REAL SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE NEEDED
All political parties are gearing up for the next general election which is widely expected in the middle of 2011. It looks like the state of the country's economy and its impact on social conditions will be the determinant of the winner - whether the Barisan Nasional (BN or National Front) can hold power or whether the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition can end the 53 years rule of BN. Over the last two and a half years since the last election, people have not been able to differentiate much between the politics of these parties. Nor are they convinced how their MP or State Assemblyman can enhance their living standards and their rights that they promised in 2008.
Most of the social and democratic issues that angered the ordinary people in 2008, that caused big losses for BN, remain. The Pakatan could not come out with convincing solutions and alternatives other than blaming the BN federal government. Meanwhile the BN manicured by adopting some of Pakatan's agenda in the name of reforming the economy and government administration. Nevertheless, at this stage BN has the advantage to retain power with its '3Ms' (Money, Machinery, Media). But it is expected that Pakatan would go all out to try and match them, especially in the states that are ruled by them, as shown by the Hulu Selangor by-election, where they used the state machinery to counter the '3M' might of BN and only narrowly lost.