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Give this general election our best shot; so we have no regrets

Photo credit: hazuism.blogspot.com

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Let us have no regrets about not trying hard enough in the morning after polling day, writes Turtle Shell.

Those who have read my previous opinions will know that I am on board with those working and hoping for change. Am I being realistic or is it that I do not wish to raise my own expectations too high? I do not know for sure.

Reading Rafizi Ramli’s Invoke predictions and opinion pieces by Tony Pua and Liew Chin Tong has boosted my spirits that, despite the odds stacked against Pakatan Harapan, the 2018 general election may finally see the dawn of a new era.

But this piece is being written on the premise that it will not be a dawn of a new era the morning after polling day. Why? All foreign political analysts have predicted the Umnoputras winning comfortably. The gerrymandering of the constituencies in the latest electoral rolls, the advantages of incumbency, the mid-week polling day, among others factors, have obviously tilted the playing field in the BN’s favour.

Moreover, the BN has a bottomless war chest. In Alor Setar, for example, a friend’s family collected a box (not bag) of goodies from the BN election stall set up in a coffee shop – patrons eat and drink for free and can collect the box – of course, with a friendly reminder to vote for the BN. What’s inside? Four bottles of cooking oil, a 10kg bag of rice, a bag of Milo, washing powder and various snacks. Go work out the cost.

At the other end of the spectrum, Dr Siti Hasmah has to auction off her beloved violin, Dr Mahathir his watch to raise funds for the opposition cause. Incessant appeals are made for donations for the opposition cause.

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Yes, MO1 is right – cash is king – and he has shown utter contempt for the concept of a caretaker government, showering goodies on civil servants, Rela members, taxi-drivers and who else in the days to come.

We who are rooting for change would like to believe it will not make a difference – that those who know of the corruption scandals that taint this government right to its very top will still vote for change.

But, realistically, how many of the folks in the rural hinterlands are aware of those scandals? Of those aware, how many are concerned enough to vote for change? Or will all the goodies that will continue to be showered on them sway their votes yet again?

Of course, all is not bleak and hopeless. Mahathir and Mohamad Sabu can at least now hold ceramahs in some Felda land schemes to alert them of the many corruption scandals that will have an impact on their lives and – their children’s and grandchildren’s. Rafizi’s updates about Invoke’s work still paint a rosy picture.

I have great respect for Rafizi, and I do not believe he is intentionally misleading the rakyat about the prospects for change. Perhaps he has his hand on the pulse of the nation; perhaps his Invoke’s methodology is more accurate. I am praying and hoping change will indeed finally come to our country.

Whatever, I am giving this general election my best shot. I have donated what I can afford to the opposition cause; I have attended training to be a polling agent and counting agent (Paca). I have stated my willingness to be a Paca at an out-of-town constituency, at my own expense. (So I will not be able to vote in my own constituency. But both the previous member of the state assembly and member of Parliament have done their work and are with the PH; so they are a shoo-in for re-election.)

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So, the morning after polling day, even it is not the dawn of a new era, I can look back on it and be content that I have given it my best. Yes, even if we who are rooting for change do come up short again, we can honestly say – Providence favours the Umnoputras yet again; who are we, mere mortals, to go against Providence?

Turtle Shell is the pseudonym of a regular reader of Aliran.

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