Jumaat, 15 April 2011

S'wak electoral bribes hit RM500mil but Election Commission closes an eye

After 12 general elections and 10 state elections in Sarawak, it looks like Prime Minister Najib Razak's Barisan Nasional may have developed a habit of buying votes.
Reports from independent polls watchers from Sarawak detail incidents where Barisan workers were caught offering money at urban areas in exchange for the people’s votes.
Payments as high as RM1,000 were offered to those who turned up at the BN booths and surrendered their identity cards to be used by runners who will then use the documents to vote on their behalf.
Many suspect that the situation is much worse in rural areas, where BN has an astonishing track record of handing out food hampers, zinc roofing materials and other sundires to 'buy' villagers' loyalty.
With at least 50 percent of Sarawakians in rural areas living in hardcore poverty, it is understandable that the money offered is a major temptation, even irresistable. Knowing this weakness, BN has deliberately exploited and taken advantage of the situation, treating the village folk as their "tools" whenever an election looms.

Even after voting BN for decades, many of the indigenous folk live without electricity and clean water, not forgetting poor infrastructures and unbearable living conditions. They continue to be disillusioned and deceived by Taib Mahmud, the Chief Minister and rated by many as one of the most corrupted leaders in the world.
Barisan was also alleged to have spent RM500 million in this round of state elections. The large scale distribution of electronic appliances, devices and bicycles contributed a hefty sum to the grand total.
Besides that, pledges of development involving millions of dollars were made, days before polling day. This has tarnished Barisan's image not only withing Malaysia but also throughout the world.
"Sarawakians both in the interior and urban places may succumb to temptation but it doesn't mean they don't know better. In fact, many take the gifts with contempt and silent rebellion in their hearts," PKR party worker Eddie Wong told Malaysia Chronicle.
I help You, You help Me has become BN's slogan
Najib's own infamous electoral bribe of ‘I help you, you help me’ remains the motto of Barisan. And it sad that Malaysia's ruling coalition is represented by such a dishonest and corrupt slogan. It makes the country the butt of jokes and the government leaders "spineless yes-men" who dare not tell their boss that he was wrong and the coalition must change.
Meanwhile, calls by Pakatan Rakyat to the BN to end money politics and play by the guidelines laid down by the Election Commission have been ignored. Countless reports and complaints have already been lodged with the EC on the breaches of election rules. Sad to say, the EC has turned a deaf ear on these complaints.
To rub salt into the wound, EC officials even declared that BN is a party of "fair-play" abiders. With such statements, the EC was immediately slammed as being a stooge of the BN.
Even Mafrel, an NGO for free and fair Elections have been barred from observing the state polls. The move is deemed to be unjust and repressive, and Malaysians cannot be faulted for being concerned that free-for-all and full-scale cheating will be the order of the day on Saturday.
Manipulation of voter registration and postal voting was also exposed by Pakatan Rakyat workers in Sarawak. The significant increase in postal votes had caused concerns that this could kill the opposition alliance’s chances of forming the state government for the first time in 40 years.
Besides that, irregularities and discrepancies found in voter registration list are proof that Barisan has tasked the EC to ensure a BN victory in Sarawak.
The 10th Sarawak state elections will not only witness a fight between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional, but is also a fight between Pakatan Rakyat and the Election Commision.
Nevertheless, Sarawakians must be undaunted and cast their votes if they want to wipe away such practises and stop such deep-seated corruption from taking root in their psyche.   -  Malaysia Chronicle

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