If the total number of registered voters is about 70,000, we can expect a voter turnout of about 50,000, plus-minus. That would be an increase in voter-turnout of about 9,000. Now, Nurul Izzah’s majority in March 2008 was less than 3,000 votes or just 7%. This does not give her too much room to play with. It is certainly touch and go from where I am sitting, even though I am sitting thousands of miles away.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Is Nurul Izzah losing her grip?
The Malay Mail
In the last general election, Nurul Izzah Anwar was ‘David’ against Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil's ‘Goliath’ in the battle for Lembah Pantai. The eldest daughter of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim achieved what opposition colleagues Zainur Zakaria and Tun Salleh Abas could not -- wrest the parliamentary constituency from the charismatic Shahrizat.
However, four years later, words on the ground have it that Nurul Izzah is losing support to Umno's Datuk Seri Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin. In what can be called a role reversal, the Barisan Nasional (BN) senator has been hard at workturun padang, speaking to the people and using his position as Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister to address their problems, ranging from City Hall issues, housing and business related problems.
Seri Pahang flats resident Mohd Shardi Hashim, 34, an ardent fan of Raja Nong Chik, pointed out that the latter was more ‘people savvy’ and had contributed a lot to the Lembah Pantai folks.
“He made a lot of changes and assisted us in many ways. He goes to the ground often and talks to the people. He also listens to our problems and addresses them, especially on housing. On the other hand, I seldom see Nurul Izzah. I don't know what she has done for the constituency. What I do know is, she just started appearing again quite recently.”
Sue Anna Tan, 34, agreed with Mohd Shardi and said she was surprised when Raja Nong Chik sent her an SMS wishing her happy birthday recently.
“I have no idea how he got my number but it was rather sweet of him to text me,” she said. The main concern of Tan -- a victim of snatch thefts three years ago -- was the ‘ever increasing crime rate’.
“I must say Bangsar nowadays seems to turn into a hotspot for criminals. Every day residents hear of snatch thefts and, almost every week, burglary cases. My neighbour's house was broken into recently and it happened on a Sunday afternoon.”
“In my case, the first incident was in 2008 outside my home, the second in 2009 while I was walking along Jalan Telawi, and the third was in 2010 when they smashed my car window at Bangsar Shopping Centre,” Tan said.
Shop owner Norzilla Abdullah, 66, would also root for Raja Nong Chik because it would be easier for her to run her business since he held a Cabinet post. “I like Nurul Izzah but I have to be practical when it comes to business. I would rather have an MP who is also the minister who supervises City Hall,” she said.
She said Nurul Izzah, who defeated Shahrizat in the 2008 general election, was seen by many Lembah Pantai residents as ‘not doing anything much’ for the constituency. To this, Nurul Izza said: “We (Pakatan Rakyat) are rendered powerless by City Hall, which is answerable to the minister. This affects our job in Kuala Lumpur itself, let alone Lembah Pantai.”
“I find it challenging to do good work for my constituents because most complaints are directly related to City Hall. Sometimes I feel like I'm just the middle person trying to push City Hall to provide better services to the constituents.”
“It doesn't help that BN has a service centre near Seri Pahang flats as well. This confuses the people. Who do they go to for help? Me or my political nemesis? I'm the rightful MP but he's the minister.”
The 31-year-old, who is also PKR vice-president, also claimed that City Hall and various administrators of public facilities were ‘unfriendly’ towards her programmes, projects and campaigns.
“It has come to a point where we just try to do it. Can you imagine the Bangsar mosque is not allowing us to distribute charity to the poor? They say we should not have 'political activities' in a mosque,” she said.
However, when The Malay Mail brought the matter up with Raja Nong Chik, he firmly denied it, saying that Nurul Izzah ‘must adhere procedures just like everyone else’. “Even Umno members are sometimes denied facilities by City Hall. It depends on a lot of factors,” he said.
“I have been doing my best to assist the poor of Lembah Pantai for 25 years. My opponent has only been doing it for the past two to three years as an MP. I was here even when I lost the division chief's post for Umno but I stayed on to serve.”
Raja Nong Chik said he knew the issues concerning the poor. “It is housing, It has always been the case and I've been on top of it to provide low-cost housing for the squatters.”
“I basically want to improve their overall living conditions, including better pensions for the elderly and providing better homes for everyone, especially the poor.”
When you pray five times a day, you remember Allah and Raja Nong Chik, not necessarily in that order of priority, though.
That was what The Malay Mail had to say about the matter. Now read what I have to say, not that I have not written about this matter a couple of times already. However, as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad likes to say: Melayu mudah lupa. I say all Malaysians mudah lupa. So sometimes we need to repeat what we have already said to keep reminding you.
There were almost 57,000 registered voters in Lembah Pantai in March 2008. I do not know what the exact figure is now but I am guesstimating that it should be roughly 70,000, plus-minus. I am basing this estimate on the ratio of the national increase in voters and am assuming that the increase in voters for the parliamentary constituency of Lembah Pantai is in tandem with the national figure. If it is higher, then we should begin to worry and suspect that something devious is happening here -- such as ‘phantom’ voters.
Anyhow, whatever it may be, slightly over half those voters are Malays, say 52-54%, and less than half are non-Malays -- mainly Chinese, about a quarter, and Indians, about 20% or so. Hence the Malay voters would probably decide the outcome of the coming general election in Lembah Pantai.
I would not put too much weight on The Malay Mail report above. I mean, a swallow does not make a summer and interviewing one or two people for their comments does not reflect the majority view. Nevertheless, The Malay Mail is not entirely wrong and there are certainly some areas of concern. And I am definitely concerned about them -- although Nurul Izzah’s ‘machinery’ is very gung-ho about the situation.
We must remember that the PKR Youth machinery is always gung-ho. In the Indera Kayangan by-election ten years ago in 2002 -- the campaign that was run by the PKR Youth Movement -- I said that PKR was going to lose by at least 2,500 votes. PKR Youth, however, said it was going win by not less than 3,000 votes, maybe even 5,000 votes.
Even Rafizi Ramli, who at that time was still studying in the UK, said that PKR was going to lose by at least 2,500 votes, and he spoke to me about it. Nevertheless, the PKR Youth election machinery was still confident it was going to win. Finally, Rafizi and I were proven right. PKR lost by 2,593 votes, worse than in 1999 when they lost by less than 2,000 votes.
Hence I am always very worried about these Young Chicos in PKR. They are too confident and always end up wrong in the end. So why should I not be worried about Lembah Pantai when it is the same Young Chicos who are running the campaign and who look down on us Old Cocks as out of touch with what is happening on the ground?
And Indera Kayang is just one of many examples of how wrong these PKR Youth campaigners have been. They always forecast a win and the result turns out the opposite. And I fear we may see this happening in the coming general election as well if they don’t pull their heads out of the sand and look at reality.
Let me make one thing very clear. Places such as Lucky Gardens in Bangsar used to always vote Barisan Nasional. For the first time in 2008 they voted Pakatan Rakyat. And this is because of ABU or ‘anything but Umno’. Will they still vote ABU this time around or will they go back to what they used to do in the many elections before 2008 -- that is, vote ruling party?
When the Bangsarians voted ABU it was mainly because they hated Umno. Hence it is not so much because they loved Nurul Izzah as much as because they hated Umno, and by extension the Umno candidate, meaning Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
One question we need to ask is: did they hate Umno or did they hate (or ‘did not like’ in case ‘hate’ is too strong a word to use) Shahrizat? If they hated Umno, then well and fine. But if it were Shahrizat rather than Umno that they hated (or disliked), would they still feel the same way if it were not Shahrizat who is contesting but someone else instead -- such as Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin?
Now, I personally know Raja Nong Chik. In fact, I have known him since back in the 1980s. And I must admit that he is a very likeable character. It is very difficult to hate him just because he happens to be in Umno and is Umno’s candidate for Lembah Pantai. And, being a very successful businessman, he has good PR and knows how to rub you the right way.
Another important thing is Raja Nong Chik is wealthy and can afford to throw his money around. And when you have a pleasant personality, are always smiling, walk around with an aura of humility, and are spreading hard cash all over the place, it becomes very difficult to find fault with you.
Other than that, Raja Nong Chik is the Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister and Lembah Pantai comes under the Federal Territory. Hence he can do ‘favours’ for the residents of Lembah Pantai that Nurul Izzah cannot do (and Nurul Izzah does not deny this fact, and neither do the voters).
Is this an abuse of power, and hence corruption? Those who are receiving favours and cash handouts do not care whether it is abuse of power or corruption. They will just take the favours and money and vote for whoever it is giving them these favours and cash. That is the reality of the situation. I mean those who scream corruption are the same people who bribe a policeman to escape a fine, is this not so? Hence it is corruption only when others benefit, not when you benefit.
An even greater obstacle facing Nurul Izzah is the fact that, while the Bangsar residents (meaning mainly non-Malays) may have been voting ABU in the last election, the Malays in the Pantai Dalam area were not voting ABU. They were voting ABS -- anything but Shahrizat. I know this because I was involved in ‘bribing’ some of the Malay Umno members to cross over and become ‘turncoats’.
You see, for a long time, Raja Nong Chik had been working the ground and was building his support amongst the Malays in Pantai Dalam in the hope that he would be selected to contest the 2008 general election. When Shahrizat was retained instead, many of Raja Nong Chik’s Umno supporters were pissed off. Hence they voted for Nurul Izzah just to teach Umno a lesson.
And all we did was to capitalise on this and give them more reason not to vote for Shahrizat -- money being that icing on the cake. But the cake was already there. We just provided the icing. So they took the money and voted Nurul Izzah not because they wanted Nurul Izzah but because they did not want Shahrizat. And they did not want Shahrizat because they wanted Raja Nong Chik.
Sounds very complicating, no?
This normally happens when the candidate is not the choice of the ground but the choice of the ‘higher-ups’ in the Umno hierarchy. And this is Umno’s main worry in the coming general election as well. And that is why the 13th General Election is facing a delay. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is having a headache trying to sort out the candidates list to avoid internal sabotage if they field the ‘wrong’ candidate.
So the delay in the 13th General Election has nothing to do with Altantuya Shaariibuu, as some PKR people would have us believe. It is because they need to sort out the candidates list and see how they can ‘reward’ (also meaning ’bribe’) those candidates who are going to be dropped so that they will not sabotage their own party, Umno.
And now do you know why some Umno Sabah people are jumping? They are going to be dropped and they are not happy with the ‘retirement package’ they are being offered. So they cross over to the opposition. But I will talk about this matter later in another article. I already have all the shit and will soon be revealing it.
Anyway, back to Lembah Pantai. If the total number of registered voters is about 70,000, we can expect a voter turnout of about 50,000, plus-minus. That would be an increase in voter-turnout of about 9,000. Now, Nurul Izzah’s majority in March 2008 was less than 3,000 votes or just 7%. This does not give her too much room to play with. It is certainly touch and go from where I am sitting, even though I am sitting thousands of miles away.
The biggest issue to the Malays is housing. If Raja Nong Chik can sort out the housing problem that the Malays are facing (which he certainly can and is doing so) then I fear all is lost. Would the Malays take these houses (and the cash that Raja Nong Chik is dishing out) and still vote opposition? I doubt it. The Malays suffer from this ‘disease’ called ‘terhutang budi’. Once you show kindness to them they repay in kindness.
And this I strongly believe is also Nurul Izzah’s main concern.
Nurul Izzah needs a better election machinery. But is it too late for that? I really don’t know. But better late than never I always say. The campaign should no longer be just about ABU. We must remember that many who voted for Nurul Izzah in the last general election were Umno people. ABU will not work on Umno people. They will take it as a personal attack. How do you expect to get their votes when you attack them, meaning scream ABU?
Malays have this other ‘disease’: tak kenal maka tak cinta. And this is Raja Nong Chik’s strong point. He makes the voters cinta him but getting them to kenal him. And never visit them empty-handed -- as the Malays would say, bawa air lior basi. But to visit them with gifts means you need to have a deep pocket, something which Raja Nong Chik has and which Nurul Izzah will be hard-pressed to match.
Nurul Izzah has to stop all her gallivanting. No need all those trips and going around the country to ceramah. Focus on Lembah Pantai, which is a large enough territory as it is. The voters need to see your face and shake your hand. Kiss babies if need be. Just make sure that your presence is felt. What you lack in Ministerial powers and millions in cash you need to make up for in personal touch.
And get rid of those Young Chikos. Get some Old Cocks onto your team. And go poach some Umno people as well. Pay them to work for you if need be. You need to pull every trick in the book at this stage. And if you need more money just holler. With 500,00 readers, and if each Malaysia Today reader donated just RM10 on average, that can already come to RM5 million.
You need to fight Raja Nong Chik using his own weapon. And his weapon is money. So you must use that same weapon. And if this is something you are not prepared to do then get out of Lembah Pantai and contest somewhere else.
It is now in the hands of you, Malaysia Today readers. If you want Nurul Izzah to win then open your cheque books now. If not, then bye-bye Nurul Izzah and hello Raja Nong Chik. And do not say I did not tell you when I write my ‘I told you so’ article the day after the 13th General Election.
NOTE: Bank account where you can send money to is "AHLI PARLIMEN LEMBAH PANTAI", Maybank, account number 5641 2834 5008