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by Abu Ammar 6-JAN-1997

Kelantan has always been a centre of attraction for all Malaysians, since APU gained control of the state in 1990. We have seen abuses, criticisms and numerous negative statements being hurled by the mainstream media to discredit the Kelantanese government. The government has not been given a free hand to run the state. Day in day out, no credit has been given to the PAS government . Of late there have been reports about the rift between many quarters related to the state government in an attempt to disgrace the government in power. These issues are being used by the Barisan Nasional in the run-up to the Pulai Chondong by elections due 6 January 1997.

The invisible hand behind these issues presumes that it has the upperhand in exploiting and eventually garnering support to disrupt the smooth running of the state. Eventually it is to make show that the party in power is incapable of running the state. The 'MAGERAN' episode used once cannot be used again as the people have matured and are aware of what is best for them. Thus the invisible hand has no choice but to exploit these issues in order to disrupt the order of the day.

For those who have not been to Kelantan, these never ending issues, they would assume would naturally bring the state to an abrupt stop. The question is why is it still able to go on? Why are the numerous buses and flights to Kelantan fully booked and on the increase? As for me I am ever eager to visit Kelantan to see for myself and experience the so-called kelam kabut or huru hara experienced by Kelantan as reported by the two mainstream Malay newspapers last year. If this was true then we the rational voters would surely assume that the whole government would have collapsed long ago. But Allah is Great, the state government is strong and continues to maintain its majority to this day.

PAS' only chance in Pulai Condong was in 1959, after that Pulai Condong has always been leaning towards the Barisan Nasional(UMNO/Perikatan). A twist of events eventually left the constituency in the arms of the defunct '46(Parti Melayu Semangat 46) . But now its vacant again and has to be filled. The two contesting parties PAS and Barisan Nasional/UMNO naturally face high stakes this time. Winning the seat would have great implications for both. The only question left unanswered is what is in store for the voters ?

Barisan Nasional has always been promising the voters a number of development projects that will be carried out there once it gains control of the state. The thing is , Barisan Nasional is far from being able to wrest the state from PAS.

For me and the rest of those in the West Coast, development in other states means the acquiring the land of the rakyat, for a meagre sum as compensation. Development means the building of holiday resorts, condominiums, golf courses, formula one race tracks, LRT and a host of other projects that has nothing to offer to the poor folks in the rural and urban areas.

On the other hand we hear the deputy prime minister and the minister of Housing and Local Government providing stern warnings to developers for not fulfilling the quotas for low cost houses. When developers question the profit margin, we have the prime minster saying that the prices of low cost houses will be determined based on location, thus creating price discrimination in this sector. Visits to Kelantan has revealed that it is as developed as the other states. Well if you look at development from the viewpoint of the Barisan Nasional, it is basically how much one can acquire for a particular project. Thus the bigger the project, the bigger the returns. The question is, are the returns for the rakyat or are they for the other 'rakyat '?

We in the west coast have been saturated with development. Its basically dust, pollution, pot holes on the roads ( where a cyclist could be buried ) and prices spiralling astronomically . Land is being acquired and those ousted are placed in 'pigeon holes' and eventually pushed away into the fringes of the cities and towns.

Talking about a promising 1997, the Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan ( PLUS ) has increased its toll rates and this is the second increase in four months. Under a three-phase staggered toll increase implemented in September, PLUS now charges 10.5 sen per km, an increase of 1.5 sen. There will be another increase of 1.5 sen per km for next year. Under the concession PLUS has the right to ask for an annual increase. Who is to fork out for the charges ? Are the Barisan Nasional leaders going to pay for us ? For sure it is going to be the rakyat. Come February 1997, INDAH WATER will start charging 'reasonable' toll charges for its 'underground highway'. TENAGA NASIONAL is next in line for this year and we are quite sure they will come out with a very interesting New Year package for all of us! Come 1998, city folks will have to pay for garbage disposal as well.

Well, what am I saying ? I have not said anything about the Pulai Condong by-election. What have all these to do with the voters at Pulai Condong ? Its obvious, the voters are in a haven in Kelantan, increased water rates were opposed by the rakyat and the old rates have been reverted to. INDAH WATER has not even creeped into Kelantan. You will not have to worry about garbage disposal charges and a whole lot of other charges to burden you. You do not have to worry about your land being sold to foreigners, because your land laws have clearly stipulated that land can only be owned by persons who have been born in that state. This law does not exist in other states. If only, I had the chance to become a permanent resident in Kelantan! There are foreigners acquiring land and property in other states. Who knows, we will eventually be hearing other foreigners suing Malaysians over their property. This is a case of a 'mother's breast feeding the wrong baby'.

The outcome of the by -election will have widespread implications on the Kelantanese. A vote for the ruling party in Kelantan would be a sign of discontentment towards BN and the role it had played in destablising the state government .

My only hope is that people in the other states will be aware that they are being taken for a ride by the Barisan Nasional. Election promises mean the rakyat will have to pay for it. Zero inflation is a farce. It is hoped that the Kelantanese will once again slap the arrogant BN and teach the rest that they are the best of the lot by being firm in their stand.

The Kelantanese have nothing to lose - there are untold gains to be acquired. They are in the safe hands of a capable and pious leader, one who would not abscond with large sums of money or even accept commissions and other benefits for himself. Service to the ummah is his utmost aim as evidenced from his life style that follows the tenets of Islam.
HARAKAH 26-08-1417/06-01-1997 ENGLISH SECTION