Person, party or policy – which gets your vote?

Thursday 28 April, 2016

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On today’s show, the three parties have all come out with manifestos, at 10, 15 and 18 points apiece. But do voters read the manifestos here in Sarawak and vote on the issues or is it still a personality game? With Adenan advising voters to vote for him as CM if they have problems with the plunderous politicians of BN, it sometimes seems like the man matters more than the actual manners. So, in the beauty pageant of politics, how can we go about picking the next Miss Sarawak?

We hear from Jack Baie of Stakan who tells us how their BN hopeful, Ali Mahmud, the incumbent in nearby Muara Tuang, has barely shown his face above three times, much like his erstwhile nephew Suleiman, famous for taking the salary but never attending the sittings. He ponders the difficulties of Merdang, his Iban Kampung which is now revamped with an Arab name – Bandar Riyahl. An afterthought constituency? After all, they were all expecting DAP to send one person but at the last minute, he decided to contest elsewhere! Be careful how you choose your candidates come electionday and make sure the tool is fit for the job. Race and religion are not good bases for selection – so says Amai Ngau of Telang Usan – and these should not be used to divide and rule. Pick your candidate and get behind him (or her!).

Christina Suntai tells us to watch out for voters’ fraud this coming election. Adenan Satem and Najib will do whatever it takes to hold on to power, she says. One important issue, particularly in the new constituency of Stakan of 14,867 people, seems to be the 7,059 early voters, mainly West Malaysian soldiers who have been given postal votes in the new constituency of Stakan which has just 14,867 people! Also, beware the blackout! As SEB announce that they are making contingency to plans to deal with unexpected blackouts on polling day (do they know something we don’t?) she calls on all PACA (polling and counting agents) to bring battery powered lamps in preparation for power failure. Please work hard, keep your eyes and ears open and to record everything and watch the ballot counts! Remember, voting in Malaysia is not known to be clean or fair!

Then we speak to a BN supporter from Balingian who extols the virtues of the ruling party to an unappreciative crowd. It’s good that these oil palm plantations are developed by Ministers, he says, so that the people have the chance to be coolies. It’s right that Najib steals as he has been given the power to. He is there to support BN entirely, he says, so long as they pay his transport and give him a free T-shirt. A native Balingian, for years under Taib, perhaps he is hardwired to accept a spit in the eye and be thankful for it!

Doraisamy Sevan, Executive Director of Suaram, discusses the Citizen’s Declaration and other matters of democracy and suppression currently swirling around Malaysia. The Citizen’s Declaration is the right of citizens in a democratic country to express their dismay at their leadership and no one deserves to be intimidated or harrassed in their exercise of it. Allegations of corruption should precipitate immediate resignation as a matter of convention, he says. This is how the free world works and Malaysia should strive towards it.

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

Semoa kitai tau bejako!

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