Thursday, March 12, 2009

Keeping them honest: A batang and two bukits

The Batang Ai Constituency in Sarawak, the batang with the two bukits, Selambau and Gantang, will be facing bye-elections with polling scheduled for 7th April. Compared with the two bukits, Batang Ai is so deep in the interior of Borneo that if you lose your way you'd be in the rural areas of Indonesia. The BN won Batang Ai previously, whilst the PR held both Bukit Selembau and Gantang. The PR has to exert all resources to maintain the present edge of denying BN two-thirds Parliamentary majority. Many have speculated BN will win Batang Ai hands down by rolling out the dough (RM4.0 mil as speculated by Sim Kwang Yang) and not exerting too much resources and thereby posing PR much risks in Selambau and Gantang. But no one will be complacent. The biggest risks is the use of money spooking greater corruption in the election process.

MAFREL, an election watch dog is presently beset with problems - management, institutional reincorporation, election abuses claimed to have occurred and reports not attended to. This sets up the scene as pretty for BN who'll stop at nothing to win an election as in KT Bye-Election, where The Government Ministry of Information staff was distributing cash in envelopes to media people; and Permatang Pauh where cash was openly handed out.

In Kuching last week, after "tahlil prayers" politics was not taboo. A retired Malaysian Information Services officer related an incident of an off duty Policeman accidentally discovering ballot boxes in a room during Sulaiman Taib's election as MP. Nobody breathed a word. In Sabah, same thing on ballot boxes happened, found by on the banks of some river; nothing happened. All these are no doubt undocumented and therefore unproven but the rakyat will keep silent with a knowing smile.

It is quite apparent that if civil action by all and sundry including that of MAFREL, could be harnessed and managed well, we could keep BN honest. But keeping them honest is a long haul, as the systems have aged 50, the worms will not come out of the woodwork, if we don't shake up the hangover after the long malaise.

Some pix of Batang Ai, and ample grace in the music and dance of the Dayaks

The abuses I was referring to in Permatang Pauh.

Pix from MAFREL and "discordantdude" [Youtube]
on which report is not forthcoming.
Ng Yen Yen doles out cash!


peng said...

You always have the flair for creative post titles! 'a batang and two bukits'! The naughty will read it as something sexual. :D
But not when they see the worms crawling out of the batang and the bukits. You are right, it's not easy to rid 50 years of malaise. Not even Mafrel could do much considering the might of the $ virus which has infected BN.
It's so scary to hear of ballot box stories losing it's way and ending up in rivers and what-not?
Are we doomed by this malaise?

Salak said...


Over the weekend I heard lots of "Dua bukit satu batang" on everybody's lips. I guess I can snitch Folk Trademarks! ;)

In Sabah SPR heard some cases, and there were court petitions, too! Of course petitioners lost.

How to smoke out these worms, argh?

BTW, don't you like the ample grace of the Dayak Dancer? If you feel stressed, listen to that music from the "Sape".

There's an accomplished Chinese Sape player, too! Click H E R E !!!

Jong said...

Amazing grace it is, like a bird in the sky, beautiful isn't it? Hey, I want to learn, to discipline my movement!

Salak said...


Ha! You're bewitched by that, yes, amazing grace!!!

Can't blame you! Get the rhythmn and beat:

(gently tap your feet)1,2 :
(flow out your arms) :
(gently tap your feet)1,2 :
(flow out your arms) :

You'll get it. It's captivating!

Could we make the Batang Ai Dayaks SOAR over the BN challenge? ;))

shrek said...

Must have tattoo to match, otherwise Sape don't sound good.

Salak said...


For the men, yes!!!

Or you'll look like the ladies!

Oh you should see the male version. He's in full garb with his shield, as he moves, eyes glued to something up high, let out a shrill cry, (not shrek ;) ). He could also make quick jerky movements across the floor and returns to the bewitching grace!!!

Lu, sudah lama tak dak latang Sarawak lah!!! :))

shrek said...

Nowadays no need to visit Sarawak to see the Sape player. Every year there is this Sape player that comes here to play for the Americans complete with bird feathers and all. He's also a good head hunter so gua don't want to mess with him.

Salak said...

"...He could also make quick jerky movements..."

That's not quite right, shrek! Sorry!

It's like an eagle having stalked it's prey, in quick precise movements, with a shrill cry, and then soar up high again!

I'm sure you've seen it performed!

Salak said...

Hey, shrek!

Click H E R E of that in a pix !!!

Jong said...

If Mafrel continues to harp on its past achievement, its ability to obtain "accreditation"
from SPR/EC etc, and has yet to submit its report on GE-12 on 8 March 2008 and Permatang Pauh By-Election on 26 Aug 2008, it's not going to be of any effective will it? It has proved to be just another toothless tiger like Suhakam and MACC - just talk!

Meanwhile concerned volunteers like me will have to be contented and 'syiok sendiri' that we had done a bloody good job collecting datas and evidences against election abuses while those at the top in Mafrel for reasons known to themselves(!!) are still sitting on that pile of reports they are supposed to colliate for submission to SPR/EC.

If Mafrel is what it stands for - "Election Watchdog" with transparency, integrity and credibility, it should then come out in the open to explain what actually went wrong. Right now they look more like a toothless "watchdog"!

Those bunch of "elitists" at the top think they are not answerable to anyone but you bet they do! They owe an explanation to the Malaysian public, the electorates and the thousands of volunteers who helped make Mafrel what it is today!

Again, why are the reports not submitted? - Salak just asked, "Is Mafrel hiding behind the very government they vehemently criticize?" I tend to agree with him.

Salak said...

Yeah, Jong!

We need to smoke out those worms from the dead wood!

I wonder if there's an eagle soaring above and snacth those in MAFREL for lunch!

How many hours they got now? Like 28hrs?!

Jong said...

Anil Netto picked up and has this to say on his blog

Mafrel’s GE13 election monitoring report:

It’s been one year already, and Mafrel, the civil society election watchdog, has apparently not yet submitted its report to the Election Commission. This was a watershed election - so what’s delaying the report? Will it be submitted to the Election Commission before the three by-elections in April?

Here's Mafrel's website..

Salak said...

"...Nowadays no need to visit Sarawak to see the Sape player. Every year there is this Sape player that comes here to play for the Americans complete with bird feathers and all..."


Yeah! No thanks to Sulaiman Taib Mahmud, whos supposed to be Dep Minister of Tourism! Bloody jerk!

Salak said...


again !!!

Jong said...

Thanks Salak!

I find "wordpress" is definitely more advanced eh? Any links we type in is automatically clickable.
Time to change my friend!

Salak said...

Thanks, Jong!

You don't know half the story on Wordpress! Check with peng! She "pening kepala" one time! :))

Jarod said...

Satu batang panjang dan dua bukit gunung.. Adik sudah lama tak mari jenguk!


hmm, why we need mafrel when all the while they are not functioning in the proper way?

Salak said...

We may not need MAFREL per se if they continue to mismanage work on good causes. What MAFREL ideally stands for ie free and fair election is what we want. To sensible voters they'll tell friends what to look out for and if we can coalesce, or sock in all the efforts together, it'll be more meaningful. Whether MAFREL is there or not people will still be enraged against "indecent acts" of cheating. Rage may spur people into positive and progressive thinking and actions.

There is, it is fairly believed, political party members in MAFREL. This is in many ways silly. It exposes MAFREL to severe risks of misgovernance and eventually to the party they belong.

I mentioned it at of a 96-HOUR deadline but it falls on deaf ears. Jong is jumping up and down in utter disbelief!

MAFREL may still be relevant and constructive only IF they get out of this RUT they're in now, otherwise as in most bodies in Malaysia, there could be many worms in the woodworks.

You might like to express yourself there!

Salak said...

Err ... Jarod!

Forgot and left your name out on the comment immidiately above. I meant it as responding to you! ;)

Jong said...

Breaking news:

The plague placed by the Democracy Tree near the Perak State Secretariat in Ipoh has been destroyed by cowards, I call "bastards"! How low can they go? They don't realise don't realise the plague and tree is just a symbol, destroying them is only to dig further into their grave. They can even destroy the tree but they can never destroy our spirit!

My friend Mark Smith said "relax, the spirit is untouchable. A perfect trap(by Pakatan Rakyat)for those animals to respond in exhibit".

Well said Mark, can't agree more!