With MIC bending backward to please UMNO, Malaysian Indian’s position become more hopeless
In the Merlimau “buy election”, MIC was effectively used by UMNO to secure Indian votes to strengthen UMNO’s political grip. MIC and their other cohorts like IPF and PPP served Malacca CM Ali Rustam and UMNO well to get the Indian voters. They effectively used Minnal FM, TH Raga, 1Malaysia T-shirts, small goodies worth about RM30 each, dinners and promises of Tamil school and temple to deceive plantation workers to vote for UMNO. Besides the handouts, MIC also ensured that the Indian voters don’t listen to PR leaders. They hire buses to take out voters for dinners, trips and RM50 cash each. Many Indian voters received goody bags five or six times during the short campaign period. The poor plantation workers are kept ignorant and in fearful state. Therefore with MIC around, Malaysian Indians don’t need enemies. The plantation based Indians will remain poor for a long time to come.
The UMNO victory in Merlimau and Kerdau is hard work at all cost. Credit must be given to BN for their tireless effort in using all government machinery from PM office to local councils, media, police and money. Everything at their disposal was utilized to the maximum. Cabinet members and BN chief ministers were present meeting the people throughout the one week campaign period. The roads were tarred and the town cleaned with blockages in drains all removed within the short campaign period. Flower decorations were arranged along the main roads. Merlimau would have never seen such a make-shift before. PAS was not only contesting against UMNO but also the entire government machinery. At this rate it is Impossible to defeat BN in a buy election. BN wants to win by hook or crook. PR is just making their presence felt because they were never visible in these areas working on the ground before. Even the voters will tell that they have never seen opposition working like this before.
Against such a formidable opponent, PR component parties do not have the resources. PR activities were meek and lack pomp and splendor to attract younger voters and crowd. Their public rallies were crowded with non voters from surrounding areas. There were no coordination nor central command, monitoring the whole operations for PR. PAS has support in certain Malay kampongs while PKR has no grass root presence. DAP’s presence are in Chinese areas which is small in Merlimau. Indian voters were left to DAP and PKR Indian leaders to handle. But everybody did their best in making their campaign work. The results may not be immediate in view of the mighty BN money and machinery but their presence were made. Voters in Merlimau could not resist the goodies delivered by BN left right and center.
Since the PR candidate was from PAS, they have to appeal to both non-Malays and Malays. PAS is so insulated by their Islamic ideology that they are unable to understand the feelings and wants of non-Malays. Their religiousness is so entrenched that they seem to overlook the economic and political reality. UMNO can easily hoodwink the poor Malay and non Malay voters by giving them pittance and in return secure their votes to rule this country. PAS has to outgrow and look at the larger issues like good governance, corruption, economic growth for all Malaysians if it aspires to reach Putrajaya. Hardliners in PAS are more concerned about policing the moral behaviors of Malays in valentine dinners and gambling outlets. They are driving away the moderate Malays, educated Malay women and non-Malay voters. PAS will be accepted by all Malaysians when the moderate leaders lead the party. The moderate leaders of PAS are Prime Ministerial Candidates. Will the hardliners allow moderate leaders to lead the party? Only time will tell if this is possible.
Defeating BN in a by election is not possible when the election commission turns the other way at every abuse of BN. However, the presence of PR is exerting pressure on BN to deliver and voters are benefiting from it. By elections are becoming expensive affairs and can BN maintain the expensive buy elections? How the voters vote in the General elections will be interesting to look for.