Malaysia: Disinterest, indifference mark rural sentiments over 1MDB affair – 1 Aug 2017

  • Barisan Nasional may have something to fear if Pakatan Harapan is successful in humanising the 1MDB issue to show voters that it has plenty to do with the increasing difficulty they face in trying to make ends meet.
  • The opposition alliance has embarked on a roadshow that is focused on the 1MDB scandal and actions taken by US prosecutors to recover, for the Malaysian people, money allegedly embezzled from the state-owned corporation.
  • Pundits have been questioning the vote-catching value of harping on the 1MDB affair, saying that voters, especially those in rural areas, appear to be more concerned with bread and butter issues. This is in fact reflected in the results of a nationwide survey carried out by PKR-linked Invoke.
  • Political analyst Ahmad Atory Hussain pointed out that the opposition had lately been trying to simplify the 1MDB scandal by linking it to bread and butter issues. This was evident during Pakatan’s 1MDB talk in Sungai Acheh, Penang, on 28 Jul 17.
  • Speakers alleged that the daily struggles ordinary folk had to go through had much to do with alleged wrongdoing at 1MDB. The approach seemed to work, at least with members of the audience interviewed by FMT. A man who identified himself as Mohamad said he could see a possible connection between 1MDB and the rising cost of living.
  • If the opposition can cultivate such an attitude among rural Malay voters, Prime Minister Najib Razak and BN may really have cause for concern. However, Pakatan still has much work to do in countering Barisan Nasional’s narrative of the 1MDB affair, especially among staunch BN supporters in the rural areas.
  • A Bukit Rotan resident who gave her name as Waheedha said she would hesitate to trust the opposition. “They say our economy is really bad,” she said. “I know it’s not at its best right now, but we’re still doing better than a lot of countries.”
  • “And if Najib really has taken money from 1MDB, how come he or others have not been arrested? How come the government still has money to give BR1M and build a very good MRT system?”

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