Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak is now effectively the de facto opposition after he “hijacked” the opposition’s ability to “connect with voters on a day-to-day basis” on his social media.
But former Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli – who recently announced his return to active politics – said he is ready to take back that initiative from Najib to boost Pakatan Harapan’s appeal to voters in the upcoming general election.
“I think what has been missing so much (from Harapan) in the last two to three years is the ability to connect on a day-to-day basis with voters. To make matters worse, that ability has been hijacked by Najib.
“He took the populist approach to voice out day-to-day issues that we used to do when we were the opposition. So, effectively, Najib is the de facto opposition to the government,” Rafizi said.
In an interview with Malaysiakini at his office recently, Rafizi said he used to wake up at 4am to prepare for press conferences or to release press statements daily, to forge that connection with the voters.
Rafizi, who will be contesting for the deputy presidency in PKR’s upcoming party polls, noted that such work is not easy and requires a lot of research and follow-up.
For example, he said, back in 2010, he wanted to change Malay attitudes towards corruption by proving to them that corruption is bad and will negatively affect the Malay community.
To that end, he had focused on highlighting issues with Malay institutions such as Tabung Haji, Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Felda to prove that these institutions have been brought to their knees due to Umno’s rule for the last 50 years.
“Putting the narrative and connecting with the masses is a lot more than just Twitter or speeches in Parliament.
“You really have to connect with them and that’s a lot of work which takes consistency and that is what Najib is doing now.
“That initiative has to be taken back from Najib,” Rafizi added.
He said Harapan supporters became used to being updated and enlightened about what was happening in the country back then and it is something the coalition should strive to do again.
“It is not enough to say we are Harapan and we are better than Umno.
“They (the voters) actually want to know, if you say the prices should go down, how exactly do you intend to do it? What is wrong with the current process? When you say, it is due to AP (approved permit), who actually got the AP?
“They want to see you carry this through until fruition, at risk to yourself, and this takes a lot of discipline, and I think that narrative has been missing,” said the former lawmaker. – Malaysiakini