When in the media coverage of the Indera Kayangan by-election nomination, I first saw the giant-size “rotten fish head” - which reminded me of the giant-size Robocop used in the 1995 Penang DAP general election campaign and which I had no prior noice or knowledge until I saw its photograph in the newspapers - I had a premonition that it could equally have a boomerang effect.
Although the giant-size “rotten fish head” was meant to symbolise and villify the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Siok, and to exploit the MCA A and B team factional fight, MCA was able to turn it around to boomerang back on the PKN leadership at the end of the campaign.
The people of Penang are not strangers to slick campaign slogans used in the Indera Kayangan by-election like “Try Two Years” or “Vote One, Get One”, which fell flat when the two most potent two-pronged Barisan Nasional electoral attack, the 911 terror card and the Taliban Malaysia card, were allowed to monoplise the campaign without resistance.
The DAP leadership will have to ensure that the DAP national and state leaders learn from the many lessons of the Indera Kayang by-election.
In the Indera Kayangan by-election, the Barisan Nasional conducted a dirty and unfair election campaign, falling back on its 3M strategy - money, media and government machinery - but these dirty tricks could not be neutralised as in the Lunas by-election in November 2000 because of the overwhelming power and dominance of the 911 terror card and the Taliban card.
If the Opposition can learn the correct lessons from the landslide Barisan Nasional victory and the Barisan Alternative rout in Indera Kayangan by-election, the setback last Saturday will not be in vain and will only be temporary. If the correct lessons cannot be learnt, then the Barisan Nasional victory in Indera Kayangan will be a prelude to a landslide Barisan Nasional victory in the next general election in 18 months’ time.