Written by: Dr. John Brian Anthony
The State Government is shaken
The Sarawak State Government is shaken not by the way PR conduct itself during campaigning but by the passion of voters and supporters alike to see that the Government continue to lose more seat in Sarawak.The same accusation was hurled at PR in the Batang Ai buy-election, but because the Government won the accusation died down.Who ever the Government political strategies is/are, they wanted to say that in Sarawak everything is peaceful and harmonious whilst the PR from Malaya are the hooligans and creating unrest in Sarawak. As usual, that is the forte of the Government, giving label to individual and political parties without evidence to back their claim.
How many PR members has been arrested in Sarawak for disturbing the peace ?
That is an important question to ask. This labeling of Pakatan Rakyat by the Government is to scare the people from supporting the Government. As usual, the Government never look deep into the issue of “disturbing the peace” during election or under normal time. Are Sarawakian that gullible, if I may asked?
Democracy allow for many types of freedom of expression. That include peaceful demonstration, well organize protest to bring both the Government attention and people focus on certain issues eg: BERSIH, ( clean election), ISA, Allah issue, Political rally,etc. These are not hooligan acts, these are platform for democratic expression.The Government is trying to confuse the people by twisting facts knowing that the rural folks cannot understand their basic democratic rights.
Antecedents and Consequences in Sibu by-election
What started the tension in Sibu vote counting centre. It is mostly procedural in nature whereby the Government acted in a manner that is detrimental to a proper election conduct. Pakatan Rakyat being experienced in the matter of Government taking advantage of their position as the current government to gain unlawful advantage reacted to stop the ‘cheat” from happening.The activities are physical in nature and thus action in response are also physical in nature. There was no violence but more act of determination to ensure that the vote counting procedure is followed closely. Of course voices were raised but that is needed in order to be heard over the loud environment. It is not enough to brand and label each other of being hooligan.
Will street demonstration / protest happen in Sarawak in the near future?
I felt that such platform for democratic expression will be a reality one day. The Government has been arrogant and passive on many issues, not the least is the NCR land grab issues and rural poverty.The elected representatives are reluctant to raise the issue to the Government and those in Opposition who raised the issue got suspended fron from DUN. The newspaper, TV media, radio are controlled by Government and therefore are not allow to carry news that are not government view and position. How then the people of a democratic country like Malaysia express their view and get both the Government and voters attention?
The relevant authorities might have been trained in crowd control etc, but if the permit to assemble is not granted by the Government then the authority will act with force. It is only natural for the protester to defend themselves against physical force as it inflict pain on the person. But if the Government grant the permit, then there is no problem as te organizer are accountable for the action of those who assembled.The Government is trying very hard to avoid such confrontation but it has not played its role well. The media are all “controlled” and that by itself invite protest and demonstration.I can see Dayak protesting over the Government policies of land development in not too distance a future.
Change WE Must: We cannot allow the Government to step all over us, using bad law that deny justice for the people all the time. The English has a saying ” do not push a dog against the wall, it will bite back”. The Government should be wise to remember that.
Written by: Dr. John Brian Anthony
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