Tuesday, April 30, 2013

13GE campaign lopsided

After 10 days of intense campaigning and 5 more day to go before the polls on 5/5,what do we observe on the ground as voters? As voters how has the campaign so far impressed us?

First and most obvious of course is the flag war that has intensified over the last few days with BN far ahead of PR. The number of BN dacing and its 1Malaysia flags far outnumber those of  the PR. In fact wherever we go we see a sea of blue colored flags lining the streets, fields and buildings. Will these flags really influence the minds of the voters? I doubt it will, instead to me it is becoming more of a show of power and wealth of the ruling party that cannot be matched by the opposition.
Display of flags may help a create a carnival-like atmosphere but I doubt they significantly change the minds of voters as most of them have already made up their on who they want to vote. It is not only unnecessary but a waste to spend so much money on flags and posters which will perish soon after the elections. Can’t the millions of ringgit be put to better use to help the rakyat struggling to make ends meet?
The second most visible activity that catches our attention are the many mega dinners with lucky draws and entertainments for the people all over. Free food, free entertainments and free cash have become rampant over the last few days to entice the voters to vote for them. It makes one wonder what type of political campaign culture we are promoting. Aren’t these practices blatant acts of electoral corruption that must be stopped immediately? Well if the caretaker PM and his deputy go round promising allocations and projects during the campaign period which they are strictly not allowed, what else can be expected of others below him.
The third important activity that goes on everywhere and every day late into the nights are the ceramahs. This time around the 13GE being such a crucial one, we see large crowds flocking to attend these ceramah.The opposition ceramahs throughout the country attract  mammoth crowds never witnessed before. These ceramahs may be the only source of information for the people on the policies and plans of the opposition parties for the nation and the people. The main stream media (MSM) are all so heavily pro-BN that the people have no choice but to rush to opposition ceramahs to get some information about the opposition parties in Paaktan Rakyat.  
In this era of advanced telecommunications and internet do we need to depend on such ceramahs for information? Why can’t we move on to a more intellectual level of political debates, forums and dialogues on national TV and radio? The people can watch these in the comforts of their own homes thereby avoiding traffic congestion and the risks of accidents and elections violence.
On the whole the campaign for the 13GE is seen to be lopsided with the opposition being denied a level playing field. It is not only strictly tied down by election rules but unjustly denied access to the state controlled MSM both electronic and print media. To make matters worse the opposition is subjected to unfounded accusations to smear its image in the eyes of the voters just before the polls without giving any opportunity for them to reply.
The new government that takes power after the 13GE should seriously consider changing our campaign system to elevate it to be at par with advanced countries where the government and opposition are provided a level field of play.  This can only be achieved by liberalizing the media and granting total freedom to the EC to stop electoral corruption particularly by the caretaker government of the day.
Judging by the reactions of the people so far and the sentiments on the ground, the opposition is seen to have gained much ground even in traditional BN strongholds. The BN on the other end seems to be lost for new ideas to thwart the progress of Pakatan that is becoming stronger by the day. There are strong signs of Pakatan forming the next government if the BN does not come up with some drastic surprises in the last few days. As citizens let’s pray for a peaceful election on May 5 and a peaceful transition of power if the need arises.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

GE13 - Election or carnival?

Money politics turning GE13 into a carnival
We are just 4 days into the official campaign period for the 13GE and we already see raining money all over the country. From Perlis to Sabah a large amount of money is being thrown into entertaining the people who will be going to the polls on May 5.Everywhere you go you see free dinners, lucky draws and entertainment by famous personalities. Where does all this money come from? Who pays for all these? Well that does not matter as it is all indirectly from taxpayers.
It is very regrettable that a very important and democratic process, general election, is being converted into a carnival. Instead of having serious and informative debates and forums on national issues that affect the people, we are being treated to free entertainment, free food, free gifts and free cash. Yes, everything is free everywhere you go. It is hoped that this free food and cash galore would turn the prevailing largely anti-government sentiments to one favorable to it.
Will all these money politics change the minds of the people to vote for the incumbent government? Will these tactics convince the voters to overlook the massive corruption, abuse of power and racism that is being openly practiced for far too long? It would be foolish and naïve of the government to believe so. The people have grown far more in maturity and wisdom to be taken in by such cheap gimmicks anymore.
 As I see it the majority of the voters have already made up their minds and have strong convictions on who they are going to vote, but as they cannot stop the large scale abuse of money, they just accept what is being provided as they feel it is rightly theirs. So it is the people who are taking the gonernment for a ride and not the other way round, as the latter believes.
This large scale money politicking must stop before a new culture of commercialization of our general elections takes foot. The politicians should stop sending the wrong message to the younger generations. The best means to stop this commercialization of elections is for the people to boycott such carnivals organized by political parties because if the demand stops the supply will do so too. Such an action from the people will convey to the politicians that they will not allow their dignity to be traded in for anything.
General election is not fun-filled carnival but a serious democratic process where the people exercise their sacred duty to choose their government and thereby their future. Elections should not be commercialized for whatever reasons as doing so will only be a mockery of democracy and lead to its demise.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

GE 13 – Nominations over,the battle starts

ROS action a moral boost for Pakatan
As nominations for the 13GE closed we are told that this election sees the largest number of multi-corner fights with 269 independent candidates vying for seats in parliament and the various state assemblies. Despite this large number of independent candidates, judging from the strong sentiments on the ground, this 13GE is mainly a battle between BN and PR as many believe that the independent candidates may make little difference to the final outcome except in a some seats especially in East Malaysia.
On the eve of nomination day the PR was given a scare by the action of the Registrar of Societies(ROS) to suspend the Central Working Committee of the DAP, thereby denying the use of the Rocket symbol by its candidates. This led the DAP with the support of its other partners PKR and PAS to decide on the use of the symbols of PAS and PKR. By their quick action, an issue that threatened them finally gave the much needed moral boost to the DAP and its partners in PR. The massive crowd of supporters who turned up at the Pakatan ceramah that night in Penang and subsequently in Johor bears testimony to that moral booster by the ROS.
The ill-timed action of ROS on the eve of nomination day was unwise and irresponsible and amount to a disrespect for a very important event in the country, a general election, and the free participation of the people in such a democratic process. Although there are many postulates for that untimely and misguided action of the ROS against the DAP, we leave it to the conscience of the ROS to decide whether his action was right and unjustified.
Nevertheless the action of the ROS brought greater unity among the components parties of the PR, especially DAP and PAS. It was unthinkable before that these two ideologically polarized parties could agree to adopt the Moon as the symbol by the DAP. It was a heart-warming sight watching young Chinese carrying the Moon flags and Malays carrying the Rocket flags, which I feel is itself a great achieving by PR.
The enemies of PR may write off such actions as just superficial show of unity but it must be remembered it is a definite sign of a deepening understanding that is unprecedented, not just between the DAP and PAS but between the Malays and non-Malays in general. It is a definite sign that the people of all races are rising to demand the rights. It is a definite sign that race politics of the past will soon be over.
It was most encouraging to know that the nominations process went on peacefully without any untoward incidents, which go to show the professional manner the police and election officers conducted themselves in discharging their duties. The candidates, their supporters and their respective parties must also be commended for the well-behaved and orderly manner in which they conducted themselves. This is a proof of the high level of maturity of the people, who want a peaceful and trouble free election.
As we begin the next part of our democratic process, the campaign, we can expect more provocations and unhealthy tactics to win votes. As right thinking citizens let us not succumb to such tactics but continue to exercise great maturity and wisdom so that the election can be conducted in a peaceful manner. Come what may the candidates, their supporters and the people at large must be prepared to accept the verdict of the voters on 5 May as the voice of the rakyat is final.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Praying for a fair and peaceful 13GE

The crucial 13GE is just around the corner. It is the most hotly contested elections ever. The possibility of the ruling party losing power after 55 years of continuous rule and the opposition gaining it for the first time creates excitement and anxiety among the people. Deep in the hearts of the people there is also the fear of the uncertainties that may follow if there is a change of government. How are going to cope with such an eventuality?

We are warned that we may not get a fair and free elections as the stakes are high in this election. As Bersih co-chairman Ambiga Sreenivasan says, “This this is not going to be a free and fair election. But we don't give up. We must soldier on and we must fight the fraud”. This fight involves the voters going out in full force to the polling centers on 5 May to cast their votes. Their mere numbers will be a show of force by people which may deter fraud to a certain extent. 

While we must do everything within our means to ensure a favorable and peaceful outcome, but our human efforts alone may not be enough without divine intervention from above. People of all faiths must gather to pray for the nation, for a fair and peaceful election where the people are free to vote without fear or harassment.   

Let’s all join in to pray specifically for the following intentions during this election:

1.Wisdom – Let’s ask God to enlighten the minds of the voters with great wisdom to vote the right person and party that will form the new government. They will be making one of the most important decisions in the lives in choosing their future. We hope and pray that God will guide them in the decision they make.

2.Courage. We pray that God grant the voters the courage to vote from their hearts and not out of fear or selfish desires for themselves and their families. Make them realize that their votes for the right party this time will help get rid of corruptions, abuse of power and racism that plague our nation

3. Abide by the laws. May the individuals and parties that participate in the elections conduct themselves in a dignified  and civilized manner upholding the laws at all times.

4.Emergence of new and capable leaders. May the 13GE give rise to the emergence of many young and talented leaders who are people oriented and dedicated to work for the people rather than for themselves. May the leaders who are elected be people with integrity and honesty and always willing to put the interest of their voters above them. 

5. Free and fair elections. Let us pray for a clean, fair and free election so that the people truly get what they voted for. 

6. Peaceful election. Let us pray for peace to prevail throughout the period of this election - before, during and after. May God guide the people and parties to accept the verdict of the people with magnanimity in keeping the principles of democracy. May the winners and losers close ranks quickly peacefully and return to serve the people who voted for them

Dear fellow Malaysians remember every vote counts in this election as it can make the difference. It is our sacred duty as voters to make special sacrifices to go all out to vote in this elections. Each one us has the responsibility to ensure the right government takes over the rule, a government that will guarantee the rights of all and caters for all citizens without favour.

In our hands lie the hope for a better future for us and our children, a future where we can live together side by side and hand in hand with all the races in the country as friends without hate or suspicion but love and respect for one another. Let our action on this 5 May 2013 be the first step in realizing this cherished dream for our nation.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Food for thought

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"No man who insults his parents will find real happiness in his life.He will pay for what he does and say" - anonymous

Thursday, April 11, 2013

GE13 – Our sacred duty o change for the better

The much awaited 13GE is finally here after months of false alarms. Yes, Malaysians will go the polls on 5 may 2013.In fact since the dissolution of the parliament on 3 April 2013,the people are all so charged up with excitement and waiting eagerly for polling day as though they have all made up their minds who to vote. There has never been so much excitement in any other elections before.

This is mainly due to the fact this is the first time Malaysians realize the power of their votes which can change the government. It is the first time the politicians fear the might of the people.This is of course due to a strong and formidable opposition which for the very first time poses a serious challenge to the ruling BN to form an alternative government.

After 55 years of domination of the BN in national politics we are faced with three main problems in the country. These are rampant and major corruption,blatant abuse of power by the ruling party and openly resorting to racist abuses.

With major corruption at the highest levels, large amounts of money are siphoned out leading to the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer by the day. This has been successfully exploited by the Pakatan to create a great deal of unhappiness among the poor of all races. It has successfully converted this 13GE into a battle between the poor rakyat against the rich and powerful elite of the ruling BN.

The power is abused to cover up major scandals of the BN but Opposition members are unfairly harassed for alleged trivial breach of laws. The blatant abuse of power has resulted in the electoral process becoming a one-sided affair unfairly in favor of the BN. The Oppostion is not only unfairly denied access to the media but allowed to be threatened by thugs during their ceramah.

This has been again cleverly manipulated by the Pakatan to make the BN government look like a powerful, rich and arrogant bully of the poor and helpless Opposition. Thus the 13 GE is being seen by the rakyat as fight between poor David and mighty Goliath.  

The open resort to racist tactics by Umno-BN and its affiliates have seriously undermined the trust of the non-Malay parties in BN for Umno. The total silence of the Prime Minister and Umno President to such racist provocations by his own party stalwarts have hurt the feelings of the not just the non-Malays in BN but also the liberal and multi-racial minded Malays.

Bersih, the coalition of NGOs has called for the people to go out in full force without fear to vote come May 5th.The PM himself has assured the people that the police will ensure their safety before, during and after the elections. There is no reason for us not to vote; in fact it would be irresponsible of us not to do so.

This 13GE is not like other previous elections. It is of special significance as voters, representing all 28 million Malaysians, are given an important task to bring change that will begin the process to right the wrongs in our country. We may be busy but we must make special sacrifices, rain or shine, sick or otherwise, we must go out to vote in this most crucial election.

We must be firm in our conviction that political change is not an option but a must and to achieve that we must rise up boldly without fear to say enough is enough peacefully in the secrecy of the ballot box. Our vote today determines the future of our children in our beloved country so let us not neglect our sacred duty to the country and people. 

Admiral Nelson

This election reminds of  English Adimral Horatio Nelso’s inspiring words to his navy at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, "England expects that every man will do his duty”. That could have contributed to the victory for Nelson then. Similarly Malaysia today expects every citizen will do his/her duty on 5 May 2013 to bring the change that will take her to greater heights.

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