. No apologies.

There have been no apologies or counter statements from Pas or Perikatan Nasional (PN) and now Kit Siang's son, Lim Guan Eng

There was no statement from Pas or PN until Kit Siang's son, Guan Eng recently initiated legal action against her after the 48-hour deadline given to the Pas lawmaker to substantiate her claims lapsed.

It was the same for the leadership of Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN), where no one came forward to deny CheguBad's accusations or apologise.

Accusations and fake news are not new in Malaysian politics, and certainly not limited to Umno and Pas.

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What attracts my attention is how the propaganda of these political parties is presented.

I am not at all surprised that Pas and Umno until GE15 want to convince Malay voters that DAP will harm their interests if they come to power. To win votes, political parties always need to emphasise their strengths to diiferentiate themselves from their competitors.

This is the same for a variety of instant noodles of different brands and different tastes, where its the same product but they need ti differentiate themselves in the market.

What appeals to me is that DAP has been in power as a component of PH in Penang and Selangor since 2008 and joined the Federal government twice in 2018 and 2022.

If it is true, how hard is it to find solid evidence that DAP's policy has harmed the Malays? The think tank of the parties opposing DAP did not do research or there is no evidence?

Creating a false story of familial ties and conveying it in a confident tone actually shows the party's lack of confidence in trying to find a difference in output so it has to ride on fear.

Fear is a human instinct. Without fear, we will sleep, do not know how to avoid danger, and do not know how to think about the future. However, fear can also be played by evil elements. One of the best examples is the phone scammer gang. They steal our money by triggering our fears about the safety of our loved ones or the safety of our accounts.

Just as we reject telephone 'scammers' who are hidden at the other end of the line, we should also reject political 'scammers' who are in front of our eyes.

It doesn't matter which party, it doesn't matter who the individual is, it doesn't matter what kind of phobia they want to trigger, whether it's phobia against China, against Muslims, against Arabs, against the West, let us reject the fear based politics rooted in stupidity.

Parties and politicians should be professional in highlighting their differences from their competitors. Don't be lazy to research and communicate policy differences. Don't fool the supporters who trust you. Deers are not cousins ​​of donkeys. Compete smartly. Don't make people feel ashamed.

*Professor Wong Chin Huat is Deputy Head (Strategy), Asia Office, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN-Asia) at Sunway University.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.