Bersatu’s strategy to stereotype Malays as weak and in need of a protector would only backfire on them.
Bersatu is seeking to thrive on the spiel that the Malays are neo-feudal, tribal and possess a protector-complex mentality, charged PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli.
The Muhyiddin Yassin-led party, he said, is stereotyping the Malays as weak – almost similar to Umno’s characterisation of the race over the decades.
However, Rafizi described this as a delusional stratagem, which would backfire on Bersatu.
“It is to Bersatu’s detriment if they assume that Malays are neo-feudal and tribal,” he told Malaysiakini.
Malays need a protector
Rafizi was commenting on Bersatu Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal deducing that the Malays rejected Pakatan Harapan due to its extreme liberal democratic nature.
“The Malays need a protector. They have a neo-feudal mentality and are not ready to embrace a full-blown liberal democracy yet. At the end of the day, the societal nature of embracing a tribal mentality will persist,” Wan Fayhsal surmised.
Disagreeing, Rafizi argued that the recent Johor state election alluded that Malay voters were willing to switch alliances to get political parties to compete.
“Those voters who voted for Perikatan Nasional (PN) in Johor didn’t do so because Bersatu is seen as a better protector. It is more of a protest vote against Harapan because they used to vote for Harapan but were unhappy with its performance or narratives.
“The fact that they didn’t swing back to Umno confirms that they are not feudal or tribal (if the logic that Malays require a feudal lord, well Umno is the most feudal of it all),” Rafizi added.
Get the narrative right
Rafizi also cautioned Harapan that if it failed to get its narrative right, this would benefit Bersatu and PN.
“As those voters who reject Umno’s track record of corruption don’t mind giving Bersatu and PN a protest vote.
“It is precisely because Malay voters are a lot more sophisticated that Harapan must work its narratives to convince voters it has solutions and competence to resolve the key economic issues the people are facing.
“Just as Malay voters can switch to Bersatu and PN (after voting for Harapan in 2018), they can easily swing back to Harapan when they are convinced that Harapan can become a better government,” he added.
On the same note, Rafizi said he would be nothing short of delighted if Bersatu continued to believe that the Malays are neo-feudal.
“This is because the majority of fence-sitting Malay voters don’t like to be talked down to. Carry on with this and Bersatu will see its votes shrinking,” he added. – Malaysiakini