By : Amir Ali
The Barisan Nasional has become a copycat, stealing ideas from Pakatan Rakyat on several occasions and not feeling embarrassed at all.
Pakatan has been championing human rights, freedoms and equality since its inception. It took over the battle cry of “reformasi” and used it against a lame, decrepit and out-of-touch BN.
In reply to Pakatan’s successful campaigns, the BN has simply decided to copy Pakatan like lifting some ideas from its shadow federal budget. It is devoid of real ideas of its own.
In the meantime, the ruling coalition has become a bully and has failed to listen to the demands of the public, especially the minorities.
How will this help the BN continue running the affairs of the country, one dare not ask. But the point is, the BN has lost its nerves. It has copied the opposition’s recommendations but has failed to implement the true spirit of the proposals.
When Parliament passed new laws without even debating them thoughtfully, many observers from abroad and locally dismissed these laws as irrelevant.
Little did they know that the Malaysian authorities intended to use such laws to punish political rivals.
With the arraignment of both Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali in May this year under freshly brewed laws that replaced the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA), the real intent of the incumbent regime in Putrajaya was made clear.
Turning a deaf ear
It was a clear attempt to limit the political freedom of its opponents. This was what it had all along been doing not too long ago when it brandished the ISA to arrest its opponents.
While the BN insisted it was protecting the interest of the nation, it turned a deaf ear to the public’s outrage of its manhandling of the protesters during Bersih 3.0 rally.
It was also not as “friendly” as it claimed to be with its continued attacks on its opponents.
The opposition has campaigned for the removal of most toll booths and the renegotiation of the deals with the toll companies.
In quick response, the BN suspended the launch of new toll booths and also granted meagre “discounts” during the holiday season. In most cases, these discounts did not have any impact on the public.
Recently, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak spoke fondly of his affection for the younger generation, saying he wants to engage with the young minds but the BN was just trying to copy the opposition.
Pakatan has also made clear its intention to abolish the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), with Anwar labelling it “PTPTIPU N”. The response of the government: handouts to the youth!
The question to be asked is: does BN really care for the youth of Malaysia?
Engaging the youth
Giving RM250 to the young generation to acquire “smartphones (outdated phones?) is a ridiculous way of showing affection for the young ones.
These smartphones cost nearly RM1,500 to RM2,500 and the pittance offered is laughable.
Is BN really keen to engage with the young generation? No, it is just bluffing since it has been shown that the BN can become aggressive when the younger ones protest.
The crackdown on Bersih 3.0 and Occupy Dataran protesters and the attacks against pro-opposition rallies are such examples.
Apparently, the “engagement” that the BN is interested in is to throw shoes in mosques and stones at the elderly in Pakatan rallies.
It has been said that the BN is generous and has offered another round of RM100 handouts to schoolchildren.
But it appears the less fortunate, large families are the ones who will benefit from the RM100. The children barely get to hold the cash.
Opposition leaders – Anwar, Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Abdul Hadi Awang – are known for leading prayers, giving speeches in mosques and even acting as the “khatib” or speaker during Friday prayers. Now the prime minister is also turning to “prayers” with the “crowd”.
Anwar started a bus campaign, with flashy PKR and Pakatan’s logo and slogans painted on its sides. Now the government has jumped into the act with its own bus in Johor.
The PKR started the ball rolling about reducing car prices. The BN tried to follow suit but apparently made a U-turn.
The BN took action on the National Feedlot Corporation debacle, but at the same time charged whistleblower Rafizi Ramli with revealing a massive scandal.
Under Pakatan, the “whistleblower” would probably be rewarded.
The list of missteps by BN in its attempt to copy the opposition campaign is very long. It is
definitely not a positive sign for the ruling coalition.-fmt