Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Teluk Intan: Voters must vote wisely

Dyana Sofea Teluk Intan
Recently, internet news portal Malaysia Chronicle carried an article ‘Fed up with Malay racism and bullying, Chinese in Teluk Intan may not accept Dyana despite her DAP credentials’.

According to one critic, many faithful DAP supporters would be disappointed that Hew Kuan Yau, a popular local DAP leader known as “Superman” who had been touted as an early candidate for the Teluk Intan by-election scheduled for May 31, was not chosen.

Chosen instead was a Malay candidate, Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, the political secretary to veteran DAP politician Lim Kit Siang.
Some people say that DAP is taking a big risk in view of the fact that in Teluk Intan there are more Chinese than Malay voters.
I agree but I think the risk is well worth taking. Let us not forget that DAP is a multi-racial party and if it wants to win power, it must prove its multi-racial and not Chinese credentials to the voters – Chinese and non-Chinese.
Let me also point out that the voter composition in Teluk Intan is 42% ethnic Chinese, 19 % Indians and 38 % Malays – in other words there is in fact a non-Chinese majority.
Politically sophisticated voters
Finally let me point out that many Chinese voters are politically sophisticated. They will not vote simply on the basis of race.
If Chinese voters go by race alone, then MCA and Gerakan will still have many MPs and enjoy the support of the Chinese. The fact that Chinese are politically astute is why the DAP is counting on Dyana to win the seat. This move is a logical as well as a wise one.
I support it and I expect that most voters in Teluk Intan will also support this move.
Everyone knows that during the past few elections most Chinese have voted across racial lines for a clean, efficient and genuinely multi-racial government. We know also what Chinese think of the BN government.
Everyone also knows about the time when the people of Perak had their state election results in which they had chosen the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition to govern the state, overturned by trickery and deceit.
At that time in 2009, three state legislators elected on Pakatan tickets defected to the Barisan Nasional in a move which was masterminded by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as head of Perak’s BN.
Subsequently, the Sultan of Perak refused Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin’s request to dissolve the state assembly and call for new elections.
Instead, BN with support from the three defecting assemblymen, formed the new – and in my mind – – illegitimate state government. I am sure most Malaysians including even BN supporters will agree that the BN government played dirty and should not have been allowed to rule the state.
Election results favoured BN
In the recent 2013 elections, history repeated itself with a different kind of dirty trick.
This time the election was stolen with more conventional methods. According to the official tally, BN won 31 seats to the Pakatan’s 28 in a closely contested race.
But on close analysis of the results, we find that BN won eight of the state seats (and two parliamentary ones) with wafer thin majorities.
State seats that BN candidates won with very small margins are Selama, Kamunting, Lubok Merbau, Manjoi, Manong, Pasir Panjang, Rungkup and Changkat Jong.
Cheating in elections
Cheating at the electoral booth can influence outcomes in close races. Such cheating takes many forms.
Some of the major ways include:
  • Tampering of the electoral rolls including registering foreign nationals as registered voters; individuals registered doubly as regular and postal voters; phantom voters,
  • Biased and unreliable counting and tallying practices,
  • Questionable postal votes, and
  • Dirty tactics of election officials aimed at favouring one candidate or party.
It is important to emphasise that there is no level electoral playing field in Malaysia.
This is why – in order for the DAP candidate to win – it is necessary that all registered voters turn up to vote.
This is the only way to make sure that the election in Teluk Intan is not a close race and is not stolen by the BN.
Everyone in Teluk Intan – Chinese, Malays and Indians – must vote to ensure that we Perakians put a stop to the corrupt and dirty rule of BN.
Koon Yew Yin is an investor and philanthropist. He is the founder IJM Group, Gamuda and Mudajaya.