Stop the elections-vaganza

The excessive amount spent on some of the unnecessary elections is better off channelled elsewhere 

Pic By TMR

THIS Saturday, voters in Johor will go to the polls, called by the mentri besar although the state’s legislature will only expire next year. This came on the heels of elections in neighbouring Melaka late last year. In late 2020, there was the Sabah election. 

Even before the dust in Johor settles, there are already talks that Kedah and Perak will be holding their state elections next. What elections-vaganza madness is this? 

Never in the nation’s 64-year-old history has state elections been called so frequently, and I would add, needlessly. 

Except for Sarawak, where the tenure of the state’s legislature differs from that of the Parliament’s, there is no necessity to hold elections in Sabah, Melaka, Johor or other states for now. 

Have we forgotten about Covid-19? Infections are at an all-time high, with hospitalisations and deaths climbing at an alarming rate. Have we forgotten about how the Sabah election brought on the third wave of Covid-19 infections in the country to devastation of lives and livelihoods? 

Let us not forget about the costs. In Sabah, the unnecessary election cost taxpayers RM130 million. The Melaka election cost around RM50 million, according to Election Commission estimates. 

Would not such expenses be better channelled elsewhere, like helping small businesses or vulnerable groups hit by the pandemic? Why is it necessary to spend unnecessarily during such economically-trying times? 

We all know why the Melaka and Johor elections were called. Certain quarters wanted to ride on the current ground sentiments to build enough momentum to push for a national poll soon. 

This is why successive elections are being called for no other reason than to satiate certain leaders’ lust for power and for them to grab their “get out of jail free” card. 

To me, all is not lost. We may not be able to do much individually. But collectively, Johor voters can send a strong message by voting against parties whose leaders have no shame in subverting the democratic process for their selfish interests. 

If these leaders have no qualms about how holding elections when Covid-19 infections is at an all-time high can jeopardise public health, Johor voters should have no qualms rejecting them. 

Similarly, if these leaders think hundreds of millions in taxpayers money is better spent on holding elections instead of directly spend- ing on needy Malaysians, Johor voters should show these culprits who the actual bosses are. 

And what better way to prove who the actual bosses are than to show, at the ballot boxes, that voters will not take to being led by their noses! 

  • Thomas Sebastian Kepong 

The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.