Bebel Without a Clause

Bebel Without a Clause

Sunday, July 15, 2012

KJ:: factors that will weigh Heavvily oN voting decisions, my take on his post.

A good write up KJ.

Notice that KJ touched on the set of criteria that will decide the voting trend of the young voters.

Different areas will have different set of weights of the same criteria.
Certain local issues will outweigh national issues. Deciding on the winnable candidates is a huge tasks and may require decision making technologies like that shown http://

Deciding the chai or candidate list are a long process. This includes assessing the available possible candidates as much as possible.

Even getting this list can be a headache and a difficult contention as what happened in Ampang.

Even if the PM has the team and tools to profile the candidates, the chah keting has already happened even before the name had got to the table at the bahagian.
personal feuds amongst AJK can be really heavy.

It depends on the smartness of Ketua Bahagian to address the issue.

Source below is from


There is no running away from election talk, especially if you are a politician like me. The only thing people ask you is when the general election will be held.  As if anyone but one man knows!  Malaysia practices the traditional Westminster model of determining the date of the general election.  That means it is entirely the prerogative of the prime minister to decide when he submits to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament.

Obviously, this arrangement has many pros and cons.  Most of the benefits accrue to the incumbent government, which can choose the best time to try and renew its mandate within the maximum five year term of Parliament.  This power gives the PM flexibility and, crucially, the element of surprise because he or she can call the election at a time when his party is ready regardless of the state of preparedness of the opponent.

On the flip side of it is that unlike predetermined election dates like in the US where the presidential election takes place on the first Tuesday of November of every four years, our model has a measure of uncertainty, especially when election speculation drags on for too long.  What this means in real terms is the business of governing and executing long-term policies could take a back seat to short-term populism by all parties contesting thereby wasting precious time when we should be focusing on transforming our economy and education system.

Having said that, even in democracies with pre-determined dates, the business of governing suffers due to the election cycle.  In the US, the White House is in election mode one year from the election date.  This affects policy, legislation and even foreign relations.  So to say that our system leads to greater uncertainty is not necessarily true.  But there have been more calls for us to move to a system where the date of our general election is more certain.  

One of the recommendations from the Parliamentary Select Committee on improving the electoral process was to ensure that there is a minimum parliamentary term of four years. This means that by law, the prime minister will not be able to get Parliament dissolved at any time less than four years from the last general election.  

Thus the speculative period would effectively be cut down to just one year, which would be an improvement on the current situation where people have been predicting ‘snap polls’ from as early as 2009 and --222-----subsequently every other month – eventually, someone will get right.

While this could help with political certainty, it also takes away the key flexibility of being able to renew a mandate in exceptional circumstances.  While Malaysian parliamentary terms have on average gone past four years, in some countries that have a similar system, governments have gone for a general election much earlier.

In cases where there is a crisis of confidence in the government, a good way to overcome the impasse is to go back to the people.  If we are by law prohibited from doing so, it may result in a paralysis of governance for a few years, which could be disastrous.  A recent example would be Greece.  

While it is obvious that Malaysia does not find itself politically or economically anywhere near Greece’s current situation, the example is still instructive.  A Greek general election in May failed to produce an outright winner at a time when there needed to be political will to push through with painful economic reforms.  

Had Greece been prevented from seeking another election, they would have had to go through the next few years with a weak coalition that could not make any decision on the way forward to save the country’s economy.  This is why putting a minimum timeframe on a parliamentary term could work against us if we find ourselves confronting a crisis in need of a new mandate.

Another interesting thing to note about the next general election, other than speculating on its timing, is the massive number of new voters who will cast their ballots for the first time.  The Election Commission has disclosed that that we could have up to two million new voters, most of them young.  The numbers are staggering.

In my own constituency of Rembau there are more than 12,000 new voters, a number that is greater than my winning majority in 2008.  These new voters represent the deciding factor of the next polls.  Many constituencies will be won and lost based on how these first timers cast their vote.

Politicians from both sides have been busy courting these new voters.  We have been trying to figure out their likely voting preferences and issues close to their hearts.  Although making crass generalisations is one of the biggest mistakes in politics, there are some rough ways of determining party support even among these first time voters.

A survey conducted by Barisan Nasional Youth for instance showed that 62% of young voters have not decided yet who they will vote for.  This fits in with most anecdotal samplings that tend to say that committed voters are fewer than those sitting on the fence. This is a marked difference from older Malaysians.  

While there are swing voters among the older generation, there are many more who have strong party loyalty and will continue to cast their vote as they have done regardless of current issues. But young voters who represent for the crucial swing factor will be looking at several things before deciding which way they will throw their support.  Broadly speaking there are five factors that will weigh heavily on voting decisions in the upcoming general election.

First, the young voters will be assessing candidates.  This is why there is so much hype about “winnable candidates”.  No longer can we field candidates based on their position in party hierarchy without any regards for the views of non-party member voters.  There will almost always be more non-party member voters than party members so it makes no sense to choose someone who is a party warlord but is detested by local voters in general.  

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has made it clear that he will be choosing candidates based on their winnability among general voters and not internal party popularity.  In several by-elections in the last few years, the prime minister hass overridden the choices of the local party divisions and nominated candidates who do not have senior party positions but proved to be winnable.  

In fact, BN members have given our commitment that this must be the guiding principle in choosing candidates, even if it means we will not be nominated or renominated.  So, expect there to be many new, credible and winnable faces from BN since  the ‘candidate factor’ has become more important for voters in deciding which side to support.

Second, voters will look at national leadership.  They will weigh both the leadership of BN and the opposition.  Although local candidates and issues are important, voters will be aware this general election will produce the next government.  BN’s strongest suit is the personal popularity of the prime minister, which outstrips that of the opposition leadership.  

However, we have to be careful not to try to “ride” on prime minister’s popularity.  Although there is no doubt that the “Najib factor” is a big boost for BN, local candidates should not be complacent and hope to win by piggybacking on his popularity without campaigning hard themselves.

Third, state leadership is important.  Other than in the Federal Territories and Sarawak, Malaysians everywhere will vote for both a parliamentary and state representative (unless states run by the federal opposition do not dissolve their state assemblies at the same time as Parliament’s dissolution).  When casting their state votes, they will want to see who the candidates are for menteri besar/chief minister from both sides.

A clear MB/CM-designate is a factor that can excite voters.  The candidate for MB/CM may be new or an incumbent.  If the incumbent state leader is popular, clear signals that he will continue to lead the state can have a positive effect on voters.  In states where a challenge is being mounted, voters want to see who the state opposition is putting forward to challenge the incumbent.  I am sure many in Selangor are waiting for BN to announce our choice for MB should we reclaim the state.  This could possibly be the most important game changer in the contest for the coveted state.

Fourth, parties still matter.  Although party loyalties are markedly less among new, young voters, they will still always fall back on the overall perception they hold towards both sides.  This includes their overall view on how political parties position themselves on current issues, their track record and also articulation of a vision for the future. Manifesto promises are done in the name of the party, therefore the association between party and policy platform is at the forefront of the voters mind.  

There will also be other issues that can determine the outcome of specific contests.  Local issues may not grab national headlines, but for some constituencies it could be relevant in forming their voting choices.  This may lead to tactical voting where voters choose one side for their federal representation but the other at the state level because they believe their local needs are better served by one particular party or candidate.  

With the general election certain to be held only after Hari Raya and possibly after the budget speech in September, the race for these fence-sitters will continue.  Parties and candidates will be mistaken in thinking there is one ‘silver bullet’ that can win the next general election.  Many factors - among them those identified above - will make the difference.


  1. Saya masih was-was dengan KJ ni. Dia belum tunjuk taring sebab belum dapat kedudukan.

    1. TK Kerala Singgah . Saya ambil kedudukan untuk baik sangka, dan juga telah melupakan kenangan pahit KJ-Pak Lah. KJ amat berkaliber tetapi Kalau dia tidak pelajari silapnya dahulu, saya rasa dia akan memusnahkan UMNO sendiri,. biar dia sentiasa menolak apa 2 jawatan tinggi, sehingga ahli sendiri menolaknya ke atas.


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