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This whole idea of holding elections during the monsoon season is just madness. The monsoon season is a dangerous and destructive time. During the last monsoon season, dozens lost their lives; tens of thousands were displaced and billions of ringgit in losses were incurred.

It is a time when the machinery of government should be focused on preparing to evacuate flood victims, readying plans to provide food and shelter for those likely to be affected. To this end, the King himself called upon the nation to brace for heavy rain and extensive flooding. His message couldn’t be clearer: focus on the monsoon and the welfare of the people, not politics. That’s what responsible governments do. 

Already reports are coming in of floods in Selangor, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Sabah and Sarawak. And this is only the beginning of the monsoon season. It’ll get worse in November when voting will take place. 

But instead of heeding the King’s plea, UMNO has stubbornly pushed ahead with its plans to dissolve parliament. 

Many are asking why on earth would Prime Minister Ismail Sabri call a general election in the middle of a monsoon season? Ismail says he had to dissolve parliament because 11 of his cabinet colleagues undermined his position by petitioning the King not to agree to dissolve parliament. He is simply being disingenuous. Only a few days ago, he insisted that it had not affected his position. The truth is he was too weak to stand up to Zahid Hamidi. He knows people are now angry and is trying to shift the blame elsewhere.

UMNO must think the voters are fools, that they can’t see through this charade. UMNO President Zahid Hamidi has been pushing for early elections for months now. This is the same man who even pushed for elections during the height of the Covid pandemic when people were dying by the hundreds.

In fact, he has subjected this nation of ours to months and months of instability and political intrigue. Both he and Najib Tun Razak have gone out of their way to destabilise every government since UMNO lost power in May 2018. 

And we know why he’s doing it. He faces dozens of criminal charges. If convicted, he might spend years in a prison cell. His strategy is simple – capture the government through fresh elections and then put his men in all the right positions to make the charges against him go away. He knows, too, that once a conviction is handed down, it becomes harder to dismiss the charges. Time is not on his side. To save himself and his cronies, he must act and act quickly. 

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s how Zahid himself described the situation. UMNO-BN, he said in his speech to the MIC general assembly, must win big because if they don’t all of the would be dragged to court. [You can watch an excerpt of his speech in the video above]

There you have it – from the horse’s mouth so to speak. 

And that my fellow Malaysians is why we are having this election in the middle of a monsoon season. It’s not about restoring stability. It’s not about getting the economy back on track. It’s not about helping ordinary folk feed their families or about bringing inflation under control. It’s all about saving themselves from prosecution.

And they are willing to risk the lives, homes and property of voters to get what they want.

In fact, they are hoping that it will be so inconvenient to vote during the monsoon season that you will not be able to cast your vote. That’s what they want because they know that a low voter turnout will probably favour them. 

The question now is how do we the voters respond to this dastardly self-serving scheme by all these unscrupulous politicians who are endangering lives and putting us to great inconvenience just to save themselves.

I say that the best way to respond to Zahid Hamidi and his UMNO-BN cronies is to turn up to vote no matter what. Walk through water, stand in the rain if necessary but go out and vote if you can. Let’s vote out Zahid and UMNO-BN once and for all. We have to let them know that they cannot disrespect us – the voters – this way.  

[Dennis Ignatius | Kuala Lumpur | 14th October 2022]