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A lesson from Sibu

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The Sibu ‘buy’-election result shows that money doesn’t buy everything in life. And, political arrogance has its price too, writes Mustafa K Anuar.


The BN lost to DAP/PR in the recent buy-election in Sibu, Sarawak. What is apparent is that the Sibu voters as a whole were humiliated, during the campaign by the antics and approach of politicians, particularly those from the BN.

One thing politicians (and especially BN politicians) should take note of: the rakyat in general and Sibu voters in particular must be treated with respect. Their dignity as human beings cannot and should not be trampled, nay vulgarly bought, by quick money and promises of material development. The electorate should not be expediently reduced to mere vote banks.

Such callous behaviour on the part of many BN politicians contributed in no small way to the defeat of the ruling coalition in the Sibu ‘buy’-election.

To be sure, the Sibu constituents, like many other citizens of this country, deserve compassion, care, and material progress, among other vital things in life, which should be made available to them by the government of the day at any time of their waking lives. To save all these only for a ‘buy’-election is to ridicule the intelligence and dishonour the self-esteem of these ordinary people.

Thus, government assistance for flood mitigation projects, money for schools and houses of worship, and financial help for the needy, among other things, should be constant government policy and should be provided whenever and wherever there is a need. After all, this money comes from taxpayers’ pockets – not those of the ruling politicians!

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If ruling politicians need reminding, they have been put into positions of power so that they can make good policies and enforce good laws that would contribute to the overall well-being of the populace. In short, they are there to serve the rakyat; not the other way round.

This electoral episode also goes to show that money doesn’t buy everything in life. And, political arrogance has its price too.

Mustafa K Anuar is honorary assistant secretary of Aliran. 

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