Azhar Harun : The march to Putrajaya - how Barisan Nasional campaigned for Pakatan Harapan for free.
The push for Putrajaya is entering its last leg now.
Over the last few weeks, the Barisan Nasional government, led by the Honourable Caretaker Prime Minister, had tirelessly and very effectively campaigned for Pakatan Harapan for free.
Among others, it rushed the Anti Fake News bill through the Parliament and got it passed.
At the same time, it bulldozed the re-delineation bill through the Parliament thereby legitimising massive and unethical - not to mention illegal and unconstitutional - gerrymandering that see thousands of voters transferred away from their habitat into hitherto unknown constituencies.
For example, the whole Bukit Aman - where policemen reside - had, with the re-delineation, become part of Lembah Pantai constituencies. What has Bukit Aman got to do with Lembah Pantai is for anyone to guess.
The Caretaker Prime Minister then ridiculed Nurul Izzah for "running away" from Lembah Pantai. He of course forgot that he was the one who chickened out so much so he had to re-draw the borders of Lembah Pantai.
Selayang saw 10000 Chinese voters transferred away to another area and an approximately 10% increase in Malay voters just to ensure the incumbent loses.
Not enough with the two very unpopular bills being passed into laws at the very last minute, the government machinery was used to declare Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia temporarily illegal.
The response was immediate and probably unthinkable by the Barisan Nasional.
The opposition parties decided once and for all to contest in the election under one banner, namely the PKR symbol. Even the DAP, which had never failed to contest in every single election under their trademarked rocket symbol agreed to forego their symbol this time around, all for the sake of unity and a single objective, that is to throw the Barisan Nasional away to political abyss.
Barisan Nasional's tireless campaign for Pakatan Harapan continued thereafter when the SPR declared Wednesday the 9th of May as election day. Initially, there was not supposed to be a public holiday.
The peace loving and right thinking Malaysians expressed and vented their anger on social media. They feel that the government was making it difficult for the people to vote by holding the election on a working day without a public holiday.
Caretakers Ministers then made public statements that the people, especially those who work in Singapore, should not vote if they had no holiday!
Again, the people calmly absorbed this latest assault to their freedom and guaranteed right to participate in the process of democracy. Social media was full with hashtags where car pooling was organised, donations - real ones, not the kind of donation that our Prime Minister had obtained - were collected to help fellow Malaysians to go back to vote. Apps were invented and spread about to help the people to carpool. Private firms quickly declared holidays on election days. Airlines offered discounted tickets.
Why, even Singaporean employers gave a holiday to their Malaysian workers to go back and vote.
Barisan Nasional then relented. It declared Wednesday polling day as a public holiday. That emboldened the people. The people now know that the real power is with themselves. Wit enough loud and gentle voices, the government has no choice but to relent. The people now know that the government has to be beholden to the people. And they are ready to tell that to the Barisan Nasional government in the most emphatic way - by voting them out come polling day.
They have had enough of the sheer arrogance of this government!
Thank you Barisan Nasional for your campaign!
Political fatigue that had set in at the beginning of April was suddenly gone. The people are fired up leading to the election day.
The Barisan Nasional apparatus continued their effective campaign for Pakatan Harapan.
On nomination day, the SPR fanned the anger of the people by refusing, without justification and any legal reason, a Pakatan Harapan candidate from entering the nomination centre to submit his candidacy form.
Additionally, Tian Chua, whose candidacy was already cleared by the Courts despite his fine of RM2000 earlier, was barred from contesting by the SPR. This blatant disregard for the law and utter disrespect for the Courts of the land fueled an anger within the voting populace further.
The level of distrust against this government and its apparatus is now at a level never before seen.
On social media, video clips of Barisan's candidates openly bribing the voters were making its round. Even the caretaker Prime Minister indulged in treating the people with promises of cash and benefits in the event the Barisan wins. He did it with impunity!
Anger is now replaced by rage. A rage that is so burning that the people can't wait to cast their vote on the 9th!
Meanwhile, the SPR continued to invite ridicule from the people by cutting out images of Dr Mahathir from Pakatan's election posters and banners. It is almost funny if not for the tragic display of our election management. Images of MCA posters and banners with the picture of the Premier of China were compared to Pakatan's banners with DrM's picture being cut out!
Yesterday, the campaign for Pakatan Harapan continued. Postal voters had not received their ballot paper. Those who received complained of discrepancies.
The Prime Minister and Salleh Said Kruak then took turn to insult Pakatan ceramah-goers by saying that Pakatan had hired busses to ferry them. Pakatan ceramahs had been filled with ordinary folks who voluntarily attended the ceramah without any form of inducement. And now they are insulted by those two characters!
It is also said that the picture of Pakatan's crowd has been doctored. Further digging the Barisan's proverbial grave.
On the corporate side, Arul Kanda, the CEO 1MDB went around town spreading "facts" about 1MDB and becoming a politician himself. By doing so, he is effectively insulting the wisdom and intelligence of the people, who actually know what had happened in 1MDB. He forgot that facts are easily obtainable in the public domain. He also forgot that 1MDB is an issue not with the uneducated populace but the educated ones, namely those who can know the differences between facts and fictions and discern the truth from a whole loads of corporate blurbs and terminologies.
TunM meanwhile always have some surprises. Tun Daim, Tan Sri Rafidah and Tan Sri Rais Yatim made appearances in Pakatan's ceramah to openly support Pakatan.
UMNO retaliated - and wrongly too - by sacking all three from UMNO, the only response that UMNO knows.
Nik Omar, the son of the late TGNA, who was revered for his rationality and a cool image of Islam, then made his appearances. This had a huge impact among the conservative Muslims as he reminded them very much of TGNA. Even the non-Malays had welcomedhis friendly face and demeanour. He reminded them of his father, TGNA, who had done so much to bridge PAS with the non-Malays when he was PAS' spiritual leader.
And today, Sunday the 6th May 2018, while the campaigning in the election is on its last leg from tomorrow, while the people are getting ready to go balik kampung to vote, their mind made up and while the fence sitters are already shifting their mind toa conclusion, Barisan Nasional is concerned. Very concerned.
A sense of fear could be felt. Surely it is not confident. Because if it was, it would have grabbed this election campaign by the collar and get on with it without having to throw spanners at Pakatan Harapan; without having to call DrM as tiang senget; without having to insukt Pakatan ceramah goers as paid attendees and the likes.
Malaysia, for the very first time in her election history, is teetering into the hitherto unknown and unchartered waters - where the opposition holds a real fighting chance to outdo and thereby end Barisan Nasional's monopoly as the ruling party.
If that happens on 9th May 2018, Pakatan Harapan, ironically, has the Barisan Nasional and the Prime Minister, to thank for.
For their tireless campaign against themselves and for the Pakatan.