Let Hulu Selangor set the benchmark for good conduct

by P Ramakrishnan
24 April 2010

By-elections have a habit of bringing out the worst in individuals. It is a time when certain party members suddenly become wise and enlightened. It is a time when hypocrisy takes centre stage.

It is rather strange that people who have been members of a political party and who have been running down their opponents – meaning BN and Umno – for quite a while now suddenly discover that their party is no longer the same and that their leaders had betrayed the rakyat.

The timing of their confession when a by-election is on only betrays their hypocrisy and confirms the claim that PRK members are paid between RM1,000 and RM1,500 for making damaging statements and condemning their former party.
Couldn’t these “enlightened” individuals have timed their departure from their former party after the by-election? That would have given them some credibility that their grouses were genuine.

It is believed by discerning Malaysians that the worth of these individuals would be zero after the by-election. But on the other hand, when they run down their former party before or during the by-election, their actions and their condemnation of their former party could boost the chances of the BN and therefore they deserve to be rewarded.

What is their worth during this time? For some, it could be more than RM1,000 or RM1,500.

Take the case of the two Independent candidates who withdrew their candidacy from the contest after filing their nomination papers. Their action had cost them the loss of RM10,000 that they had deposited with the Election Commission. Why would they suffer this loss?

The talk going round is that they could have been compensated for their loss and adequately rewarded for seeing sense at the last moment. If they had not withdrawn they would have split the votes – which would not have been to the benefit of BN. So they must have been “persuaded” to withdraw.

This is one tactic. But there are others. Ignore the issues but run down the character of your opponent. Just keep on repeating the attack ignoring ethics and morality. This is what they are doing to the PKR candidate, Zaid Ibrahim.

From day one, the BN targeted Zaid for something he had done in his younger days. He had consumed alcohol. He had confessed to it and had repented for his folly. He had performed his Haj. But this did not matter to the BN propagandist. They kept on hammering him as “kaki botol”, “womaniser” and what not. There was no let up.

Doctored and fabricated photos were circulated with no respect to the truth. The intensity of this lie was amazing. Billboards and pamphlets were widely distributed to fool and hoodwink the conservative, rural Malay folk. It took the form of the 1990 General Election blitzkrieg when the BN flooded the country with Tengku Razaleigh wearing a Kadazan headgear with a motif that was depicted as a Christian cross and roundly crucified as a man without shame. This abhorrent tactic swayed Malay support away from the Opposition. A similar tactic is being deployed once again in Hulu Selangor to achieve a BN victory.

To their credit, the PKR refused to resort to character assassination. If they had, the voters of Ulu Selangor would have got to know their Ministers and MPs very intimately! It is very telling that no one stood up when Lim Kit Siang challenged the BN MPs in Parliament who had not drunk before to stand up!

Imagine what a gala time the voters would have had if the polygamy of Bung Mokhtar Radin had been used to run down the BN. Somebody observed, “For a member of parliament to act irresponsibly by
belittling the sanctity of marriage is unforgivable.” But PKR did not stoop that low.

While one party is focussing on issues and the failures of this nation to do better, the BN has resorted to the heinous crime of running down Zaid and Anwar Ibrahim. Money is flowing freely to bribe and buy up voters with the Election Commission oblivious to this. The Pakatan party workers are being blocked from entering the Orang Asli villages to spread their message. This by-election is neither free nor fair.

The voters of Hulu Selangor must decide whether this abominable way of running down individuals should be permitted. One way to send a clear message that they don’t approve of this is to
vote against the BN. When this is done, future elections and by-elections will be fair and free.

Let Hulu Selangor set the benchmark for good conduct.