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Friday, November 30, 2012

GE13: Of boats, floods and snakes


If polls are held during the rainy season, voters may encounter snakes in the water while wading on their way to the polling centres.
COMMENT
On Nov 25, an English daily quoted Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as saying that the general election can be held in December despite the monsoon.
To quote verbatim from the daily, the prime minister said: “If it rains or a flood occurs, [then we] can use the boat.”
Boat? What boat? Is it the government machinery boat or his own boat? Also, is there a sudden rush to hold the polls that the monsoon season has to come into consideration?
Although there is no law against it, it is certainly not right to hold the polls during the flood season as the voters and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat who have no boats will be greatly inconvenienced.
Ah, yes! The keyword here is “boat”. This means that if the 13th general election is held during the flood season, then Pakatan is sure to lose, what with the dirty voter rolls being factored in as well.
The Tenang by-election in Johor was held on Jan 30, 2011. PAS, which was contesting at that time, suffered a total washout as the government machinery was used to ferry the voters, especially the Felda settlers, to the polling centres.
That date was also less than a week away from the Chinese Lunar New Year. The Umno candidate obtained 6,699 votes while PAS polled 2,992. Umno won by 3,707 votes and this is considered a big margin because this is only a small state seat. There were 142 spoilt votes while voter turnout was 67%.
Therefore the best time to hold the polls to avoid any inconvenience caused by floods is after mid-March as the weather forecasters have recently predicted that the monsoon will last till early March.
By then everyone of the BR1M applicants would have received their cash handouts, too. This is so that Najib’s slogan of “Janji Ditepati” (Promises Fulfilled) can be seen to be proven true.
There is a Cantonese saying which goes like this: “After all, we have waited so long, what is another three more months?”
Moreover, the prime minister has always said that the Barisan Nasional federal government is a fair and caring government which does not want to exclude anyone in its policies and programmes.
Surely that includes being fair to Pakatan in the planning, run-up and campaigning for the 13th general election? Otherwise, what is the prime minister talking about?
Outstanding questions
Be that as it may, there are still many outstanding questions pertaining to issues that Najib has yet to answer and preferably he answers them himself before the polls are held instead of getting someone to answer the questions.
Listed below are a few questions:
1. Why is there a sudden re-delineation of the parliamentary boundaries in Selangor?
2. Why is the AES (Automated Enforcement System) outsourced to two private companies? and
3. What about the fast-tracked MyKad project especially in Selangor?
Selangor PAS has collated a lot of black-and-white evidence of the MyKad project in Selangor, especially in the seats held by Pakatan lawmakers.
Till today no one including the Election Commission (EC) has come forward to address this issue.
The powers-that-be have kept an absolute silence and avoided this issue like the plague despite police reports being made by Pakatan.
And the greatest question of all: will Najib hand over power gracefully in the event that BN loses the 13th general election?
Although this seems a remote possibility due to collusion between the powers-that-be and the national institutions that are supposed to remain neutral, he still has to answer the question and give the assurance that there will be a prompt and smooth transition.
A DAP strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity opined that the polls will be held either in late December or January as there will be no time to do so in February due to the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations.
“He will not hold the polls in March as Pakatan will then remind the rakyat about March 2008. Anyway, our DAP campaign slogan if the polls are held before March will be ‘New year, new government’. At the end of the day, whether he drags the date further or holds it in December, Pakatan is ready,” said the strategist.
The BN federal government must also take into consideration that there is a danger posed by snakes in the water during floods.
Some years ago, patrons of a restaurant in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, were enjoying their evening meal when a large python slithered into the restaurant during the floods. This was reported in an English local daily. Therefore dangers of snakes in the floods are for real whether in the urban or rural areas.
If polls are held during the rainy season, voters may encounter snakes in the water while wading on their way to the polling centres. This is definitely not advisable and not conducive to the safety of the rakyat.
Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.

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