Malaysia Dateline

The Malacca state elections – controversies and implications

The Malacca state election that was forced upon us has its fair share of controversies. First it was Pejuang which decided, as a matter of principle, not to participate in the elections. Then it was about the logo that was to be used; either PKR’s or Harapan’s.

When that was resolved, the issue of the candidacy of two ex-UMNO ADUNs who renounced their support for the UMNO Ketua Menteri then became another issue of dispute.

The DAP objected strongly to them being fielded as independents under the PH logo. When both AMANAH and PKR agreed to allow them to use the PH logo, DAP made their objection public. DAP’s argument was then further enforced by various individuals who also denounced the decision citing it as a deviation from PH principles.

But before we go into these controversies so to say, there is an issue which still needs to be said. The objections to the State Election being held is admitedly currently academic. Like it or not, come the 8th of November all parties must bring forth their candidates or surrender the seats to BN or PN, whichever the case may be.

However, the double standards used is to be noted. Had it been a PH state government that lost majority support, the new party having the majority would just take over the reins of government without an election. However, when it is the BN/PN government that loses majority support, the DUN is summarily dissolved and elections declared. Such is the guile and biasness of the BN/PN cooperation and for this alone they should be denied victory in Malacca.

The controversies studied

When Pejuang decided not to participate, we respected their decision and understood their logic. They did not, at the same time, criticize us for deciding differently. For that we are thankful and hoping nonetheless for their support and votes from their supporters.

On the issue of the logo, PKR conceded to the decision to use the PH logo. However, until today we still hear some groups complaining about the decision and declaring it as a wrong decision that will cost us the elections. I think once a decision is made, such complaints do not help and it would be better to stop the complaints and concentrate on the task at hand which is to win the Malacca State back for PH with a new 5-year mandate.

The current issue pertaining to the candidacy of both the ex-UMNO ADUNs is of course a little more complicated. However, if we were to sift through the facts it would become clear that we have not compromised our principles by allowing them to use the PH logo. The objection made is that they are ‘kataks’ or political frogs jumping from one party to another.

Technically this is not true. They were actually expelled from UMNO when they retracted their support for Suleiman, the UMNO Ketua Menteri then. Having been expelled and the DUN dissolved they now want to prove that their decision to pull their support from Suleiman was in the interest of the people of Malacca and supported by the Malaccans. Reasons for their actions included the issue of the sale of sand and 1,000 over acres of state land to a private entity.

As such their stand was a principled stand and they were made to pay for it.
If the case is as is portrayed, then what choice do government ADUNs have when they object to blatant misuse of power by the State Government? The easy way out would be to remain silent and enjoy the fruits of your ‘labor’ but that would not be the right thing to do.

In the event the anti-hopping law was in place they could step down and go for a recall election. But currently that option is not available. However, what is happening now is close enough an alternative.

So, in the first place, we do not classify the two ex-UMNO ADUNs as ‘kataks’. Their position is different from the other two ADUNs who were originally from PH then went over to PN and caused the downfall of the PH State Government. These other two are not being considered even though they are interested to be fielded as independents using the PH logo. It is therefore clear that PH is still holding on to its principles when we differentiate between the two groups.

I can understand the need for the DAP to make their stand clear on this matter. They fear that their voters who have expressed strong objection to the fielding of the four ‘independents’ under the PH logo will not come out to vote. An explanation about the difference between the two groups, i.e., the ex-UMNO ADUNs and the ex-PH ADUNs, may or may not be accepted. Whereas the time period for the elections is not long. As such, while accepting the decision based on the majority, the DAP feels it is necessary for them to let their stand be known.

I personally can live with that however as the candidates are not going to be fielded in the seats contested by the DAP candidates, I hope the voters do not punish the DAP for the decision made by the PH Presidential Council. At the same time, after having made their stand clear, it is hoped that the DAP will drop the issue and concentrate on the fight against BN and PN.

In some ways, where the two ex-UMNO ADUNs will be placed is a battle for the Malay votes and fortunately or unfortunately, the two ex-UMNO ADUNs still carry weight amongst the Malays who are thankfully looking beyond UMNO. We wish to encourage them to look not only beyond UMNO but completely away from UMNO.

The Implications

However, in the final analysis, everyone needs to understand this one important fact. This is a question of a 5-year mandate for the state that will be decided by the State Elections. If we wish to see the Malacca State Government in the hands of the BN for the next five years, then we may be justified to allow these issues to cloud our judgement and let the BN win hands down! This is easily achieved by our not coming out to vote on the pretext of being “principled”. Yet what principles are we talking about when we allow the BN to return to power with a 5-year mandate?

We may have differences of opinion on the issues of strategy and approach, or even what is principled or otherwise, but let us be united in the decision to oust the BN out of Malacca for the next 5 years! Malacca is as a start and out of Putrajaya in the next GE is the final encore. Towards this common objective we hope the parties not contesting, for one reason or another, be it Pejuang, MUDA, Warisan and the such will close ranks and work for a PH victory.
Writer is MP for Shah Alam and AMANAH Communication Director.