Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Barisan Nasional (BN) must be in a state of shock after last week end’s loss in the Sibu by-election. Sibu is after all BN’s stronghold in a state which BN refers to as BN’s safe deposit. Well, it looks like it is no more.

The Sibu electorate has sent one clear message. The days of offering a cornucopia of goodies are over. In Sibu, BN thought that the usual executive bribery will sway the voters to vote BN. After all, instant gratification succeeded in the recent Hulu Selangor by-election and also previously during the Ijok by-election. (By the way whatever happened to Cikgu Partiban ?)

The Sibuans were seduced with RM18 million grant to 65 Chinese schools – RM10 million to Chinese Primary Schools, RM5 million to Chinese Independent schools and RM3 Million to Christian missionary schools. Divide RM18 million with 65 schools, that’s peppercorns.

Add to this, were the sudden magnanimous gesture of giving RM1.7 million to Methodist Churches namely Eng Tao Methodist Church RM500,000, Tien Tao Methodist Church RM500,000, Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church RM450,000 and Hwai Ang Tong Methodist Church RM350,000. This kind gesture is bewildering since churches are usually self funding.
Suddenly out of the blue, the Methodist churches in a town where a by-election takes place gets money. Surely this act was designed to appease the Christians and the Churches. Christians in Sibu would have appreciated had the government resolved the bigger issues, namely the Allah issue and the ban and confiscation of Bahasa Malaysia Bibles. For Christian these issues remains contentious, unresolved and the government unrelenting in their stand.

Then there is that now most famous “deal” by the PM to the voters when it is alleged that the PM openly told the voters that “ If Robert Lau becomes MP on Sunday, on Monday, I will ask the cheque to be prepared. Do we have a deal ? We do ! You want RM5 Million. I want Robert Lau to win”. Imagine how the Election Commission would have reacted if Lim Guan Eng were to utter such words.

Perhaps the PM forgot that RM5 million offered for Rejang Park flood mitigation, was an insult to the long suffering Rejang Park and the Sibu voters who in the past had voted BN. BN may have thought that this “deal or no deal” will work in Sibu. Afterall, in Hulu Selangor similar method when the PM promised RM3 Million to SRJK (C) if BN’s P.Kamalanathan won. Well, P. Kamalanathan won and the PM immediately moved to fulfill the promises. The Sibu voters or rather the voters in Rejang Park just did the opposite so the chagrin of the PM when the day after the election the PM is reported to have said that that deal may have to be considered though the Deputy Prime Minister went on damage control to assure that whatever was promised will be fulfilled.

Unfortunately, these election goodies was not what the voters and people of Sibu wanted. The wanted to know why despite decades of supporting and voting for BN, Sibu still had to suffer from terrible flooding, land issues remain contentious and are yet to be settled, basic infrastructure are lacking, those in the interior and a very large percentage of the Iban community despite being BN’s staunchest supporters still wallow in poverty and there is an economic malaise permeating Sibu . The truth is that Sibu had been long ignored until the by election awakening. The say reap what you sow. Well BN had sowed nothing and thus there was nothing to be reaped. In the aftermath of the by-election, SUPP said that they do not know what went wrong. Strange fellows these SUPP chaps. Imagine, SUPP’s George Chan is Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and yet SUPP do not know was happening in their own backyard!

The Sibu by election must become an eye opener and a lesson for BN that the days of descending on by election week and promising election goodies are over. Voters now days will not easily be swayed by instant gratification and executive bribery.

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