BN's dirty tricks to win the 13th general election will never be forgotten; the time for retribution will come slowly but surely.
Violence, phantom voters and the unreliable indelible ink were only part of the shenanigans BN resorted to in its bid to secure Putrajaya.
Victory however was far from sweet for BN; not only did it fail to reclaim a two-third majority, the 13th general election also sent home the message that the rakyat, in particular the ‘thinking’ generation want “representatives” who respect them, their faiths and who ‘walk the talk’.
Despite BN’s extensive propaganda, good sense thankfully prompted voters to reject candidates such as Malay extremist party Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali who was knocked out by PAS’ Nik Abdul Nik Aziz in Pasir Mas, Kelantan.
In the 2008 general election, Ibrahim won the seat under the PAS ticket. He later contested as an independent candidate for the Pasir Mas parliamentary seat.
Also shown the door was Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli Noordin, who riled up the Hindus with his insensitive remarks about the religion.
Shah Alam incumbent MP Khalid Samad beat Zulkifli with a slight increase in majority. He polled 48,835 votes to Noordin’s 38,084.
Ibrahim despite receving full backing from former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad endorsing him as a BN candidate did not make the cut.
As for Zulkifli, despite being racist to the core, he was BN’s choice for the Shah Alam parliamentary seat; maybe it was poetic justice that brought an end to Zulkifli’s active stint in politics, for shortly before he was named as the BN candidate, Zulkifli invited trouble by belittling the Hindu deities.
In the 2008 general election, Zulkifli contested for the Kulim-Bandar Bahru parliamentary seat under the Pakatan Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) ticket.
Zulkifli’s announcement as the BN candidate prompted his rival Khalid to deduce that the decision to move from Kulim-Bandar Baharu to Shah Alam showed that Zulkifli had no confidence in retaining the seat.
BN big-wigs rejected
Also making an unceremonious exit were several BN big-wigs, namely Federal Territories and Urban Well-being minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal, deputy education Mohd Puad Zarkashi, Transport minister Kong Cho Ha, Plantation Industries and Commodities minister Bernard Dompok and SK Devamany, who was minister in the prime minister’s department.
Raja Nong Chik lost Lembah Pantai by 1,847 votes to incumbent MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Mohd Puad lost by a mere 1,732 to PKR’s Mohd Idris Jusi in Batu Pahat, Johor.
During his tenure as deputy education minister, Mohd Puad was busy propagating moves to denounce the existence of the LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders) communities, inciting schoools to do the same.
Unlike Mohd Puad, former deputy education minister Saifuddin Abdullah who lost by a mere 1,070 votes to PAS’s Nasrudin Hassan never feared criticising Umno’s excesses or ‘calling a spade a spade’ – but then rumours have it that Saifuddin was a victim of internal sabotage due to his no-nonsense stance.
As for A Kohilan Pillay, revelation by DAP election strategist Ong Kian Ming that the former deputy foreign minister held a fake degree was enough to put the voters off.
Kohilan who contested for the Puchong parliamentary seat had listed in his biodata that he obtained a Masters degree in Commercial and Industrial Economy from the Western Pacific University in the US, which according to Ong was a degree mill and had been closed down by the authorities some time back.
Kohilan, the Selangor Gerakan chief, lost to DAP’s Gobind Singh Deo by a vast vote margin of 32,802.
BN’s victory ‘superficial’
Putrajaya might have escaped the clutches of opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat but the fact remains that unlike BN, the opposition pact has succeeded in winning the rakyat’s trust, especially for states like Penang and Selangor which try as hard as it did, BN failed to recapture.
BN chairman Najib Tun Razak has little reason to believe he has received the people’s mandate and nambikei or trust to lead the country for another five years – the writing is all over the wall as to how BN secured victory in the 13th general election, seen as the most trying for it.
Vote-buying and manipulation of the electoral roll was not uncommon in the May 5, 2013, general election. The use of the so-called indelible ink was yet another trick employed by BN is swinging votes in its favour.
There were instances where several polling stations reported existence of phantom voters being brought to vote at several different locations.
The Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat for one saw an intense standoff when the police attempted to bring several dubious ballot boxes into the counting area.
PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim has cried foul, calling the Election Commission a failure, claiming that something was amiss with the early voting and postal ballots, with foreign nationals casting ballots as early and postal voters.
“The ballots were overwhelmingly in support of Barisan Nasional, which is not in norm with the current voting pattern,” Anwar had said.
BN’s dirty tricks to win the 13th general election will never be forgotten; the time for retribution will come slowly but surely.
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.