…THE OPPOSITION GOT VOTES FOR NOT DOING ANYTHING OTHER THAN HAVING A CANDIDATE TO OPPOSE THE BARISAN ONE.
By Mansor Puteh
THERE WERE MELAYU AND THE OTHERS WHO HAD VOTED THE OPPOSITION IN LARGE NUMBERS IN THE LAST MARCH 2008 GENERAL ELECTION, AS ALLEGED BY SOME AMATUER POLITICAL ANALYSTS.
THEY AND THE OTHERS WERE QUICK TO MAKE THE ASSESSMENT ON HOW THE OPPOSITION WAS ABLE TO ATTRACT THEM UNLIKE THEY DID BEFORE.
THEY CLAIMED IT WAS A WATERSHED IN MALAYSIAN POLITICS, THE AWAKENING OF THE MASSES WHO FLOCKED TO THE OPPOSITION EN MASSE.
The truth is that the voters did not consciously vote the opposition – DAP or PAS or whatever party there was.
They had no choice but to do that since there were only two options – Barisan or Pakatan.
They didn’t know that there is the third option – which is not to vote!
The haste shown by the Barisan federal and other state governments and the local councils to get rid of illegal businesses and criminal behaviors was the main factor which caused Barisan to lose votes to the opposition.
And this is something that the government and Barisan ought to consider in the future, so that development which is good for the majority is not good for a small minority which unfortunately involves those who do not wish to conduct their daily lives or businesses legally.
There are so many of them and they concentrate mostly in and around the cities, towns and other commercial centers.
They have friends, relatives and family members and clients, many of whom are of the voting age.
And they are the ones who had caused the government to lose votes to the other side, simply because they still wanted to retain their status quo as illegal traders and convicted criminals who are not convicted.
They are those who want to conduct their daily lives as though they are living in slums with no regard for the law.
And when the authorities conducted raids, they suffer the most, but it’s all because of their own doing.
Yet, they blame the authorities for doing what is good for the majority. And they can express their displeasure in the election when they turned their backs on the government to spite it.
They have the right to do so.
What is the government going to do about them and this unique problem?
What are their think-tankers going to do about it? Do they know that this was the problem that caused the government to lose seats in the last election?
They probably don’t realize it even now.
And they are the ones who are ‘giving’ the opposition votes very easily by trying to be a good government.
The fact is that all that the voters did was not to vote Barisan. And this benefited the opposition who got votes for free, for doing nothing. They did not promise to clean the states of squatters, the streets of litterbugs and other petty criminals, so all of them who wished to be so, will vote the opposition.
How many times has the opposition had in their campaign slogan or manifesto to say they wanted to do all those things?
They surely know by doing so, they will lose votes from those who want to be dirty and behave like criminals.
Worse, is when these voters know the more they show their displeasure and make demands, the government will bend behind and offer them whatever they ask, despite it being so obvious that those offers came only during election campaigns and not long before them.
And since there are many things that the government has not done to people or voters in all the areas, surely, in any election or by-election there are many things that they can offer, such as to give immediate grants to schools, tar roads and even dig wells.
This is other than doing the old-fashioned method of campaigning with the leaders hugging the old folks and cradling their newborn children.
But alas, these are all photo-opportunists. They give the media some interesting photos and stories to report on.
In the end, those who still did not want to vote Barisan has no choice but to vote the opposition despite them not knowing who or what the opposition is.
And since there are only two boxes to put an ‘X’ in, those who did not wish to vote Barisan had no choice but to vote the other party who got their votes for nothing.
In this way the opposition was able to get more votes from those who did not vote Barisan.
But in truth, the voters did not have any choice, being forced to choose between the two warring political parties.
Yet, there is now a third option, which I had used – which is not to vote. I did not vote in the last general election because the candidates from Barisan and Pakatan were not worthy of my support; they are not well-educated and can’t write or speak in Melayu or English well.
They could not convince me to give them my vote. So I abstained from voting for anyone.
There were few other intelligent voters in Malaysia, but the number is small. They are the ones who did not cast their votes or who deliberately spoilt them, so no-one got their votes.
This is what it should be.
So instead of being forced to vote the opposition, one does not need to vote, if one’s intention is just to not vote Barisan.
This explains why there are so many members of parliament and the state assemblies who are not well-educated and who can’t perform in parliament and the state assemblies. They are not able to speak in Melayu or even in English well.
Their academic background is wanting. They are not into issues.
I pity those who have such representatives because they are not able to help them and their constituencies much.
In fact, of the many members in the opposition who had been voted, it is still the same old group of noisy members who are creating the same type or sort of ruckus in parliament and the state assemblies and also in the courts.
The new generation of opposition members of parliament and state assemblies are lost; they are not counted. They do not have issues to bring to the houses. They are useless to the cause of the opposition. They are just numbers.
And in time, they are the ones who will cause the opposition parties to lose credibility amongst the voters in the next general election.
Barisan and its agents and intellectuals must come up with a system whereby they do not have to lose votes to the other side this way. There must be a way for them to convince those who do not wish to vote them not to vote for the opposition just to spite Barisan.