Pak Samad tells voters to oust BN

Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk A. Samad Said openly called on voters on 6 April 2013 to support the opposition and use this “once chance” to end BN rule in GE13, reports Syed Jaymal Zahiid of the Malaysian Insider

This is the first time the national literary icon, popularly known as Pak Samad, has openly urged Malaysians to back the federal opposition coalition to “overhaul” the government and “amend the broken machinery” like health care and education, which Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has promised to deliver.

“This is our chance… the time has come for us to overhaul the government to that power would fall in the right hands.

“This is our opportunity to amend the broken machinery like health care, education and democracy of which have been promised by the opposition,” he said at an event organised by polls reform group Bersih 2.0 in Selayang.

Bersih 2.0, a coalition of over 80 non-governmental organisations, has in the past been forced to defend itself against criticisms calling it a partisan group, largely due to the immense support it had received from PR leaders for its street protests.

The former national laureate Samad said now is a critical time for voters to ask themselves why the same coalition has ruled Malaysia for more than five decades and why is it those in power are only Malays. “I am also a Malay but I often asked why is it that the powers above me are only Malays?

“Tunku Abdul Rahman was a Malay, (Tun) Abdul Razak was a Malay, (Tun) Hussein Onn was a Malay, (Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad) is not a pure Malay but can be considered a Malay… (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) is also a Malay,” he said.

Despite a solid Malay leadership for 56 years, Samad pointed to the racist tactic used by the ruling coalition to keep the country’s ethnic majority on its side.

“So why are we repeatedly reminded that the Malay rights will be threatened?”

The private screenings of controversial ‘Tanda Putera’ film, purportedly depicting the May 1969 racial riots, only to Malays in the run-up to the elections was a testimony to the racism perpetrated by the BN government, he added.

“It is to sow fear in the heart of the Malays,” he said.

Bersih 2.0 is now leading the campaign to reform Malaysia’s polling system, which the coalition of rights groups claimed is rife with irregularities.

It is also launching a nationwide tour to educate voters on election laws aimed at making them ‘citizen observers’ and to reduce fraud including curbing vote-buying under its ‘Jom Pantau (Let’s Monitor)’ campaign.

Samad pointed to widespread vote-buying when the Najib administration gave out cash handouts to key constituents under the People’s 1 Malaysia Aid (BR1M) programme, which he said signalled BN’s fear that its rule would come to an end soon.

“You must ask why is it that the government had suddenly want to give out money? This government is desperate, that is why they even promised more BR1M,” he said.