PAP’s better-than-expected victory in Singapore has gotten BN supporters in Malaysia excited.
It tickles me to no end watching BN people looking into the Singaporean mirror and seeing men in white instead of their own reflection. They see the Singaporean reality and confuse it for a Malaysian one. Perhaps there is something wrong with the lens they wear for BN is no PAP and Najib Razak is no Lee Hsien Loong. And Singapore is no Malaysia.
Salleh Keruak, the unelected information minister, thinks otherwise. He believes the Singaporean election has proven a point about the silent majority defeating the noisy minority at the ballot box. He believes this will be the case for Malaysia and encourages the government to act as so.
Former PM Mahathir Mohamed loved the argument when he was in power but in our last general election in 2013, there was no silent majority voting for BN. Did we forget 51% of us voted for Pakatan Rakyat, and that BN received only 47% for the votes? In fact I would even go farther and say the the silent majority argument has been irrelevant since at least 2008 because our society is essentially divided in the middle.
Will 2018 show otherwise?
I do not know and as a person who believes strongly in the need for institutional reforms (read power change at the federal level) instead of more investment in malls and condominium to boost the GDP, the dynamics involving PAS and the rural votes worry me. But the differences between Singapore and Malaysia are so big that there is a limit to how much the Singaporean experience is applicable to Malaysia. The minister’s confidence does not recognize that limit at all.
For one, Malaysia had no Lee Kuan Yew. His death sparked the politics of thankfulness much to the benefits of the PAP, never mind the nationalism in conjunction of Singapore’s 50th year as an independent state. What Malaysia has in contrast is Mahathir and he, unlike Lee, does not think highly of the incumbent government.
Furthermore, Singapore has no real scandal of its own. There were issues causing the PAP to lose some support back in 2011. But the party set out to address those concerns after that and apparently, sufficiently successful at doing so. This, I think, is the most important point that has been raised out there to rationalize PAP’s victory.
Malaysia? The sitting government has created more problem than it has solved. The power abuse and corruption concerns of 2008 have been amplified instead.
The minister and the proponents of the silent majority would do better if they compare and contrast the Malaysian and the Singaporean contexts closely. In fact, there is no guarantee those keeping quiet will vote for BN when the time comes.
The social media is not the best national barometer, but do not take the hostility in cyberspace to mean all is fine and dandy on the ground.
In Wangsa Maju, there is a big water pipe visible from the main road leading to Taman Melawati. On it written “Undur Najib. Kekal BN” in red paint. In Keramat, I am surprised Najib’s big poster on the UTC facade has not been vandalized yet. Maybe because there is a police station inside of it.
But talk to these Malays in Keramat, Kampung Baru, Kerinchi, Wangsa Maju and Setapak for instance. See if you will be celebrated as a superstar.
 — There may be thousands marching and screaming and demonstrating its displeasure. But there may be an even larger group that has no issues and do not share the views of this minority group of noisy protestors.
Politicians do not fear that noisy minority. What they fear is the silent majority because one never knows what the silent majority is thinking and what they will do come Polling Day.
The Singapore general election has proven this point. The noisy minority dominated the internet and the social media. They made it appear like they represent the majority rather than the minority. And the election result proved that the silent majority were not with the noisy minority.
Undeniably, in Malaysia as well the noisy minority dominates and monopolises the internet and the social media. In fact, many are intimidated and do not want to post their views on the internet because if you disagree with the noisy minority you would get vilified and insulted.
However, just like what happened in Singapore, the silent majority got turned off with what the noisy minority was saying on the internet and in the social media. They watched silently what was being said and the more the silent minority talked the more people were turned away. Sometimes overkill can work against you, like what the Singapore election has proven. [The noisy minority and the silent majority. Salleh Said Keruak. September 12 2015]