Far from a black day


— Alexandra Wong
The Malaysian Insider
May 06, 2013

MAY 6 — The day after GE13 I woke up to see all-black Facebook profile pictures.

I see something wrong with the picture here. I cast my vote based on the belief that a better Malaysia meant a more effective system of check and balance.

Post-election, I feel we’re still missing the point: we’re not focusing on the real stumbling blocks, the game-changers so to speak.

1) A disconnect with the rural voters, who either don’t care or don’t know about a better Malaysia. As far as they’re concerned, it’s more important to feed their families. If the urban supporters don’t acknowledge and address that, the opposition will always remain opposition. How many urban voters understand that a big part of the real Malaysia lies in the rural areas? How many have even been to a rural village? I have. And it smote me that they were so poor. I visited a Sarawak longhouse once and when I gave a grandma RM100 as a thank-you token, the look of shock and gratitude in her eyes haunted me for a long time afterwards. I found out later that’s how much they earn in one month — to feed one whole family.

2) Our real bogeyman was gerrymandering. As a friend put it, one vote in a Sarawak urban constituency equals six rural votes. Why was it not addressed before the election? That was the deal-breaker. Why were so much resources dedicated to the urban constituencies which were foregone conclusions? At this point, there is no conclusive evidence voting was rigged in some constituencies though I am sceptical of the manner in which some were won but “magic” alone couldn’t have orchestrated so many wins. While all eyes were on the cities with 100k voters, the sub-10k constituencies were quietly narrowing the gap.

The kampung folk were the real king makers.

Then why did Pakatan Rakyat give out an early victory cry? I believe it’s a war strategy. A general has to create the illusion of victory, even when you know it’s beyond reach, to keep your solders’ spirits high. Sometimes it makes the difference between losing and winning. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I believe the primary goal was so that the urban voters would not lose heart and come out in big numbers. And it worked. Because they (the city people) did and they sent out a powerful message to the ruling party. And that is why, in my heart, I believe it was a victory, not a loss.

Folks. With key losses by high-profile candidates, Malaysians sent out a clear message that racially-incited politics was NOT cool.

Even fence-sitters are awakening politically. On the eve of Polling Day, I attended a ceramah, and I had never seen so many people on the streets of Ipoh in my life, united for a common cause.

If that’s not change, I don’t know what is.

It’s not all bleak.

It’s not the time to mourn.

It’s time to carry on. Re-energise and get cracking.

Because we have a lot of work to do before GE14. And by “we”, I mean ALL of us Malaysians: BN has to work triply hard to restore our faith if the rulers-to-be mean what they say about a more moderate brand of politics, and Pakatan has to plug the cracks in its armour and fortify itself to make even more headway in the next election.

Before you know it, it’d be another five years.

Five years — it’s not that long.

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  1. #1 by adrian_ang on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 6:09 am

    Very well said, Alex. How’s Ipoh? How have you been doing? We need to catch up soon :)

  2. #2 by ChiaKY on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 7:03 am

    1. We are angry and sad. But don’t assume we gave up. In fact, I believe more will come out and fight.

    2. We know we won. But don’t expect us to accept 10% of our prize and be happy about it.

    3. Yes. 5 years is not that long. But then what? 93 vs 129? How many 5 years do we need to reach 122? So we need to expediate Bersih now! Just accepting the result doesn’t help.

    4. Your points doesn’t explain how PR ‘lose’ Perak.And the Terengganu seats?

    P/s: Born and grew up in S’wak, 18 yrs in West M’sia. I know urban and non-urban.

  3. #3 by Sallang on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 7:38 am

    Well said.
    At a glance, the conclusion is that, both PKR and PAS did not achieve their targets.
    Would it be wrong to say that they pull down the team?
    DAP won so many seats in Johore this time, when they only won Bakri in 2008.
    It was expected that PKR and PAS targeted the rural constituencies with more Malays, where DAP might not be able to penetrate. But they failed, and lost.
    If PAS keep concentrating on giving religious speeches and PKR harping on big issues like RM billions and diamond rings.
    Then losing is ‘dasyat! dasyat!’
    The urban voters understand better, that, in order to change, we vote for the party, and NOT the person.

  4. #4 by Winston on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 8:29 am

    Because we have a lot of work to do before GE14. And by “we”, I mean ALL of us Malaysians: BN has to work triply hard to restore our faith if the rulers-to-be mean what they say about a more moderate brand of politics, and Pakatan has to plug the cracks in its armour and fortify itself to make even more headway in the next election. – End of quote

    Not very well said.
    First, how many five years does a person have.
    Many Malaysians have grown up having no other government than the BN.
    If it’s a good, clean government, then Malaysians will NOT have enough of it.
    But it’s not!
    Gerrymandering, buying of votes, slanting the laws in their favour all these years, have been going on unabated.
    All these are done blatantly and brazenly.
    And as far as Parliament is concerned, if I am not mistaken, the opposition is not allowed to bring up any inconvenient truths.
    And yes, they even have the Whistle Blowers’ Act but we also know how it’s being used.
    Also, does the author of this piece think that they will allow any meaningful changes that will endanger their grip on power and wealth when they are even grooming their future generations to whom they are going to pass on the baton?
    Well, think again!

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 8:47 am

    The main issue if its possible in 5 years is the leadership transition in Keadilan AND PAS..Anwar will be 70 and even if available is best as Mentor Leader. Secondly PAS has some hard decisions to make about leadership transition and we have seen how their indecisiveness cost them..

    The only thing going for PR is that UMNO gets very very uncomfortable not having the urban votes. Its a matter of pride for them. But the truth is that if they can keep doing what they are doing for a long time and even for PR, it may be too long..

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 9:10 am

    If the problems of vote-buying, free dinners, phantom voters and sudden power cuts during vote counting are not solved, election black days will continue to haunt us!!!

  7. #7 by Seage79 on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 9:37 am

    Black profile doesn’t mean giving up. It’s a symbol of dissatisfaction, disgust, disappointment and all that is unjust. It signifies a dark day biz 5th May but does not equate giving up.

    I see many articles that mushroomed labeling ppl w black profiles as those who gave up, not doing anything constructive or not doing enough akin to making black profilers a scapegoat for the results in the recent GE13. Stop profiling and stop pointing accusations and most of all stop making an @$$ of U and ME (read assume). For a start, I did more than my fair share, did you? Just wondering why the black profile irks ppl like you? Why stopping ppl from expressing their feeling through their FB profile? We did not impose the black profile on you so pls do not impose your belief on others as well.

  8. #8 by Noble House on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 10:07 am

    Gerrymandering aside, but how do you fight a system that has long been entrenched in our society? What was so obvious from the votes of the urban and rural seats is the cleared distinction of a 2Malaysia system under the UMNO/BN government.

    The win for the incumbent government is not something that should be proud of. It is full with frauds and irregularities that the EC must explain. However there is no pride in killing the deaf to make them listen.

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 10:38 am

    D good news is our rakyat n voters r gradually moving out of RACIAL DIVIDE n RELIGIOUS DIVIDE, which UmnoB/BN insist on maintaining in their hollow “1 Malaysia” (divide n rule strategy)

    There is a HUGE DIVIDE between d INFORMED versus MIS-INFORMED + UN-INFORMED + REFUSED-2-B-INFORMED voters

    It seems d former mainly in urban n sub-urban areas, while d latter in rural areas
    Unfortunately d latter’s votes r d KING MAKER votes – at dis moment UmnoB is sustained n propped up by MIS-INFORMED + UNINFORMED + REFUSED-2-B-INFORMED voters + cronies + die-hard UmnoB/BN members

    PR must find ways 2 win d hearts n minds of MIS-INFORMED + UNINFORMED voters in rural areas (small-number constituencies)

    BERSIH + other NGOs must continue 2 press 4 CLEAN, TRANSPARENT, n ACCOUNTABLE election processes

  10. #10 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 11:49 am

    I dont’ think people get it yet. Yes, it was NOT A BLACK DAY. BUT BLACK DAYS ARE COMING..

    There is not going to be a RECONCILIATION by UMNO/BN.. The only choice Najib can really propose is SUBJUGATION OF THE CHINESE by attracing the urban Malay votes..

    Najib will propose MORE PROJECTS financed on/off balance sheet or syndication to attract Urban Malay votes . He will propose toning down the racial rhetorics but not substantive change in policy. Corruption will be MORE sophisticated and less blatant..

  11. #11 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 11:51 am

    The kampong and rural folks are the king makers as one of their vote equals to 6 urban votes. It has always been like this and the Opposition parties have never been able to penetrate and influence them. These simple folks have a very different mindset entrenched for over the past 6 decades. UMNO especially knows this and had built up a very good support network to them and can still count on them even though there are cracks in recent times.

    These simple folks cling on to every word the media tells them be it Utusan Malaysia, RTM, TV3 and the like and these media can afford to be very blatant about it. And they can be very effective.

    UMNO especially has got tentacles right down to the grassroots which the Opposition have yet to emulate especially when they lack resources which UMNO has.

    Pakatan should stop harping on issues which are of no interest to these rural folks who are more concerned with local and bread and butter issues. Engage them locally and stop talking about ‘higher’ things and ideals which will just bounce off their heads.

    Pakatan also has an image problem in that most of their leaders are seen to be ‘fighting cocks’. This don’t go down well with many rural folks who prefer the more subtle and less aggressive approach.

    Many DAP politicians have been branded as ‘racist’ and ‘anti-Islam’ and it is very hard to counter this perception. Ask many folks why and they can’t give you a good reason for believing so or they will just give you some weak, standard replies. But their vote counts. Think how to counter and overcome this in the next 5 years. With 38 seats, this could frighten the rural folks even more.

  12. #12 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 11:54 am

    The kampong and rural folks are the king makers as one of their vote equals to 6 urban votes. It has always been like this and the Opposition parties have never been able to penetrate and influence them. These simple folks have a very different mindset entrenched for over the past 6 decades. UMNO especially knows this and had built up a very good support network to them and can still count on them even though there are cracks in recent times.

    These simple folks cling on to every word the media tells them be it Utusan Malaysia, RTM, TV3 and the like and these media can afford to be very blatant about it. And they can be very effective.

    UMNO especially has got tentacles right down to the gra.sroots which the Opposition have yet to emulate especially when they lack resources which UMNO has.

    Pakatan should stop harping on issues which are of no interest to these rural folks who are more concerned with local and bread and butter issues. Engage them locally and stop talking about ‘higher’ things and ideals which will just bounce off their heads.

    Pakatan also has an image problem in that most of their leaders are seen to be ‘fighting cocks’. This don’t go down well with many rural folks who prefer the more subtle and less aggressive approach.

    Many DAP politicians have been branded as ‘racist’ and ‘anti-Islam’ and it is very hard to counter this perception. Ask many folks why and they can’t give you a good reason for believing so or they will just give you some weak, standard replies. But their vote counts. Think how to counter and overcome this in the next 5 years. With 38 seats, this could frighten the rural folks even more.

  13. #13 by clnt on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 12:37 pm

    If the election is won through fair play then there is nothing to be angry or disappointed about. But if it is not, then waiting for another 5 years will not change anything!

  14. #14 by good coolie on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 - 8:02 pm

    DAP has done its duty by convincing the Chinese not to support BN. PAS and Keadilan should do more to convince the Malays in the rural areas.
    Rural Malays must know the benefits of:
    1) A clean government 2) The strengthening of of our institutions, especially those of the judiciary and Legislature 3) Absence of excessive racial discrimination ( having affirmative action in favour of all poor or under-developed peoples, subject to constitutional safeguards of certain Malay rights).
    4) Firm checks on the executive.
    The opposition can lead a social movement to alleviate poverty in rural areas, especially in Sabah and Sarawak. Giving the skill to fish RM100 every month is better than giving RM100 of fish once, before the elections.
    Any takers, PAKATAN?

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