The Hulu Selangor by-election is shaping up to be interesting in that : for 1st time the abuse of government machinery(personnel, vehicles, buildings etc) provoked a royal rebuke! Sultan of Selangor has asked the civil servants to be `professional’ in discharging their duties and not engage in party campaigns. This may be a rebuke to the 2 sides -one abuse federal ministries to campaign, while the other abuse state government machinery. This come right after the Selangor CM Khalid Ibrahim claim that his party is merely following the precedence set by the former BN state government-in clear contrast to his party national election director Fuziah Salleh’s statement earlier that the party will refrain from abusing govt machinery for campaign purpose. She won a commmendation from this web site(see earlier post). Can this become a campaign issue? She declined to comment when issue of Selangor state govt moving the state govt to Hulu Selangor District office surface.
Abuse of govt faciliities has been a weakness of BN for years-and set bad example to all other parties including the opposition. Eg PAS state government often abuse state government facilities in all elections in Kelantan. The Mar 8th `tsunami’ open opportunity for PR to do things differently-but how differently, given the trend of PR to follow BN’s policies/corrupted ways?
The HS by-election may go down in history as a by-election where the conduct of the election could become an election issue itself. It is not often that BN start to complain about abuse of govt machinery by the opposition-but it has started to do so in a major way now. So can voters, with some smart distancing from either side, push the 2 to move towards free and fair elections conduct? Observers and media can play a role in this by collecting complaints from both sides and push the side being complained against to respond to the complaints….sound fun anyway!
May be the voters should take a stand: boycott all government functions suspected as party campaign platforms. If you can’t escape anyway : Ask the candidates/parties if they can stop abusing govt machinery. Do a poll on them!!!!