In the next few hours, voters in Tenang, Johor will cast their votes in the 16 by-elections, an extraordinary number of by-elections to be held in 3 years since the 2008 General Elections. Over the last two weeks, election workers and agents from both the political parties have been working hard to ensure that their candidate gets the best support in terms of widespread publicity.
I am not competent enough to make a guess as to who is likely to win the by-election, but in the battle for publicity it is quite obvious the BN candidate seems to have the edge. The mainstream media, especially the electronic media has been providing exclusive coverage for the BN candidate.
Like in all previous by-elections, I observe that candidates rarely make an appearance to speak to the electorates at public rallies. Instead, it is the leaders of the party that does the speaking while the candidate takes a back seat. This was clearly the case in Tenang where the likes of Muhyiddin Yasin and Chua Soi Lek took center stage for the BN candidate, while Anwar, Lim Guan Eng and some PAS leaders campaigned for the PR candidate. This being so, the electorates are not able to assess the oratory skills of the candidates and to listen to the election promises that the candidates could offer.
And as in all previous by-elections too, millions of ringgit has been handed out and with promises that more to come if the BN is voted in. With limited resources, PR could not offer cash handouts and cash promises. Neither could the PR make offers of development for the Tenang electorate.
I must admit that I am somewhat appalled and dismayed at the quality of issues raised by the parties throughout the campaigning period. I would have liked that candidates labour upon issues that affects the social and economic livelihood of the electorates, such as issues relating to unemployment, rising costs of living, education, medical and health care and benefits. What are the challenges that may affect society in the years ahead, and how do the parties intend to take on such challenges. Rather then labour upon the aforesaid issues, the parties choose to launch personal and discriminatory attacks on the candidates, their spouses and even other party leaders. This is disgusting to say the least.
I do not know if ever future contending political parties and their candidates will ever adopt a more rational method of campaigning where issues that affects the social and economic well being of the electorate takes precedents over personal discriminatory attacks.
Finally, I just have to say this………………..may the best candidate win.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION