For the first time the ruling BN has gone on an unprecedented vote-buying spree, not that there was no vote-buying in previous elections, observes Ravinder Singh.
GE13 is surely the mother of all Malaysian elections. It is the first time ever that not only have five full years passed since the last election on 8 March 2008, but suspense still reigns as to when the election will be held.
For the first time that the ruling BN has gone on an unprecedented vote buying spree, not that there was no vote-buying in previous elections.
The ruling party claims that it is not buying votes but merely fulfilling promises to help uplift the standard of living of the people.
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Now, which is which – vote-buying or helping the rakyat to make ends meet?
If it is helping the rakyat to meet the higher costs of living, what was the longest reigning government doing over the past 55 years? Why did it allow the cost of living to rise to such an extent that people could not survive without all the handouts it has been dishing out over the past couple of years? Does the bad economic situation of the rakyat not reflect the inefficiency of the government to ensure fair distribution of the country’s wealth? Thus by its own actions, isn’t the government admitting that it was not a good government for the past 55 years?
The story it is selling is that since the government has the money, it wants to share it with the rakyat. Hence the limitless giving away of money in limitless forms, in cash and kind. Well, this raises the question: how has the country suddenly become so wealthy just before the 13th GE that it can give away billions?
By what co-incidence or act of providence did all this happen during the run-up to the 13th GE and not at some other time?
When all these handouts, in trying to gain popularity with the voters, come with the message that the recipients must not bite the hand that feeds them, is there any doubt left that these so-called acts of charity are in fact acts of vote buying?
Inducement is the name of any act intended to ‘encourage’ people to do something or to ‘discourage” them from doing so. And this is corruption. So what is going on is massive corruption to entice voters to give their votes to the hands that feed them.
And the EC and the MACC are blind to all this corruption. If project IC was Mahathir’s project to wrest Sabah from a Christian Chief Minister, ‘project corruption’ is Najib’s project to retain Putrajaya at all costs.
I wonder whether Islamic moral values allow for the giving of such inducements to the rakyat with the motive of ‘persuading’ them to cast their votes in a particular way?
Would the Indian Election Commission, known for being very independent, allow such a practice?
Looks like the expired government is not finished with its vote-buying yet. A recent group it tackled was the TM staff who were given RM500 and told by Najib that he hopes to visit them again as Prime Minister! Very subtly put, but the message is the same “I help you, you help me”. Really shameless and corrupt.
Well, why should he call for elections just yet? Letting it drag to the very last day means having more days in hand to carry out more vote-buying of groups like TM that were left out earlier.
Ravinder Singh, a former teacher, is an activist based in Penang and regular contributor to our Thinking Allowed Online section.