“Well, what do you think? Was the election rigged?” A colleague came to me with yet another controversial question, on 6/5, a day after Malaysia’s recent 13th General Election.
“You know, my answer could possibly land me in jail. Or worst, conveniently disappear.” I sighed, and thought long and hard to answer his question, before settling with, “The opposition had been claiming that Malaysia’s elections had always been rigged since the 90s. The appearance of new ballot boxes at the end of vote counting and the use of ghost voters were wide reported, even then. That’s common knowledge. In fact, PAS candidates have always been the favorite target, because they never bothered to fight back. After each rigged election, they would grumble for a week or so, then finally accept the outcome as ‘a sign’ from God that they haven’t been working hard enough. Sincere enough.”
“Huh, I thought so. But what I can’t believe is the (BN) government was bold enough to do it openly. The immobilization of countless Bangla and Nepalese workers, each issued with temporary ICs…,” he quipped.
“You–well we–have to be extra careful now,” I interjected. “The nation is entering into a neo-Nazi phase, whereby all opposing voices will soon be silenced permanently. Once everything settles down, there will soon be a sweeping operation, linking opposition leaders to the Sulu ‘picnic trip’ to Sabah. All pro-opposition bloggers are at risk too. As it is, MiloSuam has already been picked up for attempting to expose the government’s planned misdeed during the election. SB (Special Branch) people are everywhere. They live amongst us.”
Both of us silenced, for several seconds, before my ever-eager colleague blurted out once again, “You know what? I don’t care. We have to speak up. If we aren’t willing to speak up, how can we ever expect others to?” He smiled, somewhat adamant with what he had to do.
“Sixteen poll centers underwent a systematic blackout on the same day. In these locations, a number of BN’s counting agents were already equipped with a flashlight in hand, as if they knew in advance the blackouts would happen. New ballot boxes suddenly appeared in each of these blackout. And SPR officials insisted that the new found boxes must be counted as well.
At least one SPR official was caught with a blank voting slip on his hand, while another was transporting ballot boxes in her car trunk. Nurul Izzah (opposition leader’s daughter) could also have been a victim, had not members of the public stopped an SPR car filled with ballot-boxes in its trunk.
Unofficial and official results varied vastly.
The indelible ink purchased for at least RM10 million was washable after all. There were countless reports those who came to the polling centers only to be told that they have voted previously, whereas their fingers weren’t even inked!
The foreign observers selected to watch over our election were from third world countries, with worst human right records. Countries such as Cambodia. Can you believe that? Of all countries, Cambodia!”
My friend sound exasperated, trying to fit in everything in one sentence, in a speed matched that of a bullet train.
I could understand his disappointment. The nation is disappointment. MALAYSIANS HAVE BEEN ROBBED BLIND BY BN. Time and time again. What’s worst, the supposedly neutral Election Commission and the police appeared to be an accomplice as well, legalizing their misconduct on the pretext of ‘defense against DAP’s secret grand invasion plan towards Islam and the Malays.’
“What can WE do? Najib couldn’t seem to wait to be sworn in. Anwar (opposition leader) and BERSIH (NGO for clean election) Chairman do not recognize the results. The latter two have 21 days to protest and do something about it. The opposition would be contesting the results of at least three states, with the highest irregularities, i.e, Kedah, Terengganu and Perlis.
But what can THEY do? What kind of justice can Malaysians expect internally? Singapore was extremely swift in recognizing Najib, whereas Australia wouldn’t budge with our internal affairs. It feels like being a victim to an abusive husband, yet the neighbors kept their doors, windows, eyes and ears shut tightly closed so as not to hear the beating, bashing and screaming for help.
The only friend we’ve got is the publisher of UK-based Sarawak Report. Even then, after they had successfully unfolded a mega corruption case against the Taib family (Sarawak Chief Minister) on videotape, nothing seems to happen. Najib would not be willing to apprehend a corrupt friend, when he himself is the king of corruption. So, tell me. What can we, ordinary Malaysians do?”
I was completely baffled. Of all the series of questions he had thrown at me, this was by far, the toughest one to answer. The ruling government had the upper hand. Still do. They control everything, the police force, the army, the public servants. Everything. Why, even the SPR was clearly on their side.
“I don’t know,” I finally resign to the fact that I do not have all the answers. For once, I felt so bad and weak that I couldn’t offer the eager-learner an instant remedial solution. “On my part, I have casted a protest vote on one of my ballots, as I had planned earlier. It seems to work, since both state assembly and parliament seats had been won by the opposition, even if their winnings were coincidental.
I would continue writing, even if the stakes are getting even higher. Continue exposing as an insider, as I see it. Continue to educate as many friends, families, neighbors and students as I possibly could.
And perhaps, I should soon apply for membership in one of the opposition party, to volunteer my free services, whatever and whenever they require. These are amongst the things that I could do.”
My curious analytical friend didn’t offer a response. He took a long deep breath, looked heavy in thought, possibly a bit disappointed, then walked towards the door.
Click. My door was shut closed, and he was gone.