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8:00pm 09/03/2022
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Stop seeing us just as votes
By:Kuik Cheng Kang / Sin Chew Daily

During an election season, the rakyat will become the blue-eyed babies of politicians, but after the election is over, they are treated as worthless craps.

What’s the prevalent undertone in the upcoming Johor state election?

Some say the voters’ response is extremely cold and indifferent and the voter turnout is expected to be very low. Others feel uneasy that BN looks almost set to win this election, and cannot understand why some still vote for the coalition.

As many as 239 candidates are running in this election touted by many as the most intense election battle in the country’s history and one that will decide the survival or demise of many parties.

The Johor state election is widely seen as a warm-up race to the general election, a battle that will see parties realigning themselves in the run-up to GE15.

Will PH parties go different ways after this election, or can PN be a viable alternative to BN? The answers to these and many more questions will be unveiled right after the polls.

With the Malay votes now badly split, Chinese votes will invariably be a much sought-after vote bank for contesting parties.

Shafie Apdal, the president of Warisan Sabah which has spread its wings over here on Peninsular Malaysia, as well as BN’s highly popular Bossku, visited Sin Chew Daily’s headquarters in PJ shortly before Chinese New Year, followed more recently by PN’s Muhyiddin Yassin sharing his views on Chinese education. Even DAP sec-gen Lim Guan Eng has jumped into the bandwagon!

Sure enough they have come with the Chinese votes in mind!

To be honest, many Malaysian voters are no longer as passionate as they used to be, the fires inside them long extinguished by the political upheavals over the past three years as well as the coronavirus. Many have lost their faith in the beautiful promises of our politicians. Indeed, their lives have been utterly miserable these past three years!

Having poured out all their energies to unseat the allegedly corrupt BN government in the 2018 election, Malaysians once had very high expectations from the new Pakatan government.

With the unexpected collapse of the PH government merely 22 months later, all the impressive promises and visions suddenly went bust. Many started to blame Tun Mahathir for their miseries, while PH parties pointed their fingers at Muhyiddin for colluding with Umno to topple a democratically elected government.

As a matter of fact, the ignorance and arrogance of some PH leaders could have also led to the early fall of the government.

Blinded by the lust for more power, many politicians often treat their constituents as nothing more than ballot papers they could easily manipulate and control, failing to see them as real, walking human lives.

Over the past three years, many people have lost their jobs because of the virus, some suffering broken families, failed marriages and an endless string of life challenges. The mounting pressure upon their shoulders, coupled with sheer frustration with unprincipled, vicious political fights, have forced many to put politics at the very back of their options in life.

Indeed, politics and elections are vital, as they will affect each and every one of us. That being said, our politicians have messed up that art which is politics. Many people now believe that getting themselves adequately fed and living is their one and only priority today.

Such an anti-politics sentiment will go on until the next general election possibly anytime this year.

When the economy was good and everyone was happy, they would stand up and shout anti-corruption slogans. In fact, any form of protest would draw a humungous crowd of passionate people to the Dataran.

Not now, when the zeal is dead, and all that’s left behind is disillusionment.

EPF announced last week 6.1% dividend rate for 2021, much to the jubilation of many because their accounts will be fatter now. Nevertheless, some might have overlooked another important piece of news, that some 6.1 million people–approximately half of EPF’s members aged below 55, 74% of whom bumiputras–have under RM10k in their retirement savings!

In other words, many Malays are actually struggling to make ends meet. Whomever they can trust, and can bring them food to fill their stomachs, will get their votes!

As such, Bossku and other Umno leaders are working very hard to sell BN’s impressive track records during the campaign to convince the Malays that only BN can bring them a good life. BN is upbeat it can win 38 to 42 out of all 56 seats in Johor.

Meanwhile, PH feels that the actual voter turnout will determine who gets to win this election, and has urged the voters to come out in droves to cast their ballots.

As for PN, it pins its hopes on projecting the alliance as a viable alternative to BN while asking the Chinese to support them.

As the national recovery council chairman, Muhyiddin kept emphasizing his administrative experiences during a recent interview with Sin Chew Daily, claiming that he could put the country’s economy back on track.

In the meantime, some Umno leaders are poised to keep pressurizing the government to allow EPF members badly requiring cash to survive to withdraw from their old age savings for a fourth time, following the announcement of a better-than-expected dividend rate.

EPF has previously during the pandemic introduced i-Lestari, i-Sinar and i-Citra schemes to allow members to withdraw from their own accounts to meet their immediate needs, but this will also mean many may have to spend their retirements in destitution much later on.

Last Tuesday, I was invited to the EPF press briefing that also saw the attendance of finance ministry officials who hoped the government would not allow EPF members to withdraw any further for their future protection.

Unfortunately, politicians are much more concerned about their own popularity and votes, as they continue to please the voters with populist strategies without taking into account the consequences and in total disregard for the significance of old age savings.

To these politicians, we are no better than just pieces of ballot papers!

During an election season, the rakyat will become the blue-eyed babies of politicians, but after the election is over, they are treated as worthless craps.

This is a sad reality!

We look to these people to take the country back on the right track, focus on economic development and put the people’s interest first, not to keep telling lies, messing things around, playing racist politics, and abusing the powers entrusted to them, so that Malaysians of different races can live happily in a prosperous, peaceful and harmonious country they can proudly call their own.

Politics is not that complicated after all. If you are really good, people will cast their votes in your favor when the time comes.

Simply put, what the rakyat want is actually very straightforward, and indeed they do deserve a much better life than this.

Stop seeing us just as walking ballots, please!

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