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Sakmongkol ak 47

Thursday 3 September 2009

Exploding the spin on The Pekan Formula

The uninformed can get easily swayed when fed with continuous deliberate misinformation. This is my initial reaction to the articles being written on the so called Pekan Formula. Perhaps the first website to start Molotov-cocktailing the concept is the site known as PahangDaily dotcom. An article about the same appeared in Malaysia Today too. Specifically, the many essays written thus far, gave the impression that the Pekan formula is nothing but a political ploy to add voters to PM Najib.

They say the increased popularity of the PM is due to (a) relocation or army camps from election areas not previously in Pekan to Pekan (b) the resettlement of aliens into Pekan. They went out to cite the case of Kem Tentera Batu 10 in Kuantan which was absorbed into Pekan beginning the 2004 elections, the resettlement of Rohingyas and others into an area called Sungai Miang in Pekan and now, the creation of an auxiliary army camp also in Sungai Miang. The camp was previously in Taman Gelora KUantan.

These assertions are clearly wrong because they are not supported by the facts.

I would have thought that continuous feeding of such material whose frequency is exceeded only by their propagandistic value is normally associated with a ruling government. It now appears that the same bunny out of hat dirty trick is also being adopted with such panache by government forming aspirants.

The facts of the matter are as follows:-

Having an army camp is no done deal. In 1999 elections, the votes from Kem Tentera batu 10 Kuantan were split. In fact the candidate then lost votes from the air force base. He was saved by the higher votes from the army base. Therefore, postal votes are uncertain. No politician would ever want to absorb such 'grey' voting bloc into his parliamentary seat. In 2004 it was. Although the population in the camp was 10-12, thousand, actual voters numbered only 5000 or so. Unless of course, children, lamp posts, chattels and chickens are also included as legitimate voters.

It is NOT TRUE the existence of army camps will automatically add to winnable voting bloc. Just recently in the 2008 elections, the BN candidate for DUN Beserah in which a navy camp is located, lost the votes there. He didn't win the postal votes from the Navy Camp at Tanjung Gelang Kuantan. It is therefore NOT TRUE the inclusion of military establishments in any one voting area amount to pre determined winnable voting bloc.

In order to win votes from such areas, other efforts over and above than just the mere act of relocating them must be carried out. But we are not going to let the cat out of the bag. The ingredients of the formula are like that of Coke. No one knows what's inside the sugared beverage.

Army camps may be necessary to add to winning numbers, but their mere physical presence is never sufficient. So the thinking mind will apply itself to find out what took place after 1999 to 2004 that converted the hitherto 'hostile' postal voters from Kem Batu 10 Kuantan into BN friendly voters in 2004. During that election, kem Batu Tentera Batu 10 added over 5000 votes to BN. Then the same mind will identify what wasn't done that led to the loss at Tanjung Gelang.

The other additional votes came from voting areas like Jaya Gading, Sri Damai, some areas in Gudang Rasau,. These added another 5 to 6 thousand pro BN voters. Please note however during the 1999 general elections, voters from these areas rejected the BN candidate then. So once again, why would any survival sensitive politician would ever want to include uncertain voting blocs into his parliamentary seat like the PM did in 2004?

In the 1999 elections, the BN candidate lost the kem tentera batu 10 votes and lost also the votes in Jaya Gading, Sri Damai and surrounding areas. For example BEFORE 1999, the only BN candidate who won the voting area of Jaya Gading is the present 'king' of kingless Melaka, when he was the candidate then. Jaya Gading for example is an unpredictable voting area. It could go either way. In the recent elections of 2008, the BN LOST this peti undi.

Once again, to convert these areas into winnable areas for BN, required efforts and hard work beyond mere rearrangement of political boundaries.

To give the impression that voters in military camps will automatically go with BN is clearly wrong as it assumes that voters in these wards are political dullards. They rejected the BN candidate in 1999. The navy camp in Tanjung Gelang rejected the BN candidate in 2008. As one commentator rightly noted, it's impossible and patently wrong to assert that within the military establishments, political consciousness is zero.

Resettlement of refugees.

For the less knowledgeable there are several areas which are settled by refugees. Since the 1970's areas in Tanjung Agas and Pulau Keladi (both in Pekan) were settled by Cambodian refugees. Now, allow me to tell readers that the areas assigned to them in most cases were mosquito infested swampy areas and land accepted by conventional wisdom then, as being infertile. What did these wretched refugees do? With little complaints, they settled thankfully and eked out whatever form of sustenance they could muster. The area in Pulau Keladi for example was one time fit only for wallowing buffalos. The Cambodian people built houses on high stilts and made a living off the river. They started rearing fish in cages. The younger ones took to become craftsmen, brick layers, carpenters. The kampung kemboja in Pulau Keladi has a population of about 600 families and probably those eligible for voting numbered only 200 at the most. Can any one accept that 200 votes from Cambodian refuges explain the over 22,000 vote majority of the PM in 2004? I have to tell readers this, because I was part of the Pekan formula after 1999 where we worked tirelessly to regain the trust of the people. Even the term 'we' may also be an overstatement as the impetus behind the Pekan formula is almost entirely attributable to the PM.

The other point to note is the land allocated to these people did not amount to a deprivation of land to native born. The land was idle and regarded as useless before the wretched Cambodians came.

The same reasoning is used to apply to Rohingyas in Sungai Miang. Before these people settled there, the land was also a huge inhabitable swathe of swamp. But these refugees went there and made the difference. The difference is accounted for by sheer back breaking work, diligence and perseverance. Again, those eligible for voting are not more than 200-300 people.

If this point of giving land at the expense of locals is raised so as to infer a discriminatory measure by the PM and the land office in Pekan, it is highly misleading.

It's the other way round. The people in Pekan who acknowledged the compassion inherent in the PM induced them to reciprocate by giving him a bigger mandate. Facts are facts. If you look at the data in the 2004 and 2008 elections, the majority obtained by the PM was higher that the majority of all the ADUNs in Pekan combined.

Surely, we can't be serious in accepting this supercilious claim that the majority obtained by the PM in Pekan is the result of inclusion of military camps and resettlement of displaced people. There's more than these in the Pekan formula my friends. Its coca cola.


Anonymous,  3 September 2009 at 09:24  


Whatever is done can only be done to a select few...
Did the the Former FT Minister also used the Coke Formula?

Joe Black

Anonymous,  3 September 2009 at 11:31  


What is your take on the 1999 elections when he had lost but won in the end. Please put all the rumours to rest.Thank you.

Anonymous,  3 September 2009 at 14:04  

If election results continue to be nothing more than a blue smoke and mirrors charade playing itself to the crowds then the people’s response to such theatrics in the long term, is nothing but to boycott - just like in India whereby the middle class do not care less about the results.

What then we are doing is we keep/vote the fake people occupied with this fake political system on the inside and continues to run a corrupt government in the background.

We must strengthen the election process by havning more transparent process of nominations, polling, name lists, turnaround time, party donations etc.


Hang-Jebat 3 September 2009 at 14:31  

Its my 1st ever participated in PRU1999 but my vote is not for "you-know-who". My father being kick-away from "Ketua Cawangan" just cause he went to BA "ceramah". Just like how BN did to Zaid Ibrahim and Chua SL now. Be prepared to be sacked once your languange is not tally with BN. The result, they are losing vote from pemuda like me day-to-day. Pemuda BN Pekan will be sinking if they still "bodoh-sombong" especially when they wearing white-red collar shirt. To avoid this dissaster happen, then there are frequently sponsored trip to Langkawi or Rantau Panjang for "Wanita" to finish their Felcra Allowance. I still remember, my older brother get a chances to visit Medan. How lucky he is.

Greenbug 3 September 2009 at 14:38  

In Mar 2008, before the postal votes were added in, Malaysiakini reported PM Abdullah were lagging behind, wasn't it? In fact rumors had it he has lost...

Anonymous,  3 September 2009 at 15:41  

pekan formula is about hands on jaga rakyat lah..on a very focussed watever it takes basis...and alienating the hard core non aligned.

idris jusoh used that formula to take over terengganu from PAS.dunno wats the acquisition cost per voter is tho?..but it sure reaped dividends to those who got billion dollar glamour jobs after Bn won back terengganu.

can govt afford such formula on nationwide basis?or better maintain watever it is now..and focus on keeping sarawak/sabah steady.

james bong,  3 September 2009 at 16:46  

there is no secret to umno coke from heaven

Anonymous,  3 September 2009 at 22:49  

Just for your info Dato', the airmen and the seamen have a better political awareness than the green uniform soldiers of the tentera darat. That is why the number will be unpredictable with the votes from the air base and the naval base.
The truth is, the airmen do not hate the BN/UMNO candidates but they just hate the arrogant and the incompetent that runs their organization. So, the backlash is... for the Defence Minister to think and wake up his lazy brain.
But with the army camp being developed, the spin has its strength and if you want to find out, just stop the postal vote and allow the soldiers to go to polling station to vote like any other citizens. So the Pekan Formula is something very interesting but anyway who cares, they? have been doing it for many years and so what as long as the end justify the means. Ramadhan al Mubaraq. Salam Ramadhan.dh9753.

Yap 3 September 2009 at 23:47  

Do you know that when the army blokes voted in the last GE, their voting slip had their names, rank and army number on it. So who do you think they will vote for???

Tell me I am wrong???

Anonymous,  4 September 2009 at 08:17  

Dato, please tell us the readers why you were left out from the 2008 elections. The readers would want a true straight forward answer, no cover-ups, spinning, etc. Now back to the Pekan formula, it's a great formula and it can only work in places like Pekan and with people like Najib. In applying the formula, Dato Seri Najib Razak has done a good job by attending to the needs of almost every segment of the society in Pekan and had always been 'hands on' on any issue in Pekan. He had the 'means' to do it. 'Means' here if translated into machinery involvement and the tactics that are indeed questionable but who is to do that? If this formula were to be used in a pakatan constituency, you will have SPRM swarming all over you unlike Pekan.
So when the Najib calls to BN reps to use the Pekan formula, he has to give them the 'means' too. My dear Dato, I also agree with you that army camps do not 100 percent guarantee a win for a BN candidate but it ensures some form of hope that the the candidate if it happens to be a Army minister who has done his homework well would definitely win a score.
Finally,I would say UBN is sitting on quick sand with the many, many useless generals with self centered agendas on their minds. The clock of UBN's destruction is ticking since the MAC 08 elections and since it's antics in Perak and now in Selangor, is surely heading right on target fro the doomsday. The contract extension for the police chief is another achievement for the PM towards that direction.

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