“It was the Dirtiest General Elections which I have ever witnessed”

May 25, 2018


“It was the Dirtiest General Elections which I have ever witnessed”

Cerita Undi by Jude Hazzim.

The Election Fever came and went, before that it was a daily bombardment of statements, speeches, undertakings and promises to woo the people culminating to the point of final gatherings and election speeches. The dailies and news carried the election spirit into our home and everybody was caught up with the momentum and barrage of political innuendos. There were so many safeguards in place for the then Ruling Coalition Barisan Nasional such as the Fake News Act, Redelineation exercise and many controversies in regards to Poster defacement by cutting out heads of the President, removal of banners and flags and laws which curbed the then Opposition. Standing in the sidelines there were just too many gerrymandering and many laws were broken in the process. The Objective was to Win. The Opposition then, Pakatan Harapan won. Now since Barisan lost, there is so many people coming forth with their views on why they lost and analyzing what went wrong . The “I told you so” syndrome came into play and there was blame cast in every direction. Many lamented on the need to Change, to Reform, to Reinvent the party. Some left the party, some leap frogged to the winning party, some called it a day and some remained loyal by their party.

In hind side, I do agree that it was the Dirtiest General Elections which I have ever witnessed. It was an eye opener but I won’t dwell on what happened or highlight on why it was dirty. It is just my opinion on what I have witnessed and encountered firsthand.

Maybe all will be unveiled slowly once press freedom is granted and the laws enacted are more favorable towards truth, justice and transparency.

I just want to have a say as a simple Malaysian citizen on why Barisan lost. There is no need for statistics and analytical reasoning or revelations.

The man on the Street like myself were basically annoyed with BN in respect to the following issues:-

The Cost of Living and the Rising cost which we are facing due to GST. But in the world where the wealthy political diplomats reign and whose take home monthly pay is RM35,000 and above – they are oblivious to the peoples suffering.

Some of the Ministers had the gall to say “Is the gov’t that bad? Are people starving” “Rising prices of goods not due to GST alone , “Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) students to cook their own meals instead of eating out to avoid GST”
“Wallet hurt by toll fare hikes? Wake up earlier, use toll-free alternative routes” ” It was not wrong to hold two jobs to cope with the higher living costs. In fact to outdo his critics, he went further to say, “I have three jobs: member of parliament, deputy minister, and Umno information chief”

This made us angry akin to rubbing salt on our wounds as we were really suffering with the burden of the cost of living. The stupidity of Ministers making stupid and nonsensical statements on issues that hurt the people whilst trying to justify and turn wrongs into right.

Using Race and Religion time and time again to infuriate people and to garner votes
Malaysians are just fed up with this, we want to be recognized as Malaysians rather than a color and religion. This is a failure which never has been learnt by political parties.

Corruption and Scandals
Everybody was aware of the corruption, scandals and blatant display of wealth and conspicuous consumption, it was too much for simple folks to take as many had amassed wealth at the expense of the rakyat. The cheap play on the offering cash, prizes, incentives and rewards in exchange for votes.

There were many more reasons but these are the ones which have triggered me and my family, relatives and friends.

The bottom line is they lost as they failed to hear our voices. “The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”―Woodrow Wilson. The Government forgot that they were merely servants elected by the People and not the other way round. It cannot be Government of the Government, by the Government, for the Government. It is rightfully a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Before and during the Election period, the, media mainly broadcasting by television and radio, publishing by newspapers mainly all were mainly one sided for Barisan Nasional. This included the STAR, which I read to provide me the other half of the news. Many people like myself always wanted to see the other side of the coin. We relied on the internet which hosted on-line news portals such as Malaysiakini, Malaysia today, Free Malaysia Today, Malaysia Chronicle and many others. You see, we didn’t want to blur our judgment on opinionated reports which were one-sided and bias. Maybe I will reserve my judgment on the Star and other dailies as they “might” be too regulated at that point of time and due to the freedom limitations mainly acted on giving pictures and reports for the then ruling Coalition as they were conditioned not to “provide” a equal report to personify another view. The social media was alive at this point of time, mainly WhatsApp and our network of friends and family were keeping up to date the political going on’s in this country. In the Tuesday’s report page 3 15th May 2018 in the Star carried a heading that “the Star Online attracted 11 million unique visitors during the GE14 period”.

Congratulations to the Star, but in my personal opinion newspapers such as the Star needs to revamp and reinvent itself to be more legitimate and relevant in today’s digital age. Be Honest and transparent even when the news is bad to gain the trust of the people.

Earn trust. People want to believe.
Open up. It’s vital to develop a culture of transparency, says Scott Deming, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based management consultant and speaker.
Set the tone in the press on honesty and reporting which gives both sides of the argument.
Report bad news. Winston Churchill was the epitome of telling people the truth, even if it hurt. As British prime minister during World War II, he had to keep the country together as the Nazis bombed London in 1940. He did it by telling citizens it wasn’t going to be easy, there would be casualties and the war would take time. If they gave in, he told them, they’d hurt the cause for democracy around the world.
Stick to values and principles.

Why Journalists Should Use Transparency as a Tool to Deepen Engagement?
As so much in the world of news and information changes, the fundamental bond of trust between journalists and the communities they serve is one of the few things that doesn’t. In fact, its importance has grown. One of the most important ways journalists and news organizations earn the trust of the public trust is by being truthful and transparent in their reporting. Today, journalists are rapidly adapting and enhancing these basic frameworks for transparency and accountability, both to suit digital platforms — and for a world of abundant sources of information.
Emerging Technologies Demands Greater Transparency, so as to not be left behind, radical change is needed.

I used to be so naïve that I thought the STAR stood for “Suara Tunku Abdul Rahman”, which would have been fantastic. But it wasn’t.

According to Wikipedia “In 1987, The Star was one of the newspapers whose publication licenses were withdrawn in Operation Lalang. It resumed publication five months later in March 1988, but after its return, The Star lost its previous ‘liberal flavor’ The STAR major shareholder is MCA, so it is a voice of the former government rather than the voice of the people. It is still not too late for change, in my books.

I really love editorials and news articles and the reporting which I admired the most was the Watergate scandal by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. Can you imagine what these two reporters went up against to publicize the scandal against the then President of the United States of America – Richard Nixon?. Now that takes guts, even more guts for the News paper – The Washington Post to publish it.

Under the premierships of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Abdul Razak, Malaysia’s press freedom hit rock bottom. With the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 PPPA to be reviewed under Harapan, we now look forward to laws that stifle press freedom to be removed laws. This will not only improve the media industry’s role and professionalism, but also boost its standard at global level as quoted from the NUJ executive council.

We need a free press that provides a healthy check and balance and puts the government on its toes and scrutinize and reports its wrongdoings. Only then can you see growth in the readership, and viewership in the print media against the digital news media.

I do wish the Government Ruling Coalition or the Opposition would take the time to read the comments of viewers in Malaysiakini or other digital media, you would really be able to see the true reactions, comments, opinions, hopes, sentiments and aspirations of the people on issues and happenings in our beloved nation Malaysia.

Sometimes let voices like mine be heard, rather than printing somebody which has a title in front of his name. We are the common people and we love to be heard.

Hidup Rakyat Sekarang Ada Harapan.

Cover image source : Sham Hardy, Flickr

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