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Wooing voters

Ministers and functionaries, people connected to the government, they’re doing their job.”

THEN-Election Commission (EC) chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, shortly after the 2007 Machap by-election. He was commenting on the morality of development promises by Barisan Nasional (BN)-aligned government officials to voters before the polls. Abdul Rashid said that allocations, given out in kind by ministers during elections, could not be deemed as bribes. (Source: Development pledges ‘not vote-buying’, theSun, 16 April 2007)

Inducing voters to cast their ballot a certain way is “bribery” under Section 10 of the Election Offences Act (EOA) 1954. Similarly, a party that “threatens to inflict damage, harm, or loss” is exerting “undue influence”, as defined by Section 9.

“Don’t poison the well that you drink from. We should be grateful. If people are good to us, we should return the gesture.”

Datuk Seri Najib Razak, speaking to the Chinese Malaysian electorate of Kuala Terengganu in the Bandar state constituency on 13 Jan 2009. Chinese Malaysian voters were initially believed to be the swing vote in the Kuala Terengganu by-election. (Source: Reckoning with the electorate, The Nut Graph, 15 Jan 2009)

Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said had earlier appealed for the crowd’s “understanding” if state development funds were diverted elsewhere should the voters reject the BN.

“We want to be honest and clean this time. No more promises like before, and we will show our sincerity and honesty once you have given your commitment to us (by voting).”

Permatang Pauh Umno division chief Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid, on the BN’s conduct if it fields a candidate in the upcoming Penanti by-election. Abdul Jalil said that there would be no budget to resurface roads, or repair and build new suraus in the area. “We are doing away with all these as we do not want voters to take us for a ride,” he said. (Source: No goodies even if BN fields candidate, The Star, 30 April 2009)

Promises of development were not absent, just conditional. “We will do everything they want if they show their sincerity in supporting Barisan and return Penanti to us,” Abdul Jalil said.

“Millions of ringgit would be thrown to catch votes. Take the money but vote for me.”

PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, while campaigning in the Permatang Pauh by-election. Anwar was echoing the common opposition response to the BN’s campaign gifts and promises. (Source: Permatang Pauh’s favourite son ‘returns’, Malaysiakini, 4 Aug 2009)

A phrase attributed to PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat goes: “Bagi duit ambik, bagi kain pakai, tapi pangkoh bule.”

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3 Responses to “Wooing voters”

  1. Hwa Shi-Hsia says:

    I think one major difference between real democracies and fake ones is that in real democracies, civil servants are not henchmen of the ruling party. My jaw dropped when I started working at a US government lab in 2006 and noticed that my boss had anti-Bush cartoons in her office. On the other hand, the grumpy old lady in administration still hasn’t taken down her framed photo of Bush and his cabinet yet.

    The job of civil servants from ministers on down is to serve THE PEOPLE!

  2. victor says:

    pakatan should sue. i think they will win in court.

  3. Arthur Yeoh says:

    Absolutely. Civil servants are to serve THE PEOPLE which is what they are being called – civil servants. But in Malaysia, many of the civil servants are not, they are in fact government servants or to be more precise BN servants.

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