Written by TohKong Masjid
5435! 5435 from 2333, an increase of 133% in majority votes. Yes, I hope PAS was humbled by that number, and this loss is worst than UMNO's loss in Permatang Pasir (4551 votes).
1. Stop the blaming game. Take it as it is, and find the answers from within
Don't blame the voters.
Don't try to blame it Tan Sri Isa's popularity either.
The fact that you lost with a bigger majority to a tainted candidate like him, regardless whether Bagan Pinang was his stronghold or not, there must be something VERY wrong about you.
Why did 75% voters in Bagan Pinang voted against you? Ok, perhaps you wanted to say they had 4600 postal votes in hand. Fine, let's take out the 4600 votes then. Yet you still lost by 3413 votes to 2,578 votes.
So, don't even try to pin it on postal votes as well.
But the question remains, why did 57% of ground voters in Bagan Pinang voted against you across all races?
How come voters in Bagan Pinang viewed PAS's candidate in such low quality, that he was not even given the chance to beat Rohaizat's (the disbarred lawyer) score? To voters, by hook or by crook, whether it was a crook or a hook, they had to choose one before 5pm, and PAS certainly failed miserably to provide them with enough reasons to at least show some support for PAS's candidate.
So, what went wrong? Was it due to a campaign strategy gone wrong? Or was it due to the dented image of PAS caused by controversial statements from its own leaders?
2. Campaign strategy of exposing Isa Samad's bad records.
Attacking Isa Samad's past record as a MB was a very unintelligent move. Come on lar, for 22 years he was the MB, there must be so much that he had done right, compared to his wrongs, right? If his money politics scandal did not deter people from nominating him, what makes you think people will hate him for his past failed projects? Even for a very successful corporate leader, there must be some broken projects under his belt along the way.
You cannot underestimate the number of voters in Bagan Pinang that Isa Samad had helped directly and indirectly during his tenure as MB. Your actions of exposing Isa's failed projects as a MB would certainly piss them off and set off a chain reaction of disgust.
Mind you, 22 years was a very long tenure, even the baby that was born on Isa's 1st year as a MB has turned into a eligible voter in Bagan Pinang today! Most of the people grew up into eligible voters under Tan Sri Isa's leadership.
PAS's campaign strategists forgot about those young voters who benefited from MB Isa while their parents were struggling to send them to schools or universities in the past 22 years.
How would those parents of these young voters feel when they see PAS puts up so many posters about Isa Samad's past which to them, were not comparable to the good deeds he had done as a MB? I believe they would have told their children (the young voters) something like this: "PAS was no where to be seen when your father or mother was struggling to feed you. MB Isa helped us before. Don't vote for PAS because they had smeared Isa's name as MB."
Instead of attacking Isa's past, PAS should have adopt the psychology attack strategy in wooing the young ones in Bagan Pinang by increasing their political awareness. By playing the sentiments over Isa's candicacy against their morale barometer and religion beliefs would have driven more young voters over to PAS.
The young voters (in the age of internet) were way easier to convince compared to their parents. Once we were able to convince the young ones, they could have go back and shared with their parents about the country's future if they were to vote for BN. They could have convinced their parents that a vote for BN is a vote to endorse their corruption practice and their super lousy way of governing the country. They could have set off a chain reaction to make people accept PAS and PR as the better party for Malaysia.
This wrong strategy by PAS had drove an extra 1,551 votes to BN instead of reducing the majority. There's a valuable lesson to be learnt here by PAS's think-tank and election strategists.
3. Confusing Signals from PAS
Fortunately for PAS, you need not to look far, as the answers were staring right in your face. The answers were so clear that there's something wrong with PAS when Zulkefly Omar could not answer these questions (below) posted by TheNutGraph (on 7 Oct 2009 http://www.thenutgraph.com/zulkefly-omars-dilemma):
a. What is his stand on concert banning, as called for by central PAS Youth against both Danish soft-rock band Michael Learns to Rock and US R&B diva Beyonce Knowles.? b. What is his stand on the open sale of alcohol? c. What is his position on the whipping sentence dropped on Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarnor?
Have you give it a thought on why Zulkefly Omar (ZO) refused or could not offer any answers to the 3 questions above? Was it his fault to not able to answer those questions?
i. 1st possibility - ZO did not know what was the real party's stand on those 3 issues.
Whenever PAS-DAP-PKR met and came out with the statement "the matters were solved" at then end of the meeting, he did not know exactly what they really meant by the word "solved" because PR never explained how the matter was solved. PAS did not explain what was their final stand on those issues. If ZO was confused about his party's stand, I believed the voters were even more confused.
Whenever there�s a controversial statement made by a certain PAS leaders, PAS top leaderships never responded quickly enough to counter those statements.
More often than not, they let those controversial statements to float around until enough damage was done before stepping in. Most of the time, they would tell everyone that the matter is now closed without telling us exactly whats their final stand was. In the end, the people are left alone to judge PAS's stand on their own, and this is bad for the party.
ii. 2nd possibility - ZO had the answers to the above questions, but he knew his answers were going to piss off Pakatan Rakyat leaders or the non-Muslim voters so he decided to stay mum.
But can you blame ZO for not answering? Who dug up those holes for him to walk in? PAS itself dug the hole subconsciously for playing the rat race with UMNO to prove who is more Islamic between them.
For instance, in the beer fiasco, PAS Selangor was probably trying to prove themselves they are the real protector of Islam instead of UMNO. It was just a mind game without strategy to prove a useless point using the wrong way.
Why PAS's top leadership never thought of using the signboards "Judi adalah haram di sisi agama Islam" hanging in the 4D gambling shops as an example to do some real study? If those signboards cannot deter a Muslim from betting, does it really matter if those beers are sold in the Muslim-majority area?
Is there a need to prove PAS is more Islamic than UMNO by playing such high-stakes game? Is there a need to be caught up in this game while getting yourself being cornered politically?
4. Something is terribly wrong with the people perception of PAS lately.
Subconsciously, after a series of victory in Peninsular by-elections, PAS has lost track on its real focus. They did not realize they had started playing with empty rhetoric, meaningless slogans while trying hard to label UMNO as a corrupted party. During these times, PAS did not do anything to improve itself, instead they are actually regressing to the old PAS.
Since March 08, PAS has stopped putting in more effort into turning 'PAS for ALL' slogan into actions. They hallucinated that the non-Muslims votes are going to stay with them as long as 'PAS for ALL' slogan is chanted everyday like the 1Malaysia slogan. They forgot about the 'value of the people believing' in 'PAS for ALL' slogan was the recipe why people across racial divides decided to vote for them in all previous by-elections.
PAS's internal bickering since the unity government fiasco had sent a variety of confusing signals about PAS's real identity to the rakyat. The benefit of the doubts that the rakyat gave to PAS on the past few by-elections are now gone for good.
PAS has to restart to brand themselves all over again. Rhetoric and slogans can only last so long as they refused or ignorant to learn from current UMNO's predicament.
5. Who are the real you, PAS?
If you happened to forget who you are, PAS, allow me to remind you.
PAS is a multi racial party who fights for Islam. You are not a Malay party like UMNO, but you are just a party dominated by Malays.
So, now how does PAS want to show its Islamic side to be accepted by all MALAY-sians?
The rakyat knows that PAS and Islam is inseparable. Therefore, fighting for Islam is completely acceptable to non-Muslims. The only problem is that lately it seemed very evident to the non-Muslims that PAS put more focus on petty issues rather than the big picture in their fight for Islam, which is to emphasis on fighting corruption, "kebajikan awam", fairness and transparency in all PR state's government.
PAS, you need to find your way back fast! Remember "PAS for ALL" was your best selling slogan, now you just have to focus to put it into actions. It is just that simple!
You paid a very cheap price in Bagan Pinang to realise that something has gone wrong in your struggle and focus. You should be glad that "Status-quo" is the cheapest price to lose an election for a good wake-up call!
~ Penulis adalah seorang Pemuda bukan Muslim yang sangat suka kepada PAS tetapi kadang-kadang mempunyai pandangan tersendiri terhadap parti Islam ini.