Friday, January 28, 2011

Proof by seduction

Today we’re going to discuss about the grey area involving money and favours in an election, in conjunction with the Tenang by-election this Jan 30. Frankly, I don’t bother about the by’es anymore, not with this being the 15th by-election this round, and not with further maths homework piling up.

More than just a sweet

When it’s almost time to cast the ballot you will notice more reports of ‘citizenship approval for 65 years-old’, ‘free schoolbags for schoolchildren’, ‘party pledges RM100000 for school building fund’ and so on. I even recall that there was something like a money giveaway to the Tenang folks few days ago. As a resourceful person who managed to find this blog, I suppose you aren’t foolish enough to fall for these tricks. However, not everyone in Malaysia are like you.

Of course, if you get what you wanted from the government or any party that helped, there’s no fault to support them good fellows so that they may continue to help other people. But more often than not you are suddenly given $$, free paraphernalia and other things. Suspicious pledges of thousands that came from nowhere to support SJK something. These should ring alarm bells.

I quote one case from myself, a true story : In late February 2008, few weeks before the March 2008 elections, the Selangor state government gave Rm200 each to the PMR 2007 straight A-scorers, including me. This has never happened before, and never again after mine. Of course I went, to take back the tax money my parents paid that otherwise would have flow into a white-elephant project or whatsoever.

Some claimed that this is corruption, others retorted by saying these are just gestures of goodwill from the parties, from their own coffers. Even when money isn’t directly involved, you can’t help it to question why road are tarred only just few weeks before the elections. As for my case where it is a direct angpau, the question is literally in-your-face. And the Sabah and Sarawak area, long considered a stronghold of the current government are only recently getting some economic favours, and are still underdeveloped compared to across the sea, especially in the rural areas where trees and humans are still being exploited by unscrupulous individuals and companies. 

It’s your call. Is it really a gesture of appreciation, or a blatant case of proof by seduction?

P.s. : The electoral borders for the constituencies in Malaysia are also very unbalanced, rural communities are over-representative, the borders not truly reflecting of the distribution of the populace. (as in http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/bd/bdy/bdy_my)

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