A lot of things are happening:
Umno looks hopelessly split into a few camps. Will the momentum they had picked up after winning state elections in Malacca, Johor and Sarawak gradually evaporate with the price hikes that are hurting the people? Despite the keluarga Malaysia rhetoric, the Barisan Nasional parties show little inclination in taking a more inclusive approach. The price hikes and their impact on the lower-income group will be the BN’s Achilles’ heel.
Perikatan Nasional parties like Bersatu and their ally Pas have shown little interest in projecting a more plural and more inclusive approach. It is hard to see how they can be major players with this shortcoming.
Pakatan Harapan still seems lethargic in picking up the slack. Look at the residents’ protests over highways in Selangor and civil society opposition to the three-island project in rich fishing waters off southern Penang Island as well as the Pan Island Link mega-highway over sensitive terrain in Penang. This shows that there is little official thinking in PH-ruled states about more sustainable alternatives. Are PH parties beholden to Big Capital and neoliberal thinking like the other major parties? Can they project a more people-centred alternative like the smaller PSM has done?
Corruption is still a major problem affecting the nation. Climate change and the impact of mega-development projects continues to take a toll on the people.
Civil society’s People’s Agenda and the People’s Manifesto highlight the people’s concerns and present a reform programme. Will they be able to pick up momentum and drive the narrative ahead of the general election? Will they be able to pressure the political parties to at least address the critical issues of the day?