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Feb 8, 2008

Does The Barisan Nasional Believe In Their Own Spin?

The main selling point of the incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN) administration is that they have an impeccable track record in providing economic and social development and they are committed towards developing a just and equitable nation. The latter part of the selling point is not unique as all political parties use it as well. I am, however, wondering how much the BN actually believe in their own spin?

Chinese New Year is one of those times of the year where I try to take things a bit easier and even try to be a bit "normal" for once and watch the TV for both news and entertainment. I happened to catch a filler spot during the TV2 Mandarin News that carried the catchphrase; "Berlainan Parti; Satu Imej" (Different Parties, One Image). The spot was filled with splices of vidcaps featuring carefully selected scenes from the BERSIH rally and the HINDRAF rally interspersed with scenes of street violence that was very obviously taken from another country. There were also "interviews" with "people on the street" that sounded suspiciously scripted with subtitles in case we missed out what those people were saying.

No mention is made of the pre-emptive police brutality that was a common factor in these rallies (including the incident where 2 people were shot by a plainclothes police officer in Batu Burok, Terengganu) nor was any context given as to the circumstances that made those public protests necessary in the first place.

Now, one has to wonder .. is the Barisan Nasional so incapable of winning support based on their own merits alone that they have to resort to outright lies and blatant misinformation on publicly funded media?

This reminds me of a public forum a few weeks ago where a BN Member of Parliament was present and made to answer some queries from the floor. Since this forum was organised by a Christian organisation, I guess the Honorable MP must have made the safe assumption that no Malays and/or Muslims would be present.

One of the questions asked was how he felt about the petition by BERSIH for free and fair elections (go here for the full text of the petition). The Honorable MP shocked a lot of people on the floor when he audaciously stated that this was a "Malay problem" instigated by "Malay troublemakers" (perhaps implying that they were "Muslim fundamentalists" to whip up some latent fears since he was addressing an audience that was primarily Christian) and we should not be involved in it.

I say "shocked" because quite a few people who were present on the forum that day also participated in the exercise to present the petition to the Yang Dipertuan Agong and experienced pre-emptive police brutality first hand.

I must say that his "stock" fell quite a bit that day, especially for me. There are very few BN politicians that I like and feel good about. This gentleman was one of them. Unfortunately, it appears that when push turns to shove, even a man like him would resort to the old "divide and rule" polemic while playing lip-service to nation building and inter-communal understanding and harmony. It is just as well that this gentleman; a first term MP; is not running again in the next General Elections. I am sure I am not the only person thoroughly disappointed with this man's integrity.

And I haven't even mentioned the RM30 Ang Pows that's been going around in my hometown from the incumbent BN MP whose constituency just saw a major accident in a public works project (the steel struts of the structure's roof collapsed during mid construction and apparently 2 workers were killed). I'll try to put up some photos when I can.

My 8 year old brother who got the RM30 Ang Pow now thinks a world of this MP. I'm sure if he could vote, he'd vote for him. Perhaps that's really how the BN would want us all to be .. gullible children in the hands of a manipulative adult.

Lord have mercy!


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