COMMENT As if barring 30-odd opposition leaders was insufficient to depict himself as practising ‘electoral authoritarianism’, to paraphrase Professor Andreas Schedler, or in simple term, a farce democracy, Adenan Satem ensures he cripples further the opposition by giving a deadline of May 5 for them to disappear from the ‘battle-ground’.
What an act of cowardice! What could be worst of an autocrat and one which truly makes a huge mockery of his imminent victory and a farce of democracy at its worst.
Never mind the many outrageous and long-standing practices of denying the opposition access to the mainstream media. Never mind the many blatant abuses of public funds in the billions as announced during campaign period by ministers, and money politics changing hands.
The only ‘democracy’ that is, is because there is an electoral process but a very far cry from any meaningful semblance of an equal and level playing field, much cherished by Bersih, the electoral watchdog.
This writer and his three other party seasoned campaigners; Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (MP for Kota Raja), Aminolhuda Hassan (former state assemblyperson for Parit Yaani, Johor) and Suhaizan Kayat (organising secretary of Parti Amanah Negara) were amongst those that were given limited visas and a deadline of May 5 to rid and banish themselves from Sarawak. Despicable!
Why the necessity to worsen further his image as an autocrat is extremely baffling, much as it is arguably constitutionally illegitimate.
Despite every polls analyst talking of his sure victory, Adenan is making absolutely certain that he reverses the trend that the opposition make definite inroad into Sarawak politics.
Adenan is particularly anxious of the continuing Chinese support for the opposition, evident in the last two elections of 2011 and 2013.
For that matter, the dwindling support of Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu for BN is equally worrying for him and his boss in Putrajaya. His main key performance indicator is now to arrest this emerging trend.
Campaigning in the battle-ground of the opposition-held seats has been stiff, though not obviously fierce.
Adenan’s cowardly acts were specifically aimed at reducing the intensity of this fight and stifling the opposition firepower, banning those in in the like of Amanah’s president Mohamad Sabu and parliamentarian Khalid Samad and DAP’s Tony Pua, et al.
The dismal and disgraceful state of the unfortunate Sarawakians after 53 years of forming a federation with Malaya, is what Adenan fears most to be exposed.
He is surely under a false illusion that Sarawakians could be continuously deluded and conned.
His RM27 billion cash reserve is totally meaningless, if tap water in the homes is anything but clean and clear, while 183 (and more) dilapidated schools are still in a sorry state throughout Sarawak.
This writer witnessed the many sorry state of schools, longhouses and basic amenities like roads, etc, everywhere he campaigned.
It is both scandalous and ‘criminal’ for a government to subject their citizens to this state of abject deprivation, while they boast and gloat of their massive cash reserve.
The high cost of living, as a result of the recent Goods and Services Tax (GST) and withdrawal of subsidies, could have easily been absorbed and handled by a ‘caring and rich government’.
But only a strong willpower and tenacity could deliver a meaningful life to their rakyat. Will Adenan now deliver?
Well, be that as it may, into the last 24 hour of the only 10-day campaign period, it would be tactical, wise and pertinent that the Sarawakians take a long hard look before making their decision tomorrow.
Granted Adenan’s autocratic tendency, it is very dangerous to mandate him with too handsome a victory.
Only by mandating a strong opposition representation will PBB-BN be checked into not becoming a corrupt and dysfunctional government, like their counterparts of Umno-BN in peninsula Malaysia.
Only this will ensure ‘A Better Sarawak’ for the immediate future.
Otherwise, Sarawak would be doomed and act to their own detriment and peril!
DR DZULKEFLY AHMAD is strategy director, Parti Amanah Negara.