10 January, 2008

All signs pointing to March polls ?

Malaysia is likely to hold general elections in March, a news report said Thursday, even though the government's popularity has dipped amid rising prices and anger among ethnic Indians.

The Star newspaper quoted an unidentified senior minister in the ruling coalition as saying that the polls will be held "soon enough, latest by the first week of March." "Everybody is ready. If we wait any longer, fatigue will set in," the minister was quoted as saying.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment because of a public holiday. But the minister's statement is not a surprise. The 12th general elections, not due until next year, were widely expected to be called in early 2008.

Free and fair elections? could it be just a pipe dream?

Smart ones will tell you that polls will be held sooner rather than later as the chief nemesis of the government, Anwar Ibrahim, will be eligible to contest from April onwards and the present regime will do all it can to prevent the popular former deputy premier from contesting. Oil prices are at an all-time high and the government can ill afford to reduce subsidies now. They will only dare to reduce the subsidy after the next polls.

However, one is not sanguine that this coming polls will be free and fair like those in other democratic counties where a change of government is the norm rather than the exception. The winds of change have not blown to our shores despite all the scandals besetting our present regime. The present government is well entrenched with practically all of the government machinery under them.

Besides that, the Election Commission chief, whose tenure was extended for another year, is well known by his words and actions to be biased towards the ruling parties while ignoring the opposition’s parties call for electoral reforms.

One would expect the coming polls to be dirtier than the rest as the unpopular government will use all tricks in the book to retain power at any cost. A free and fair election is a pipe dream in this country as opposition parties does not have a channel to promote their election manifestoes fairly.

The government is losing support among the young and educated voters in this country who can see the former’s misdeeds which have resulted in the common people leading a very frugal life to make ends meets while the rich and connected live exuberant lifestyles which are an envy to others.

Pak Lah had lost a golden opportunity to right what is wrong in this country since he took office almost four years ago. A repeat of his spectacular performance in the 2004 polls would be a miracle. The common people are fed up with rampant corruption, price increases and failed government policies.

We cannot let the present regime destroy the people’s assets for personal gain. Malaysians need to exercise their voting rights to increase the number of opposition members in parliament to act as the ears and eyes of the public and to check government abuse of power. Let us become the master of our destiny by electing God-fearing and clean politicians who don’t make empty promises.

Enough of the sexist MPs who belittle the fairer sex, enough of ‘close one eye’ parliamentarians, enough of state assemblymen who build castles while in office. These type of crooks need to be shown to the door and replaced with younger and better-educated politicians.

Let’s make a difference in the next polls and God willing, even with a biased EC chief and government machinery, if there is a big swing towards the opposition, it might create history by forming more state governments or reducing the government’s 2/3 majority in Parliament.

May the winds of change blow strongly through this country in the coming polls.

Meanwhile, King Mizan Zainal Abidin, in his annual speech marking the Awal Muharram holiday that starts the Islamic New Year, said Malaysians must value national unity and tolerance and act responsibly to maintain peace.

"They must steer clear of actions that will create tensions, being disrespectful to one another, refrain from harping on sensitive issues and defying the law,"

The king urged people to avoid creating tensions in this multiracial country, which has seen a slew of protests in recent months by minority groups demanding equal rights and religious freedom.

And, from India Times Blog we have :"BOYCOTT MALAYSIA" !!

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