“It’s the economy, stupid.”
With growth forecast to be as high as 5 per cent next year, BN are confident that a path to victory is opening up.
Criticism that this is a “recovery for the few, not the many”, with living standards falling even as GDP rises.
BN have failed to grasp that the crisis is not merely cyclical but structural. The link between higher growth and higher wages has been severed and will not be easily repaired.
When incomes for millions of low-and middle-income earners stagnated even in times of strong growth, as evidence that the market can no longer be relied upon to deliver for the majority.
In an economy as unequal as Malaysia, any gains quickly flow to the top.
The more they trumpet their success in reducing government borrowing, spending and subsidies and reviving growth, the more conspicuous their failure to deliver on wages becomes.
Any economic policy is finally judged at the end by “for any normal voter, living standards are the economy.”
The proposed energy price freeze will still look like the most attractive offer. No rakyat want to pay any prolong increase in the prices of electricity and gas.
Before the return of growth, the BN drew comfort from the Prime Minister’s superior personal ratings. They have long believed that by framing the election as a presidential contest.
Yet history shows that a well-liked (or, more accurately, less disliked) leader is no guarantee of electoral success.
One important ingredient: a change of prime minister. According to this rule, after a politician has spent this long in the public eye, the voters invariably start to tire of them.
But rebranding the party as one genuinely committed to sharing the proceeds of growth will be the work of a decade. In the age of the wageless recovery, the BN is about to discover that “It’s living standards, stupid” is now a more appropriate slogan.