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The Bastion of BN
5/7/2001 3:17 pm Thu
Semua Pejuang REFORMASI
This is a REAL LIFE experience!
Puan Rahmah bte Abd Hamid, (not her real name) falls easily into the stereotype pre-1998 housewife category. Completely uninterested in politics, she was resigned to leaving everything politics to the menfolk. Although eligible to vote, two elections ago, Rahmah did not even bother registering as a voter.
The advent of the internet changed the scenario. Two days before the 1999 elections, her husband had (just for the fun of it) typed his wife's name and i/c number in SPR's website. Lo and behold! His wife, (full name, i/c number and last known address, complete) WAS LISTED as a voter at the Gombak Parliamentary and Hulu Kelang state constituency! Her polling centre was to have been the Sekolah Kebangsaan, in AU2, Datuk Keramat.
Polling Day Arrives
With rumours of impending cheats, of phantom voters and unsolicited transfers circulating then, (and not without foundation too) Puan Rahmah was determined not to allow any "hantu" cast a vote on her behalf. Come polling day, Rahmah was infront of the queue, waiting for the doors to open.
But no! It was not that straight forward. She did not get to know of her "saluran" without some argument, spiced with some high singing praises of the incumbent government. She had to go through three "pondok panas", one manned by keADILan and the other two by the incumbent party. Realistically, she did not expect to be listed in the opposition's pondok, but it did worry her when it was missing too from the UmCINO (then known as UMNO) list. She knew she had to "change her tune", if she had any hope of casting her vote that day. And she did. Arguing how UmCINO would lose a vote which could prove crucial in the final tally. And how she had come from across town where she was now residing, just to ensure that UmCINO gets her one vote.
The trick worked! She was directed to another "pondok" plastered from floor to ceiling with the "dacing" symbol. A few minutes of empty talk later, a file which looked like containing an electoral list, was produced by one manning the booth. It was obviously NOT the same list that was placed on the table which was for use by all the other potential voters who had gathered, each with the same purpose of confirming their names and their various "salurans".
PRESTO!, she WAS listed in the "new" listing. It is now confirmed that she is now eligible to cast her precious vote! Oh...yes, it has to be mentioned too that she was assigned to "saluran 5", one that was situated upstairs, away from the others, which were on the ground floor. And when she finally got into the balloting room, to her pleasent surprise, unlike the other "salurans", there was no need for her to queue. There were only four other people like her. But looking around, she noticed that at thirty something, she was arguably the youngest voter in the room. The next youngest being at least 30 years older than she was!
Moral of the Story
This cannot be better reflected than Likas. The BA was optimistic of a much better showing than it did in that election. Now it dares to dream come 2004, at worse, to deprive the haprak coalition of the two-thirds majority in Parliament.
The rakyat seem prepared. Most have seen or have been provided with enough reasons to institute change, or at least to start flirting with the idea that a change may not be that bad after all. The traditional battle cries of the BN government now sound like the old broken record, not believed much less paid attention to, except by those whose ultimate perjuangan is the stomach and the mercedes in the driveway. The Melayus vs Chinese and the Bumiputras vs others rhetorics are but believed only by a dying (literally) generation. Education and exposure ensured that.
In spite of the groundswell, the BA will NOT succeed! No thanks to the "independent" Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya (SPR), or the Election Commission.
The Bastion of the BN
Elections are supposed to be free and fair.
The experience above is but one, that tainted the recent elections. There have been similarly related incidents that surfaced all throughout the country. There have been reports of voters missing from the list, only to find out too late, that he/she have been unceremoniously transferred to places they have never been before. There were complaints that some of the names of the 680,000 voters (that could not vote) did in fact appear, as in the case of Puan Rahmah, obviously to be used by a "hantu". And then of course, there is Likas. YAA Juctice Muhammad Kamil's findings only served to confirm what had been known all along. Consider this. If ghosts had voted in Likas (as the Court found), what about the Gaya parliamentary seat, of which Likas is one of the state seats? Weren't these same ghosts given two ballot papers, one state, the other parliament? Doesn't that mean that ghosts too voted Yong Teck Lee into parliament?
The SPR has a lot to answer. It is simply unreasonable to "err" in so many aspects and constituencies, and at the same time be in a perpetual state of denial. Unless of course, the faults are deliberate. Then again, it cannot be so blatantly deliberate, without raising the suspicion of the police and the BPR. The only logical conclusion therefore, is that, the SPR have all these time been working hand-in-glove with the ruling coalition. (sic) Likas have in fact, shown that the manipulation go right up to the National Registration Department.
That is just the registration part. Stories abound of strange happenings on the election day itself, specifically when the votes are counted. How ballot boxes appear like the rabbit from the magician's hat. How postal votes are manipulated. How the lights in the hall suddenly fail. (Ironically this "coincidence" happened too in the fight for the UmCINO presidency back in 1987). Is it a wonder then, why the government refused to entertain international observers to be present?
Is there hope?
For as long as the SPR is allowed to get away with murder, it is an uphill climb, all the way, for the BA. Victory in Lunas should not be used as a guide, it being a by-election. In a nationwide event, the BA machinery would be too thinly stretched to have any significant impact on the overall election result! The incumbent will walk through again.
The BA leadership must give this problem a lot of attention. It is common knowledge that Abd Rashid Abd Rahman who replaced Omar as the chairman of the commission, is there for a specific mission. It is common knowledge too that Rashid's "perjuangan" is to be conferred the "Tan Sri-ship", so as to place him on par with his younger brother, Abd Aziz. These are the very characters that the BN thrive on! And these are the very characters that the chairman of the BN store in his pocket, to be used and discarded as tissue papers, as and when it pleases him.!
Supporters of the BA too, have a very important role to play. There are people, maybe hundreds of them, who are attached to the SPR who, if not supporters, are sympathetic to the "cause". Let us make every effort to get them to cooperate in whatever means possible. Maybe, SPR's computer system too can be "visited" by the IT experts amongst us. Whatever it takes, pass the message to these traitors that the rakyat are truly sick of all these hanky-pankies! Lose if we have to. But let us all do whatever we can to ensure that we lost, CLEAN and FAIR!