Will the forthcoming Kajang by-election in Selangor be the dirtiest or cleanest by-election in Malaysian history?
It has the capacity of being either depending on the role of the contending candidates, the two political coalitions of Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, and the supervising bodies like the Election Commission, the police, etc.
The Kajang by-election promises to be a by-election of many surprises.
The very holding of the Kajang by-election is itself a surprise – the first surprise.
A day after the surprise resignation of PKR State Assemblyman for Kajang Lee Chin Cheh on Jan. 27, the Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council fully endorsed the candidature of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the candidate in the Kajang by-election as a major political move to position Selangor as the launching pad to Putrajaya in the 14GE.
The second surprise was the prompt and unashamed reflex action of the UMNO information chief, Datuk Ahmad Maslan and Deputy Finance Minister who announced that UMNO and Barisan Nasional will pull out all the stops to launch a character-assassination campaign against Anwar, even plumbing the depths of the sexual allegations against the Parliamentary Opposition Leader in the past one-and-a-half decade.
The third surprise was the Election Commission decision to create history by having the longest delay for the holding of a by-election, a 55-day vacancy for Kajang as nomination will be on a Tuesday on March 11 and polling on Sunday, March 23 – in contrast to the Kuala Besut by-election which was held 28 days after the assemblyman Abdul Rahman Mokhtar died and the Sungai Limau by-election, 39 days after Azizan Abdul Razak died.
Nobody would believe that such “generosity” of time before the Kajang by-election is held is the result of a belated conversion of the Election Commission to the view that there should be adequate time for an election campaign to be held so that a free, fair and clean elections could be held – and not because of a clear signal from UMNO/BN to allow maximum delay before the Kajang by-election is held to give time for differences and dissension, whether in PKR and Pakatan Rakyat or outside, on the staging of a Kajang by-election to be fully played out to the detriment of Anwar’s candidature.
The timing of the Nomination Day on Tuesday March 11 cannot be unrelated to the official opening of the second session of the 13th Parliament on March 10 by the Yang di Pertuan Agong, and the beginning of the debate on the Royal Address on March 11.
Isn’t the timing aimed at sabotaging Anwar’s participation as the lead Pakatan Rakyat spokesman in the parliamentary debate on the Royal Address, which would start on March 11 itself? Or is this just a coincidence?
Meanwhile, the next 45 days till polling day on March 12 will give ample time for UMNO/BN to concoct an unprecedented list of “surprises” and “hits” against Anwar, PKR and PR – the chief objectives being to aggravate dissensions in PKR and divisiond in PR.
No one will be surprised if the Kajang by-election ends up as the dirtiest by-election in Malaysian history – the avalanche of money politics; the abuses of Federal government resources and machinery; the prostitution of Umno/BN-controlled media and their armies of cybertroopers; the depths of lies and falsehoods in a vicious campaign of personal attacks and character-assassination against Anwar, PKR and PR leaders; not to mention the reckless and irresponsible incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension to create fear of another May 13 in particular and racial chaos and religious conflagration in general.
But what will be the “surprise of surprises” is for the Kajang by-election to become the cleanest by-election in Malaysian electoral history, where there will be no corruption of money politics; no abuses of media and government machinery; no resort to personal attacks and character-assassination founded on lies and falsehoods and finally, no incitement of racial or religious hatred, conflict and disharmony with not a single raising of the spectre of May 13!
Pakatan Rakyat is fully committed to make the Kajang by-election the cleanest by-election in Malaysian electoral history. But this is only possible if there is similar commitment and resolve by UMNO/BN, with the full support of the Election Commission and the Police.
I suggest that Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat immediately appoint representatives to a Joint Committee to Ensure Kajang By-election Cleanest in History with the specific mandate to ensure that the Kajang by-election will be the cleanest, and not the dirtiest, by-election in history.
Is the Umno/Barisan Nasional Chairman, Datuk Seri Najib Razak prepared to respond promptly and positively to this proposal?
The Kajang by-election will be a great test for Anwar, PKR and Pakatan Rakyat. Let Pakatan Rakyat at all levels of leadership and activists among the three component parties of PKR, PAS and DAP show the greatest unity and discipline in the Battle for the Kajang by-election to fight as one solid unit – for Anwar must not only win in the Kajang by-election, but win with a bigger majority than obtained by Lee Chin Cheh in the 13GE, to pave the way for change and Putrajaya in the 14 GE.