Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sarawak polls: No point in analysing flawed and fixed results

Written by Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysia Chronicle

If the Sarawak election was rigged and the results were fixed to determine a favourable outcome for one party, then no one can make a rational analysis based on the flawed results.

How can anyone say such and such a party had so many percentage points swing in its favour? Or that the population has been swayed by this or that candidate’s style?

The only obvious conclusion is to say the whole exercise was rigged and therefore should be repeated under more fair, clean and transparent conditions.

If the allegation of the substitution of ballot boxes is true, then the actual voting pattern will never emerge. There have been unsubstantiated reports of boxes stuffed with BN votes being used to replace the original boxes from the election stations.

Who is to know that it wasn’t 100% Opposition votes in the ballot boxes to start with?

During the week long campaign, the sentiment on the ground showed that BN was doomed. It was also reported that there were several tens of thousands of people, at the Opposition rallies, but only a fraction at BN ceramahs. It appeared that the people was for the Opposition.

However, when the results were revealed, BN had pulled off another fantastic showing, albeit with a reduced majority, despite the earlier show of strength by the Opposition.

Anyone who has been in a laboratory, even the most basic of school laboratories, will know that an experiment is conducted with an objective in mind. The experiment will be conducted using a known method of using fixed quantities within set parameters. A control is usually used and the observations and inference will be recorded religously. The conclusion is based on the results obtained.

A meaningful conclusion cannot be recorded if several conditions are altered or if the data is wrong. Similarly, the political interpretation of Saturday’s election is impossible and incorrect, if incorrect data had been substituted.

In the Sarawak election, the Opposition was up against serious money politics. Vote-buying and strong-armed tactics were rampant.

In Mukah and Balingian, BN distributed RM1,000 to every longhouse door on Thursday and Friday night, before polling day. It is reported that the Ibans failed the Opposition.

But have they?

What if the Ibans did vote for the Opposition? What if the votes are still in the ballot boxes, but are deep in the jungle ravine or at the bottom of the river?

Some people have said that the Chinese turned away from BN but that the Opposition was failed by the Iban.

Others have put the Opposition loss squarely on the shoulders of the Iban for accepting money and voting BN. This is unfair. Perhaps the Iban did, perhaps he didn't.

Taib is smart. He and BN have honed their skills using three decades worth of experience, of deceiving the public. He keeps the rural voter uneducated. That way, he does not know how to challenge Taib or with what means to oppose his rule.

The indigenous people’s lands are confiscated in the name of progress and for someone who is a labourer in an oil palm plantation earning RM10 per day, the princely sum of RM1,000 is very tempting.

That money can help pay to mend nets, or to buy new shoes, or pay for necessary medicine.

Of course the money will go in a few months if not earlier. Some may have spent the money, within a few weeks, on hard liquor.

Taib chooses his areas with care and would not have dared to dramatically change the results for a DAP stronghold area. Imagine the public outrage if the BN had seemingly 'won' in an area that is obviously DAP’s. There will be a demand for a recount. All Taib’s tactics will be revealed.

Until and unless we demand that we have independent election monitors or that our elections are conducted under free, fair and transparent conditions, there is no point in analysing the election results because the conclusion will never be a true reflection of what is happening on the ground.

- Malaysia Chronicle

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Agree that we cannot blame the Ibans soley for the failure to deny BN their 2/3 majority. Natives I spoke to in my daily life showed many are anti-BN. However, it may be difficult for them to convince their kampung folks to vote for change yet. But it will succeed if they persists. I believe our native brothers are with us in wanting to have a 2-party system except that it's going to take a little bit more time for them.