Why I decided to make U-turn from my original intention of sitting out from Selangor state polls

I would vote for a better alternative.

Stephen Ng, Focus Malaysia

I WAS planning to sit out of the poll on Aug 12. Instead of queueing for my turn to cast my ballot, I was planning with some friends to enjoy our dim sum somewhere.

So adamant was I that I decided to tell others to stay out of the poll this round. My reason was because of the failure of the Selangor state government under caretaker menteri besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shaari in addressing issues that are important to the people.

At the same time, I saw how Pakatan Harapan (PH) politicians have conveniently forgotten the sacrifices of civil society activists such as the late Harris Ibrahim and Ambiga Sreeneevasan, to name a few.

In Selangor, I saw how Amirudin and his state executive councilors (EXCO) were busy pursuing mega projects to the extent that there is neglect in the provision of basic public amenities. I wanted to stay out of the polls to punish PH in Selangor for being complacent and failing to keep to the original promises.

Although the Freedom of Information Act was enacted the moment Pakatan Rakyat (PR) took over the state in 2008, the state’s administration under Amirudin – in my opinion – has deteriorated to such an extent that I thought it was no longer worth putting PH for a fourth term in Selangor.

Below par services

To classify agreements and impact assessment studies that are of public interest under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) does not bode well with good governance and transparency that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s government stands for.

There were also the issues on the ground that were never solved by the local councils, the third tier of government. Despite complaints made previously to the local council, the DAP-appointed local councilors, state assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong (Bukit Lanjan), former Damansara MP Tony Pua, state EXCO Ng Sze Han (Kinrara) and Amirudin himself – the delivery of services at the local government level was still very poor.

Even with Damansara having a new MP in Gobind Singh Deo, complaints are not resolved despite numerous follow-ups and promises. This is how complacent PH leaders have become after tasting the 3Ps – power, perks and positions.

In my opinion, although Anwar was already aware of all the grouses of Selangorians, yet for him to endorse Amirudin as the Menteri Besar just on the basis of amount of foreign investments into the state does not give me much confidence in Anwar’s own leadership.

The moment Anwar made his announcement was when I decided to sit out of the coming state election. I had, in fact, wanted to boycott the last general election in November for the same reasons above but decided that since it did not involve the state seats, I would at least give the new candidate for Damansara Gobind a chance.

My rationale to snub these politicians is very simple: if they snub us, we shall snub them back when they are desperately seeking for our votes. However, it is not as simple as that.

Last chance

The moment I saw an advertisement showing Anwar’s face appealing to people to vote “Unity for Stability & Prosperity,” I was reminded after watching Anwar: The Untold Story on his 25 years of struggles against corruption from nepotism, cronyism and kleptokracy. The short movie produced by Zunar is now available on Astro First.

This appeal – made against the backdrop of the royal address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s (YDPA) – made me decide that enough is enough of Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) polemics based on the 3Rs (race, religion and royalty).

The YDPA was quoted saying: “We can continue to elevate the fate and future of the respective races through education but at the same time do not leave aside efforts to support the formation of a national identity.”

Although I would still encourage voters in constituency where there are MUDA candidates to vote for them (we need stronger Opposition in Selangor) – for the sake of the nation’s future – I have decided that I would go to the polls after all.

Even as an unknown PH candidate is facing her rival from PN in my constituency, I would allow PH to remain for another term – but if PH in Selangor continues to operate under Amirudin in both state and parliamentary elections in five years’ time – I would vote for a better alternative.