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Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

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Nicholas92 Male
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  #1 Old 20-06-2012 Default Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

This thread needs a little clarification, because the immediate answer may seem like an absolute 'Yes'.

There's actually some background to this. The other day I heard someone say something like this: "After so many years controlling Sabah/Sarawak, BN has still screwed them over. If they vote in BN again, then they deserve it".

Well in the interest of not alienating our fellow Malaysians (and given that obviously not everyone there votes one way, and that there are plenty other states here in the same situation but don't get singled out) I decided to generalise the thread's discussion. So the story is for context only.

I'd also like to try and pre-empt any possible sidetracking now... we are NOT here to discuss whether BN is bad or not. I don't mind using the East Malaysia situation as a framework for discussion, because it's interesting, but I hope this thread won't devolve into just bashing BN again.

Anyway, so if anyone wants to use the East Malaysia situation, let's just operate on the assumption that BN is bad. Purely academic la, OK?

...

So do people deserve the government they vote for? On the one hand, you could say that some communities just don't have access to information or alternative viewpoints, so they've never been reliably informed of the other options available to them.

But on the other hand, if you've been living in a situation where the same government has repeatedly cheated your state of its wealth, or rights, then is it your fault for not trying something new? After all when you vote, the alternative candidate's right there on the ballot paper. If you've been screwed over for many years, even if you haven't gotten much information on the alternative, would it be such a risk to try voting another way for once?

I'm honestly not so sure where I lie on this. Obviously I can empathise how for instance people in the more rural areas don't have access to alternative media or balanced news coverage.

But when people say "Aiya so many years it's been so bad, why not just try something new?" I feel like that's an easy decision for us to make *because* we've really seen the alternatives. Put another way, we can't fully simulate their mindset.

It seems so simple for us to say there's no harm in trying something new if things have been so bad for so long, but who's to say that to these people the alternatives don't look worse?

We've seen enough of Pakatan, for instance, to not worry that they will plunge us into recession, or trigger wars. But for people who have never had the chance to hear from the other side, isn't it possible that the alternatives actually appear worse to them?
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  #2 Old 21-06-2012 Default Re: Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

You brought up a very interesting point, Nicholas. I suppose the first thing we need to do in this discussion is how we should define the word "deserve". Do we mean "getting something which is a consequence of one's level of understanding and awareness", or "getting the best thing one could possibly afford"?

If we are talking about the first definition, then your question is a tautology in itself, as the whole relationship is a full circle: the population cast their votes based on their political awareness (or the lack thereof), the leaders rise to the helm and continue to withhold information, and the circle repeats infinitum until some external influence breaks the vicious cycle.

If we are talking about the second definition though, it becomes a bit more contentious - just how do we decide what is "best" for each individual in a rural household in Sarawak? As has been pointed out a few times in our forum, human rights is nothing compared to a five hundred ringgit handout for a typical rural household. Who are we to be high and mighty and say that human rights are the more important issue, when some of these people are having troubles just trying to make ends meet?
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  #3 Old 22-06-2012 Default Re: Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

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Originally Posted by youngyew View Post
You brought up a very interesting point, Nicholas. I suppose the first thing we need to do in this discussion is how we should define the word "deserve". Do we mean "getting something which is a consequence of one's level of understanding and awareness", or "getting the best thing one could possibly afford"?

If we are talking about the first definition, then your question is a tautology in itself, as the whole relationship is a full circle: the population cast their votes based on their political awareness (or the lack thereof), the leaders rise to the helm and continue to withhold information, and the circle repeats infinitum until some external influence breaks the vicious cycle.

If we are talking about the second definition though, it becomes a bit more contentious - just how do we decide what is "best" for each individual in a rural household in Sarawak? As has been pointed out a few times in our forum, human rights is nothing compared to a five hundred ringgit handout for a typical rural household. Who are we to be high and mighty and say that human rights are the more important issue, when some of these people are having troubles just trying to make ends meet?
I suppose it means something like "they lose the grounds to complain if they themselves make the wrong decision". So more towards the second one, I guess.

Because you're right, that by the first definition it becomes circular - but we're not talking about whether the phenomenon is repetitive or not, but whether the people caught in that cycle truly have no way out - i.e. whether they actually have the opportunity to vote alternatively, or whether the reality for them really is such that no alternative exists.

But going by the second one, I have to add that I'm not really even talking about the human right aspects of the situation. I would think that for a rural household in Sarawak, things like land, local development and public infrastructure are things that tangibly matter to them, and have been denied. And lots of them already have expressed dissatisfaction with that.
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  #4 Old 22-06-2012 Default Re: Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

There is always an alternative - but in the case of Sarawak politics ... well, its not just bribery and corruption, when you get down to it there is a aspect of intimidation and coercion as well.

Case in point : Does anyone remember Radio Free Sarawak? http://news.yahoo.com/missing-borneo...064803222.html

And that's on a journalist : Not those directly involved in politics.

Also - gerrymandering at its finest : Kuching city citizens has about 1/10th the power of an equivalent rural district if you count number of seats : vote ratio.

I suppose in a roundabout way I'm trying to say - Is trying to change the status quo worth it if it places you / your family / your kampung in danger? (And in some places if the government cuts funding to rural areas they probably won't be able to survive)

Admittedly i'm a lot out of touch, but the feeling i get among the more cynical Sarawakians is "we're just waiting for the CM to kick the bucket"

Last edited by eve88; 22-06-2012 at 10:50 AM.
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  #5 Old 22-06-2012 Default Re: Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

those ulu ppl kip complain they lead a hard life..no water no electricity for as long as they live..but in my opinion they deserved it lor..
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  #6 Old 22-06-2012 Default Re: Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

In an ideal world I would agree, however in practice, there are other factors at play (which eve88 isalso pointing out). Here are some of the problems,

1. Control of information and misinformation, education process is biased rather than teaching critical thinking. History is not presented as facts and with the facts, find out what is the best way forward.
2. Eventhough we have one person one vote, but how the constituencies are drawn out,
it is not based on fair representation. Politicians can stay in power with minority number of supporters. As in the case of Sarawak: Bakelalan constituency (mostly Malay) has 6958 voters, where as Pending (mostly Chinese) has 29488 voters based on 2011 data. Each constituency will ellect 1 representative.
3. Control of States' resources used in election campaign, vote buying etc. if you do not vote for BN, you will not get ... and if you do you will get ...
4. Intimidation, ISA has been used multiple times to silent the opposition in the past. Federal government interference in local politics.

So, when the rules of the game is biased, a game of head I win and tail you loose, will you be happy with the outcome?
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  #7 Old 22-06-2012 Default Re: Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

Sometimes, we can't just punish them and screw them out on the thinking that they deserve it cos they still voted back the rotten govt which has brough them to this deplorable state of life. As senior frankchong has pointed out, lack of information, as in CORRECT information do play a pivotal part in justifying why they end up voting back the same govt. that ruin thier lives. This is a typical case of for instance, Pak Abu in Kampung Nanas has only access to TV1, Tv2, TV3 and so on so forth as their mainstream media source of information, add on to the fact that most of these folks has been with BN as thier govt for almost their whole lives, so its a matter of status-quo since they would not want to change their lives by voting a new government for fears that a " war" may erupt as what its always portrayed by the ruling coalition.

Besides that, our government is also good at *candy* politics...lol..sorry for my vocab usage... what i mean is that they are very clever in thier strategy to capture these voters heart. imagine the amount of money distributed over the period of past few months and the amount of time ah job got spend flying to "ambil berat" the rakyat in sabah/sarawak all of a sudden, coincident? No? not forgetting the FGVH listing that is going to take place too, that again, will also benefit a huge portion of the grassroot folks whom in a sense, only have one government in mind, which is BN.

Another issue i might brought up is the issue of gerrymandering as mentioned by recommer eve. This is not something to be looked down upon. Everyone should know that BN plays dirty tricks on the ballot paper. So, its kind of unfair to put the blame on the Sabah & Sarawak citizens for their state of life today as their votes might have been manipulated. As Sbh srwk has been a fixed deposit to the ruling coalition, i doubt they will let free & elections come into the scene, for they know, if evrything is played fair & just, they probably had to get their jet planes ready to fly away.
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  #8 Old 22-06-2012 Default Re: Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

Also a quick addendum : the rakyat quite possibly does not know that its the government screwing them over - especially with state-controlled media its plausible to believe that its the (insert scapegoat here) fault that (insert atrocity here) happened....

Or even better, Make the Rakyat believe that said atrocity is "progress" (See, we cleared these acres of forest, now you get brand new hydroelectricity dam!)
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  #9 Old 22-06-2012 Default Re: Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

I think the points made about gerrymandering are interesting. It obviously absolves them of a blame a little, because the representation is so skewed, but even then if I'm not mistaken, the majority vote still goes to the government. So either way, the outcome would basically be the same.

As for the part about misinformation, and media restriction... yes, definitely, BUT there are so many things even the media can't fool you about. You can run a hundred stories talking about the great economy, but it won't mean anything to a family whose native fields have been taken over by corporations, and who is being driven out of their homes by development, etc.

The way I see it, if I were them, I'd think "Hey, my life's pretty bad now - maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't hurt to vote the other way one time".

But I acknowledge that this may not accurately represent how they may think, because of... well, points that I haven't really found yet, which is the problem.
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  #10 Old 22-06-2012 Default Re: Discuss: People who vote for bad governments deserve them

How do you count majority? As the examples given, Bakelalan constituency (mostly Malay) has 6958 voters, where as Pending (mostly Chinese) has 29488 voters, we had one BN seat and one opposition seat, but should be 1 BN seat and 4 opposition seat if we have equal representation. It was said that in Sarawak, even all the Chinese and Dayaks vote for the opposition (two third of the population), the opposition could still lost!
The more informed folks in the cities vote for the opposition and the number of representatives from the cities are small due to how the constituencies are divided. People in the country side are mostly simple and honest people. They have no match when faced with the skill and resources of the politicians. They are not that well informed either. A lot of them still have no electricity and running water from the tape, let alone finding out from the internet.
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