Annoying as it is to all BN leaders and supporters, there can be no end to revisiting the Twelfth General Elections of March 8, 2008. The reasons are obvious. There was a material change of voting trends.
There are probably ten million four hundred and fifty-eight thousand four hundred and forty-four reasons to explain what happened.
Since I have neither the time nor the inclination I shall just choose one reason.
It's what I choose to call, "the trust deficit".
It is saying enough to say that unless you were preparing all the spices to make the greatest curry powder mix north of Kenyir Lake between the years 2003 to 2009, you should know the various hotchpot of issues and eruptions that dominated the imagination of the Malaysian electorate.
I prefer to take a quantum leap to the present and, the future.
The mission objective should be to cast BN and its components not as a dominant titan but, as a humble service provider assisting Pak Abu, Madam Tan and Mr Raju, our run-of-the-mill, garden variety Malaysian voter, our "mom and pops" — who used to support the dacing.
That is the way for BN to regain the trust of its traditional vote bank.
Trust is what drives voter sentiment and support.
It is what voters are looking for and what they share with one another.
Not long ago, trust and reputation were the domain of the BN.
Nowadays, a surfeit of spending huge sums to maintain "share of voice"—marketing speak for outspending rivals to drive political brand loyalty—and endlessly reminding voters of the "unique selling proposition" of BN rings hollow.
There is a disconnect.
That approach doesn't work so well now—and not just because rising costs and prices, job insecurity, religious attrition, cultural marginalisation and a widespread sense of alienation have made traditional BN voters disinclined to part with their vote.
The days of Malaysian voters passively absorbing a TV commercial—or, the evening news- or, the morning headlines-or, for that matter, a banner ad fluttering forlornly on a streetlamp—are over.
Even before the Twelfth General Elections, political parties with trust issues had failed to realise that they couldn't keep talking past the problem with slick television, radio and print media exposure.
Now, it would appear that they are still in denial mode.
The one takeaway that any would-be BN political leader should get from this post- if I may be so audacious to say -is, to stop dishing out the same drivel and start trying to build credibility by telling Malaysians at large how well-managed BN is (the implicit message being that BN is better run than the other guys).
Most Malaysian voters are honest-to-goodness small business owners or employees.
They have strong opinions about how political parties are led.
They will trust a political party they believe is run really well.
It's really easy for voters to check and verify a political party's true behaviour to find out if a political party's actions match its words.
But, a word of caution.
Trust-related campaigns only work if there is a message that people want to believe in.
You cannot spin a Malaysian voter base that doesn't want to be spun.