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“PH needs cultural strategy to win the hearts and minds of Malays” – Ramasamy

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COMMENT BY YB PROF DR P.RAMASAMY, DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG

PH needs cultural strategy to win the hearts and minds of Malays

Wining the coming state elections especially under the control of PN is not going to be that easy. In fact, there is chance that the Malay majority constituencies in PH controlled might be up for grabs by the combination of Bersatu and PAS in PN.

State elections might held this year maybe May or June. PN is gung-ho that it might even win all the state seats in the state of Kedah like it won almost all the parliamentary constituencies in the recent parliamentary election.

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At the moment in Kedah, PN has 21 seats whereas the opposition has 15 seats, basically Umno and DAP. PN wants to repeat the performances at the state level because the Green Tsunami is yet to subside.

Some say that the use of race and religion might be temporary for PN, but I am not sure what this temporary means. Definitely it cannot be months it could last for years even until the GE16.

So in this respect, temporary is not temporary, it could be last for some time. I am not sure the incumbency of the unity government with PH as the anchor can dent the green wave.

It will all depend on the performance of the present government and to what extent it is committed to wiping out the menace of corruption and ills associated with the former governments.

Remember, PN became popular and won more seats than expected because of the corruption indulged by certain
Umno leaders.

In the campaign before the GE15, both Bersatu and PAS was able to zero on the corruption cases stalked against the Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to win over Malay support.

In this respect, the clever and ingenious use of the social media not so much religious sermons especially among the youth worked to the advantage of PN.

PH unanticipated the political oppositional surge that could emanate from PN especially PAS. In fact, it was PAS that carried Bersatu in gaining popular Malay votes.

The opposition by thinking that the BN was the primary political enemy based on its performance in the by-elections in Melaka and Johore, completely missed the real political enemy, the PN.
Essentially, PN ambushed PH on the Malay front.

I am not sure how the combination of Umno and PH, especially its Malay components can usher new basis of Malay support for PH.
Umno might be part of the unity government, but how such combination is going to work in favour of PH in the coming state election remains to be seen.

Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci once said that the cultural battle must be won first before the real war is won on the battlefield.

But in the last general election, PH might have won the war but at the expense of losing the cultural battle in getting the support of the Malay community.

This is the reason why there was need for a unity government.
Unity government would not have been there if PH had the necessary Malay support.

The question is not so much the Green Wave is temporary, or Umno-PH combine might get the Malay support or the question of incumbency.

All these factors are important, but the question is how the present government and more so PH is going to prepare the cultural ground for the eventual victory.

Such a cultural battle for the hearts and minds of the Malays must expose the cultural and moral bankruptcy of PAS or Bersatu.
To enable this strategy, PH must think hard and fast.

It serves no purpose to think of suppressing the ideological, racial and religious propaganda of PN through enforcement measures.
It would be an exercise in hollowness, ultimately benefiting the PN.

Alternatively, PH might have to come up with a superior cultural strategy to undermine the naked extremism of race and religion.
A counter hegemonic stratgy is more than required to political entomb PN.