Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Najib's Electoral Reform: Damned If You Do,Damned If You Don't!

Hantu Laut

What's the point at the end of the day the opposition Pakatan Rakyat and Bersih would still rebuke and ridicule him.

You can never appease the oppositions with their "kedai kopi" politics and Malaysia's dirty politics on both sides of the political divide.Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Giving in should not be an option now.
You should have acceded before the Bersih rally.

The politicking is going to get murkier and dirtier as you get nearer D-Day, muddled by your erstwhile comrade-in-arms and his political hopefuls and with not much help from your inertial UMNO leaders who half the time spewed foolish and unintelligible statements.

Malaysia's Najib Calls for Electoral Reform

Najib will clean up the electoral process

Or is it a ploy to buy time?

Apparently bending to widespread criticism of a government crackdown of a July 9 march demanding electoral reform, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said Tuesday that a parliamentary select committee is to be formed as soon as possible to seek to reform the current system.

The announcement appears to answer a central demand of the reform group Bersih, a coalition of good-government organizations backed by opposition parties to clean up the electoral process.

The big question, however, is how soon the select committee will meet, and whether the reform provisions it comes up with – if any – could be put in place before national elections expected to be called late this year or early next. In that, the announcement of the committee carries certain dangers. If the committee is still meeting when the election comes and goes, the decision to create it is likely to be regarded as a public relations gesture.

Wong Chin Huat, one of the leaders of Bersih, told Asia Sentinel that Najib must hold up the polls until the reforms can be implemented.

Bersih itself, in a prepared statement, said it welcomed Najib’s announcement of a bipartisan committee, asking that immediate reforms be carried out before the next state and general elections and that other reforms be put in place within two years after the formation of the committee.

The process is bound to be complicated and subject to possible delay. The Malaysian constitution must be amended after the legislative, policy drafting and enforcement mechanisms are finished, then laws must be put in place by the executive branch to carry out the mandate.

That will require an automated voter registration system. The government has already said it is creating a so-called biometric registration system which would use fingerprints or other biometric data for voter identification. Bersih, however, charges that the system is open to abuse and wants a system in which voters will be marked with indelible ink once they have voted.

The government took a severe beating in the international press after police cracked down on the so-called Bersih 2.0 rally, blocking entrances to Kuala Lumpur, dousing the marchers who got through with water cannons and firing tear gas at them despite the fact that most were determined not to fight back. Nonetheless, anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 marchers got through depending on who was doing the counting. Some 1,700 people were arrested, many for merely appearing in yellow tee-shirts, the Bersih color.

Najib’s international image took a further beating when it was discovered that in an effort to turn around its negative image the government had paid RM86 million in two contracts to a British public relations company to plant favorable interviews and news stories with the international media. The contract was withdrawn abruptly when its existence was exposed by a Sarawak NGO, the Sarawak Report.

Just days ago, Najib was likening the Bersih marchers to the hooded rioters that torched buildings and caused violence in London and other cities. The abrupt about turn is being regarded in Kuala Lumpur as an indication that the government crackdown and attempt to demonize the marchers has backfired badly and hurt Najib’s standing.

The prime minister reportedly is already under fire from members of his own party, particularly those who advocate so-called Ketuanan Melayu, or Malay rights to take precedence over those of the country’s other races. Although some reports had him returning early from an Italian vacation to put down a party rebellion, those reports have been denied. But he clearly has been weakened from the affair.

“The prime minister must have realized that middle Malaysia will not tolerate a government that fanatically makes ‘clean’(Bersih, in Malay language) a dirty word, and losing the middle ground will erode his edge as a moderate leader in the increasingly rough intra-UMNO rivalry,” said Wong Chin Huat.

It is the mechanics of the process that are important. Although the prime minister said the committee would include lawmakers from both the Barisan Nasional, the ruling national coalition, to “discuss all the questions and issued raised about electoral reform so that a mutual agreement could be reached,” Deputy Speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, a member of the United Malays National Organization, told local media that it would take at least year before the committee could finish its work and the reforms, if any, could be implemented. Read more.


SM said...

Bro HL,

Exactly! I agree, Najib should have done this before the BERSIH 2.0 Rally!
Doing it now only shows how desperate he is & adds fuel to the Opposition's criticisms! Right from the beginning he said there was no need for Electoral Reform & so now what has changed? Is he saying that there "maybe" need for Reform?!
He's becoming as "flip-flop" as Pak Lah!
Either he was sleeping or he was listening to his dope advisers, in which case they should all be sacked!
Maybe you should apply for the job bro...those who are advicing him certainly do not know what's happening in Malaysia!

Purple haze said...

I agree with you that he should have acceded before July 9.

Anything he does now, post-July 9 will be seen as a knee jerk reaction.

Unfortunately, this appears that the Malaysian PM lacks strategic vision. Or maybe there is something else brewing ?

SM said...

Bro HL,

When interviewed, Mahatir said...

“So there may be some hanky-panky but generally, the elections in Malaysia are clean. Not absolutely clean, but clean,” said Dr Mahathir!

I guess that statement says it all!

Hantu Laut said...

I have now come to a stage even I am getting fed up with some of the incredulous statements coming out of some of the minister's mouths.The Tajuddin episode is one of the most shameful thing, a minister giving directive to GLCs to withdraw legal action against him.

In my years of doing business only the board can decide such things if they deemed it is in the company's interest to settle out of court or drop the case and if the sum is huge the board usually call an EGM to get shareholder's approval.That would be the proper thing to do.

The board of directors would be in serious trouble if they have proceeded with Nazri's directive.The irony is Nazri is a lawyer himself and should have known better.

SM said...

Bro HL,

Interesting observation!
However, the fault lies not only with the PM for choosing such Ministers but it also rests with the Rakyat for voting for such candidates.
Nasri sometimes says the smartest things & then he turns around & makes a fool of himself. Maybe these Ministers just do not respect us the Rakyat (this is probably one of the main reasons!)? After all they spew crap & EXPECT us to believe them!
The question now is why do we have such poor standards when it comes to MPs?
I guess it's the "dredges" in our society that choose to go into politics. For them, it's the fastest & easiest way to Riches & Fame!
Look at the Singaporean Ministers! They are far ahead in terms of Grey Matter & Quality! No wonder the S$ is now at almost RM2.50 (not yet there but almost, almost!)!

Purple haze said...

Remember that the EPF holds significant stakes in some of these GLCs.

Thus, if the GLCs were to follow the "advice" of Nazri, it will result in substantial drop in net worth of the GLCs and eventually for the contributors to the EPF.

If I were a director of one of these GLCs, I would resign immediately rather than accede to a request to reduce the shareholders net worth.