The campaigning for the Tenang by-election campaign is still on until tomorrow midnight and at this point of time, there is still less than 48 hours for the people in the small town of Tenang to decide whether to pick either one of the two candidates - Normala from PAS or Azahar from BN. From what I have observed and gather information so far, the premises and scenarios that the voters are facing in there after various jabs between two parties after another are:
1. You are voter that wants to change for the better but unsure of whether whether the choice you would make this Sunday is a good or a bad choice.
2. Is this party that you are thinking to vote good or not?
3. Whether the party is factually corrected as projected by the word of mouth from either party front or not.
4. "Better deal with the devil than the angel you don't know."
5. Complacency mindset of the older generation of voters.
These are among the few scenarios that the voters are in dilemma of and in order for them to decide properly whom to decide before going to the polling station, I thought it would be a good idea to write a little primer out here for voters to decide on which party to pick. Anyhow, the final decision is up to you people to decide. But remember - each decision has vast consequences so, don't whine if you made the wrong choice as it is a clear penalty and the price to pay for each mistake (very expensive indeed).
Disclaimer: Just to stress in this primer is that I do not put leanings on one party but is based on objective analysis.
Anyhow, the most common problem that voters particularly in this case is "dealing with the devil syndrome", but we will cover to that shortly. Now, on to logical thinking:
"Voting for PAS is voting for an Islamic nation with Islamic laws"
This claim by the Chua Soi Lek about such thing above is bullshit. Facts established in to prove that it is not as true as he claims to be.
Logic: If Malaysia is to use Islamic laws, the Federal constitution must be amended and it must get the consent from the Malay rulers council. You need 148 out 222 MPs to vote for the amendment (2/3rd majority). But then, in the last few editions of the general PAS only contests for 48 parliamentary seats average. Using mathematics, is 48 / 222 equivalent to 2/3? Therefore, there is no need to worry about voting PAS is equivalent to implementing Islamic laws.
Logic: PAS cannot pursue that agenda without the consensus of its coalition partners of DAP and PKR presently. Even if they want to do that law in state nation, they would surely get consensus from the people and event the Sultan's consent to do so. So it's no run in the mill task job and no need to worry about it.
The problem raised when Barisan raise this kind of race-religion card is that it makes people think that PAS is a Taliban-style party with all of its outlook and appearance. But on the close look, it is revealed that the number of Malay-educated professionals in PAS are far more than UMNO and much more competent than its other parties are. Look at the picture above from Malaysiakini? If you apply your logical thinking, that sentiment actually doesn't exist at all!
"PAS is second-standard to DAP as they are the ones that call the shots"
Logic: DAP and PAS have in the past years were proven to demonstrate real racial-harmony together in many occasions recently. The 2004 disaster of partnership has actually became lessons of working together in a coalition, with mutual respect for one another. As the saying goes, it takes two hands to clap. Look at this picture above from the Malaysian Insider. The claim that they are second-standard to DAP as perceived by MCA is not accurate. And it simply paints the inside picture of the two parties.
Logic: MCA goes around and says to people that they offer themselves to protect and represent the Chinese. Likewise, this also goes to UMNO who offer themselves to represent the Malays. This is still on the present situation now. The question here is - they represent your race but from whom?
The fact has been established that the last conflict that involved Malaysia, the Emergency ended 50 years ago. World War 2 - where the Japanese runs Malaysia ended 65 years ago. If those conflicts are no longer happening right now, so what those two parties defending their race from? It indirectly paints the picture that - Malays are the enemies of the Chinese, and vice-versa.
Logic: Having viewing the political pattern trend between UMNO and its big partners, the method of inter-party problem solving is in big contrast of PR, contrary to what it was written on paper. The structure has become more or less as UMNO a.k.a. Class 1 party, MCA / MIC as Class 2 party, while the other BN component parties have become Class 3 parties. This was by simple implies that UMNO dictates the whole thing while Class 2 and Class 3 parties will have to obey to the latter, like the "yes man" system.
For example: if there is a religion-related issue, a big man from UMNO (but still within the coalition) will say "please stop politicizing" - a message actually has been sent out to the other component parties to toe their lines.
Rais: People in Tenang must remember UMNO-BN's deeds
The statement from what Rais (the minister fingered out in the rape of an Indonesian maid case) said to the people in Tenang. Also, look at a similar statement made by Muhyiddin about don't make the mistake. However, Bernama's reputation is being a right-wing news channel way from the beginning and see how it spins.
Logic: The inverse of the statement is- if you don't vote for us, you are called as ungrateful. This is a subtle way of intimidating the voters. It clearly robs the people of the idea of deciding by yourself and cast. A vote is a person's decision, not to be forced by others. From information of some people there, MCA too sometimes use this tactic as well. The statement is much more direct like "You should be more grateful that we helped you."
Logic: No need to feel intimidated or afraid straight away. You don't have to take that claim straight away. If you really think there should be a change, just send your message in the form of your ballot. Yes, you do have to be aware of some people intimidating you by saying that if you vote for opposition that there will be bad things happening to you and so forth. No need to be that serious but being yourself.
BN Says That Have A Good Record While Opposition Doesn't Have Any
Logic: Many would agree face first, but the logic is that how can the opposition will be able to show their record of what they do if you do not put them up first? All the time, they are in the opposition area and of course to see and judge which party does better, at least the opposition will have to be a representative for at least one term to see the result. This is where many people do not know and foolish about it.
Logic: Fine, have we looked at what the previous assemblyman / parliamentarian has done to your constituency? Have you noted down and even bother to talk to your assemblyman about what he / she has done to your community? What are the accomplishments from the late Sulaiman Taha's in Tenang? Did they do build the school that the Chinese in Tenang have asked for? These are the tons of questions that voters must asked themselves seriously, not to become complacent and lazy thinkers and just stick to the same old same old. If you think that the dead old croon doesn't do much previously, then change to another party. Who knows if the person from the other party can do better and fulfill things faster than waiting longer to get whatever you want?
"Better To Deal With The Devil Than Dealing With The Angel You Don't Know" Syndrome
Comment: This is where people get wrong. This is where people get caught with the pants down. This is where people do not think far enough. This is where people get slack and complacent.
Logic: No one is controlling you. You just have to do what is right rather than following the whim of others.
Logic: Think this: If you try to deal with the devil and you lose, then what are you? You end up dancing to the devil's tune. For example: you trust party A, and no sooner a few months after that you are suffering from price inflation of fuel. What does that tell you? Nothing or they have broken their promise of taking their welfare? This illustrates the example of not following your instinct. If your instinct prompts you to change for better, then don't stick and go for the angel you don't know. There is a saying: if you work for the devil, be prepared to die for him.
Logic: There are others who are not that lucky as you but staying in the same area and could not benefit as you do. We didn't see the others. You can't clap with just one hand without seeing and clapping other hands. The other hands is none other than your friends outside your race.
Comment: I have read an interview with several people in Labis, as it was written in the Malaysian Insider a few days ago. I take an excerpt here:
“Most of us are comfortable. I can say more than 80 per cent of villagers here are not facing difficulties,” said Razak Ahmad, who owns a rubber and palm oil smallholding in his village of Kampung Tenang.
- Example of complacency and lack of social awareness of other races. Shouldn't we see from the eyes of others?
“During Pak Lah’s time, the increase was very sharp. We were shocked and many shops took advantage of the hike, maybe that caused the opposition to increase their votes,” said local resident Mazlan Ibrahim.
- I view that as the case of person who wants to change but couldn't do so out of the fear of repercussion and other things. There is nothing to be worried about of picking something unusual.
So where do we go from here? Social awareness of the problems in the country for people there is lower than those in major urban cities. And I noticed that due to lack of awareness of voter rights and the real factual logical news, people can get spooked easily, or people do not have any knowledge of all of which party is contesting and the background of candidates contesting for proper analysis and decision making.
There are also cases where parties come in and make tons of promises before election but those promises never happened at all. Or consider if you vote that party but the party later increases petrol prices (claims to care for people but instead burdening it), do you think that there are false promises made from the beginning, all just to get your support?
It would be nice if I thought that this last minute primer prepared can get people to think. But the Felda Uncles and Aunties there at times have blind faith to the party even though they at times think of need of change. One of the nature of law's rules that everyone of us forget is that there is no such omnipotence in life.
The news in papers and TV are not entirely accurate, so a voter will have to use whatever logic and application as to help you decide correctly which candidate you want. The latest survey on the ground there shows that most people have already decided to choose whom they want way from the beginning with other factors will not influence them last minute. But there is a word of caution there: it's just like in other places - that casting your vote is like a move in a game of chess. Make the wrong move, and everyone pays the price for the mistakes of the majority.
So it's happy voting on Sunday, I suppose.