Malaysia's Mahathir says opposition Pakatan Harapan will need biggest-ever voter turnout to secure election victory

Pakatan Harapan chairman Mahathir Mohamad is seen on a screen as the crowd listens during a rally in Ayer Hitam in Malaysia's Johor state on March 18, 2018.
Pakatan Harapan chairman Mahathir Mohamad is seen on a screen as the crowd listens during a rally in Ayer Hitam in Malaysia's Johor state on March 18, 2018.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance will need the biggest-ever voter turnout in order to secure victory in the country's general election that is expected to be called soon, PH chairman Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday (April 2).

Writing on his official blog chedet.cc, the former Prime Minister said he believed that his alliance could win against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition led by Prime Minister Najib Razak if there was massive support from the electorate and no less than an 85 per cent turnout on polling day.

"There are people who say there is nothing Pakatan Harapan (PH) can do. BN will win by hook or by crook," he wrote. "But PH can still win. It can win if there is massive support for the PH by those who care."

The PH groups Tun Dr Mahathir's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia party along with the Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the Democratic Action Party and the Parti Amanah Negara.

Datuk Seri Najib heads the 13-party BN coalition which has been in power since the country's independence in 1957 and is widely expected to win at the upcoming polls.

Dr Mahathir, who is the PH's candidate for prime minister, said he believed the 85 per cent target was achievable due to the strong turnout at the last general election in 2013, when 84.8 per cent of voters came out to cast their ballots.

"The voter turnout must be the biggest ever. Nothing less than 85 per cent. This is achievable as shown in the 13th General Election. A Malay tsunami is what is needed. It can happen," he added.

The PH is hoping to deliver a so-called "Malay tsunami" at the coming polls, counting on Malay voters - who make up the bedrock of support for the BN - to switch their votes for the opposition.

 
 

Dr Mahathir stressed that the strong turnout was necessary in order to avoid a small margin of victory at the election and protect against electoral fraud. Dr Mahathir also took aim at the sense of apathy and cynicism he felt was prevalent among some voters.

His comments come amid the ongoing #UndiRosak online campaign driven by some young Malaysians who are calling on voters to spoil their votes and boycott both the PH and the BN over their unhappiness at the choices of candidates from both sides of the political divide.

"Big majorities for the PH will be less susceptible to manipulation. That is why we regret the attitude of some who do not care. They may not vote or they may spoil the votes," he said.