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by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The shameful violence yesterday shows that BN will reprise its politics of fear, violence and money applied in the Machap by-election to the Ijok by-election on 28 April 2007. Tens of millions of ringgit in development projects were promised and spent in Machap and Ijok is no exception. RM 36 million of development projects were promised by Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Khir Toyo a few days ago.
With 12,272 voters, this vote-buying would come up to nearly RM 3,000 per person. There could be more money in the pipeline as Federal projects have yet to be announced by Works Minister Datuk S. Samy Vellu. Voters are reminded that such generosity from BN is only available during elections.
If voters want good governance and development all the time and not just during elections, then Ijok voters should support the opposition candidate to exert pressure on the government to perform. In Machap BN was caught giving RM 100-200 to voters on polling day for voting BN. If BN can not succeed in buying off voters, then they will resort to other dirty tactics of deception, fear or violence.
The violent incidents yesterday in Ijok is a complete repeat of what happened during the nomination day for the Machap by-election. During nomination day for Machap on 3 April, BN leaders and members led by MIC Youth President and Parliamentary Secretary for Youth & Sports, was involved in bloody incidents where two DAP members were assaulted viciously, a Tamil Nanban reporter was threatened and a Mikal Osai photograhper was manhandled. To-date no action has been taken by police against the BN leaders responsible and there appears to be a cover-up.
DAP condemns such violence and the Election Commission for condoning such violence and vote-buying by BN in refusing to take any action under the 1954 Election Offences Act against such wrong-doings. DAP expresses concern of further violence if opposition supporters see police inaction against those responsible, as they are not going to quietly lie down and be assaulted by BN supporters.
How can Malaysia be a functioning democracy if voters can be bought off with money by BN or by creating a climate of violence and fear to prevent voters from exercising their free will and intentions to elect their representative?
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP