Competition creates a better democracy

Friday 29 April, 2016

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On today’s show, the election irregularities are streaming in already. Flags at religious sites, inducements for attendance, all the usual election time suspects. We speak to Anthony, a former BN councilor who tells us how this is not how it was in the old days. But as the money politics grew, so did his distaste and now he has crossed over to the other side!

Then we speak to Mandeep Singh about the Bersih election teams located at Batu Kitang, Tasik Biru, Bawang Assan and Telang Usang. Already, after just one week of campaigning, the teams have encountered several election frauds from BN-branded fertilizer bribes to PAS banners using the might of the mosque and, of course, that old classic the cash-in-hand as Tiong Thai King distributes some of the wealth wrested from the poor of Sarawak and PNG through Rimbunan Hijau at RM250 a throw to the poor student trust at SJK Tian Hua. A true altruist! Mandeep urges SPR to take action on election frauds, but so far, nothing but the distant sound of crickets. Then in Sri Aman, there was the case of SUPP intimidating government teachers for exercising their human right of taking part in the government of their own country with the party of their choosing. The fact that they are opposition should not preclude them from being good at their jobs, surely! Right from the beginning, he says, there has been no level playing field in the Sarawak Election, and it looks like the ground is shifting even further.

As we speak to some potential candidates, Mohdar Ismail of Lambir with his supporter Mohd Aldrin and also to Semana Sawan of Meluan constituency, we must reflect on the need for a viable opposition. Humans are a competitive bunch and, in the absence of a legitimate rival, we invariably grow complacent and lazy or even corrupted – even Tiong Thai King says so! The opposition might do a better job, or it might not. But at the very least, their very existence snapping at the heels of power should make the ruling party work harder and be better. Who wants to eat at the same restaurant forever? Try another and the first will send you a special offer or at least up their service!

We end with the story of Former Sergeant Major, Robert Malang who was once awarded the Pingat Gagah for his bravery and service to the nation starting during the time of confrontation. But now this pensioner is left to fend for himself. The land promised to former soldiers has never materialized and now his meager pension after a lifetime of service is increasingly stretched to cover the rising cost of living and GST. What does the future hold for him?

Tune in for all this and more, plus our Borneo Bulletin.

Semoa kitai tau bejako!

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