Hornbill Unleashed

May 29, 2011

The general election: A fulcrum for change

Filed under: Alternatives,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
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pkr selangor government 090308

Sim Kwang Yang

People in the Malaysian ‘political class’ are now all excited over the impending general election, speculated to be held anytime after July 2011.

Malaysia now sits at the fulcrum of her history. This election can open up opportunities for major political change, which may alter the face of the nation forever.

At the moment, BN maintains its grip, as it still commands a simple majority in Parliament, while holding onto power in 9 of the 13 states.

But after the political tsunami of 2008, BN can no longer regard its political dominance as sacrosanct, for the world is a fast changing place. 

The poll results of 2008 came as a complete surprise, and even the Pakatan Rakyat coalition did not expect to make such gains in the final parliamentary and state election tallies.

What Malaysians will face in the next general election is anybody’s guess.

A general election in Malaysia is the single most important event in the political life of the nation. In a (largely) democratic country like Malaysia, the general election is the only venue for citizens to change their government by peaceful means, through the ballot box.

We have never had an alternative government to the BN at the federal level, so will this be the first time that the Pakatan opposition can form an alternative government peacefully?

Politics, mankind’s fickle child

On the surface, it looks like the BN hold on power is unshakeable. But politics is full of unpredictable public events, and nobody has the perfect crystal ball to predict exactly what will happen next.

In any general election, the problems facing the participants and the dap ipoh last ceramah 070308 crowd2contesting parties are gargantuan, and involve nothing less than a logistics nightmare.

The whole organisation of each of the numerous political parties has to be mobilised. There will be many dry runs before the actual polls to iron out the kinks existing in every party and its support groups.

Even now, as all the parties are gearing up, both the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat alliances have to streamline their campaign organisations to full fitness.

Tens of thousands, and perhaps more, workers will have to be registered and recruited, to get ready for the big day of nomination and the even bigger polling day.

Large armies of party officials and workers will have to be organised and trained. They will need to have their individual assignments and tasks clearly explained to them.

Campaign funds will have to be solicited, in the tens or hundreds of millions, and be distributed to all corners of the country.

This will be followed by massive training of countless supporters to serve as election return officers, polling and counting agents.

General elections logistics nightmare

Election officials, those running the actual polling, will all have to be transported and fed.

No election is complete without the armies of flag-waving and slogan-shouting campaign workers. A single constituency may have many thousands of party workers and supporters.

Extrapolate this to the national scenario of 222 parliamentarymat rempit dap 040308 bertolakconstituencies, and many hundreds more state constituencies, and the total number of people to be mobilized on polling day could be in the millions, throughout the whole country.

And thousands more of our police personnel will also have to mobilised to maintain law and order. All of us will have a role to play to ensure peace, and to make certain that the confusing polling process will not run awry.

When I come to think of it, that general elections are run smoothly, by and large, is nothing short of a miracle. So many things can go wrong to disrupt the proceedings of election campaigns in all corners of Malaysia.

This peace is a testimony to the maturity of our citizens in making their political choice individually, without much fanfare, and recourse to violent means.

Despite many weaknesses in our electoral system, the observation that we can still choose our government peacefully is evidence that democracy in Malaysia has a bright future.

I am still hoping that the BN government will fall, with the Pakatan Rakyat forming the next alternative government. I remain convinced that a two-party system is the most healthy political scenario in Malaysia.

As they say, the rest is up to God!

SIM KWANG YANG was member of parliament for Bandar Kuching, Sarawak from 1982 to 1995. He can be reached at sky8hornbill@gmail.com. All comments are welcomed.


  1. Calling our native brothers to ready their spears to hunt down the exodus of “wild boars” soon to be in our jungle.

    Comment by Bizan — May 30, 2011 @ 2:19 PM | Reply

  2. BERSIH had decided to stage another street demonstration on 9th July, 2011 in order to impress upon the Government to ensure a fair and clean election in the coming 13th GE. It is incumbant upon all Malaysians to support this campaign in solidarity as no one should object to a FAIR and CLEAN election if the person still believe in Democracy.

    Comment by Kono — May 29, 2011 @ 7:47 PM | Reply


    “A general election in Malaysia is the single most important event in the political life of the nation”

    Who are we fooling? SKY is self-delusional as usual and naive to continue believing that the “Malaysian system” can deliver such highfaluting ideals.

    This statement only holds water if the voting system is fair and democratic. We have a bent “Westminster” system whereby those in power use every dirty trick to stay in power. The Sarawak elections just gone is an illustration of this point. So please don’t continue to spread the UMNO BIG lie and reinforce the idea that neo-colonial “Malaysia” is a “democracy”.

    And our country Sarawak is but an occupy colony!

    As a Sarawakian you should see that UMNO is already engaged in vote rigging and number stacking. The most recent blatant example is to mass transmigrate 80,000 “religious teachers” into Sarawak to stack up numbers for the GE13 elections.

    If not stacking up their numbers why this sudden announcement before the expected elections? UMNO we were not born yesterday!

    Comment by FreeSarawak — May 29, 2011 @ 8:48 AM | Reply

    • I had also hoped that Manchester United would somehow pull something out of their bag and win the European Cup. “Hoped” and not “expected” .We can all hope for a two party system to roll around the next election, but the way things are going ,it will propbably be the case that the BN postal votes & gerrumeandering will come though and PR will end up being exhausted. I hope for a new Malaysia but until a way is found to stop the cheats it will be nothing but wishful thinking.

      Comment by homeboy — May 30, 2011 @ 2:37 PM | Reply

    • Wah. As a Sarawakian hero FreeSarawak AgreetoDisagree must take up arms against the colonial occupation. Why waste time writing comments to a pro-democracy political blog?

      Comment by Sarawakian Local — May 31, 2011 @ 10:52 AM | Reply


        It is however more important to win people over first. That’s why we should do the blogging and spread the idea of a free and independent Sarawak.

        Don’t be too cynical!

        How do you know that people are not at this moment organising themselves for the next armed struggle?

        (Sorry, can’t see any comments by “AgreetoDisagree”)

        Comment by FreeSarawak — June 11, 2011 @ 12:15 PM | Reply

  4. Urban voters had voted for a two party system and the rest of the voters in sub urban and rural constituencies will have to be educated and be informed that replacing the government of the day which did not serve their interests with a new government which promises sweeping reforms is a government worth voting for. So far the UMNO controlled BN government has been promising to fulfill what they had failed to deliver when given the mandate in past elections. The whole system of administrations and deliveries had been flawed and corrupted to the core and which is why a sweeping reforms are needed and to be executed by an alternative government. A two party system is the best HOPE to rebuild Malaysia for all Malaysians.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — May 29, 2011 @ 8:28 AM | Reply

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