The rakyat revolt

Posted on March 9, 2008




Helen Ang


People Power spoke last night and sent a loud, resounding ‘No’ to the BN. 

Next round, the people of Malaysia should be kicking BN out. There is already a government-in-waiting and the writing is on the wall if only the Election Commission can be given a thorough laundering to make it clean.  

EC is neither ‘cekap’ (efficient) nor ‘telus’ (transparent) as it claims to be, unless one takes efficient to mean doing a good job of giving the BN a leg up, while shackling the Opposition at the ankle.  

Bersih – the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections – is now handed the baton to reclaim our country by defending the sanctity of our electoral processes.  

Last November running up to the Bersih rally, I wrote ‘Banishing goblins of polls past on the irregularities in the Terengganu 2004 elections results. Some contentious 12th General Election results in the state will in all likelihood be challenged by PAS lawyers.  

PAS has retained Kelantan with a two-thirds majority victory, clinching 38 of the 45 state seats. The party won 16 seats in Kedah out of the 24 it contested and will form the next state government. While voter sentiment in the Malay heartland is clearly seen to be strongly favouring the Islamists, it does seem to buck the trend that the strong wind of change has bypassed Terengganu.  

Postal votes have consistently played a part in the BN victory in the East Coast states. In Kuala Terengganu, PAS vice president Mat Sabu yesterday polled 31,851 votes to the BN candidate’s 31,563 votes before the postal votes came in. After the postal votes were counted, Mat Sabu added only 83 whereas his opponent gained almost 1,000. The margin of his defeat was wafer thin.  

Cikgu Shukrimon Shamsudin who contested the Kuala Nerus Parliamentary seat on the PAS ticket believes he lost on account of postal votes too. His margin of loss – about 1,300 votes – in a constituency of more than 61,000 voters is a close call. 

Cikgu says he feels terkilan. “In a democracy, an individual has satu nyawa, satu suara, and it must a free choice. The man must be allowed to vote according to his conscience and not suffer pressure exerted on his decision”. Cikgu is obviously alluding to army personnel.  

He also says that his party workers had not been able to track the sealed bags containing the ballots when they were in transit to the counting centres.  

Some of the allegations that have surfaced in Terengganu include suspect individuals going from polling station to polling station (PAS says it caught someone in the act) and hence the 11th hour reversal on the indelible ink ruling was a big blow to the Opposition. 

Other allegations include the busloads of outsiders, including Indonesians, suspiciously coming to Terengganu and a whole lot of new names recently appearing on the electoral roll. Malaysiakini has done an expose on postal vote cheating, many of which duplicated names bearing a Besut address.  

The people in Terengganu deserve to get the representatives they chose, not ones foisted on them through fraud. Civil society should work with them so that the will of the people is honestly realised.  

Furthermore, Terengganu should not have its people teargassed – the state police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob was reported to have said “Ya, polis sembur asid tapi sikit je …”. This was in reply to reporter’s question on action taken against PAS supporters in Rusila who had tried to stop suspicious busses they suspected were ferrying phantom voters. 

The backlash against BN has come about because we, the people, do not condone the powers-that-be bullying our fellow citizens. An arrogant, ancien regime crumbling at the seams should beware Makkal Sakthi.