It’s getting hotter by the day

  • Metro News
  • Wednesday, 02 May 2018

Loo looking at his torched billboard in Jalan Kelawei, Pulau Tikus.

UNLIMITED broadband is making the silly season even sillier.

Ten years ago, if memory doesn’t fail me, it was phone calls or text messages that were the fastest way to send official election results or candidates’ list.

And mind you, we have to pay for each text message, unlike the unlimited data which we now enjoy on our smart phones.

Many candidates -- mostly first-timers -- now engage professional videographers to follow them around during door-to-door or market walkabouts to capture their best moments.

The flow of the storyline and editing are then skilfully done and uploaded on the candidates’ Facebook pages for all to see.

In case you miss all the fiery orators in the daily ceramah, you can watch it again on social media.

There is even live streaming, and one does not have to be at the ceramah site to listen to your favourite speakers.

Even incumbents who were dropped have been bidding farewells and expressing their gratitude to the parties via their Facebook page.

But the convenience of social media, I would say, cause voters to be overloaded with information.

And then there is the misinformation, like what happened to Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy.

He went for his regular checkup at a hospital and someone saw him lying on a stretcher while waiting for the doctor.

That someone snapped a photo of him and sent it to his friends who then shared it with others and one of them joked that Dr Ramasamy was warded because of “election tension”.

The sharing went on but the joker’s intent fell away and eventually people believed that Dr Ramasamy was in hospital over the election.

We have to verify ‘news’ that sounds too good to be true. One of them being about Parti Warisan Sabah securing four seats right after nomination, to which its president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal immediately denied.

But the average person either does not bother to verify or does not have the skills and resources to do so and dumbly helps to spread tall tales.

But I don’t fancy the convenience of social media. Imagine putting your phone away for two hours and finding hundreds of unread Whatsapp messages later.And do not forget you have to monitor Twitter, Instagram and Facebook of political big shots in the country.

We are seeing the most candidates contesting in Penang’s history, 193 to be exact, vying for 53 seats.

I dread how we will cope in the next general election after this one, with technology revolutionising society at breakneck speed.

With another week to go, expect more drama.

The earlier 18-day gap upon the Election Commission’s announcement leading to nomination day did not help either, with the long period taking a toll on many reporters.

It is so ‘hot’ now that two billboards of Pulau Tikus Gerakan state candidate Jason Loo Jieh Sheng were torched.

Malaysian United Party (MUP) members claimed sabotage too, as their flags and posters were taken down in Ayer Itam a day after they were put up on Nomination Day.

Besides Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan and PAS, we are seeing many local parties joining the fun.

We have those from Parti Cinta Malaysia, Malaysian United Party, Penang Front Party and Parti Rakyat Malaysia.

Even Parti Sosialis Malaysia is making a comeback after a long hiatus, with ex-DAP man Teh Yee Cheu being its sole contender here.

Before I sign off, let me share with you some of the facts and figures of the elections in Penang.

There are 947,679 registered voters in the state, with Bukit Gelugor parliamentary seat having the most — 91,780 while Tanjong has the least number of voters at 49,737.

The state seat with the highest number of voters is Paya Terubong (46,991), which also falls under Bukit Gelugor, while the state seat with the lowest number of voters is Air Putih (13,440).

The parliamentary seats with the highest percentage of Malays, Chinese and Indians are Kepala Batas (78.7%), Tanjong (84.2%) and Batu Kawan (22.7%) respectively.

Tanjong has the lowest percentage of Malay voters (6.1%), while Tasek Gelugor and Kepala Batas have only 14.7% and 4.1% of Chinese and Indian voters respectively, the least among the parliament constituencies.

As for state seats, Penaga, Pengkalan Kota and Perai have the highest percentage of Malays (92%), Chinese (92.1%) and Indians (36.1%) respectively.

Likewise, the seats with the least percentage of Malays, Chinese and Indians are Pengkalan Kota (1.9%), Permatang Berangan (7.2%) and Penaga (0.4%) respectively.

Happy voting and may the best man win!

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