On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

The wake-up call has been sounded

From deputy president Dr 
Chandra Muzaffar downwards,  the
electorate rejected Keadilan  leaders.

It was the same with the DAP   Dr Chen
Man Hin, Lim Kit  Siang and Karpal Singh
all lost.

The only opposition front beneficiary, as the local media had  correctly predicted, was PAS.  The Islamist party increased its  representation at both parliamentary and
state levels.

It captured oil-rich Terengganu and is certainly set to become financially
stronger, at  least from oil

It is interesting to note that  PAS no
longer describes the Kelantan and Terengganu governments as being headed by the
opposition front but by the party.

The point was made clear by  PAS
spiritual leader Datuk Abdul Nik Aziz Nik Mat when he said  that it was the DAP which wanted to forge an
alliance with PAS.

The truth always hurts and as  the dust
of the elections settles  down,
politicians have to come to  terms with

The message from Malaysians  is loud and
clear. The Malays, it  would appear, are
unhappy with  certain political

This can be seen from the voting pattern, particularly from  the predominantly-Malay states.  Clearly, the Datuk Seri Anwar  Ibrahim issue worked to the advantage of the

From the countless PAS flags  flying
across the nation, it can  seen that the
party machinery  was well-oiled this
time. They  had campaigned for a
year,  through daily ceramah and
sale  of video and cassette tapes,
in  trying to reach out to voters.

If PAS accused Barisan Nasional of lies, the Opposition was  no better. A look at their websites would
show their level of  politicking.

In the case of the DAP, its  leaders
don't need a post-mortem to find out why they lost.

Either the DAP leaders had  been badly
advised or they have  lost touch with
people on the  ground. Its pact with PAS
did not  go down well with Chinese

The involvement of DAP leaders, particularly Karpal Singh, in  the Anwar issue didn't deliver  votes.

Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad remains highly regarded  among Malaysians, regardless of  race, for his tireless efforts in  guiding Malaysia out of the  Asian economic crisis and keeping the country
politically stable.

The general population appreciates what the Prime Minister  has done because the people  have been able to hold on to their  jobs, their houses, their cars and  their hopes.

Many in the DAP and Parti Rakyat Malaysia, however, did not  understand these simple needs  of Malaysians.

DAP leaders, in particular, will  be more
unpopular if they continue blaming Chinese voters for  rejecting them.

They should not scare the Chinese for the purported lack of  secular voices among the opposition

How could the Chinese depend  on the DAP
when it remained silent on numerous controversial  statements made by PAS leaders  such as Nik Aziz and deputy PAS  president Abdul Hadi Awang?

If the Chinese voters had gone  along
with the DAP and shunned  Barisan
Nasional, the consequences would have been worse.

For the sake of its survival, the  DAP
should re-assess its links  with

In the case of Barisan, there is  no
question that it has lost the  trust of a
large section of supporters.

It must work doubly hard to  win them
back. It can do so, for a  start, by
having an impressive  Cabinet

Fresh, talented leaders must  be given a
chance to serve the  people. More
importantly, they  must be men and women
of integrity. There is no place for 
leaders with even the slightest 
suspicion of corruption.

As we enter the next millennium, Malaysians will certainly  become more politically conscious and better

They will not tolerate any  form of
mismanagement and  abuse of power.
Leaders who  think they can get away are
mistaken. The wake-up call has been 
sounded by the electorate.

Leaders perceived to be arrogant, either in government or opposition, should
re-evaluate their  approach.

In the next general election,  there will
be more than 600,000  new voters  most of whom are  young, educated and demanding.

From the Barisan, they expect  the
ruling coalition to understand their aspirations and  hopes.

They want their voices to be  heard. They
want a say in the  running of the country
and Barisan leaders must engage them in 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk  Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,  who began meeting
student leaders before the elections, should 
continue with his engagements.

The Government must pick the  brains of
our academicians and  let them contribute
to the well being of this country.

Bit by bit, we should not be  afraid of
having more democratic space. Such fresh approaches  will continue to strengthen Barisan.

For the opposition parties,  they won't
get elected if they  merely issue press
statements  and neglect their
constituents   as many DAP leaders found
out  painfully. They must be able to  deliver the goods to the electorate.

PAS must realise that if it continues with its brand of politics,  the party will not be widely accepted.

No political party can form the  federal
government if it only has  the support of
one race. Malaysia is multi-racial and the support from people in Perlis to
Sarawak is needed.

For Keadilan, it must end its  politics
of street demonstrations  if it wants to
woo the support of  non-Malays.

Now that the elections are  over, a
certain degree of political fatigue has set in among Malaysians. Enough of
politicking.  Once the federal and state
government lineups are finalised,  we
should just get on with the  real work of
running the country  effectively.