The “heat” of 13th General Election is on as political parties have finalized their candidates list. In some towns, there are talk and gatherings by the political parties. Some “candidates” have gone to villages to give speech and inspiration of their party’s foundation and causes. The Bidayuh’s “organizations” is also making their preparation for a “dinner” functions with their representative as a channel for political campaign. I’ve been to two dinners which were patronized by the Bidayuh politicians. They were fun and interesting as there are many Bidayuh gathered around with delicious kind of food served. Listening to politician speech and promises is such a pampered evening as money allocation are declared and given in cash.
An opposition candidate invited me to his talk in several villages but I cannot make it due to parenting obligation as kids need me a lot during weekend. I politely informed him and wished him good luck to pledge my support to him. I wish I can be there for him although there is no food and drink provided. I like to listen to people’s inspiration and so to the political propaganda as they are quite interesting in the making.
This year will be a crucial election for the Bidayuh in all constituencies as there are few issues that might stern the support of the Bidayuh. Barisan Nasioanal politic of development might be their subject of loyalty with many Bidayuh have benefited from them; such as Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia and infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, there is a challenge for them to win the Bidayuh young generation as they are more “aggressive” in their thinking and behavior toward current political “theater” in Malaysia. They are the generation of change since they are aware of current issue in politic. They read independent news and like to express their opinion in social media, blogs and SMS.
There is a “clash” between the elders and youngsters in Bidayuh political understandings. The elders normally prefer the current government as minor “development” are seen in their villages. They are electricity supply, fresh water supply, community halls and not least; money hand-outs from the current government. For them, changing the ruling parties might be hazardous to the Bidayuh’s future. As a hardcore audience to the mainstream media, they are convinced by what they watched and listened to. The power of media has overcome their fear and curiosity towards the political uncertainties. Most of them read local news paper as they are not familiar to social media and alternatives independent news.
Somehow, the Bidayuh youngsters are IT savvy and hardly influenced by the mainstream media. They are connected with other people in the virtual world where information are shared with no boundary. The independent news is their alternative to “seek” the truth of the mainstream media. Their curiosity toward political uncertainties is answered by their knowledge and thought of the current political events. They are not the ‘easily influenced” group especially by the opposition, but they are aware by the current government’s “flaws” in policies implementation. These Bidayuh youngsters believe in good governance, equality and justice. They are normally live in town area and working as professionals, government servants and entrepreneurs.
Their representative also plays a crucial role to convince the Bidayuh’s vote. There are hate-and-love relationship between the representative and the colony of Bidayuh. Favoritism seems to be the disadvantages if the representatives to win the youngsters vote. In several rural project implementations, they are less Bidayuh contractors involved. Their representative already have their own “team” to get project nevertheless they are qualify or not. There are some breeches in minor projects implementation but seems to be ignored by their representatives. Those who are connected to the representatives directly will always get their project with some amount of incentives pocketed to the politicians and high positioned officers. This “tradition” has been practiced by the “parties” to strengthen the influences of the politician in some Bidayuh constituencies by “patronization” for support. It is not only a corrupted practices but it affects a quality of services and products by the contractors. To simplify that; let say there is a RM 1 million funds allocated for 7 km Kampung Padawan road. The 7 km road is completed but after 5 month, the road is dented due to thin asphalt. A RM 1million project is not equivalent quality of finished product; the road. Why it is so? In every awarded project, there is some amount has to be paid to the representatives as a favor of their approval. Then the remaining amount is distributed among the main contractors and sub-contractors. In some cases, incentives are given to the district officers for their approval of work progress.
The government always in delusion to understand the people needs. They always claim that they know and care buy giving incentives and money. But, the fact is that we need a better future especially the Bidayuh who is always caught-in-between by their dilemma. They have to support the Barisan Nasional hoping that their future will be brighter but they have to support the opposition seem their representatives are fail to carry out their duty; to listen to their struggle.
Politic of intimidation is not relevant to the Bidayuh as they are getting wiser in the sense of politic. There is always substation to a lost. No development is anything to lose or to gain as they are aware of current issue of politic. Their perception to the politician has change since they are not awarded by the political stability but their hard work. There is no more master-slave relationship between their representative and the Bidayuh. In fact, the Bidayuh politician must equipped themselves with the best skill to win the people as they are not the slave to the politicians but the power to decide. The People are the one who knows the best for the future and not a single politician.