Friday, April 15, 2011

The Sarawak State Elections

Tomorrow the 16th April will see one of the most nail biting state elections the Barisan government has encountered in its 53 years of absolute rule of Malaysia. To have both prime and deputy prime ministers, who are president and deputy president of UMNO respectively spending nearly an entire week in the state campaigning is unprecedented. It imply a real danger that Barisan may either lose its majority control or worst, the state itself to the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, though this is unlikely. But miracles still happen today. This is the season of Lent, the most important season in the Christian calendar, in which Christians mourn the death, and then celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent is a season of despair which culminated in the unexpected. Is this message going to be repeated this weekend?

There is enough evidence of massive briberies to crucify the Barisan government but of course, our police, Attorney-General and judiciary are quite adept in interpreting the laws anyway they see it. Call it incentives, rewards, development or what have you, giving out cash and contracts at this time reeks of corruption that even a school boy can tell you.

Two categories of voters are under threat of swing votes. The indigenous natives who still believe that only the Barisan government is competent to rule; and the Christian voters who may naively think that the Bible controversy has been irrevocably resolved by the personal promise given by Najib Razak and therefore safe to trust him again. A growing rank of disenchanted voters who are frustrated by the way Sarawak has been exploited, sidelined and taken for granted are pushing hard for reforms and appealing for this critical moment to show Barisan the door. Will the conservatives be bold enough to vote for change or will they remain addicted to election handouts and helplessly stay under the control of Barisan?

Development will come about even if there is a government change. Whoever is in charge of the nation is in charge of its treasury. What is important to bear in mind is how such developments are dished out. Penang under the rule of DAP, a component of Pakatan, sets a good example of how Sarawak will be run if it is delivered the votes. Sarawakians today have the opportunity to show Barisan that they have the power to lead the way to a new era of corporate governance we yearn to see and enjoy. Jom Ubah!

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