Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Scrap Metal? Show Me the Real Stuff, Honey!

There’re still several days to go before election day in Permatang Pauh so it’s still possible that Umno-BN might truck in some suitcases of cold hard cash to sway the vote in BN’s direction. But for now, that does not seem to have transpired. Instead, it is truly remarkable that we find the deputy prime minster actually enticing the non-Malay voters in the constituency by agreeing, for example, to approve scrap metal collector's licence for Indians! This is absolutely amazing.

The DPM actually accused the opposition of having neglected the Indians and Chinese in Permatang Pauh and claimed that the BN would ‘champion’ the causes of these communities in the constituency. I guess here’s where the collector’s licence for scrap metals come into play. Now it’s one thing to discuss the nature of communal style patronage politics but it’s truly eye-opening to see it displayed in such a raw fashion. What a mockery this makes of the dignity and integrity of not just Indians in the constituency or elsewhere, but of all Malaysians. One must ponder, are there any principles that Umno and BN truly stand for aside from abusing racial politics to retain political power.

Licences for scrap metal collectors!? Scrap metal collectors!! My goodness. Could it get any more insulting than this? With all the serious concerns that plague our most vulnerable citizens – including those in Permatang Pauh, the DPM comes up with this gimmicky ploy; and that too having to do with scrap metal?

And here I was thinking maybe the Umno-BN folks really valued the non-Malay votes and perhaps they’d come up with handing out some ‘approved permits’ (AP) to them. What was I thinking!?

Come on BN, let’s not hold back now! Let’s see you dole out the real goodies. Well, if handing out APs to Indians and Chinese is a bit too much for your patronage politics, maybe you’ll find a few of the following acceptable: build some real low income houses for the poor; get running water for those who have none; build some quality schools. [And while it would be nice to have teachers to go along with the schools, we could do without the racist ones.] Now, this would be a decent start. You know, BN, building a few temples - rather than overseeing their destruction - would even go a long way and be a welcome change! [Of course I'm being facetious, la.]

On another note, apparently the DPM is now attributing the beating Umno-BN took on March 8 to the undue influence of the opposition in causing Indians and Chinese to desert the former. Yes, undue influence. That’s a real good one. I’m sure this will go a long way to reassure the voters in Permatang Pauh and also across the country about understanding just what the voters were telling the regime. The sheer contempt for the public and voters’ concerns about the direction of the country exhibited here is nothing short of absolutely shocking. Rather than showing respect for the voice of the people and the clear message they sent back in March, we find the DPM instead dodging from any accountability for their debacle.

But you know, Umno-BN, could it be that you need to re-examine the fact that communal politics like the kind you insist on is – like those scrap metal permits – just not appealing anymore?

G. Krishnan