In our Selected Exhortations category, we republish interesting stuff such as must-read articles and essays not originally written exclusively for the blawg, and which have come to our attention. Please feel free to email [email protected] if you would like to reproduce your writing, but first follow our Writer’s Guide here. This is the third post of a new satirical series on how a billionaire secretly funds and forms the next Selangor administration. You can follow the series here.
Onstage with her entire exco members in front of cheering supporters, Jamilah could barely hold back tears of joy at the final result of the Selangor state election – for Parti Amal had swept clean the entire state!
The guerilla political campaign had proven to be far more successful than any of them had anticipated – thanks to the brilliant marketing strategies executed by Charlene via their fastfood outlets – with large buttons depicting an orange diamond with the single word ‘Amal’ given out free to all the fastfood patrons in community campaign to drive safely while near schools. Flooding the populace, these later became the hallmark of the political rallies.
The website too was a huge hit among the online community and many gladly printed out the acronym ‘RiP’ on their own orange T-shirts when a virtual protest was run against noisy motorbikes at night disturbing everyone’s sleep. Eventually turning into a rather influential lobby forum championing all kinds of public complaints, the ‘RiP’ monicker became the website’s tagline and the benefits spilled over to the political push too.
All these were possible because Parti Amal had remained dormant since registration, with nobody really paying much attention to its initial leadership of lawyers. Munusamy had choreographed their exit brilliantly by every one of these lawyers symbolically carrying together an oversized ‘Amal’ button to the Shah Alam mosque on the Friday afternoon after the state assembly was dissolved – where it still stands – before nominating the actual exco members now on-stage lapping up the supporters’ cheers.
But, what happened in the subsequent days still remains a talking point among voters all over the state. Taking to heart Rizal’s concerns about possible injuries and unnecessary scandalous behaviour, none of the Parti Amal candidates had conducted any public rallies. Even their attendance on nomination day was low-key with only four party representatives, including the candidate and a back-up, riding bicycles on the final one kilometre stretch to submit the necessary documentation.
Then, while political rallies and ceramahs were conducted furiously at every possible location and time over the subsequent 10 days alloted for political campaigning, Parti Amal candidates and members were conspicuously absent from public sight. There were instead video clips and selected live streams posted on the Amal website of them going about their usual business of helping people in their communities with no pomp or fuss.
Instead of blanketing the streets and other structures with banners and posters, the message sent out via the website and fastfood outlets urged supporters to just wear their ‘Amal’ buttons or ‘RiP’ T-shirts so as “not to litter our environment”. When such free T-shirts and buttons were handed out at the fastfood outlets, they were snapped up quickly – prompting many other alert enterprising hawkers to sell these of their own accord for a tidy profit.
The website had also listed out the full exco list for Parti Amal, with at least three other candidates ready to step in if the preferred nominee wasn’t eventually elected – urging everyone to conduct their own checks into the background of these candidates and to go meet them at their various stations strategically located next to the company’s fastfood outlets. All these candidates had, as a matter of course, resigned immediately from the company on nomination day – but they had been the faces interacting with the community via the website and soup kitchens for many months beforehand, resulting in them already being familiar faces to many in the state.
As such, the voracious media looking for soundbites and nifty comments had to mine the blogsites of these Amal candidates, which were updated daily with just activities and thoughts on how they have already improved the lot of many in Selangor. Questions posted directly to the candidates at the stations were responded to immediately while online comments and queries were attended to promptly by a team led by Charlene.
So, in thanking Selangor voters for giving such whole-hearted support to Parti Amal, Jamilah acknowledged all these efforts leading up to the state election. “I am also glad to say the His Royal Highness, the Selangor Sultan has consented to grant an audience to me and my proposed exco members at his palace tomorrow afternoon. I have been informed by Palace officials the Sultan has no objections to a female Menteri Besar, but it is best to hear what he has to say before I can definitely be sure I can serve the people of Selangor in that capacity.”
One of the raging exchanges during the nomination period had been Jamilah’s gender as there had not been a female state leader ever in the nation’s history. Still, the overall tone had been positive and the other political parties had been put on the defensive, with their female candidates becoming being the most visible in any electoral campaign so far.
Another tactic that had caused the other political parties to stumble was the racial card – Parti Amal had presented a team concept for every candidate with all three major races present, together with representations from various minorities and persons with disabilities. Overall, the proposed state exco represented in its racial mix the national ratio – leaving no one any grounds to complain.
But Jamilah had one more major announcement before she stepped off the podium. “I will also be proposing to His Royal Highness our intention to serve out our full five-year electoral term and we plan to call for the next state election roughly three months before our term ends.”
Awkward silence fell onto the crowd as the enormity of this statement sank in. Taking the opportunity, Jamilah quickly explained: “The three-month buffer is in case of any delays needed should there be any major reason why we might need to postpone the state election, but we hope there won’t be any reason to do so. We would like to assure everyone in the state we’re here to do our job and we want everyone to have some certainty as to how long exactly we have to fulfill our responsibilities. Hopefully, all of you will want us to stay on for another term and more!”
Loud cheers erupted and the newly elected candidates waved their thanks to all their supporters. It took a while before they were able to leave the stage and just as she stepped off, Jamilah stopped as if she had an afterthought and spoke directly to the TV cameras and microphones zoomed in on her.
“By the way, please note tonight’s election results means we’re also giving notice starting from today to everyone who has any contracts with the state, based on the various termination clauses.”
Other Parti Amal officials quickly stepped in to whisk Jamilah away, leaving the stunned reporters with no chance to seek clarification on her last statement.