By definition, the person who learns enough to become the nominee is almost certainly the best person for the general election.
– Newt Gingrich, American politician and author
It’s not often that you have the nation’s future literally at your fingertips. Yes, it is time to vote again.
On October 10, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the King had consented to the dissolution of Parliament.
While the Election Commission has not announced any election date, the race to woo has begun. I am sure the propaganda infographics and videos have started flooding (pardon the pun) your chat groups.
Where Sarawakians are concerned, many may say it is a foregone conclusion that GPS will win most of the seats here. They held 18 seats out of 31. However, the efforts now are towards all 31 seats.
Bearing that some of the urban voters tend to vote in the opposition during parliamentary elections, it can be challenging to regain some of the seats.
Overall, there are two approaches here for Sarawakians. We can vote based on issues in Malaya and get influenced to vote for the opposition parties here, be they Malayan or local based.
The issue are the many scandals, the corruption court cases, the convictions and the unfairness to our rakyat of all the alleged abuses. This is the reality.
There is no hiding it and no covering it up. To do so would be trying to fool yourself and any voter. These matters cannot be swept under the carpet. They are all out in the open, and possibly more to come.
I agree that matters related to integrity, corruption and other abuses are essential matters that must be addressed and are a priority. In fact, there seems to be a never-ending series of scandals and racial and religious issues in Malaya. If voting is based on these issues, your choice might be obvious, vote opposition.
But do consider various other aspects. Considering that most of the Malayan based parties are not exactly white as driven snow, which opposition party, or any party there for that matter, do think is the correct one to vote for.
We have to look back to GE14 when the PH government was given a golden opportunity by the voters. What did we get in return? For starters, we had a record three prime ministers in one term. The constant realignment of political parties’ alliances and the ‘frogging’ of MPs led to instability in the nation.
During the term of governance by PH in the first 22 months, they introduced a series of unpopular income tax policies that negatively impacted the ordinary folk.
There was insensitivity to the needs of Sarawakians. The PH government cancelled the much-needed development projects here, such as roads, bridges, schools and health care facilities.
There was interference in the implementation of the Pan Borneo highway. This is a vital socio-economic connectivity route linking Sarawak. The lack of concern slowed down the the highway.
There were promises of recognition of UEC, but nothing was done. However, this had already been implemented in Sarawak during Tok Nan’s time.
There was much talk about MA63 with no results and outcome by PH. MA63 promises by them were merely a bait with a painful hook inside for Sarawakians.
The PH government also made much noise about supporting Sarawak in their Buku Harapan, but none of the promises was kept. In fact, quite the opposite happened.
On the other hand, during these difficult times, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sarawak government maintained stability here.
GPS was formed after GE14, and it is a vital point that it is politically independent of all Malayan parties.
Also, an essential point to note is that at this GE15, the decision to choose its parliamentary candidates will be made in Sarawak, not Malaya.
However, with the increase in confidence in the current GPS leadership, led by Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari there is hope the urban voter’s will give the GPS government a stronger mandate.
The success of the GPS government in regaining several rights for Sarawak is evidence of progress. This progress must not stall.
A strong GPS representation in Parliament and a supportive federal government are required to ensure that the momentum continues and that the drive to regain more rights is sustained.
I would urge Sarawakians not to get distracted by non-Sarawakian issues in Malaya. This partially happened in GE14 and was totally unproductive to Sarawakians.
We must keep our eye on the ball, meaning the progress of Sarawak. We need to vote for our candidates for their ability to take care of Sarawak’s interest and for Sarawakians.
Although there are several distasteful issues in Malaya, that is for the Malayans to decide about their candidates.
Do you remember that last time some in Sarawak lost focus and voted based on issues in Malaya? What a disaster it was! It left Malaysia in shambles that impacted Sarawak.
This time do vote for a stronger voice in Parliament.
It would not be advisable to cut off your nose to spite your face, meaning to harm Sarawak, just because you do not like Malaya’s politicians or politics. This is equivalent to self-harm.
So once again, do go for the Sarawak First option. It is a safer and more progressive choice. Your vote decides Sarawak’s future and your stable future in it.
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.