The Election Commission’s requirement to have the full details of polling agents by this Friday is indeed scandalous! Another bully tactic by the BN government to ensure that the Opposition fails in all accounts. (Read this in Eli Wong’s)
I remember being a polling agent for the Opposition (PRM under PKR ticket) in Sungai Ara (Penang) in the 1999 general elections. All our details were only to be given on the eve of polling day. And until that time, the Opposition will be scrambling to look for agents. It was quite a pitiful sight.
I hope the Opposition will have better luck this time.
I have always voted the Opposition and have given my time and energy for their cause in two elections – 1999 and 2004. I believe that no Parliament should be dominated by a single power – a racist one at that. I have never voted BN because it is a grouping of racist politicians with the determination to enforce racist policies. No matter what their manifesto can be, no matter what their threat is – I believe that denying them 2/3rd is NOT enough. They should be ousted altogether.
But during the time when I indulged myself in active politics (even almost being a candidate in the 2004 elections – I declined in protest as I could not stomach nor accept the manner and method in which PKR and DAP were negotiating seats) – supporters for the Opposition was hard to come by.
When we started campaigning with PKR and PAS in 1999 (there was the Barisan Alternatif then), PRM members like us often felt uneasy. We often did things voluntarily, with no hope nor request for allowances, monetary or otherwise. We spent our own money, time and energy to volunteer for party or election activities. Our reward: the satisfaction of giving racist BN a tough fight, if not a good one.
And so when PKR and PAS volunteers ask if there were allowances for campaigners or polling agents, we laughed to ourselves. There were others demands, requests as well. My Muslim friend was told ‘diplomatically’ that she had to wear the tudung (head scarf) if she wanted to campaign in the kampungs. This friend was elderly, and a fierce socialist at that. She was also a women’s libber. When she did finally contest in the 2004 elections, well…she had to wear the tudung. So much for socialism and women’s lib.
Anyway, it was no fun being a polling agent though we enjoyed it immensely. Just to be there meant everything. But it was tedious as Opposition polling agents had only one shift – the whole day. We had to double up as counting agents as well, which meant that ur duties will continue until after polling time. We had to try our best to control nature’s call, until by some divine intervention, we get a replacement.
Unlike the BN polling agents who had two or three shifts. The BN polling agent who sat beside me said he was paid RM40 for a shift, which did not include lunch and drinks. There were separate agents for counting so a BN polling agent’s job finishes at 5pm on the dot. A very lucky lot, indeed!
I hope the Opposition can come up with their list of polling agents by Friday. I fear for them, though. But I have faith that supporters for change are a lot more these days.
If you have time, do sacrifice one day to make sure that the BN won’t get away easily if they have ghosts or phantom voters up their sleeves!
They have gotten away too easily for 50 years. Do you want to give them another 50 years?