Two 'hopeful' gaffes and an election

SAY what you will about politics, it is never short of entertaining and shocking gaffes, and the latest one has to be from the Opposition. From their "logo" fiasco to their newly announced Pakatan Harapan presidential council, it seems there is quite a lot not in favour for them should the election come sooner than expected.

Let us start with the logos. For those who have yet to see the supposed choices they are between, what may seem to be, a McDonald's low budget breakfast promo and a tribute to a pack of groundnuts.

But more importantly, since these logos were revealed by Rafizi Ramli rather publicly through social media, you would think it was a done deal. No such luck. It turns out that the logos were not even approved by the Pakatan Harapan leadership before reaching the public sphere.

On top of that, the so called McDonald's logos, with the word "Harapan" (hope) in either black or grey on a field of either red or yellow seems to suggest that the coalition may not be as enthusiastic as they portray themselves to be for the next election.

Perhaps it is the worry of three-way fights between the coalition with PAS and Umno, which will be in Umno's favour and guarantee a two-thirds majority in the next parliament if things come to a head. Or, perhaps it is their snafu once again when making major announcements.

For those who were not in the know Pakatan has now announced their presidential council, helmed by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail and advised by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, with the leadership of DAP, PKR, Amanah and PPBM being made vice-chairmen, along with other posts involving the upper echelons of each party's leadership.

And they made the same gaffe as they did when they had their schism with PAS – changing from Pakatan Rakyat to Pakatan Harapan.

It seems in their gung-ho moment to give the media and electorate something new in terms of their leadership, they once again did not include any politicians from Sabah or Sarawak. It is bad enough that the coalition seems to be ditching one-third of the seats based on Borneo, but to portray a total lacking of representatives from the island seems rather reckless.

Needless to say, there will perhaps be a U-turn in the near future to somehow fix this problem as well, similar to how they invited other parties to join the coalition after having a self aggrandising launch without representation from either Sabah or Sarawak, let alone extending olive branches to other smaller parties.

But perhaps this is the perfect time for us regular voters to ask what is necessary for the future. Both sides will be publishing their manifestos, thus we do need to ask ourselves what we want.

For my odd duck self, I want a 3% tax on RON97 petrol, a congestion charge into Kuala Lumpur, nuclear energy, waste to energy incinerators coupled with higher landfill charges, a surcharge on food waste similar to Singapore, and perhaps even a zero tolerance policy on double parked cars coupled with heavy fines, even during festive seasons.

In fact, double the fine during festive seasons.

At the same time, I will ask for a review of the bankruptcy laws, which increased their ceiling to RM50,000 from RM30,000.

Perhaps further action against PTPTN defaulters who have not paid a single instalment in five years. And if Sarawak is getting their own LRT system, I would like to see them also get an intercity rail linking the Borneo states at the same time.

In terms of nuclear energy, I do hope KKB Bhd and whoever in China is involved will be the first to handle such a grandiose project in Sarawak, which will finally undo the Bakun project and provide enough energy for the state. Borneo needs backbone networks – for high speed broadband, energy, water, road and rail.

In the end, it must be said – the future does not look hopeful for Pakatan, nor does it look hopeful for any Malaysian wanting a change in government. The feel on the ground is that both sides have let down voters, which will leave the next election in the hands of those who choose to turn up or those who would prefer to sit this one out as a sign of protest against both sides.

The "tsunami" has receded, the tide is out, and political fatigue has set in. It is now time to go for issues, rather than party and personalities.

Hafidz Baharom is a public relations practitioner. Comments: