Ak57\’s Weblog

Thoughts and opinions on Malaysian news, its people and its culture

Drop What You’re Doing

I liked NST’s headline on Wednesday (27th August), because it sums up my attitude towards the Permatang Pauh by-election nicely:

It’s Anwar, as expected.

When the by-election was announced it was obvious why Permatang Pauh was picked – it is the safest seat in the country for him to contest in. It was also a vital step in convincing BN MPs to cross-over, which I’ll get to in a moment.

I was a bit annoyed when I saw requests by elected PKR members for voters to donate money for Anwar’s campaign. It’s a common misconception in politics that whoever spends the most money has a better chance of winning. In this election there was no way for Anwar to lose, in fact BN needed money the most as their candidate is not a national icon.

Then there was the mass exodus of PKR members across the nation to Permatang Pauh. I was aghast to learn that many MPs and ADUNs travelled there to lend their support. If you asked me I think most just wanted to show face and share the spotlight with Anwar, to satiate their vanity.

I can understand MPs being a bit free as Parliament is already in session so whatever preparation they had to do for House Q&A had (ideally) been done. Even so, only 28 MPs were in attendance at one of the Parliament sittings so clearly both BN and Pakatan members were too caught up in the excitement.

But for those ADUNs serving in State governments? There is no end to the amount of work that needs to be done – the workings of the nation should not pause for one man.

They dropped whatever tasks they had going on and rushed there ‘to help’. Many of the strategists and thinkers in the party aren’t the ones in office today. So yes, I am disappointed by this cultist behaviour. The time spent in Permatang Pauh could have been put to better use in their respective constituencies.

Some voters’ reactions to the resulting cancellation of an important community project puzzled me – ‘Its ok, we understand, they have to support their leader’. They did not express anger or disappointment that the elected representative had reneged a promise to help without any apology.

I don’t believe voters should be this tolerant. It is not ok to accept responsibility for a task and just drop it when Anwar has a need. It is called ‘putting Party before Country’.

There is a justification for what happened. Anwar needed to show the BN MPs how much support he had, so calling in as many PKR members as possible across the country was important. Over 40,000 Opposition supporters were in Permatang Pauh – a historical gathering indeed.

It sends the message, “See all the free support that I can gather, no one in BN has this support from the people”. This election was not about electing an MP, but about inspiring crossovers and seizing control of the Federal Government.

You could argue then that their presence was needed. Realistically, it was the grassroots hordes that were needed the most – not the elected representatives and their aides.

I can’t help but feel sorry for the voters who got screwed over. I suppose the shared view of the voters is to take a loss now for a win later (September 16th crossovers).

But I won’t forget that for PKR members, their commitment to the people is secondary to their commitment to Anwar.

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Written by ak57

August 31, 2008 at 3:52 am

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