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Johor Polls: What is the tragedy?

By P. Ramakrishnan

Ramakrishnan said, “A criminal and felon is greeted enthusiastically as “Bossku” and accepted indiscriminately as a leader – that is the tragedy.”

The fact that Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PRK) got wiped out – except for one seat – is not the tragedy. The fact that Umno won so convincingly– that is the real tragedy.

The fact that the leaders of Umno who were  responsible for all the stealing, looting and squandering of the nation’s wealth were rewarded in this election in spite of the party’s nefarious conduct– that is our tragedy.

The convicted criminal for the crimes he had committed against the nation was embraced like a hero wherever he went – that was an amazing tragedy.

There was no abhorrence, no revulsion, no repulsion for a party that was tainted and defamed by leaders who had no qualms for stealing and cheating had their day in Johor – that was the tragedy.

A criminal and felon is greeted enthusiastically as “Bossku” and accepted indiscriminately as a leader – that is the tragedy.

How come Johoreans forgot so easily that billions were stolen which went into private accounts, money that could have helped to build thousands of houses for the needy, many more hospitals to support our healthcare system, better schools that could have helped the poor to escape their circumstance.

No accountability was demanded from the villains; they were not punished for their corruption; they were not rejected for their uncaring and  unconscionable  conduct. That was a great tragedy.

Is corruption now accepted as a way of life in Malaysia? Is it unnecessary to have ethical and honest leaders who truly work for the welfare of the nation? Don’t we deserve leaders whose commitment would be to uplift the downtrodden and not enrich themselves, their families and their cronies?

We spent millions of ringgit to carry out the Johore election. The elected government is morally obliged to implement the mandate of the people as promised by the party. But when the state assembly does not even have the honesty and decency to appoint the Menteri Besar of its choice as promised to the electorate, that is a real tragedy.

Is a manifesto necessary to win over support based on the promises made if that cannot be implemented? What is the point of campaigning, meeting people and going all over the place to convince the people that they deserve their support when in the end the democratic decision could not be implemented? Isn’t that tragic?

A willful, serial violator of the SOP who was fined five times for this offence, should he be allowed to carry on campaigning? Shouldn’t he be barred after being fined two or three times for ignoring the rules wantonly?

There is also the other tragedy committed by the opposition parties who were on an ego trip. It has been pointed out that as many as 36 seats won by Umno/Barisan Nasional were won by default; in these seats, the combined votes garnered by the opposition parties were more that the votes obtained by Umno/BN.

In a purportedly straight fight in these constituencies, and given the electoral mood and the leadership signal, probably Umno/BN would have secured only a handful of these seats. This was the biggest tragedy. Collectively, the opposition parties handed over victory to Umno/BN.

Perhaps, the only blessing in the Johor election was the complete annihilation of Pejuang. All its 52 candidates ended up losing their deposits. It was 100% rejection by the people. It was indeed a gratifying result.

We are in this mess because of the Pejuang founder, Mahathir Mohamad. He was reluctant to implement the promised reforms when Harapan formed the government. He reneged on his promise to hand over the premiership to Anwar Ibrahim as solemnly pledged.

In a baffling move, he resigned as PM without even discussing with his coalition partners in Harapan. Where lies the principle of accountability to partners? This silly move effectively helped to oust the duly elected Harapan government and undermined the credibility of Harapan and dashed the hopes of the many people who helped Harapan to achieve the impossible: defeating Barisan Nasional.

We hope that the opposition parties will come to their senses and avoid multiple contests in GE15. We hope that the people will once again rise in revulsion against corruption and unbecoming conduct and bring about a second miracle when we go to the polls in the forthcoming GE15.

It is truly said, “Hope is the one thing that can help us get through the darkest of times.”

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

16 March 2022

P Ramakrishnan is the long-serving former president of Aliran who served three and a half decades on its executive committee, and has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977. Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.
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