Thanks, Bob: Vote-buying Thrives In Cameron Highlands

Bob, before power.

I usually like Bobs, back in the day, we used to call each other Bob.

But this Bob, the shoot from the hips Senator Bob Manolan upset me plenty, after he put forward an ultimatum to  the Orang Asli community who dabble in Umno politics, in the lead up to the Cameron Highlands by-election.

The message: Want money and help, dump Umno and follow Pakatan Harapan.

He was coercing votes for the Pakatan candidate, M. Manogaran. He’s probably right now, somewhere on the hillside constituency, haranguing aboriginal votes.

Bob tried to downplay the initial press report by Malaysiakini, claiming unfair coverage. This cued Malaysiakini to put out the audio recording, and since then the senator has become media shy.

Will the Pakatan leadership act on this? The Election Commission (EC) must surely act, otherwise Art Harun’s desire to reform the institution would be questioned for the first time.

Most critically, everyone should be reminded, this by-election happens because the previous one in May was ruled corrupt by the courts.

Is the idea to have two corrupt elections for the same seat?

The battle of symbols

The local gambit

Granted, Umno in various degrees of decay, has in its desperation dumped the castrated MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) and pulled in retired cop, Ramli Mohd Noor for his Orang Asli blood.

Not to be outdone in the duplicity game, DAP’s M Manogaran foolishly used a cake analogy to separate Malays from Orang Asli, a direct rebuke to the Umno candidate choice. Ridiculing the gamble that the former policeman can garner both Orang Asli vote by being one of them, and the Malay vote, by being among them all his life as a Muslim civil servant.

However, since, his own folly dawned upon him and he has apologised. (Trust Umno to milk it in the campaign.)

Unsurprisingly, PSM has stepped aside from the race, but with hundreds of votes in their hands in what might be a close race, their endorsement can make a massive difference.

The race even had the short-sad-so often true drama of M.Kayveas and his latest version of PPP (People’s Progressive Party AKA MyPPP) dreaming a win before becoming a belated Pakatan supporter.

But will Bob apologise? And Bob is not the only Pakatan leader set to arrive in the cool weather of Ringlet or Berinchang to offer sweet promises of development.

A Climb of Passion

Disheartening to state, Pakatan in the last few by-elections has not rejected the BN culture of buying love. It has far more worryingly, not raised the principle arguments. And perhaps increases the criticism, none of the Pakatan parties actually have ideology of their own. I mean, who does not laugh to hear DAP is still in Socialist International? (Or ROTFL to Gerakan members parading their Liberal International connections)

Respect the love

If Pakatan is to not use the wealth of the federal government, what else will it do?

Batter an unimaginative Umno with Pakatan’s potential for a positive political environment without the fear of authority.

Remind the people, Pakatan is the vanguard of democracy regardless of whether it loses or wins. To reassure the Malaysian people that far more important than any parliamentary win — on a hill or by the beach — is the resuscitation of Malaysia’s democracy for all Malaysians.

That, that is Pakatan Harapan.

Bob Manolan is not that. He is all Umno, in thought and action.

Unfortunately, the other Pakatan leaders to ascend the hill between now and voting day on January 26 are not going to be much different. They’ll load up their government vehicles with tangibles, and ignore the beauty of passion and belief, something which gave them federal power over the powerful.

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