PRU13 : And So It Begins

The Dewan Rakyat (source : malaysia.gov.my)

The Dewan Rakyat
(source : malaysia.gov.my)

Finally, after so much speculation and so many wrong guesses, and so many so-called political “experts” put to shame, Parliament is finally and truly dissolved.

With the consent of the Yang Di Pertuan Agong, the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib, on the 3rd April 2013 which is exactly four years to the day since he first took over the reins of government from the 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, went on air to announce the dissolution of Parliament or to be exact, the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives).

With the announcement, the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat will be then officially informed of the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat and who in turn will officially communicate to the Elections Commission (EC) of the said dissolution, who shall then put into motion the prescribed procedures paving the way for the 13th general elections (GE13) or Pilihanraya Umum 13 (PRU13) to be held.

Whilst all these are going on, the outgoing Cabinet shall go into caretaker mode, looking after the day-to-day business of government and the country. As for the other half of Parliament ie the Dewan Negara (or the Senate), its business as per usual.

Concurrently, with the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat, the Chief Executive of all state governments were recommended to seek the consent of the respective Sultans (including the Yamtuan Besar or Yang DiPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan) and the respective Yang Di Pertua Negeri of Melaka, Penang and Sabah, to dissolve the respective state legislatures i.e the Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN).

Once consent is granted, each DUN will be dissolved and the EC officially notified. With the official notification, as is the practise, the general elections to elect 222 new members of the Dewan Rakyat and 505 new members of the respective DUNs will be conducted simultaneously.

Signing of the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat by the HRH The Yang Di Pertuan Agong (source : thestar.com.my)

Signing of the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat by the HRH The Yang Di Pertuan Agong
(source : thestar.com.my)

The sole exception is Sarawak, whose DUN has another three years or so to run before elections will be held again and shall therefore have elections to elect new members of the Dewan Rakyat.

This practise of having the elections for the Dewan Rakyat and the respective DUNs conducted simultaneously not only eliminates any possibility of political grandstanding (thus creating unnecessary tension) but most importantly, reduces costs.

To conduct the GE13 / PRU13 in an orderly and transparent fashion requires much planning and near perfect management skills. With an allocated budget of RM400 million, a team of 230,000 election personnel would be deployed to ensure that voting for 13.3 million registered voters  runs smoothly.

That does not include members of the security forces, both police and army, bearing in mind the recent intrusion by members of the “Royal Sulu Army”, to ensure the country’s security remains intact during the GE13/PRU13.

As been mentioned by all and sundry, GE13 / PRU13 will be unlike any other previous general election, what with the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) more than fancying their chances of wresting power (by hook or by crook?) from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), so much so that they can already taste the sweet taste of victory.

Voter turnout is expected to be high, with the EC expecting the combined voter turnout at all 8,000 polling centres nationwide to exceed 80%.

And so it begins. The campaigning that is and officially at that. But as everybody knows, unless they have been keeping themselves perfectly oblivious all this while, campaigning for PRU13 / GE13 began in earnest immediately after the results of GE12 / PRU12 were announced.

Emboldened by the results of GE12 / PRU12, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) set into motion a relentless pace of divide and conquer programs, of information, disinformation and misinformation, of distrust and mistrust, planting the seeds of the politics of hate either directly or indirectly via proxy non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to name but a few, keeping not only the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) constantly on the backfoot but also those of the uniformed services fully occupied with whatever “servings” PR had planned for the day.

With at least one “ceramah” being held every week at any one location in the country (and most often than not, organized by the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat), its not a coincidence that little, if any, work gets done at all in the PR-ruled states.

On top of that, throw in the Bersih 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0, the Himpunan Hijau rallies, and God knows what else and you’ll get a picture of how trying life was for those charged with public order and internal security.

These happenings are just the tip of the iceberg. What with the ALLAH issue, the relentless questioning of Malay rights, the questioning of Islam as the country’s official religion, the questioning of the existence of the Malay royal institution, and even education and scholarship opportunities for the Malays and Bumiputeras, you could say that almost everything about the Malaysia that I have grown up with were put to question. It was as if there was a concerted effort to re-write not only the Constitution but also the history of Malaysia itself.

The Chairman of the SPR (EC) holding the official communication of the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat (source : thestar.com.my)

The Chairman of the SPR (EC) holding the official communication of the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat
(source : thestar.com.my)

Never mind that ever since the country was granted independence in 1957 and later when the Federation of Malaysia was formed with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore (who later got red-carded from the Federation) in 1963, peace and prosperity were the order of the day with all the races working side by side, each able to practise his or her own religion in peace, and each able to work, own property, run business empires, and most importantly to be able to raise a family in peace and harmony.

Yes, never mind that. But what of the country after GE13 / PRU13?

Clean water is currently a problem for the folks in Kelantan, and is fast becoming a problem for the folks in Selangor. As for Kedah and Kelantan, that problem that is clean water, will be compounded even further once the full effect of the clearing of the vast tracts of land in both these states is felt, if it hasn’t started yet. So should these states return to the BN-fold, then water will definitely be an issue that needs to be resolved fast.

Creative accounting will also prove to be a problem for the incoming Kelantan state government. Despite having many Kelantanese professionals who are certified public accountants (CPAs), cleaning up the accounts and making sure whats real get left on the accounts and whats speculative get taken out is going to be a tall order even for the best and brightest of these accountants.

After all, you can only plan for development with what you have and not by what you think you will have or going to get. I may not be an accountant but what should be and what is are two different things, aren’t they not?

A change in the state government of Penang may see the new incoming state government re-visiting issues of interest eg the “investment” in China (is it really RM3.4 billion?), the awarding of the mega projects by the DAP-led PR government of Penang as well as the approval of controversial housing projects perched on the slopes of the hills of Penang island as well as the problems of typo errors that has been plaguing the DAP-led state government.

The incoming state government will have the their work cut out for them. Maybe the first order of the day will be to ensure that all laser jet printers in use by the state government are not plagued by bugs in their software drivers. Maybe. And that is if the new incoming government is BN.

The Prize - The Prime Minister's Office, Putrajaya (source : wikipedia.org)

The Prize – The Prime Minister’s Office, Putrajaya
(source : wikipedia.org)

The same applies to Selangor, and Kedah. Well, at least these two states were only held for one term by PR and therefore, immediate remedial work is still possible despite the damages that has been done. And so it is as well for Kelantan, despite it being THAT long under PAS, as not much has been done anyway.

It would be interesting, this GE13 / PRU13. And different. Many has tagged it to be the Mother of All Malaysian GEs. It may yet to turn out to be other than that as it has been noticeable, with changes in the way the wind blows. It seems that common sense has come back to roost, acknowledging that much progress, in both tangible and intangible terms, stand to be lost.

As it is, many have acknowledged that Malaysia is at a cross-road. One wrong vote and the country may go down to the dogs instead of law and order, peace, prosperity and harmony.

And if that be the case, what is lost may not be recovered ever. If that were to be so, what then?

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