Saturday, March 29, 2008
"Remember democracy never lasts long.It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet did not commit suicide" John Adams (1735-1826) 2nd President of the United States.
Translated in simple language it means no democratic government can last forever and a time will come when it has to go. In a true democratic system that would be the case. In a pseudo democratic system a government can last much longer as in the case of Zimbabwe where a bad dictatorial rule has left the country bankrupt and on the brink of anarchy.
In a continent shrouded in poverty it was once a shining example of prosperity and economic growth. When the blacks took over the country from apartheid driven Ian Smith's government after years of civil war against white rule, it has functional infrastructures, a working economy and a currency almost at par with the US dollar.
Today, hyperinflation runs in unbelievable six digits, the infrastructures broken down and the currency worthless currently exchanging at US$1.00 to 53 million Zimbabwe dollars. Robert Mugabe would rather destroy the country than give up. The damage he has inflicted on the country would take generations to repair
Where the democratic process has completely failed the only option available to remove a bad government is by way of the guns as was the case in some African countries where every successive regime led by selfish and corrupt leaders unwittingly takes the country deeper into the abyss.
Nigeria and Angola are oil producing countries and are examples of states that have failed democratically and economically in spite of being significant oil producers.
Angola is in a shambles after 27 years of civil war which ended in 2002.The war had killed 1.5 million and displaced 4 million people.It produces about 1.26 million bbl/per day of crude oil and with a population of 12 million it is still a poor country. Oil production contributed almost 85% of GDP. Its per capita income is not a true reflection of the actual income distribution.Lots of oil money are going into personal coffers of corrupt politicians.Nigeria shares the same faith or even worse as it has much bigger population. The economy is heavily dependent on oil whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement.It also produces and exports the highest number of con-man in the world.
At the other side of the scale a different ball game is played. This is where oil revenues had been put to good use, in the United Arab Emirates particularly Dubai.From an impoverish region of small principalities 30 years ago, it has been transformed into a modern state with high standard of living.It has successfully diversified its economy and oil is now only 40 % of GDP as compared to Angola's 85 %.
One have to visit the city of Dubai and the port of Jebel Ali to see how oil money had been put to good use to develop a poor region into a modern country with first class infrastructures. Its per capita income (PPP) is currently at US$55,200.
Malaysia is a country with different success story.It has been transformed from a mosquito- infested tropical backwater into a modern nation with good infrastructures, diversified economy and a pluralistic society that have worked together well.
Although it is an oil producer, it is considered small in comparison with Opec members and oil is not the mainstay of the economy.Malaysia is a multi-sector economy with bigger component of its GDP in manufacturing and services. Export of crude oil is a small portion of the GDP. It has journeyed economically well due to good fiscal policy, a fairly efficient civil service and moderately industrious population.
Over the past few years there were rumblings of discontent among Malaysians with the leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The euphoria of 2004 has turned to dismay, despair and dislike.Although the economy shows impressive growth rate of over 6 % in 2007 it has not benefited the people directly. The rising cost of goods, petrol, corruption in government and rising crime rates have destroyed the people trust in his leadership.
Although Abdullah should not be totally blamed for things beyond his control, most Malaysians were under the impressions that he can at least lessen the impact as not to burden the people.
The poor showing of Abdullah's ruling coalition (BN) at the just concluded elections was the result of the people's anger at his lack of leadership and some of his ministers' unnerving arrogance and unjustifiable racialist remarks against minority ethnic races in the country. Their imperious and impudent remarks had left deep-rooted resentment among ethnic Chinese and Indians. Most people believe he has no control over his men and they took advantage of his weaknesses.
The Chinese are the economic engines of the country. Malaysia has much to thank this industrious people who have contributed immensely to almost every sector of the economy. Government must be seen to do things for the greater good of all the people in the country and not just for one particular race. The NEP, an affirmative actions for Malays and bumiputras had overstayed its welcome. It has not benefited all Malays, most of it have been used as a gravy train to enrich a few.
Abdullah has lost his credibility and integrity with the people and at least two sultans are at loggerheads with him, two appointees for deputy minister have declined his offer, one deputy minister has resigned, two menteri besar were appointed by sultans in defiance of his choices and the rank and file in his party have lost direction.Some are with him, some are not and some are undecided.
Is there any other good reason that Abdullah has that he should not resign from his Prime Minister's post and also that of President of UMNO ?
Nuraina A Samad's Borrowed Time
Friday, March 28, 2008
At the rate Sabahan ministers are leaving Abdullah's cabinet very soon there wouldn't be any of them left to represent the state at Federal level. Rumours abound that some more ministers would be leaving soon as most are disappointed with Abdullah's treatment of those from Sabah and Sarawak by giving them minor ministry and deputy ministers ignoring the facts that without them there wouldn't be any Abdullah's government.
When the full result was made known the next day after polling, most Sabahans were exuberant and were in high expectation that they would get better deals this time.Unfortunately, that was not the case, it got worse. Even Shafie Apdal who were in better ministry before was shifted to less important ministry, Ministry of Unity,Arts and Culture.Coffee shop talk says he may be next in line to leave.
While Hanifa Aman, a two-term deputy minister expecting something better was offered a deputy in a less appealing ministry which he rejected outright.Ghapur Salleh left probably for the same reason.
Newcomer Liew Vui Keong of LDP Sabah who won on wafer thin majority was given a deputy in a better ministry, Ministry of International Trade and Industry. This is the same man who slammed him on the Mazu controversy in Sabah.
A strong rumour is going around that a new party is being formed by some unhappy parliamentarians to shift the balance of power.
The possibility is very high as Sabahans felt they are being ignored and belittle by the Prime Minister. He can appoint non elected members to be full ministers and ignored those who have worked hard to bring victory to the party.
What criteria Abdullah used to appoint his ministers is a mystery but it certainly looked like more on ad hoc basis.
It also now appeared that UMNO days may be numbered in Sabah. There is very strong sentiments among Sabahans now wanting to tukaron bangkad (changing shirts).
Watch out Pak Lah ! A typhoon is brewing in the "Land Below The Wind".
Will Sabah Change Shirts In The Malaysian Elections
The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has barred former Chief Minister Harris Salleh from leaving the country until he settles RM419,715.62 in Real Property Gains Tax, reported in the Daily Express, a Sabah English daily.
When contacted, Harris insisted that the whole episode was a "a very bad mistake" on the part of the authorities which "bothered on malice or was politically motivated" He didn't delve on his statement.
He said "Who ever is responsible can expect to face a law suit"
According to him he has a letter from IRB issued in 2005 stating that the land involved in the transaction was not subjected to tax.
This is not the first time Harris had sued the authorities for actions he deemed to be unjust.
In late 1990 he sued Labuan Development Authority (LDA) for issuing a closure order on his Labuan Hotel on the basis that it was structurally unsafe.
The court awarded him RM90 million compensation and returned the hotel to him.LDA had appealed and the outcome is awaited. It was learnt that the government has agreed to compensate him an appropriate amount out of court.
Harris was a flamboyant and take no nonsense chief minister who ruled with iron will during the Berjaya era from 1976 to 1985, when Sabah underwent significantly high economic development that boosted the state coffers making it one of the richest state at that time.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
There seems to be no end to the crisis in Trengganu. Now it's back to where it started, the 22 assemblymen are still backing Idris Jusoh as MB of Trengganu.
State Umno Secretary Rosol Wahid acting as spokeman for the group said their support is unwavered and remain firm behind Idris but would leave the matter to the Prime Minister.
Trengganu receives between RM800-RM1 billlion in oil royalties annually. The royalties goes through the MB office and how the money was to be spent is decided by Puterajaya.Substantial amount are being spent every year to host the Monsoon Cup.
Has money got to do with the on going tussle for the menteri besar's seat?
Meanwhile, nothing has been disclosed out of the meeting between the PM and the Agong.
Trengganu MB Crisis
Discretion 'not absolute'
Ruler Has Right Over Choice Of MB
Another deputy minister has resigned from Abdullah's Cabinet.
Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Gaphur Salleh, MP for Kalabakan, Sabah resigned from the Cabinet without giving any reason.
Why accept an appointment and resigned few days later ?
Wait for updates.
Updated:Ghapur resigns as deputy minister
Thursday March 27, 2008
Ghapur quits deputy minister post
By MUGUNTAN VANAR and RUBEN SARIO
KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Ghapur Salleh has quit his post eight days after accepting his appointment by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Ghapur, the Kalabakan MP and Kalabakan Umno chief, told The Star at about 7.30pm yesterday that he had sent his resignation letter to the Prime Minister’s office.
However, he said he remained Kalabakan Umno division chief and dismissed any talk of him quitting the party or joining the Opposition.
“I am still a division chief and I do not want people to speculate as my commitment is to Umno and its leadership under Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,” he said.
Asked why he decided to relinquish the post only now, Ghapur said: “I don’t want to be tied up with government duties.”
“I’m leaving the matter in the hands of the Prime Minister,” said Ghapur, a former Sabah deputy chief minister who quit the post in 1997 but returned to the state Cabinet several years later.
Ghapur, 64, is the second Sabah MP to turn down a Federal deputy minister’s post following the March 8 general election.
Soon after Abdullah named his Cabinet on March 18, Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman declined to take up the post of Deputy Transport Minister.
Anifah’s elder brother, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, later said Anifah declined the deputy minister’s post because he had served in that capacity for two terms.
Anifah had told him that it was time for him (Anifah) to make way for others, Musa said.
Have UMNO learned anything from the disastrous outings they had at the recent polls ?
The new UMNO information chief, Double-barrelled Mohammad said the party may postpone its party election to next year in order to avoid “havoc” and described it as a big possibility.
“Things are blur right now and people cannot see clearly. There is no space to make a rational decision and when this happens, the outcome may be a regrettable one,” he said.
He said the people are not angry with Umno and BN and if the people really hate the BN all states would have been wiped out.
The UMNO General Assembly had been postponed once before and I believe further postponement wouldn't breach conditions in the UMNO's Constitution as long as it doesn't exceed 18 months from the date of the last assembly.
Below is the relevent section (in Bahasa) regarding the annual general assembly in accordance with Perlembagaan UMNO (UMNO Constitution)
Perhimpunan Agung Tahunan hendaklah diadakan sekali dalam setahun pada bila-bila masa yang ditetapkan oleh Majlis Tertinggi dengan syarat tidak lewat daripada 18 bulan dari tarikh Perhimpunan Agung yang lalu.
What does he means by to avoid "havoc"? He didn't give any clear answer to the question when he was asked. Does it mean to postpone just to save one man from being ousted. He said things are blur right now and people cannot see clearly.
If the bootlickers in UMNO wanted to save one man and themselves and don't care what going to happen to UMNO at the next polls than the members have the right to call an EGM to decide whether the present office-bearers deserved to be retained.
In fact with the substantial lost of support at the just concluded polls it should not be Ku Li but Pah Lah and the Supreme Council to call for an EGM to reassure himself and members of the Supreme Council that majority of the members still want him to lead the party.
Postponing the general assembly will not solve the problems.It only delays them.It also shows that UMNO hasn't change at all and hasn't learned from its mistakes.
The top leaders are still embroiled in self-preservation, arrogance and completely out of touch with the ground.
Read:Rocky's take on this here and Tok Mommy's here
Related stories:UMNO polls should not ne postponed
Umno state committees ask Pak Lah to hold polls next year
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Purged, jailed and humiliated in the late 1990s, Anwar Ibrahim has staged a remarkable comeback at the helm of an opposition insurgency.
Malaysia's famous ex-prisoner on his astounding political rebirth.
The dust of the elections is still settling, and there are few signs the rhetoric over race is going to diminish.
Monday, March 24, 2008
When Lim Kit Siang told DAP assemblymen to boycott the swearing in ceremony of the Perak menteri besar they called him "biadap" (disrespectful).Although Kit Siang later apologised to the Sultan and the Regent, UMNO insisted he makes a public apology.
The crisis in Trengganu is set for a showdown between the Prime Minister and the Sultan, who is also the Agong, supreme ruler of the nation, nominated once in every five years on rotational basis by the Ruler's Council.
The palace have appointed Ahmad Said as the new Menteri Besar of Trengganu and rejected PM Abdullah's choice of Idris Jusoh who purportedly enjoys majority support of the state assemblymen.
Abdullah has sent directives to all UMNO assemblymen not to attend the swearing in ceremony at the palace and warned Ahmad Said not to accept the appointment and that he would be sacked from the party if he does. The crisis deepens, Ahmad Said accepted the appointment and was sacked. Is Abdullah "biadap" ? I would say no.
It depends.For the man in the street Abdullah would be seen as "biadap" but for those who understands the constitution of the state and the Malaysian constitution he is not.
The sultan has erred in his judgment by appointing a menteri besar of his own choice.
Although there are provisions in the state constitution which allows him to exercise such rights, it must be done in good faith.
It was without any doubt that Idris Jusoh, appointed by the PM enjoys the support of the majority and would, therefore, by letter of the constitution be the menteri besar.
Support of the majority has nothing to do with those of UMNO divisions in the state.Even if he gets zero support from all the divisions and gets majority support from the state assemblymen, constitutionally he is still entitled to be menteri besar.
If the Sultan insisted on swearing in Ahamd Said, legally he becomes the Menteri Besar until he goes to the assembly and is removed by "vote of no confidence". A new menteri besar supported by majority members of the house would have to be sworn in. If the house is divided than a fresh state election would be called.
Constitutional monarchs should stay within their ceremonial status and play that role and not that of an absolute monarch. An absolute monarch has no constitution or body of law above him.
Of course Abdullah could have erred on the side of caution, be more discreet and as a show of respect just let the Sultan appoint the menteri besar with out any confrontation and later remove him by vote of no confidence. He would than not be seen as "biadap".
The above is from a Sabah daily, the Daily Express on 17th July 1975.
The federal sponsored Berjaya headed by Harris Salleh led a mass defections from USNO to Berjaya to topple Datu Mustapha Harun, Chief Minister of Sabah, the man who was accused of trying to take Sabah out of Malaysia.
Mustapha's USNO was later accepted into the BN.
That's the politics of federalism.
Image:Courtesy of Sikmading's Sabah
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Another MP from Sarawak is contemplating leaving the BN and may want to join the opposition.
BN-SPDP Mas Gading MP Dr Tiki Lafe has not confirmed or denied leaving the party. He said he is on holiday with his family and is not saying anything.
It was also rumored that 10 MPs from Sabah and Sarawak are on holidays in Australia.After the hard work they need to rest and congregate in the same place !
In a new development, Richard Riot the MP for Serian has denied he is leaving the party. The new twist to the tale is, it was not Richard who made the statement, it was the SUPP publicity chief Alfred Yap.He said he spoke to Richard and he was unhappy about newspaper report that he is leaving the party and that he fully support the party and is loyal to BN.
Where is Richard and why can't he make the statement himself ?
Party hopping or frogging can be a liability or an asset to political party.
Sabah has a long history of party hopping that started as far back as the USNO government.
Sabah is the birthplace of frogging or kataking ( a Sabah term), where greedy politicians can be bought or sold at a price.
The first incident of induced frogging was in 1967 when UPKO assemblyman Payar Juman was abducted from his home in the middle of the night and enticed to join Mustapha's USNO(United Sabah National Organisation) to give it a single seat lead majority in a coalition with SCA(Sabah Chinese Association). With the crossover USNO managed to grab the government from Stephen's UPKO. Payar Juman was given a ministerial post and his abductor Halik Zaman was made his political secretary.
The biggest mass defections of politicians was in 1976 when the federal sponsored Berjaya party was formed to topple the then Chief Minister Dato Mustapha Harun. The exodus was led by Harris Salleh and discreetly supported by Donald Stephens who had converted to Islam and changed his name to Fuad Stephens and was the TYT (Governor) at that time. Berjaya won the 1976 elections and formed the state government with Fuad as chief minister. Later Fuad and some of his cabinet colleagues died in an air crash.His deputy, Harris Salleh was installed as chief minister.
In the 1994 state elections PBS won with a slim majority of 2 seats.Within a month majority of PBS assemblymen had switched side. They were offered hard cash, cabinet positions and other inducements.The then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad denied the allegations and said the crossover was due to PBS slim majority with which they will not be able to govern effectively and may cause political instability.
Party hopping is not illegal but is considered an evil act from moral point of view. It also set a bad example and sending wrong message to the younger generations who aspire to be politicians.Those who are for sale are usually of questionable character, selfish, greedy and are there purely for status and money.They don't give two hoots about serving the people and country, their priority is to serve themselves.
The federal government have used this shameful method to grab power on several occassions from the oppositions in Sabah .Should they complain if Anwar goes round trying to entice potential frogs from the BN camp ?
Saturday, March 22, 2008
It was just a tremor when Ku Li throws the gauntlet that he would challenge Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the UMNO Presidency. There were disquiet among Abdullah's aides and his faithfuls in UMNO of this open challenge to his leadership. The earthquake will come later.
Tengku Razaleigh or popularly know as Ku Li said the results of the just concluded elections are the worst ever for UMNO.The party is on the brink of losing its undivided and unequivocal supports of the Malays that it has enjoyed for half a century. A sizable portion of the Malay community have thrown their supports behind PAS and PKR. In the urban belt the Malay bourgeois have voted DAP where PKR and PAS didn't contest due to the pact they have.
The politically incarcerated Ku Li has also questioned the hijacking of the NEP by elitist groups in UMNO. The monopolistic control of the gravy train has resulted in inequitable distributions of the nation's wealth.Not only are there poor Indians in the country, there are probably more poor Malays as they formed the majority of the races in the country. The gravy train not only rewards the macais and those in power but has also astonishingly produced some extremely successful children of almost all the prime ministers with big businesses under their control. A Malay friend once lamented " Do you honestly think every prime minister of this country has a son who has great business acumen and a hotshot entrepreneur".
Embattled Prime Minister Abdullah besets with endless problems has denied that he has lost support of the people, instead said he has the support of the majority and that he is still in charge, trying to dispel rumours that his Oxford trained son-in-law has undue influence over many of his decisions. Many Malaysians have the impression that Abdullah has another cabinet, a kitchen cabinet at home where major political decisions are made. It could well be perceptions only but it has done a lot of damage to his credibility.
Razaleigh who challenged Mahathir for the UMNO presidency in 1987 but lost by the skin of his teeth attributed it to Najib's division last minute shift to Mahathir's camp. He left UMNO and started a breakaway party called Semangat 46 which didn't do well.He rejoined UMNO and was in the doldrums for yonks until Abdullah's stumbles at the recent elections.He ran the gauntlet on Abdullah and roared in disgust from his lair at Gua Musang.
Ku Li had made two attempts at the presidency but failed.First, against Mahathir in 1987 which almost got him the coveted title and the second in 2004 against Abdullah but failed to get sufficient nominations to stand as candidate.
The substantial rejections at the polls will need delicate and pragmatic approaches in order to pacify angry voters and rekindle their interests to return to the fold. The present leadership don't have the credibility to convince the people that they will change for the better.Ku Li is probably the only suitable candidate at the moment to heal the wounded pride and to try recover lost ground.
With the sword of Damocles hanging over Abdullah's head, it wouldn't be long before an earthquake will occur that will snap the string that hold the sword. Razaleigh call for an EGM will not succeed.His only chance to challenge Abdullah is at the forthcoming assembly.
It will be another five months before the UMNO Assembly, will Razaleigh find enough nominations to get him to challenge Abdullah ? He will and have the best fighting chance to win if Najib don't upset the applecart. Najib should stay as deputy and let Razaleigh lead the party for at least one term to regain the lost confidence and reassemble its lost supports.
There is little altruism in UMNO nowadays, that's why it suffered a massive dose of rejections. The Malay voters have found alternatives in the form of PKR and PAS.The rule of the games has changed and Malays are now more politically matured and gone are the days when ketuananMelayu was the rallying call to the Malays to close ranks and make sure UMNO stays in power.
Read 'T'ganu Umno rejects Ku Li's offer'
Thursday, March 20, 2008
The guessing game is over. Abdullah has chosen his retinue of ministers.Although most of them will travel with him comfortably some will be thorns in the flesh.
It seems that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is oblivious and not in the habit of paying compliments and compensations to faithful and loyal supporters. Reward is definitely not in his lexicon but parochialism is.
Sabah and Sarawak delivered 24 and 30MP seats respectively. All the seats from Sarawak have no UMNO content. Johor delivered 25 MP seats and got the most ministerial positions. The saviours, Sabah and Sarawak got the crumbs. This unappreciated and unfair allocation of representations at federal level may cost the BN dearly in the next elections.
Former Deputy Minister Anifah Aman from Sabah has declined the offer of appointment as deputy minister .
Sabah lost only 1 MP and 1 state seats while Sarawak lost only 1 MP seat.There was no state election in Sarawak this time.
A friend of mine jokingly said the day after the full result was announced that the federal capital should be moved either to Kuching or Kota Kinabalu. He said we have given them a comfortable majority and without Sabah and Sarawak they can't form the central government.
Sabahans and Sarawkians have stayed faithful to BN inspite of Anwar's PKR election promises of a 2nd deputy prime minister, to increase oil royalty, to return Labuan to Sabah and many other luring promises.
With the excellent election results, they think they would get better treatment from the federal government as rewards for loyalty. Too bad, that was not the case at the moment.
It's too early to tell what PM Abdullah intended for Sabah and Sarawak.He may reward them in other forms.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
In my previous article I mentioned that Anwar is going around shopping for BN MPs to join him.He has now admitted he has spoken to some of them but would not pay or reward them if they join his party. You can read it here.
Without any form of reward it would be most unlikely that anyone would want to join him.The opposition coalition has 82 seats and needed at least 30 more seats to form a simple majority. It would be foolish move for any of BN MP to switch camp as they have a strong simple majority of 140 seats, short of 8 more to get two-thirds majority.
Unless Anwar can get an en bloc of 30 or more, which is most unlikely, his dream of taking over the government before the next elections would remain a dream.
Sarawak is the only en bloc source of supply. It has 30 MP seats and under the control of the Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, a BN loyalist.
It is more feasible and makes more sense for BN to woo opposition MPs to their side as they hold the key to the treasury.
Read more here......
What action would UMNO takes against Mukhriz Mahathir ?
This is a party that strongly adhere to partisan ideology and will not tolerate any dissenter. Any form of criticism of the top leadership will put you either in solitary confinement or your head on the chopping block. There is where democracy exists only in name.This is the place where you can make it to the top or fall by the way side. This is the home of ketuanan Melayu or Malay supremacy .
When Mukhriz wrote the letter to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asking him to do the right thing he was either under the wrong impression that there was a strong movement to oust
Abdullah or he decided to lead the way in the hope that many others would follow and throw their support behind him. He was mistaken.None would want to jump off the gravy train where rewards are aplenty and the pickings easy.
His father, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad went through the same problem with the first prime minister, the late Tungku Abdul Rahman. He was sacked from the party but returned later in much stronger position and eventually went on to become the longest serving prime minister of the nation.
In the 1999 elections Mahathir's ruling party suffered significant erosion of support from the people especially from rural Malays. He failed to re-capture Kelantan and lost Trengganu, an oil-producing state. Realizing he has almost reach the end of his shelve-life and his waning support among the Malays, he decided it would be best to step aside and let a new and more acceptable leader takes over. He passed the baton to his deputy.
Enter Pak Lah, Mr Clean, pious and came with a bagful of promises to kill corruptions, bring transparency and accountability to the administration. The people rejoiced and were exuberant that the Mahathir's era have come to an end and a clean and god-fearing man had taken over.
In 2004 elections, riding high on those promises, Abdullah won a massive landslide victory. He recaptured Trengganu and short of 2 seats to bag Kelantan. The people were in a state of euphoria.
The state of euphoria eventually turned into a state of despair when he failed to deliver those promises. Other than broken promises racial tensions, rising inflation,rising prices of goods, high costs of fuel, high crime rates and stagnated income have made life less than comfortable for many Malaysians . Abdullah faces serious loss of credibility. Most people can see it coming except him and those cronies that surround him.Blinded by greed they were sure of another major victory.
The BN would have escaped the major disaster if Abdullah had stepped down before the election.Although his deputy didn't have a desirable image the defeat wouldn't be as humiliating as the recent polls results.
Will Mukhriz be sacked from the party? I doubted. They probably will ask him to resign from his youth exco or be expelled from it. UMNO can't afford to lose anymore MP seat. Sacking Mukhriz from the party would bring other repercussions.
Anwar Ibrahim has been to Sabah and Sarawak on a shopping trip but was unable to buy anything at the moment. Sabah and Sarawak are kataks (frogs) countries.Some money and a promise of ministerial position the hillbillies katak are quite prepared to abandon their present abode for greener pasture.
It all depends on how Pak Lah conducts his affairs from now on to keep his boys in the stables. He may have no choice but to step down before the UMNO General Assembly.
Will Mukhriz be the last action hero ?
Monday, March 17, 2008
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he heard the people's voice in last weekend general elections and admitted it would be "the last of him" if he doesn't live up to their expectations.
Would it be the last of him or the last of UMNO if he stays on until the next elections ?
He vowed to bring changes to lessen racial tensions, inflation and rising crime rates.Going by his track records whether these promises will translate into actions would make a good guessing game.
"The majority is still with me" he added "I am in charge"
The rising racial tensions, rising crime rates and rising costs of living occurred during his term of office. With rising crude oil prices keeping domestic prices at favourable level would not be an easy task. When asked how he intends to achieve this he said "There will be some other formula" without giving any specifics. It can only mean he has not yet found the formula.
Recent events have shown that UMNO hasn't changed and is unlikely to change its political culture to bring the people back to the fold.It is still very much entrenched in its culture of intimidation, cronyism and corruption.
The recent demonstration in Penang over the NEP issue by its members was a clear sign of intimidation and double standards. Students were allowed to get involved in political talks when it is his government policy that forbids students from any involvement in politics. Its members can demonstrate, others cannot. They seem to have 'carte blance' and without any intervention from the authority.
The PM hasn't woken up to the fact that not only he has driven the people away from him,UMNO and BN, he has also distance some of the rulers.What happened in Perlis and Trengganu was a clear sign of the Sultans displeasure against him. The rejections of prime minister's choice of candidates for menteri besar by the Sultans is unprecedented under previous prime ministers.
Calling for his resignation has become a crime. Newly elected MP, Mukhriz Mahathir is going to face the music.Some sycophants in the party have called for his sacking. The PM has left the decision how to deal with Mukhriz to the keris-wielding provocateur and the abominable son-in-law.
In a civilised and politically matured society the action that Mukhriz took would just be ignored and without any retribution. In UMNO, the politics of fear and intimidation are the only weapons they know how to use to silent the critics.
The only way UMNO can restore itself to its former glory is to have radical change of its top leadership sooner than later.
Five years may not be enough time to repair the broken bridge.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
A new crisis has emerged in Perlis and this time in the BN camp. It is reminiscent of the power grab in Sabah in 1985 when both Pairin and Mustapha claimed position of the chief minister. The rightful person was Joseph Pairin whose party has obtained 25 seats to get a simple majority.Pasok obtained 1 seat and aligned with Pairin's PBS. His opponents USNO obtained 16 and Berjaya 6 seats which was not sufficient to form a coalition government.
Contrary to democratic process and convention the TYT (Governor) sworn in Mustapha as chief minister. A legal tussle ensued and Pairin won the case and was installed as chief minister.
The Perlis crisis has some similarity to the Sabah episode as the Raja of Perlis has acted on his own and outside the boundary of democratic conventions.Constitutional monarch is suppose to bless and validate appointments upon the advice of the prime minister and not to act on their own.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may have a new crisis on hand. Some of the rulers may not be with him. The Raja of Perlis must have good reasons to reject his choice of Shahidan as menteri besar.
Knowing there is likely to be a crisis Abdullah should have had an audience with the Raja before he decides on the candidate for menteri besar and avoid the embarrassment of a royal spite.
Sahidan who was initially dropped from the PM's list was back on the list after some threats and bullying tactics. It was also rumoured that BN would have lost Perlis if Shahidan had been in his good book. On why he brought back Shahidan as MB only he would know.
The Raja of Perlis choice Md Isa Sabu seems more qualified than Sahidan.
Instead of closing ranks to save the party from going to the dogs, it is still "every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost" and the nation takes a backseat.The jockeying for positions is intense and dirty.
It's all about status, power and money.
Also read here
Sultan Trengganu next to snub PM.Read here....
Saturday, March 15, 2008
This is most upsetting and a blatant display of double standards. Does UMNO hold the franchise and monopoly to demonstrate ? What message are you sending to the people, Pak Lah !. Where are the tear gas, water cannon and your armoured FRU ?
As prime minister it is your duty to protect each and every citizens of this country irrespective of race, colour and creed. The action of allowing UMNO members to demonstrate freely is going to drive the people further away from your government. You should apply the same rules of law that you imposed on BERSIH and HINDRAF.
The bickering and jockeying for positions in the Perak State Assembly are going to screw-up the chance of DAP,PKR and PAS forming a cohesive and functioning coalition.Unfair play in selecting the menteri besar and members of the exco are due to distrusts, political immaturity and differences in political philosophy. It's like putting cats and dogs in the same cage.
The biggest stumbling blocks in the Perak tussle are Lim Kit Siang and Anwar Ibrahim. Both have their hands in the works. Both Lim and Anwar are recalcitrants and fighting cocks in the political arena and with a dog in the manger attitude they will not give up until they get what they wanted. Their squabbles will soon benefit the BN.
With a slim combined simple majority they have, the likelihood of BN taking back the state government is not far-fetched. The BN needed only 3 elected members to cross the floor to their side to form the government, a possibility not at all remote. The BN has 27 solid UMNO seats plus 1 MCA making a total of 28.
Even if they have successfully ironed out their differences and proceeded with a coalition government, the immense amount of distrusts they have for each other will sooner or later breakup the coalition.
Since both DAP and PKR have been given not much choice but to accept the Sultan's choice of candidate as menteri besar, there will be serious repercussions later. The acquiescence will make the tenancy of the menteri besar precarious and hang in the balance. A few disgruntled members from DAP or PKR can cross over to join BN to pass vote of no confidence and remove the menteri besar and replaced with one of their own choice which can come from UMNO.
One that's even more puzzling is why did the Sultan chose a candidate from PAS instead of PKR which has more seats than PAS in the assembly ?
In the event of an impasse the Sultan can call on UMNO as the single biggest bloc to form a minority government.
In politics anything can happen, there are no permanent enemies or friends.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Malaysia’s democratic openingfrom openDemocracy
As the results of Malaysia's general election poured in on the evening of 8 March 2008, it became clear that the country's voters had delivered an unprecedented blow to the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front / BN) led by prime minister Abdullah Badawi. The severe losses of the incumbent coalition - five (out of Malaysia's thirteen) state governments, eighty-two seats in the 222-seat national parliament, and a major swing against the non-Malay component parties within the multi-ethnic coalition - mean that the election marks a new political chapter in Malaysian history. After fifty years of rule by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) - the dominant party in the BN coalition - the signs of a shift are unmistakable: towards a new system of checks and balances, away from the racial politics that have characterised the country's history since independence in 1957, and wider democracy.
The government's hubris
The reasons for the Barisan Nasional's setback have more to do with the coalition's lacklustre performance under Abdullah Badawi than the strength of the opposition. In his four years in office, Abdullah has managed to maintain the economic growth that characterised the tenure of his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad (who governed for twenty-two years, 1981-2003); but he was ineffective in channelling the benefits to ordinary citizens. The record levels of inflation, comparatively lower wages, increased lack of confidence in Abdullah's management and persistent corruption translated into massive disgruntlement among Malaysians of all races. Malaysians were squeezed, as economic gains were seen to be disproportionately directed toward an increasingly arrogant political elite, notably leaders of UMNO.
This declining economic legitimacy was compounded by a shocking record of managing ethnic relations, particularly of the concerns of the non-Malays. Chinese, Indian and East Malaysian voices were ignored and often insultingly dismissed as rising Malay chauvinism went unchecked within Abdullah's party. In fact, he harnessed racial identity to buttress his position within the party, rejuvenating the racially implemented affirmative action policy of the "new economic policy" (NEP) and lost the confidence of the non-Malay community in the handling of the sensitive expansion Islamic governance.
The failure of Abdullah's leadership on non-Malay issues was best illustrated by the debacle of the Hindraf affair, an unprecedented protest in November 2007 by Indian Malaysians (organised by the Human Rights Action Force coalition) drawing attention to poverty and the discrimination against their community. The BN government arrested the leaders and immediately scheduled elections after this event, hoping to win on the back of the Malay vote this election. This was a serious miscalculation. To add insult to injury, Abdullah used this election to try to strengthen his base within his own party, by promoting loyal new candidates and dropping established and popular veterans. These misjudgments provoked a revolt within UMNO, that even pledges of resources and concerted attempts at rift-mending could not resolve. Internal BN factionalism was exacerbated by rushed negotiation over seats with the component parties in the coalition that only served to weaken the electoral machinery of the incumbent government further.
The three main opposition political parties - the Anwar Ibrahim multi-racial Parti Keadilan Rakyat (National Justice Party / PKR), the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Islamic Parti Islam sa-Malaysia (Islamic Party of Malaysia / PAS) - collectively benefited from the overall unhappiness with the government. The bonds between the opposition have been forming Since the heyday of the reformasi era in 1998-99 - during which Anwar Ibrahim (then Mahathir's deputy prime minister) was arrested and convicted in a political witchhunt (he was released from prison in 2004, and his ban on standing for political office expires in April 2008). They may differ in their ideological outlook, but in this election they entered into a non-aggression pact and (with a few minor exceptions in East Malaysia) did not compete against each other. Each section of the opposition openly encouraged its supporters to vote for its anti-government partners - irrespective of the party involved, and regardless of race.
Anwar Ibrahim served as a bridge between the ideologically divided PAS and DAP and transformed his party from one relying on Malay vote to a multiracial one. This involved painful decisions, including an open rejection of the NEP and consistent calls on Malaysian identity, not individual racial identity. It worked, as all opposition parties gained ground.
The campaigns of the opposition were fundamentally different from earlier elections. Their ambition was defined and modest, with an aim of breaking the BN's two-thirds' majority in parliament which gives the party a stranglehold on government. This approach snowballed into broader national support - partly because it was a stark contrast to the hubris of the BN government, whose posters projected "only one choice", when in fact there was an alternative to choose from.
Another source of opposition influence was Abdullah's own political liberalisation in areas such as civil society and political assembly, which had created conditions for more mobilisation by his critics. It was the opposition's ability to bypass the government-linked establishment media - through the internet, blogs, emails and send messages (SMS) - that enable it to get its messages across more effectively.
They had thirteen days to do so, the longest campaign in Malaysia's history, and were able to respond to the BN's campaign themes. On the defensive, the BN increasingly was caught in a lie, from the crowd levels at opposition rallies to its figures on the economy. The BN was not able to move beyond its paternal mindset towards an increasingly sophisticated and informed electorate. Their ads touting "be grateful for what you have" grated on a public facing tight economic circumstances and (in the case of non-Malays) exclusion.
The final self-inflicted wound for the BN came in the last stages of the campaign, when it launched an all-out personal attack on Anwar Ibrahim; this backfired in the Malay community, the very ethnic base that the BN was depending on to win in a polity that has traditionally voted along ethnic lines. This reaction became part of a general trend as Malaysians abandoned the pattern of ethnic voting, with all groups voting for the opposition in large numbers; the largest anti-government swing was in the Indian Malaysian community, which has traditionally been loyal to the BN coalition.
A Malaysian farewell
The final worry of the campaign was the electoral process. Malaysian elections have usually been free, but not fair. The push for electoral reform since 2004, which included a mass rally of over 40,000 in November 2007, put this issue centre-stage. The opposition intentionally asked its voters to vote late in the afternoon to reduce the opportunity for the BN to replace registered voters with "phantoms" or "clones". This BN practice did happen, but not to expected levels - in part due to failings in the BN machinery. Concerns about irregularities remain an issue; but they have been overshadowed by the sheer force of opposition gains, which is a testimony to the power of Malaysians' discontent with their rulers.
The election results will bring greater democracy to Malaysia. A stronger opposition will bring more checks and balances at the national level; and in state governments the push for transparency, against corruption, and potentially for the introduction of local elections will open Malaysian elections further. The move toward multiracialism also offers the space for widening of civil liberties across racial boundaries. These steps won't be easy, but the 8 March polls signify a rupture with the closed racialised politics which have dominated the country for decades.
DAP Supremo Lim Kit Siang instructed the DAP elected members to boycott the swearing-in ceremony of the new PerakMenteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaludin from PAS.He later retracted and apologised to the Sultan.
DAP got majority seats in the state assembly, 18 seats compared to PAS 6 seats and PKR 7 which by convention should be given to them.
The cracks are beginning to show the incompatibility of these strange bedfellows.It is still in the honeymoon period so they filled up the crack quickly. By now DAP should realize whether with BA or BN, it is still the same, the Malays have the ultimate say.
It must be a big blow to the high expectations and pride of the party for having to concede to the damning reality of ketuanan Melayu. Other than Penang, the only other states that can accept a non-Malay chief minister are Sabah and Sarawak. Since Melaka has no sultan, I am not so sure whether the state constitution allows such appointment.
It is going to be a long journey for the BA from now until the next GE and there would be many hurdles to overcome.
Will zealotry kill them ?
Give it a year or two and see whether they are still together.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
There are winners and losers in every type of competition.The worst kinds are the sore losers and bad winners.
Those who loses in a fair competition but whines about it on a constant basis, blaming everyone around them for their loss except themselves, who can't simply be honorable, by accepting defeat and/or trying again and who can't take a loss in stride.
The UMNO lots should take a leaf from the books of Gerakan's Koh Tsu Koon and MCA's Ong Kah Ting instead of moaning and whining about their losses. Both Koh and Ong have been admirable and should be emulated by others.
Courage in the face of adversity is not common attributes in many men. Only those with high sense of self-respect and unquestionable integrity possess it. The weak and corrupt will find all kind of excuses to defend themselves and blame others for their failure.
Gerakan's Koh has shown admirable manly manner and correct social etiquette by attending the swearing in of the new chief minister from the opposition party.MCA's Ong has taken full responsibility for his party massive loss by not accepting any offer of ministerial post even though he won his seat.
Many in UMNO and other component parties have not shown exemplary behaviour.Even those who have lost are still lobbying for positions. The only exception is Sharizat, she took her defeat graciously.She deserved respect and should be given a respectable position.
In the Sabah BN lobbying for positions is intense among the components. LDP, whom many Sabahans have given zero seat, had won all their seats and are now making demands for a full minister and an assistant minister. Its President V.K.Liew said "In making our representations (at the BN Supreme Council ) we informed that though we are young we are qualified and our elected representatives most importantly are God-fearing, honest and dedicated"
As the American would say, what a lot of baloney ! Instead of beating your own drum, let others judge you. God-fearing, honest and dedicated do not come with divine guarantee.
Worse still, Liew in spite of the help of postal votes won on a wafer thin majority of 176 votes for the Sandakan parliamentary seat and the 2 state seats of Merotai and Tanjong Kapur were UMNO seats given on the platter, not exactly a position to be proud of to make open demands.
In April 1977 the then President of LDP Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat resigned from all his ministerial posts due to irreconcilable differences with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman on the Mazu controversy. He said the action taken by Musa Aman has angered the Chinese community.
Below is a posting by Jeff Ooi in his blog, Screenshot
Political bombshell explodes in Sabah... ( 4 )
"This is not a matter of quarrel (subsequent to the Prime Minister's remark that angered the Liberal Democratic Party)... this is a Barisan Nasional problem. The PM has offended the Chinese and the Sabahan... he has hurt my self-respect."
"Not only LDP (is unhappy), the rakyat in Sabah also (are unhappy)... he (the PM) had made such a remark about a Chinese leader, the impression of him in the eyes of the Sabahan, especially the Chinese in Sabah, will be negative," reports Oriental Daily in the Page 3 lead today.
Chong said the PM has offended the Chinese in Sabah. "I am not important, but I do have my self-respect."
On the day of his resignation, Chong prided himself as a BN man for 30 years without switching party, and had stood steadfast in helping BN find a stronghold in the state.
Meanwhile, several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) expressed sadness over Chong's sudden resignation, reports Daily Express.The popular Sabah daily describes Chong as the only leader from the Berjaya government (1976-1985) who has managed to survive the tumultuous years of Sabah politics punctuated by multiple party-hopping.
The results of the just concluded general election tell a different story.The Chinese community could have given all their votes to DAP candidates by ignoring the PKR candidates if they really don't want to support the state government. Their actions proved otherwise.
In a worst case scenario Sabah BN was expected to lose 3 parliamentary and 7 state seats still giving it a comfortable majority.
It is obvious the Chinese and Indians in Peninsula are more angry with the BN government rather than those in Sabah.
Jeff Ooi is now DAP Member of Parliament for Jelutong.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Below is an article written by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi published in the Wall Street Journal.
We Will Heal Malaysia's Divisions
March 11, 2008
While I am honored to have been re-elected as prime minister of Malaysia and to have received a 63% majority of the 222 seats in Parliament in our just-completed general election, I am also disappointed that we fell a few seats short of the two-thirds majority we were hoping for.
For those who have in the past questioned the legitimacy of Malaysia's electoral process, the results of Saturday's election are proof positive that our country does indeed enjoy a free, fair and highly competitive democracy.
As there has been much speculation about the implications of our election results, I wish to offer clarity on three critically important points:
First, we have heard the voice of our citizens, and I will dedicate myself, in this second term, to healing the divisions which became evident during the campaign. That will mean developing new and concrete initiatives, not just rhetoric, that bring our people together and ensure that no one is left behind as Malaysia prospers, whether they are ethnic Malays, Chinese or Indians.
Second, we can achieve the above goal because our economy is indeed strong and stable, with a 7.3% GDP growth rate in the last quarter, nearly full employment, more than $100 billion in foreign exchange reserves, and a flood of foreign direct investment in manufacturing and services that last year reached a record $13.7 billion.
For the benefit of all of our citizens, I intend Malaysia to remain a business-friendly and free market economy with powerful attractions for international investors, who over the past 12 months have included General Electric of the United States, Britain's Virgin Group, and important groups from the Middle East and China.
Third, I intend to protect the stability and security of our nation. For all of our citizens to share in the prosperity and opportunities our economy is generating, we must also continue our work to eradicate crime and corruption. The people's desire for law and order is as important in Malaysia as it is everywhere. The same is true of the need to make additional progress in battling corruption, which is both immoral and distorts competition in free markets.
Although the size of our majority would be considered a landslide in most countries, the fact that it has significantly reduced and we have had setbacks in five of our 13 states indicates that we need to do more for those who feel disaffected. Although some quarters have called for me to step aside, my party has given me solid support to carry on our nation-building agenda, something for which I am grateful.
As with any election in any democratic country, there is debate, sometimes heated; there can be divisions, sometimes fierce; then people make their own choices and democratic politicians have to live with the outcome. What matters most is that governments listen as well as lead, and so I will work hard to create more of a national consensus following our national democratic conversation.
We are listening. I know there is discontent among some parts of our community. I accept it is our responsibility, as the newly reelected government of all Malaysians, to find practical solutions to ease that discontent, to listen to grievances and to seek to remedy them.
I have tried throughout my period in office to bring our country and our communities closer together. I have stood in firm opposition to those who have sought to divide us along racial, religious and ethnic lines. We are all Malaysians and we all must have a stake in building a progressive, united and cohesive country. This has always been my approach to government and politics. It is even more important now.
Some people took the opportunity when voting to voice a protest, as can happen in any democracy. We accept the result. That is what democracy is all about. The election results will not diminish for a moment our determination to grow the Malaysian economy, to continue our successful program of poverty eradication and to provide a level playing field for all.
After an election it is right to have a period of reflection; it is not a time for narrow introspection. Malaysia cannot afford a period of sitting back and risk stalling our progress and our economic growth.
We are in a changing global economy which itself is in increasingly challenging times. That is why, just as it is essential that we reflect internally on the lessons from these elections, it is vital that we look outward internationally to face and overcome the global challenges of economics, peace and international security.
Malaysia will continue to offer business-friendly policies and a welcoming environment for investors. I believe that Malaysia will continue its strong economic growth in 2008. Our vibrant economy and proven record of economic growth will help us prosper despite the economic slowdown and uncertainty in the U.S.
What we must now undertake is to move forward as one nation with a renewed sense of a bright future for all.
Mr. Abdullah is prime minister of Malaysia.
This has nothing to do about politics in Malaysia. This is about a bizarre official guidelines for sentencing of desperate criminals in the United Kingdom. A new official guidelines for judges to give lighter sentences to burglars and thieves who steal to fund their addiction to drug, gambling and booze even if they target vulnerable victims.
The recommendations were issued by the authority due to serious over-crowding in prisons. It is asking judges not to impose prison sentence on criminals who committed crimes under the guidelines.
So if you are pick-pocketed or they came to your shop to rob you, they would get away with just doing community work. What a pleasant and polite way to treat criminals. Wouldn't it be better if you can ask them to do your housework to repay what they stole from you?
Wouldn't it be nice to be such criminal, you can rob to get your fix and as punishment all you need to do is sweep the streets in your town for a few weeks or so and that's it, you have paid for your crime. You can repeat doing it if you wish.
What's happening to the Brits? Have they gone bonkers ? Read here.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Keeping awake until the wee hours of the morning trying to make sense of the snail pace announcement of the election results over television and radio was nerve racking and made me rather cheesed-off at the stupidity of the Election Commission and government run media for trying to delay the delivery of the good news to the people and bad news to their bosses.
In the initial hours, I depended on phone calls to various friends in the inner circle of politics who gave me multifarious version of the results, some of which were figment of their imagination.
Malaysiakini, the not so government friendly internet news portal and deemed to be more reliable was slow in their updates.By about midnight my connection to Malaysiankini has gone kaput, either due to overloaded bandwidth or those goons at the ISP were told to bar the transmission. It was the same with Malaysia Today. It has disappeared from the world wide web.However, by about midnight I have got an inkling of where the BN was heading for.
The people have woken up.The electorates from the Klang Valley and to most of the northern states in Peninsula sent a serious message through the ballot boxes that inflicted a serious dent in the BN's armour. Its impregnable fortress is now shattered in humongous humility.
Not getting two-thirds majority is, as the Hakka Chinese in Sabah say "sap sap soi" (it's a small matter). The greatest humiliation was the loss of the five states to the oppositions. They haven't envisioned this at all.The oppositions have walked in through the back door while they were busy guarding the front door. They were more concerned about not losing the two-thirds majority and have completely forgotten the vulnerability of the states.
Some of its components lay in ruins and one was completely decimated.There were many factors that led to the massive swing to the oppositions. First and foremost was greed. Internal bickering and sabotage also played a wicked role.
Although Penang was expected to go to the oppositions particularly DAP, the loss would not have been that massive. The crushing blow in Penang was much due to Abdullah's refusal to name the Gerakan candidate who would take over from Koh Tsu Koon as chief minister. The Chinese community already disgruntled and unhappy by the poor treatment they getting from the government viewed Abdullah's silence as a ploy to give the chief minister post to UMNO, which they have tried to get before under Mahathir's tenure.The former prime minister warned UMNO, it's a no go zone and to lay off.
The other state that could have a Chinese menteri besar is Perak where DAP has captured the most state seats.It secured 18 seats, PKR 7 and PAS 6. The state constitution of Perak stipulated that the menteri besar must be a Malay and of the Islamic faith but the Sultan can waived this condition if he thinks it is expedient to do so.
If the rules of democratic process were to be used by convention than the MB position should be given to DAP. It would be a mockery of the parliamentary system if the position goes to PAS or PKR. The Malays have thrown their support behind the coalition of oppositions, it's time they bite the bullet and set aside this unfair system.
Perak has a high Chinese population and Chinese cultural practices and lifestyle are conspicuous throughout the state, a PAS styled regime would be untenable.
PAS has issued a warning that all new states they have captured will come under the same PAS styled rules. Kelantan can't be used as a barometer for other states. Each state is unique and should be treated differently. Kedah has a better chance of accepting PAS styled rule. It would be up to the Sultan of Perak to decide the most acceptable formula for his state.
The massive swing to the oppositions were the results of good work of propagandists, one of which is the accusation of phantom voters and tainted electoral rolls. The results has shown that there is little truth in its widespread and wholesale existence.
Now that the die is cast, let us wait and see where democracy would take us with greater dissenting voices in Parliament.
Monday, March 10, 2008
First of all I would like to apologise for not being able to update the election results last night as my internet connection was down.
The results has been one beyond expectations. A resounding victory for the oppositions and a new era for Malaysia.The people have spoken, the need for change by denying the BN two-thirds majority, which I have always espouse would be the best mechanism for check and balance of a corrupt regime.
The fall of the state government in Penang was expected but Selangor, Perak and Kedah was a shocker, an outcome that even the oppositions didn't expect.
This is a wake-up call for UMNO to stop taking the people for granted and stop marginalisation of ethnic minority races in the country.The poor showing is also a message that the people have had enough of corruptions and abuses of power. Losing five states in the Peninsula to the oppositions has made Pak Lah the only prime minister that have brought UMNO to its lowest level of support since its inception. He has also helped to kill MCA, MIC and Gerakan, the biggest trashing they ever had.
UMNO would have lost the federal government if not for Sabah and Sarawak. The excellent performance of the Sabah BN was another surprise. The politics of Anwar Ibrahim has not caught up with the people in Sabah and Sarawak. His party, PKR didn't win a single seat in Sabah and Sarawak.
The outstanding performance of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman who was rumored to be replaced many times before is par excellence, delivered almost 100 percent of the state and parliamentary seats, he lost only 1 state and 1 parliamentary seats. Almost all candidates won with strong majority.
In the Peninsula the only strong showing was in two states, Johor and Pahang. The DPM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak won overwhelmingly with a massive of 24,464 majority.
The state that sprung a surprise for the BN was Trengganu capturing 8 parliamentary and 23 state seats. Many have predicted a strong comeback from PAS.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi won his Kepala Batas parliamentary seat with reduced majority.He collected only 11,246 majority compared to 18,122 in 2004. It is unthinkable that a prime minister can lose his own state. What can of grassroots has he got if he can't even get his own state to back him. Former prime minister Tun Mahathir will have a field day tomorrow.
In view of the poor showing and by convention Badawi should step aside and hand over the prime ministership to Najib. Ministers like Rafidah Aziz and Hishamuddin Tun Hussein should also be dropped from the cabinet. The APs and keris issues had done untold damage to UMNO's support from the big minority groups, namely the Chinese and Indians in the country. It has also eroded the Malays support for the party.
It would be perilous for UMNO if Badawi continued as prime minister.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Malaysians will cast their votes today. Local and foreign analysts predict the BN to retain its two-thirds majority.
In Sabah there are 60 state and 25 parliamentary seats up for grabs.The BN won 2 state and 2 parliamentary seats uncontested, giving it 4 seats lead before polling day. There are some vulnerable seats in KDM and Chinese areas. The parliamentary seats hotly contested are Keningau, Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. The state seats that will see hot contest with the oppositions are, Merotai, Tanjong Kapur, Banggi, Kuala Penyu, Tambunan, Sri Tanjong, Karamunting, Tempasuk and Karamunting. However, BN is predicted to tip the scale in many of the areas.
The state seats of Banggi and Tempasuk which have always been considered safe seats are rumored to being sabotaged by followers of UMNO incumbents who were dropped in favour of new faces. The two constituencies have seen very little in term of progress and development.
In spite of a burgeoning economy, dissatisfaction among the electorates are still widespread over price increases of fuel oil, essential goods and corruptions.
There are strong feeling of uncertainty among voters whether to keep the old shirt on or get a new one. The pundits have given BN the edge over the oppositions and it looks like Malaysians may have to carry on using their old and smelly shirt.
Visit this site tonight for live update of Sabah and National results.
Sabah scoreboard click here
National scoreboard click here
Saturday, March 8, 2008
|Photo by Derrick Chang |
Hantu Laut 06 March 2008
The tiny constituency of Senellang in Malaysia covers a small portion of the northern Borneo mainland and a number of outlying islands in the coastal waters of the Sulawesi Sea. It has 12,998 registered voters, mainly ethnic Bajaus and Suluks of the Islamic faith, traditional fishermen who eke out their livelihood from the sea.
In the days of the British North Borneo Chartered Company and later under formal British colonial rule, this was one of the most pirate-infested areas in the region. As recently as the early 1990s, attacks on remote villages were still being reported. With better roads and accessibility to bigger towns and enhanced security along the porous sea border with the Philippines, however, the threat of pirate attack from the sea has diminished. Read more.....
Friday, March 7, 2008
PM sleeps, EC sleeps, AG also sleeps ?
From the sublime to the ridiculious.
If there were anything more absurd coming from the EC, this one takes the top prize for the biggest and stinkiest stinker of all times. Where were all the legal experts and the AG ? Were they sleeping on the job and woke up only 5 days before polling day and realized the indelible ink could become their No.1 enemy. It takes a moron to believe in this concocted story and takes an even bigger moron to think all morons buy the story.
Legal implications ! My foot ! Didn't the EC seeks legal advice before they decide to introduce it ?
Read the story.
PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission yesterday came under fire from most political parties for its decision not to use indelible ink to prevent multiple voting this general election.
Splattering red paint over somebody's house is no laughing matter.
Some very unhappy people have decided the EC Chairman actually needs indelible red paint for his house.
Very naughty and very stupid who ever did it.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Michael Backman is a well-known and respected business and political writer in this region and elsewhere.He regularly writes for the Age, an Australian newspaper and have written many articles on politics in Malaysia.
I produce below a recent article on Malaysian politics.
Malaysia needs a strong Opposition
Yes, no, maybe? Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has called elections for March 8.Michael Backman
- February 27, 2008
- Page 1 of 2
SHOULD Malaysians bother to vote? The corollary of this question is: does the Malaysian Government deserve to be re-elected? The answer to the second question is no.
In the past few years, the Malaysian Government has presided over an extraordinary number of scandals that are appalling by any standards: the trade minister's allocation of car import permits to friends, relatives and supporters; the billion-dollar fraud at the Port Klang Free Trade Zone; the outrageous and much-flaunted wealth of ruling party politician Zakaria Md Deros; the claims that a High Court judge allowed the lawyer representing a rich businessman to write for him his judgement in a defamation lawsuit; an immensely rich chief minister in Sarawak state who is allowed to rule as if it were his; and so on.
The Malaysian Government richly deserves to pay for all of this at the ballot box.
So the next question is: should the Malaysian Opposition be elected to office? Again, the answer is no.
The Opposition is a shambolic assortment of the disaffected rather than a competent, alternative government. In no way is it ready to govern.
All these questions are pertinent because Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has called elections for March 8.
Elections are fought tenaciously in Malaysia as if the South-East Asian country is a fully fledged democracy. But it isn't. It is democratic in that elections are held, but they are not fair. The ruling coalition has been in power in one form or another since independence 50 years ago. One reason for this longevity is that there are legal and institutional biases that favour the Government.
Malaysian electorates are severely malapportioned. The smallest electorates are rural; the largest are metropolitan. The largest have about six times the number of registered voters as the smallest. This means that the votes of those in the smallest seats count for many times those in the larger seats.
This sort of bias meant, for example, that in the last general elections held in 2004, the ruling coalition won 198 or 91% of the parliamentary seats with just 64% of the votes cast. The Opposition won only 21 seats or 9.6% of the seats compared with 36% of the popular vote.
Had the Parliament reflected voters' actual voting intentions, there would have been 79 rather than 21 Opposition members elected. Read more.....
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Come March 8th cast your vote wisely.Do not vote any appositions or BN candidates whom you think are not likely to serve the people and the nation. Don't vote on party line, vote individuals, irrespective of which party they are from and those who are likely to bring benefical changes to the people and the nation.
You can rock the boat but make sure it doesn't sink, the rescue boat may also be leaking. So cast your vote wisely.
DENY THEM THE 2/3 MAJORITY.
Below is my reply to a very unhappy visitor, who chose to use foul language, to what I have written above. A hardcore supporter of the oppositions who could not tolerate differences of opinion and think it is supporter like him that going to bring victory to the oppositions.
We all are entitled to our own opinion and we can choose any leaders we like.
Let me explain my stand.
I am not ready to change the whole government.I just want a strong opposition to keep the government in check and the only way is to deny them the 2/3 majority.
Without 2/3 they can't change the constitution, they can't pass new legislations and they can't do many things that they can do in the past.
The present oppositions is not a cohesive group to be able to form a stable government.PAS,PKR and DAP all have different philosophies and none can be expected to get a clear majority to be a senior partner in a coalition.It will be a hung parliament which you, I and every Malaysians will not wish for, if you understand the repercussions.
There is nothing worse than a government that can't function because of internal strife and infighting.
I also don't believe corruptions will stop with a new government, it could get worse.We can only try to lessen corruption, it is not possible to wipe out this evil weed completely.
I also don't buy the oppositions claims and promises of better days for all Malaysians if they take over the running of this country.
You don't have to agree with me, you should vote who you are comfortable with, it's your right and your business, nobody can stop you from doing so.
I have the right to express my opinion, if you don't agree, fine, it's no skin off my nose.
Cybertrooper ! I am certainly not.I wish I am, at least I get paid.
I am like you, I have an opinion.
Now, you tell me why you think a new government is better?
Keningau: Parti Keadilan Rakyat Vice-President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) urged the electorate in Sabah to make a brave decision by voting for all PKR candidates to "stop the rot in Sabah."
Jeffrey who is contesting the State seat of Bingkor and Parliamentary seat of Keningau told a gathering of more than 1,000 people that they must reject BN leaders for turning Sabah into the poorest State despite being rich in natural resources.
He said by allowing the prices of petrol and essential goods to go up, the government had caused suffering among the people.
"Sabahans must reject all BN candidates for creating a mess in Sabah, for making the natives even more poorer by driving them out of the land they have been occupying for generations and for allowing foreigners into the country without travel documents," he said.
In responding to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman's comments that the PKR's promises in its manifesto are unrealistic and absurd, Jeffery said it is not difficult to reduce the prices of essential goods in Sabah.
He pointed out that the root of the problem is the withdrawal of the subsidy on petrol.
Jeffery said a PKR Federal Government will use part of the huge profit of Petronas estimated to be between RM65 billion and RM100 billion due to the current high price oil in the international market.
"Why can't the Government ask Petronas to use RM10 billion a year to subsidise petroleum to help all Malaysians reduce costs in doing their business and also to help the poor alleviate their daily financial hardship instead of keeping the money.
"In this way, the country will be more attractive to foreign investors, thus creating more job opportunities for Malaysians," he added.
Jeffery said the government effected the withdrawal of the subsidy on petrol throughout Malaysia with a promise to use the money saved to improve roads in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak but like other promises, this was not fulfilled.
Jeffery claimed the PKR was contesting 55 seats because it realised that the people genuinely wanted to change the State Government.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sometimes, intellectuality can go awry, incoherence and illogical. The law of improbability can end up as law of unintended consequences.
Anwar Ibrahim, a well-educated, intellectual and charismatic politician, adored by many young urban Malaysians for his oratorical skills and fiery delivery is beginning to drown in his own intelligence and unwittingly devour his own political future by self-inflicted injury.
I read with dismay and disappointment the promises he made on his campaign trail in Wangsa Maju, Bandar Tun Razak and Lembah Pantai.
The making of such audacious statements and impossible to implement promises is not reflective of an highly esteemed politician . The thin crowd from the Malay community is a telling sign of his declining popularity and skepticism that people have about his ability to mount a strong and united apposition, let alone form the next government.
I am sure many Malaysians would share my feeling of being insulted by such ludicrous promises. Some of the promises he made have actually done more harm than good. Those with enough intelligence would not be easily bought by such stupendous promises.
He said when he was finance minister for eight years he never raised the price of petrol. That's true, but what was the price of crude oil then ? The average price of crude for the 10-year period of the nineties was US$17.9 per barrel. Today the price of crude has reached US$102 per barrel, about six times more than when he was finance minister. What benchmark is he using to compare during his time and now ? Was it an intelligent comparison or just casting a lure to fish for votes, hoping gullible Malaysians would take the bait.
Another equally empty as an empty vessel was his promise of "I will abolish toll charges, fix minimum wages at RM1,500 and provide free education until university level," to the crowd at Wangsa Maju.
To implement all the promises he would need to use all the foreign reserves and also use Petronas as a cash cow.The country would be bankrupted before he finishes his term.
For an ex- finance minister to make such ridiculous promises it's obvious he has little respect for the intelligence of the people of this country.He was so besotted with the accolades he gets from the Western world on his academic achievements he has forgotten that Malaysians are not all that stupid either, to believe in his useless promises.
It is obvious that this empty vessel that makes the most noise is not likely to change the political landscape in this country. Lies and promises are not going to buy votes unless majority of Malaysians are thick in the head, which is what Anwar assumed us all to be. He is completely immersed in self-glorification and thinks Malaysia is one big bodohland.
With all the stupefyingly dull and empty promises he is making and at the rate he is going, PKR would have run out of support come this 8th March.