Jun 17, 2013
A schoolchild knows that when conducting scientific experiments, a definite conclusion cannot be made if the analyses and observations are based on flawed data. In a post-mortem of GE13, it is a fallacy for experts or analysts to report on trends, when their assumptions are based on a set of doctored evidence.
Anyone who is foolish enough to believe that BN won 47 percent of the votes in GE13 is seriously deluded. If allegations of cheating have been recorded in one constituency, then doubt is cast on the entire voting process.
The rakyat has long been aware of wholesale fraud and blatant gerrymandering in previous elections, but they allowed Umno Baru’s intransigence to browbeat them into submission. Under pressure, Malaysians capitulated easily to Umno Baru’s weapons of apathy and fear.
Successive years of apparent electoral successes, won by blatant fraud and cheating, have given rise to the perception that Umno Baru is invincible. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Umno Baru cheats the rakyat before, during and after every election. The groundwork is laid to thwart the opposition with gerrymandering, the registration of foreigners as citizens, violent mob attacks on ceramahs and the denial of access to national media.
On polling day, vote-buying, intimidation, blackouts and low-quality indelible ink clinch the deal. Some voters discovered that their votes had already been cast, by an imposter.
After GE13, the Election Commission (EC) has continued to deny the allegations of cheating and refused to take responsibility for the mass electoral fraud.
The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, Abdul Rahman Dahlan, claimed that “divine intervention” helped BN to win.
“… Pakatan has won the popular vote, statistically speaking, but BN has the support of ‘takdir’ (fate) that helped it won the recent 13th general election. In short, fate and God’s will determines everything…” (sic).
Who is Rahman Dahlan to express God’s will? Is he a self-proclaimed prophet?
A desperate Najib Abdul Razak, the Umno Baru leader who is himself facing a leadership challenge, is aware of the devastating impact of the ‘Black 505’ rallies. He has tried to refute the claims about the squadrons of aeroplanes bringing Bangladeshis to vote.
He said, “I, as the BN chairman, strongly refute that there was cheating by BN (in the GE13) as alleged. The general election was conducted in a fair manner and in accordance with the law and regulations.”
Umno Baru leaders have called for reform within their party to reflect the changing societal and political landscape; the Alliance party morphed into Umno and later became Umno Baru.
Mentality cannot be altered
Will Umno Baru politicians appreciate that the mentality of its leaders and their supporters cannot be altered, as easily as changing one’s underwear? You cannot just slap a clean nappy onto the bottom of a heavily soiled baby, without first removing the muck and stench from his posterior. A new Umno Baru identity cannot remove the rotten core lurking under the facade.
Law and order have broken down in Malaysia. As conditions worsen and the rakyat finds it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, only ‘people power’ will instigate change.
Large-scale public rallies get attention and maintain the rakyat’s will to improve. The ‘Black 505’ marches have highlighted the rakyat’s disgust of the EC’s role in perpetrating fraud.
Many powerful, ruthless leaders have been toppled by non-violent civil mass resistance. Countries which successfully replaced authoritarian regimes, like Chile, Philippines and South Africa combined mass rallies with other forms of resistance, like strikes and boycotts.
In apartheid South Africa, black South Africans refused to patronise the white South African shops. When the white traders faced financial ruin, they eventually became the blacks’ most powerful ally and lobbied strongly for change.
Boycotts work. Many people, including women and children are able to participate without risking violent beatings or arrest. The rakyat should consider a boycott of Umno Baru crony companies. Perhaps, a nationwide boycott could start simultaneously with the June 22 ‘Black 505’ rally in Kuala Lumpur and continue until the objectives are fulfilled.
In a boycott, no one is breaking the law. People are merely withdrawing their purchasing power.
People power successfully brought down repressive regimes in countries where people once believed that resistance was impossible. Umno Baru thrives on image, but the street marches and demonstrations portray a government which has lost control and is incompetent.
A combination of marches, boycotts and strikes will doubtless disrupt public life and cause mayhem. Sometimes, small sacrifices must be made for the good of all. Surely, giving up fast food is not too great a sacrifice to make. What would you rather have? A few chicken nuggets this year, or a better education for your children?
Many people believe that Umno Baru did not cheat in GE13. Al David once said, “One lie has the power to tarnish a thousand truths”.
So, does the wife of a serial philanderer believe her husband when he says he is late home again, because of overtime? Will the husband of a compulsive gambler believe his wife when she demands more housekeeping money? Should the girlfriend of an abusive boyfriend trust him, when he says he will not beat her again? Can the kleptomaniac be trusted to handle money? Should Malaysia be encumbered with another 56 years of Umno Baru?
The young people of Malaysia are spearheading change and are not seduced by Rahman Dahlan’s simplistic and childish notion that BN’s win was ‘takdir’ and fated. Former PM Mahathir Mohamad has manipulated the Malays and used policies which have created a fatalistic and feudal mindset in Malays. He keeps reminding Malays that the government knows best.
A party which controls Malaysia with an iron hand, which alters the goalposts, which refuses to enforce the law, and which treats it natural wealth, its financial institutions and its people as tools to achieve its own ends, will never relinquish power. Not now, not in GE14.
The action of a united rakyat
Only the action of a united rakyat will conquer Umno Baru. This action should consist of marches, strikes, boycotts, pressure by NGOs and religious groups. We must engage the international community and foreign media to help the rakyat gain freedom. Violence by the rakyat is not an option, but persistence and commitment are.
Umno Baru will never agree to a re-election because they will then be scrutinised carefully. Moreover, their benefactors cannot squander more billions of ringgits on another election, when the last attempt failed so miserably.
The irony is that Umno Baru wants to keep the goose which lays the golden eggs, but they keep the goose in intolerable conditions, which will eventually kill her.
A nationwide, year-long boycott of a fried chicken firm could begin now and would not only hurt the crony owner but would gain media coverage in America. When even a small part of the American economy is threatened, they react!
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.