Tenang vote analysis

By Senator S.Ramakrishnan

Tenang by-election is the most unsatisfactory selection of representative to state legislative assembly. The election was conducted under the worst wether condition where the voters could not leave their house due to heavy downpour and rising floods. The election commission should have started thinking and get prepared for the worst when the raining was continuously pouring before the election date.

Unfortunately, the election commission was sleeping on their job. Tenang and Labis towns were drenched by floods and heavy rain. Voters were stranded in their flooded houses without any transport to polling stations. The bad governance of Johore BN government has escaped the voter’s reprisal these far, due to their proximity to Singapore. Youths and many other have jobs, businesses and educational opportunities in Singapore. Public security in Labis is much safer compared to many northern states. Labis voters were seeing opposition parties campaigning house to house for the first time. These efforts will bear results in the forth coming elections. PR parties do not have local presence compared to BN. This seems to be a severe handicap for PR.  

On the voting day in Tenang the election commission was totally unprepared and ill equipped to run a fair and free election to choose a peoples’ representative. Voters’ turnout in Labis town, North Labis estate, voules estate and Tenang town were very pathetic and the affected voters were robbed of an opportunity to cast their votes. Army vehicles were only used to transport flood victims from kampongs to schools and Dewan Serbaguna and not to transport the stranded voters in estates, housing and town areas. The Malaysian government machinery is not competent at mobilizing support and resources in time of calamities and disasters.

Therefore, the results of Tenang by election under such demanding conditions do not reflect the peoples’ choice and preferences. Under such demanding conditions adhering to strict neutrality and fairness is anybody’s guess. The campaign workers on the ground were clueless and did not know as to flood victims or voters that are being driven pass check points by army vehicles.

Voter turnout was higher in FELDA settlements compared to town, housing schemes and estates. Voters from FELDA who are all Malays and Bandar Labis Tengah who are predominantly Chinese voters have voted for BN and PR respectively.  But Indian voter turnout from North Labis estate, Voules estate, Labis town and Tenang station is poor due to the severe flood problem.

To conclude that Indians have voted for BN is stereotyping and not supported with evidences. Campaigners in estates and housing areas for Indians voters can hardly believed that Indian voters have voted to BN in high percentages. Voters’ sentiments and feeling were different. House to house campaigns in housing estates did recognize the Indian voter’s desire for change and how the BN government was short changing them by giving entertainment and handouts.  Many voters felt disgusted at the continuous aid given to poor Indians by welfare department without any permanent and tangible settlement to their problem. They are the landless people of Malaysia today.

Besides the handouts, the government machinery was all out to instill fear in them especially in estates. Many have outgrown these same old dirty tactics of BN and were prepared to vote for opposition to send a message to government. Indian votes are changing along with the others. It’s their smaller numbers and when mixed with other races when they come to polling station that makes Indian voter trend difficult to access. Those who claim 80-90% Indian vote for BN have ulterior motives in their claim. Such swiping remarks should not deter campaign workers for it is not the ground reality. It’s unfortunate that the heavy rain and sudden flood have deprived these voters voting rights.