Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sarawak Elections - Lessons For The BN.

So the Sarawak elections have come and gone. Everyone I know seems to be quite pleased that the opposition and an independent have taken the shine out of the Barisan victory. Sibu and Kuching have given food for thought for the Barisan.

What does the result tell us? Basically that there are many unhappy Chinese who have decided to do something about it. Are the Chinese in KL or Kuching any different? Not really. If this can happen there you can bet your last ringgit that the same will occur in the Peninsula if elections were to take place now; for such is the discontent among the people nowadays. The Barisan is getting too big for it's boots seems to be the consensus and there is some truth to that. After the landslide victory in the last general elections Barisan leaders have been acting as if they have a mandate for life, having so quickly forgotten that just a few years earlier their future wasn't so rosy after the PAS resurgence. The Islamic party got a bloody nose in the last general elections precisely for the same reasons that the BN lost some seats in Sarawak - taking your voters for granted. PAS is not hibernating but having licked their wounds and learnt valuable lessons on inter-ethnic relations, is alive and kicking and raring to go. If Barisan tries to go the PAS way in dealing with the Chinese in particular and the non-Malays in general then they might as well cast their lot with PAS and see what transpires.

There have been many issues over the past year where the BN has come out looking bad. These have been discussed in this blog and at other places. Somehow it feels that the country is going on autopilot with no one to shoulder any responsibility or blame. Corruption is perceived to have had a resurgence and no one seems to get caught with their fingers in the pie any more. The Article 11 fiasco has also frightened the non-Muslims and they now question the government's sincerity on this and a host of other problems that they face. The gall of the government in announcing an impending hike in electricity tariff rates during the run up to the Sarawak state elections gives the impression that they could not be bothered what the people think, and that my dear BN leaders is a big mistake. No one is indispensable - better learn that now than find out after you've lost office.

The gloss of the Abdullah administration has faded fast and the fault lies entirely with the government. On several tendentious issues the government has seemed to come down on the side of the Muslims and this has caused a lot of unease. While Pak Lah's personal honesty and integrity is beyond reproach many worry about the coterie surrounding him and are anxious about the influence they have on him. It gives the impression that the PM has lost his bearings and has to be guided by others whose intentions are questionable. That is not good news for Pak Lah. The handling or rather the mishandling of the wayward Member of Parliament has further disappointed the public as has the perception that the Taib government is corrupted and has plundered the state.

The most important thing for the government to do now would be to accept that things have not being moving as planned and assure the people that the lessons of the Sarawak state elections have been learnt and an overhaul of the entire leadership machinery is in the offing. Then proceed to actually take a few confidence building measures like bringing a couple of known crooks to book, initiating a meaningful interfaith dialogue and easing out Taib from the Chief Minister's post. Now that would send out a strong signal that KL is listening.

10 Comments:

Blogger fathi aris omar said...

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Blogger prl said...

You said

"While Pak Lah's personal honesty and integrity is beyond reproach "

This is an oft repeated unthinking statement as if it is a mantra or a worn out recording.. Please give me one concrete example or evidence to support that statement. What has AAB done to support that atatement.To do nothing by AAB is not sufficient to support that statement.His silence on major issues betrays his dishonesty (intellectual?) and his support or abetment of the wrongdoings by some of the UMNO warlords shows his dishonesty aand weak integrity. On the other hand AAB's reluctance to effectively deal with many of the corruption cases or as you say some of his decisions "coming down on the side of the muslims" gives the lie to you mantra statement.

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