By the total control of all legal and political apparatus, a presiding government is capable of restructuring everything to suit its needs.

By Hakim Joe

Winning at general elections are never ever about obtaining a simple majority of votes as garnering slightly more than 50 percent of all votes do not consequently signify being able to form the next government, especially against an incumbent government.

This is particularly accurate in a democratic country that possesses one single government administrating over it since independence and for more than half a century. Additionally the fact that the citizens of such a country have never experienced an alternative government
adds credence to this fact.

A government in place always has a winning formula to improve the chances of retaining its position and it is mostly by racial means especially in a multiracial nation. Even in the United States where any of its American born citizens can become the President, the two American political parties do the same. Would you field a White candidate in a majority Blacks constituency? The racial game is however played differently here whereby previous PMs declare an outright brutal war whereupon a Non-Bumiputra winning a seat would spell fire and brimstones to the Bumiputras and that all their privileges will be revoked. The question is not such an event occurring but why these privileges are accorded in the first place but no one seem to be answering that question.

A long-standing government in place enhances their probability of winning even more by manipulating the electoral structure and legal framework to befit its likelihood of victory in any general election and when the voters award not only a simple majority to them but more than two thirds of the allocated parliamentary seats, this allows the winning political party to rewrite any legislations they fancy and to appoint any individuals they deem suitable to positions of power in order to secure the outcome of the following general elections in advance. With a two-thirds majority in Parliament, any new bill will sail smoothly through regardless of whether the entire world’s population opposes it or not and after being enacted as law, everything becomes legal.

By the total control of all legal and political apparatus, a presiding government is capable of restructuring everything to suit its needs.

In many a democratic country, politicians are forbidden by law to own or even to possess shares in any mass media companies. An individual seeking a political future would have to resign his position and to sell off all his shareholdings before being applicable to be nominated as a candidate in a general election. In Malaysia, the ruling political parties own the majority of the mass media and the fact remains that we, the voters, have permitted them to doing so by conferring to them the mandate to reshape any laws they desire. By controlling nearly all mass media forms, it allows them to propagandize to the people exactly what they want the people to know and withholding any news they do not want anybody to know.

The power of the media lies however in the way they tell the news. A 100,000 and more strong BERSIH 2.0 rally was reported as a group of about 5,000 unruly protestors. Without a doubt the Internet has lessened the impact of these propaganda, the truth remains that many of the rural areas remain outside the (paying) broadband coverage and the inhabitants there are dependant on both the (free) radio and the television for their daily ration of the Malaysian news.

Gerrymandering is yet another subtle but extremely effective form of legally tilting the playing field to be advantageous to particularly one political party only. Take for example the DAP “sure-win” constituency of Seputeh. In any parliamentary election for the past decade, this election results will be amongst the first to be confirmed as a landslide win for the Opposition, way before all the ballot boxes has been counted. To neutralize this phenomenon, all the EC needs to do is to redraw the boundaries and to form yet another parliamentary constituency inside Seputeh’s boundaries. This does not automatically signify a win for the government as this new constituency might actually vote Opposition but with the government setting up an army camp inside it, the probability of a sure-win for
the government is almost certainly guaranteed. When this comes to pass, Teresa Kok’s parliamentary seat is effectively neutralized.

Postal votes are yet another form of voting that can be manipulated even though there is no evidence to point towards it as being compromised. However the fact that more than 90 percent of all postal votes are for the same political party in every general election since independence seem doubtful even to the most liberal onlooker. The number of postal votes might not seem noteworthy but the results of many significant seats have been decided purely on these postal votes.

Inaccurate electoral rolls are a fact of life in any elections anywhere in the free world but appears consistently prevalent here. Are these the EC’s unintentional mistakes due to short staffing and an insufficient budget, or otherwise? The fact that nothing has been done, or
seemed to have been done to it looks, feels and smells suspicious.

Electoral reforms to ensure fairplay and to exhibit the true intentions of the voters must be called for immediately, and subsequently be established before the next general elections. That is what BERSIH represents but with the introduction of the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 into Parliament last week to seriously curb BERSIH, its organizers and participants, the government is sending a loud message that it will no longer tolerate such actions by the people who put them there and significant measures are now undertaken to punish those
involved, bar none.

The urgent need for us all to become a single voice is mandated now unless we desire the same coalition of political parties to rule over us for yet another half a century. Will you be there on the streets when BERSIH 3.0 comes around?