Update: Looks as if there was no consensus between DAP and PKR on the issue. Azmin says they are “yet to be convinced on the objective”.
Talk of snap polls has been rife – though I fail to see the need for it when the next general election can’t be too far off.
If anything, it is a distraction and diversion from the issues we are confronted with in Penang: unchecked property development, soaring prices for residential property, the clearing of hills that has contributed to flash floods, ill-conceived mega projects, and rapid gentrification in the George Town world heritage site.
Then, there is the elephant in the room, the RM46bn SRS transport infrastructure proposal for expensive highways, elevated LRT and monorails. Along with it comes an equally controversial 4,500-acre land reclamation scheme, which will affect fishing communities in southern Penang Island, to raise funds to finance the expensive transport infrastructure.
The RM46bn SRS proposal has deviated so much from the original RM27bn Halcrow transport masterplan, which proposed mainly bus rapid transit and modern trams, which are cheaper to build, operate and maintain. I wonder if it is the land reclamation that is driving the SRS proposal for transport infrastructure rather than vice versa.
If there is a snap poll and the DAP capitalises on sympathy votes for the chief minister to win, will the result be used to legitimise the exorbitant SRS proposal – at a time when most people are not aware of the Better, Cheaper, Faster blueprint? In the last general election, the DAP used the widespread desire for change to whip up support for its tunnel mega project.
Together with news of the snap polls is the news that the DAP party elections has been postponed – in the same way, that Umno party elections are often postponed ahead of general elections. Emulating this old Umno habit is not the democratic way to go.
Why snap polls? Some speculate this could be one way to bring in national DAP leaders into the state government in case the chief minister has to step down. But that – or any other partisan political considerations – is not a good reason to force the electorate to go to the polls prematurely.
It is not as if the state government is in any danger of collapsing. The Penang state government should just get on with the job it was elected to do.