Posts Tagged ‘Democracy’

BN and BR: Do not betray the voters

March 21, 2008


Skullduggery, espionage and defections – is this the latest James Bond film? No, this is the latest fallout from Malaysia’s 12th General Election – but I dare say no less thrilling than a good Bond film.

The skullduggery
The Barisan Nasional currently holds 127 140 of 222 seats in Parliament and if it lost 16 29 seats this would take it down to 111 – wiping out its simple majority and creating a ‘hung parliament’ – a Parliament in which no party or existing coalition has a majority. Alternatively, Barisan Rakyat has 82 seats and needs a further 30 seats to obtain a simple majority. To top it off, in states such as Perak, Barisan Rakyat won a majority by only a small lead.

A situation ripe for skullduggery – and by accounts there is much of it afoot with both sides accusing the other of trying to ‘buy’ MPs and assemblymen.

The espionage
The newly crowned UMNO Sec. Gen., Tengku Adnan (for his information I am not unemployed, I’m a student and I KNOW I am not a woman. He is never going to live that one down, is he?!) has stated that UMNO will be dispatching some “intelligence teams” (read: spies) to East Malaysia to determine whether BN MPs are being wooed by the Opposition.

Does anyone else spot the irony? Right now the words ‘UMNO’ and ‘intelligence’ are the last two words I would expect to see in the same line. Kind of like that other oxymoron: ‘military intelligence’.

So there’s our espionage thrown into the mix.


Hmm…I wonder what kind of equipment the UMNO spies will have with them?

The defections

Malaysiakini reported yesterday that Richard Riot, an MP in Sarawak has left SUPP, a BN component party, citing that SUPP does not have the interests of the Dayak community at heart. Speculation is rife that Richard Riot and up to four other MPs are contemplating a defection to Barisan Rakyat.

According to Raja Petra:

“there were many planned defections before the 8 March 2008 election but Anwar told them to stay put in Umno and Barisan Nasional and make sure that they win their seats first. Only if the opposition wins with a large enough minority and all it needs are those few extra seats to form the government should they leave the ruling coalition and join the opposition.”

And there you have it folks: the defections.

Checkpoint Charlie Sign

The sign at Checkpoint Charlie, a site synonymous with espionage and defections during the Cold War

Checkpoint Charlie 1961

American and Soviet tanks facing off at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961

Now for the serious bit

What are we, the rakyat, to make of all this? Not even two weeks ago we voted for candidates on the basis that they represented a political party and now some us are faced with the prospect of our votes being undermined.

I for one, couldn’t be happier that BN was denied a 2/3 majority in these last elections. It means they cannot amend our Federal Constitution willy nilly as they have been doing for years. But I am happy that they have retained a narrow simple majority. Why?

First, Barisan Rakyat still have to prove themselves, remember?

Second, it keeps both BN and BR hungry. Hungry to gain more influence and seats and hopefully, hungry to please us, the rakyat, in the process. At least that’s how democracy is supposed to work.

Encouraging any of our wakil rakyats to defect to either side is facilitating a betrayal of anyone who voted for those wakil rakyats. In doing so it also undermines our democracy.

Instead of playing these games, both Barisan Nasional and Barisan Rakyat should be focusing on the real work – proving themselves to the rakyat.