Pua tells how elections are a money machine

PETALING JAYA: The DAP’s publicity chief, Tony Pua, has questioned how independents “who were nobodies of particularly significance” in Sarawak managed to give Barisan Nasional a run for their money in the state elections yesterday.

In a statement today, Pua speculated whether these candidates were backed by “rich and powerful forces.”

“These “independents” who had no leaflets, no videos, no message and barely any campaign presence, managed to lose to BN by a whisker,” he said.

According to Pua, in rural districts, DAP’s campaign teams were bombarded with cash requests every day.

“Supporters turning up for nomination will follow up by camping at our campaign office awaiting their ‘allowance’. You want work done? Pay up. You want PACA (election observers)? Pay up. You want to campaign at a longhouse? Pay up. You want people to attend ceramah? Pay up. And of course, on the final day, voters were asking how much were we paying for their votes.”

He pointed out that the independents’ success in Pakan, Ngemah and Simanggang exemplified how DAP had “paid the price” when they stayed true to their principles during the State Elections.

“I’m proud to say that our teams did not hand out outright cash for votes. But in the heat of the campaign, you cannot believe the sheer willpower needed to stay sane and how one’s principles gets stretched and questioned to a breaking point.

“The DAP, despite having worked the ground for many years, especially in Simanggang, lost our deposits. And where PKR entered the fray in Ngemah and Simanggang, they lost their deposits too.”

He added that it was not the three-cornered fights with PKR that caused them to suffer losses but the prominent money politics.

“It might even be more comforting to blame the inexcusable three-corner fights with PKR for the losses we suffered. At least that would appear to be easier to remedy,” he said. “But no, the three-corner fights in these rural interior constituencies were details of little or no significance to the voters. Money unfortunately in this case, makes the world go round.”

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