After GE13, a hung Parliament, says RPK
Before Election 2008, he had declared that the opposition would take 90 federal seats and five states, which was startlingly close to the final results.
“I predict it will be a hung Parliament,” the self-exiled editor of the Malaysia Today news site said last night in an Internet broadcast live from London.
A hung Parliament, also known as a balanced Parliament in a two-party system, is one in which no party has an overall majority and will need to coax support from rival party members to pass laws.
The vocal government critic was replying to a question on which political pact will form the federal government raised by a member of the audience off camera at the first Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) public forum.
The MCLM is an independent outfit Raja Petra co-founded two months ago and made up of Malaysians abroad who are lobbying for political reform by offering political parties a stable of professionals and non-partisan civil rights activists to stand as candidates in the 13th general election.
The 60-year-old this year withdrew his long-standing support for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the DAP-PKR-PAS opposition pact based on his view on the growing groundswell of discontent in East Malaysia, which he observed has supplied the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition its majority support for decades.
“How Pakatan handles East Malaysia will have a very great factor in who forms government,” said the blogger popularly known as RPK.
Raja Petra noted that Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan have grown more fed-up with being treated as a “vote bank” by their countrymen across the South China Sea.
The two states and one federal territory together occupy 57 seats out of a total of 222 in the Dewan Rakyat, nearly a quarter of the members in the lawmaking hall.
Their votes have traditionally been cast in support of the BN, but Raja Petra foresees it is likely to change.
“Currently, the sentiment in Sabah and Sarawak is that Pakatan and Barisan are both totally worthless.
“My sentiment is that it’s going to be a lot of three-cornered fights in East Malaysia with lots of independents contesting,” he said.
Sporting a blue beret and Harry Potter-like round glasses at the talk yesterday, Raja Petra observed that the federal opposition pact, Pakatan Rakyat (PR), had failed to make use of the growing grassroots’ unhappiness to sway more supporters to its side.
“My view is that Pakatan is not handling East Malaysia properly… and it’s going to backfire,” he added.
He pointed to the racial-religious posturing between Umno and PKR and said the challenges over racial and religious supremacy have no traction in East Malaysia where multiculturalism is part of their lives.
But he added, it does mean the BN will win.
“If you ask me again during Chinese New Year, I can give a more accurate prediction,” Raja Petra said.
The UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are examples of the latest round of hung Parliaments.
A hung Parliament means the party in power will need to coax its rival party members to pass laws.
Two years ago, before Malaysia went to the polls, Raja Petra had predicted the opposition pact would win 90 seats and take over five state governments – Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, Perak and Pahang.
The three parties came out winning 82 seats and but failed to take over Perlis and Terengganu.
Malaysia Today also said that the opposition coalition would eventually be called Barisan Rakyat and posters of Barisan Rakyat were printed and distributed. Malaysia Today go that wrong as the opposition coalition named itself Pakatan Rakyat.