Sunday, April 17, 2011

Taking stock

The 10th Sarawak Elections are finally over with Taib being sworn in as CM for another term. Most of my "favourites" including Masing and Talif have managed to wrestle their stay in the next state government however, casualities in the form of SUPP in general and George Chan in particular paid the price of the Reds vs. the Blues. I'm satisfied that at least one-third of the Terrible Three in light of the Rajang issue has been shown the door. Time to unravel the carpet.

BN's victory of 55 seats has come at a cost as the rejection of SUPP by Sarawakians mirrors the rejection of Gerakan in the Peninsular. BN may claim to be Satu Malaysia but they are slowly and surely alienating the Chinese voter.

It really doesn't have to be this way.

BN and SUPP can really, really make use of this opportunity to redeem themselves by fulfilling promises made pre-April 16 regardless of whether one is crowned MP or YB. When will they learn that it is not the title that matters when one's reputation is in tatters already. They can use this chance to be gracious in their loss and learn from mistakes. One does not need to sacrifice political allegiances in order to make a change but in a political culture where MPs are less game yet desire more fame, it seems most BN members will prefer to lick their wounds in hiding and hide their puffed eyes in caves, sulking in injured pride until the next Election when they emerge in droves and make false promises again.

I really hope the Sims of SUPP keep to their word. I'm sure even the government would sooner bring their plans to fruition even though they lost by significant margins, to be used as ammo in the Parliamentary elections than assist the Opposition who virtually swept clean the city seats. Kudos to PR and special mention goes to Chong Junior, who despite approximately 4,000 reported pro-BN votes set against him, emerged the victor against Alfred Yap with whom I have no love lost. Also kudos to Batu Lintang voters who did not swallow hook line and sinker, BN's threats that electing Chee How who is from the PKR @ Keadilan faction of PR was tantamount to inviting an Islamic state into Sarawak.

For me personally, the shock of success from a united democratic voice is still reverberating. We actually have the two legal front-runners for Native and Human Rights now sitting in the DUN in the form of Baru Bian and Chee How together with a host of other lawyers from Kuching to Miri. That's huge. That is the best present we have given to our rainforest and her inhabitants. The law has been made a fool of and mucked up in so many places but perhaps now its dignity can be restored and people's trust in it renewed. Real representation. Real chance. Real protection. None of this "We are helping you develop your land so too bad so sad if your Rajang dries up." 

The bittersweet smell of having ousted the playground bully has left a vacuum in playground politics and for Kuching especially, I really hope DAP lives up to its call of change and continues to stand in the face of stifling oppression from the government. Many fear that the government will now come down hard on Sarawak's cities as backlash against the cities' retaliation of back-handed cronyism namely, on the Chinese community. I hope that the governement wouldn't. Not because I'm afraid (one can sufficiently survive on yams) but because against, as I mentioned above, this will be a good time for the government to rethink its employment of accepted corruption and execution of policies. This will be the time not to step into the slew of mistakes acted and reenacted by Gerakan in the aftermath of their defeat. I do know however, that yes men know no other way to behave accept to meekly subject themselves to the powers that be even if it means surrendering themselves for extinction. The cheerful pessimist in me is nevertheless braced for the worst.

I hope that PR collectively takes from this outcome, not just the relief of knowing the cities are won, but knowledge and experience to convince the rural areas. They are not going to be persuaded by rhetoric they don't understand or by quoting Auden.

Incidentally as a literature enthusiast I MUST tell you that at BDC on 15 April 2011, Anwar quoted, "Things fall apart;the centre cannot hold" as a phrase from Auden when it's a phrase from one of WB Yeats' more famous poems, The Second Coming, which I studied for A-Levels.

Just because they are less educated does not mean their vote counts less. This is democracy. Different issues to be tackled. Different goals. Different tactics. Different priorities. Different game plan. Let the brain storming begin.

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