Will Najib Get Voters’ Support in the June 2018 General Election?


The 14th Malaysian General Election will be held any time before June 2018, as recently announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak. Right now, the buzz around the country surrounds netizen’s comments on the General Election through social media platforms. Comments and hot criticism of the government and opposing factions came in gradually as political leaders spoke at press conferences and special meetings. They were gaining momentum for the upcoming General Election which is said to be the most challenging stage that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government will have to overcome to maintain its power.
Some citizens on social media support the opposition and the Pact (Pakatan Harapan), hoping they will take over the BN government, while some still expect the BN to maintain its power in leading the country since Malaysia’s 1957 independence.
One veteran leader of the United Malays National Organization (UNMO) and also the former cabinet Minister in the 80s, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, had predicted that the BN government would keep its stronghold with the majority of the rural population to support them along the way.
Razaleigh’s prediction was based on the 2018 Budget announced by the BN government in October 2017. The Budget, along with other policy documents, allocate special allowances to the farmers, fishermen, smallholders, and small entrepreneurs, to help them in bad times such as after a flood, fire, and following the monsoon season. Records show that most voters, since the 13th General Election in 2013, have been on the BN side even though the party  managed to win by a small majority unlike previous elections during which the BN had a 2/3 majority.
According to netizen’s opinions and critics on social media, it seems as if Najib and his BN government will see an end to its regime in the coming election. Nothing good has been said of Najib’s economic policies that cover almost all levels of society, from the poor to the rich. Though Najib’s transformation and economic policies are on the correct track and are supported by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), people are more concerned over the fact that Najib was accused for being involved in the 1MDB scandal. In this case, Najib was alleged to have misappropriated governments funds through the 1Malaysia Development Berhad corporation. Even though such allegations were cleared by the Attorney General and the special prosecution committee formed by the Parliament to investigate the 1MDB case, the issue is still being carried by foreign newspapers and portals to this day.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Jalani Johari, recently accused foreign media of spreading fake news on 1MDB and warned news portals that spread and propagated fake news would soon face stern actions. “The 1MDB case has been investigated by the relevant authorities including the Public Accounts Committee and all allegations about the misappropriation of funds were proven false,” said Jalani. Despite BN’s promising economic policies, oppositions predicted that Malaysia would soon be bankrupt due to Najib’s “heavy spending” and alleged misappropriation of funds. The national situation was said to worsen with the drop in the value of the Malaysian Ringgit (RM), but this claim has proven inaccurate as the RM has increased its value to RM 3.95 to 1 USD compared to its RM 4.50 value in the past two years. Another national issue is of the government sales taxes (GST) which has been a note of concern that opposition parties have had to address to gain voters’ support. On this, Najib had said that it was good of the government to impose the GST or else Malaysia would have succumbed to recession. However, Mahathir ( leader of the Pakatan Harapan; PH), pact continues to campaign by playing on such issues and promising to do away with the GST if and when the opposition wins power in the upcoming General Election. The BN government and the oppositions will simply have to go on playing their parts in this election game to convince the people which party is the most reliable, and thus suitable, to lead the government for the next five years. And at the end of the day, whichever party takes over as government will be determined by the people; the voters of the election.

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