From the previous experience of observing election in Kelantan it is obvious that both sides -if it involves UMNO and PAS, would not hesitate to abuse the public/government resources for their party campaign. usually the PAS side would argue that if they don’t utilise state and local government resources-that include using Council vehicles and personnel, they would not be able to match the resources of UMNO who largely are from abusing the federal government resources-which include making instant projects, allocations etc. Of course it does not matter who started first -both are wrong. Now: how to stop these abuses?
1 Strategy is to highlight both abuses in the media (mainstream and alternative) so as to deter the abusers. However the mainstream media controlled by the federal ruling party will not likely to publish abuse by UMNO-while some alternative media may not want to publish the abuses by PAS candidate. But the issue should perhaps be highlighted anyway-hopefully it will turn off voters from giving advantage to whoever abuse public resources for campaigns.
In fact this old problems had been dealt with by PAS in a humorous way: they post voters advisoies like this: Given money, take it; given sugar, use it; given cloth, wear it. When it come to voting, vote….’
The power of the advisory is so strong that UMNO would retort that Muslims should be grateful to the party who give them goodies-seemingly unashamed of the implication of buying votes with public allocations.
In anycase this is a flagrant abuse which no observers/visitor to Manek Urai will encounter during the by-election. It may help to remind the abusers that the voters are looking on and would not give advantage to the abusers, whichever side it may be. In fact to strengthen this stand some public education by observers may help to cement the public abhorrence against abuses of public resources in party campaigns. Manek Urai may well be a good start to turn the spotlight on such abuses.
For reports on Mafrel Kelantan please go to their blog here.