Prof. Dr James Chin

Professor Dr James Chin, a former Unimas lecturer, currently the Head of Arts Discipline at Monash University, Sunway campus said “money politics” or the direct buying of votes is a key feature of why BN is able to hang on to power in Sarawak.

In an opinion column at Malaysian Insider James Chin, who is a Sarawakian himself said the majority of Sarawak’s natives are easily bought off with a few hundred ringgit simply because they don’t understand the full logic of capitalism.

“In capitalism, in order to move ahead and be independent, you need capital, or in simple terms, savings or credit,” he theorized.

“In many of the native groupings, while they understand the importance of money and what money can buy, they don’t fully understand the logic of savings. Hence, they spend almost all their income and they have no savings.”

Natives tendency to spend beyond their means making them an easy target for cash rich politicians from the ruling Barisan Nasional government.

The end result, he said is that the majority of the group are always in debt and have no savings. This makes them very vulnerable to politicians who come offering a few hundred in cash.

The native political elites also to be blamed for nourishing this culture according to Prof Chin.

“They openly encourage consumption by organising many gatherings. Most of the time, they only “sponsor” some of the events, leaving their community to pick up the tab for the rest.”

“For them, it’s a form of control by putting their own people in debt so that they can be bought off easily and be dependent on them.”

He said as long as BN can “sponsor” the elections in rural areas, it will be a real uphill task for PKR in the rural heartland of Sarawak.