As PKR launches polling machinery app, Rafizi says winning 30% of Malaysian vote is ‘doable’

ByLance T. Lee

Sep 18, 2022

PKR Vice President Rafizi Ramli launches PKR’s GE15 CISTA app at Cheras International Youth Center on September 18, 2022. — Photo by Ahmad Zamzahuri

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

Sunday 18 September 2022 12:36 GMT

KUALA LUMPUR, September 18 – PKR Vice President Rafizi Ramli today said the chances of Pakatan Harapan (PH) securing the 30% Malay votes needed to put the coalition back in power in the 15th elections general were “doable”, as the party begins to rev up its machinery for the looming national elections.

Rafizi claimed that the shift in sentiment among Malaysian voters had already happened between July and August, but on a smaller scale.

Speaking at a meeting of the party machinery in Bandar Tun Razak here, where campaign workers at divisional level will begin a crash course in how to use what has been touted as a game-changer for the party’s election campaign, the former federal legislator is betting on a campaign geared primarily through the app called “CISTA” to generate a much bigger swing.

“We conducted two parallel surveys and we had a snapshot. Between July and August, there was a variation of 3 to 4% of the Malaysian votes in favor of Pakatan”, declared the vice-president of the PKR.

This alleged favorable change came just a month after Barisan Nasional won the Johor state elections, securing a supermajority in a similar feat achieved a few months earlier in the Melaka state elections.

Rafizi argued that this suggested voter perception remains fluid and that back-to-back Umno-led kingpin victories would not necessarily reflect voting sentiment nationally.

The former MP also dismissed claims that PH could lose Malaysian-majority seats in the event that rivals Umno and PAS avoid multi-pronged battles, saying a mere third of the Malay vote could see PH win even in constituencies that were once considered harsh. There would be 27 of those seats.

“Things are much more dynamic in terms of the support level week over week. If you see that 1-2% trend swinging every month towards Pakatan and PKR, even if there’s a fight ahead one-on-one, if Pakatan can get up to 30% of the Malaysian vote and turnout is 75% cent,

PH strategists believe its first national victory in the 2018 general election was made possible by a 30% swing in the Malaysian vote. The swing was largely fueled by anger over the introduction of the goods and services tax, which was responsible for mounting inflationary pressures at the time.

Rafizi claimed that recent party surveys suggest the same factor could spur more Malaysian voters to return the PH to power even as confidence in the coalition has waned due to infighting and mass defections in 2020 that have led to a coup just two years after coming to power.

“Eighty percent of those polled said they were very dissatisfied with the state of the economy,” he said.

“Now to put things into perspective in May 2018 when Umno led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak lost (only) 65% of respondents were dissatisfied, which means economically their views (on the current government) are fine worse than May 2018.. … it fell to the lowest level since we started tracking the number since June 2016.”

game changer

Today’s meeting with some 600 grassroots activists will mark the PKR’s pivot to a purely data-driven method of campaigning which Rafizi says could revolutionize the way election campaigns are conducted.

Based on voting data compiled and collated since 2008, the CISTA system is intended to help campaign workers run a more targeted campaign by allowing the party to channel the limited resources it has to canvass nonpartisan but undecided voters.

This way canvassing would be much cheaper since campaign workers can filter out voters who are unlikely to vote for Pakatan and focus only on those who might, Rafizi claimed, thereby reducing reliance on funding.

Rafizi suggested that the conventional method of campaigning heavily reliant on cash has made the election campaign prone to abuse and corruption.

“What we are trying to do is a complete 180 degree change in the election campaign in Malaysia

Many of the 25 million voters who will vote in the 15th general election are thought to be “on the fence” voters with no party affiliation.

While CISTA has been deployed by party strategists since 2018, the system is now designed to run on a smartphone, making it much more compact, accessible and user-friendly.

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