Shahrir: Do not underestimate the wishes of the people
KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Council member Datuk Seri Shahrir Samad said it is unfair to blame the Election Commission (EC) and the country’s electoral process when the power to decide lies solely with the voters.
Speaking to The Mole Shahrir said: “Politicians tend to forget whatever result they get in an election is based on people’s wisdom and choice."
“Do not underestimate them (the people),” he said, adding that even the Arab Spring would not be a success without the people’s support.
Shahrir said: “If the opposition keep bashing the EC and the system, are they willing to admit they are disputing their own victory in 2008 (the12th General Election)?”
“Why do they have to blame the EC when the result is not in their favour?”
During a parliament session on Thursday, Shahrir who is the Johor Baru MP said the EC should not be blamed as it does not determine election results.
Bernama reported Shahrir as saying: “Does it mean that when we win all the seats, then only the election system is fair. I think we cannot do that. We do not know where the people's hearts lie.”
Blogger Apanama also wrote that Shahrir’s message was clear: politicians and political parties should stop blaming the whole world if they are rejected by the electorate.
“Citing himself as a clear example, Shahrir said he was a living testimony to prove that elections in this country were free and fair,” Apanama wrote.
Recalling his experience when he contested as an independent candidate during the Johor Baru by-elections in 1988, Shahrir said: “Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) were stronger then, especially with the leadership between (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad and (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim.”
Shahrir said at that time all odds were against him but he was ready to leave his fate in the hands of the people.
“Surprisingly, I won. Now, tell me, if the electoral process is tainted, how can I still win against a strong government then?”
The seasoned politician also said the victory in that election had taught him a lesson: never to underestimate the power of the people.
“There was nothing exceptional about me or the people of Johor Baru. As the democratic process goes, the people decided who they wanted to keep in, or to kick out, that’s all.”
Thus, Shahrir said every candidate must learn to respect people’s decision, to uphold people’s belief and trust if one wins, or to accept defeat gracefully.