Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Now Mahathir is taking it out on the voters

Salleh Said Keruak

After ranting that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak ‘bought’ the voters to win the Sarawak state election in May 2016 and the two parliamentary by-elections the following month, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad now accuses the voters of being corrupt. And what is sad, said Mahathir, is that the majority of these corrupt voters are Muslims.

Maybe Mahathir has forgotten that there are two ways to motivate a person. One is the carrot and the other is the stick. That is what is called the carrot and the stick strategy. Voters all over the world will vote according to how it will financially benefit them. This happens even in the advanced west such as in Europe and the United States. So if they are going to be better off financially by supporting you then they will support you.

The other strategy, the stick, would be to punish them, or threaten to punish them, if they refuse to vote for you. For example, when Kelantan fell to PAS-Semangat 46 in 1990, Mahathir punished the Kelantanese by cancelling the RM600 million the federal government had approved to upgrade Kelantan’s water supply. Mahathir then said if they want the RM600 million then in the next general election they must vote Barisan Nasional.

In the run-up to the 29th November 1999 general election, Mahathir went on TV and said that if Barisan Nasional does not win two-thirds majority in the general election, then the federal government cannot guarantee the safety of Malaysians -- because a government with less than two-thirds majority in parliament will be a weak government and a weak government cannot protect its citizens.

So who is Mahathir to accuse the voters of being corrupt when he used to use tactics such as threats and promises of development money to also force the voters to vote for Barisan Nasional? If you do not vote for Barisan Nasional you will not receive money for development and you will face the risk of riots and bloodshed. Now Mahathir says if you vote for Barisan Nasional you are a crook and corrupt. Has Mahathir forgotten what he used to say and do when he was Prime Minister?

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