Malaysiakini Letter

Perak in GE14 – Ini kali lah!

Koon Yew Yin  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Some analysts of the coming elections who are beholden to BN are beginning to declare a victory for the ruling party in Perak state. But has this claim any credibility?

Let us look at recent history and trends. Firstly, it is a fact that in the last election the opposition won a handsome 55.14% of the popular vote in Perak compared to BN which only managed to get 44% support.

In other words, the current BN state government is really a minority government which does not have the support of the majority of voters in Perak.

In terms of the number of seats, out of 59 state seats, BN had 31 seats compared to the opposition which had 28 seats. This shocking result occurred due to the blatant gerrymandering by the Election Commission which has been a tool of the Barisan government in every election since Merdeka.

Despite the electoral dirty tricks, it is important to note that it will require a swing of only two state seats in order for the opposition to take over from BN.

Further if you study carefully the 31 state seats won by BN, there are more than 10 seats where the margin of victory is razor thin - that is, less than 500 to 1,000 votes.

What this means is that in the coming general election, if Pakatan Harapan can maintain their previous support and manage to bring in another five percent extra support from the voters, no amount of gerrymandering and dirty tricks can save the BN from losing the state.

When the Perak voters go to the polling booth soon, it is important for them to take note that under the current BN state government, Perak’s socio-economic situation has gone from bad to worse.

The latest government owned Khazanah Research Centre report shows that Perak is now the second poorest state after Kelantan Darul Naim. This may appear shocking and unbelievable.

After all, in the past, Perak has always been one the richest states in the country. But it is true. The prime minister’s statistics department figure shows that two-thirds of the people in Perak earn less than RM5,000 per month and the state household income is less than the national average income.

This pathetic state of affair is made worse by the fact that according to the 10th Malaysia Plan, Perak is now the state with most number of poor families.

A total of 122,000 households in Perak earned less than RM2,380 per month and they comprised 12.2 percent of the national record. This poverty figure is even worse than Sabah or Sarawak.

It is not only the hard data and statistics that paint a miserable picture of the current BN Perak government.

When I speak with fellow ordinary Perakians, they complain that decent jobs opportunities in Perak have dried up and are so scarce that most of the youth are forced to leave the Silver State in order to earn a living.

It is a damning indictment of BN's administration that many have been forced to leave their families and hometown to pursue a living in the Klang valley, Penang, Singapore or other countries.

The latest national migration report reinforces my critique. The report notes that Perak is the state which suffered the most brain drain in our country.

According to it, 9,800 people left the state in 2016 and plan not to return if no positive changes are made in the foreseeable future. What a shame.

The current BN state government is not only incompetent, it also operates without transparency and accountability. It is shocking to see that Perak Menteri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc) has failed to table their audited accounts in the state assembly for more than five years now since 2012.

In other countries, such a scandal would have resulted in the sacking of the chief minister but apparently not in Perak.

Recently it was revealed in Parliament that the state government had allocated a 50-acre piece of land located on an ex-mining pond to build a new hospital in Kampar. Such incompetency has made Perak a laughing stock.

As a result of the state government’s stupid mistake, the health ministry was forced to cancel the RM150 million hospital project as the cost to fill up the ex-mining pond is clearly too expensive. Obviously the people of Kampar have been cheated once again.

Similarly, the promise by the BN government to build a new hospital at Sri Iskandar and open 'special economic zone' for Kamunting and Kampar to date still remain empty promises made during election times.

Expect more BN empty promises coming again soon.

Based on the above, if there are still people who refuse to vote for change, I can only suggest to them that they should get their brain examined.

I am confident Pakatan Harapan will be able to swing the extra five percent support especially since they now have Dr Mahathir Mohamad as their candidate for prime minister now.

As for PAS I am sure that they will do badly. Many Perakians are disgusted that PAS is only interested in playing a spoiler role and are secretly in cahoots with Umno.

A vote for PAS is a vote to save Prime Minister Naajib Abdul Razak, so please do not waste your precious vote.

At the same time, those in Perak can see that the former menteri besar Nizar Jamaluddin is still very active and is continually working very hard on the ground despite past setbacks.

In his short stint as menteri besar, Nizar has shown himself to be an open minded, progressive and professional leader. In addition, DAP Perak is led by chairpeerson Nga Kor Ming who is very pragmatic and dynamic.

Many do not realize that Pakatan Harapan in Perak has one of the most solid and cohesive coalitions compared to other states. They have a secretariat, conduct regular meetings and do planning together.

I am confident that they will do well in government. But for Harapan to revive and revitalize Perak, it is important that every Perakian shows up at the voting booth to kick out the cronies of the kleptocracy leader.

The next general election will be held in the next few months. I am already 85 years old but I am ready to embrace change and commit myself to the reform agenda so that we can rebuild our nation and restore our pride as Perakians and Malaysians.

I call on my fellow citizens to do the same. Kali ini lah!

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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