Justice for Streram or The All-New Rantau By-Election

Streram held back by police on nomination day, April 28, 2018.

This all began when they stopped him at the gate.

The upcoming Rantau by-election requires context, and in this noisy political space, things go amiss. So let’s go back to nomination day last April.

Mohamad Hasan won unopposed the Rantau assembly seat in the Rembau parliamentary seat, because the only person about to file his papers to challenge him, Streram Sinnasamy was barred from the premise. Umno wins, because the PKR-Pakatan Harapan candidate was locked out.

Most media now refer to a  May 9 win, but that is not true. Mohamad won on April 28 when no one was allowed to contest against him, in Rembau that day.

There is much can be said about Streram the local resident, or the anaesthetist, or the local party member, but on the aforementioned nomination day it was about a citizen who was denied his rights.

The police under instructions from the returning officer, a confidant of Mohamad, then mentri besar of Negeri Sembilan, blocked off Streram at the gate.

Why? He did not possess an entry pass, for himself, and neither for his proposer nor seconder.

Was this incompetence from Streram?

The facts show that Streram had in fact tried to gain the passes the day before and the Election Commission officials played him.

He got played.

The everyday Malaysian, on the street, the one with no power over authority understands too well how it is to be played by bureaucrats.

A bit easier before for Mohamad. How will he fare without EC cover?

“You filled the wrong form” or “We have run out of numbers to pass out to applicants” or “the computer broke-down”.

Denied service because we can’t really matter as much. Not when only a person with no recognisable name.

So Streram tried to reason his way, on the nomination day, presenting his papers and saying he has everything, except the pass to get him from the main gate to the nomination room.

Meanwhile, inside, the menteri besar, the man he intended to contest, was chilling with the returning officer. Since Rantau is in the Rembau parliamentary seat,  and they share the same nomination centre it can be presumed Khairy Jamaluddin was inside too. And too the proposed candidates for state seats of Paroi and Chembong, and their respective entourages.

Everyone, except Streram and his group.

Hours standing outside, screaming to get in, and the police saying no, as per the instruction of the returning officer.

The humiliation of being reduced to a shouting man outside a nomination centre is not a joke. It probably was to the Umno blokes inside the nomination centre. I can imagine them, laughing about how the “_____insert common derogatory remark possible when a standard Umno leader refers to ethnic Indian Malaysian____” can’t even get inside.

The special election court did not see the humour in the fracas, in the wanton display of power by a party in power as long as the country has been in operation.

Khairy, the champion of “better values” and who valiantly fights carrots, had nothing to say about Mohamad and gang, and I am sure now that Mohamad is Umno deputy president and Khairy stands as shadow finance minister, he won’t say anything too. A shade better than the rest?

‘Can we have a better stand-in?’

The court concurs that things were not right on April 28, and extends justice to Streram.

Instead, my party leaders, rather than celebrating the restoration of justice, look at who they can put as a candidate for Rantau.

Zuraida Kamaruddin is not a keen Streram fan.

Such disregard. The women’s  and youth wing already wading in.

If the party felt in April, Streram was the appropriate candidate, what has changed now?

Even, new President Anwar Ibrahim say he’s open to Rafizi as candidate.

[Though I vehemently refuse Anwar’s notion that Rafizi is too good for Rantau. No one is over-qualified to serve the people. Plus, there has been no news of a surge in the number of people naming their children Rafizi in Pandan, where he did serve for five years. ]

I understand with the Negeri Sembilan MB Aminuddin Harun in and out of hospital, the party wants options for eventualities.

Anwar should have grabbed this opportunity to burnish his multicultural credentials and wore a “Streram for Rantau” t-shirt for the congress opening today, not invite new criticism.

Justice, no more, no less

The party can’t just sideline Streram who has fought over six months to rescind Mohamad’s free victory. It appears to bypass the opportunity to right a wrong.

The court’s validation of the would-have-been-first-time-candidate, should only strengthen the party’s resolve to let Streram complete what he set to do on April 28.

The state of Negeri Sembilan is not in play. Pakatan has 20 seats to BN’s 14 (minus Rantau) in the 35-seat state assembly.

What is in play, is the right to correct an injustice.

He always has a pass.

And win some more.

Mohamad is in a precarious position, as Umno crumbles everywhere. A defeat for the deputy president would shatter any conception that the grand old party has resuscitated itself, since May.

Not only the spectre of Umno’s number two losing, but losing to an ethnic Indian. Oh, the burn for the party.

Second, every day, many can ask Khairy about his opinion about the race in his backyard. About what he thinks of the court decision, does he agree his party, his people were seeking to win unfairly, because it is the Umno way? Does he seek to cut his ties from that past? Can Umno cut itself from its ways, or is the former Umno youth chief just kidding himself.

That he has been kidding himself for years, and luxuriates in his superior education as a balm to the sheer madness in his party.

It would be the perfect time for Umno desertions in the parliamentary division and all over Negeri Sembilan.

Petty lives

Yet, my party, chooses to countenance the worst possible paths with the Rantau option.

Let them judge Streram, finally.

I don’t know Streram and I can’t tell a urinologist from an anaesthetist. There is a larger picture and to pass is criminal, as criminal as what almost transpired at Rantau.

The party should just pick the phone and tell the Rantau candidate to use the posters he had ready last April, the ones he never got to use and are in a storeroom.

Tell him this by-election, he’d get respect from the party, the EC and police.

Tell him, he can complete his mission.

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