Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Post-Election Payback Time in Malaysia

Mahathir backs moves to punish minorities and reward pro-government voters, companies
Last week, the Malaysian government announced its allocation of public university seats for the upcoming academic year. Only 19 percent of Chinese students got places, along with 4 percent of Indians despite the fact that the two together make up about 30 percent of the student population. Last year, Chinese students got 23 percent, in line with their proportion of the overall population.

That was the first tangible fallout from the 13th general election held on May 5, in which the Barisan Nasional, the ruling national coalition, won 133 of the 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, or Parliament, preserving its majority despite the fact that it only received 47.38 percent of the popular vote against 50.87 for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition headed by Anwar Ibrahim.

The second came yesterday with the revelation of the award of a RM1 billion (US$314 million) commuter railway project in the massive government-backed Iskandar development in the southern state of Johor to Malaysian Steel Works Sdn Bhd through direct negotiations rather than open tender, in contravention of competitive bid regulations supposedly implemented by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as a part of his three year old Economic Transformation Program to loosen the state's reins on the economy.

Masteel, as the company is known, is 40 percent owned through its investment in KUB Bhd by the United Malays National Organization, the dominant political party in Malaysia and one known for its cornucopia of rent-seeking businesses that steer money to the party. In addition, Masteel gets a RMB700 million government soft loan to develop the project. According to an official with the company quoted in local media, Masteel will receive a 37-year build-own-transfer arrangement on the project despite the fact that it is slated to break even in 12 years.

The common denominator appears to be the return of Mahathir Mohamad, the 88-year-old former prime minister, and his close friend and ally, former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, at the top of the power structure in UMNO, politically emasculating the current Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak. Despite the loss of the popular vote, the majority of the rank and file inside UMNO believe it was Mahathir's strident racial politics that preserved the Barisan's - and particularly UMNO's - place at the top of Malaysian politics, and that it was Najib's attempt to reach out to the other races that cost them.

Ethnic Malays make up 60.3 percent of Malaysia's population, Chinese 22.9 percent and Indians 7.1 percent, according to the latest census. Malays and Indians dramatically abandoned the Barisan Nasional in the May election, with the Malaysian Chinese Association hit so hard that the party, once the second-biggest in the coalition, refused all cabinet positions. The Malaysian Indian Congress fared somewhat better, but not much.

"Najib was a good prime minister. But instead of strengthening his hand the Chinese and non-Malays and non-Muslims weakened him. But UMNO is strong. So Najib is out of steam," said a lawyer with close contacts to the Mahathir wing of the party. "Najib has lost energy, lost his mandate, lost respect. Mahathir, Tun Daim and the UMNO grassroots are in charge," Read more.


Anonymous said...

Seems like only Chinese student being punished but the Chinese tycoon like YTL continued to be given big billions projects.

Anonymous said...

It's indeed a sad day for Malaysia if this kind of payback time is taking place. You are talking about the longterm effects of education in peoples' lives. Be fair please with the proportion of allocated uni places because what we do today will make us regret one day in the future.

They may not support the ruling party now but they might in the future so why jeopardize their lives just so you feel vindicated? By punishing them you are closing that door forever for reconciliation.

I remember Sabah was punished for voting the then opposition PBS in the eighties. A lot of developments were derailed and we still feel the effects now such as the "abandoned" redevelopment of QEH till the tower blocks became unsafe and patients were forced to be relocated here and there. And now we are the one propping up BN to stay in power, what poetic justice! But we have suffered over those years of payback times and its later repercussions.

This payback is not healthy at all and I am really sad for Malaysia. Wither our inter-racial coexistence.

Ding Dong man said...

The Chinese voted for who they want last PRU.

The Malays now got what they want, albeit slowly.

Yeah the Indians are somewhere in between.

So what's the news here?

Anonymous said...

6th para, should be 'Chinese and Indians' right? instead of 'Malays and Indians'. Malays did not abandon UMNO. UMNO won due to Malay's support. Who wrote the report? Never check or what?

Anonymous said...

And who do we blame??? Who was greedy?? Who was giving in so much and have to sacrifice?? And who was.....

Look into ourselves and find the answers...

Anonymous said...

The winner takes all. A lesson to be learnt. In next PRU don't be so confident. MALAYsia saw what your ill intention already. Be greatful and try to open up your eyes big big lah. Ai yah! tu lan ho.

Anonymous said...

Look all you anons, the chinese voted for DAP during last GE. So, now lu olang tangong sendiri balasan ok. its dog eat dog world man. they gamble and they lost so what else can they do? i say jump off the Penang Bridge but ask the Lim family to jump first. after all you support them hook, line and sinker....

Anonymous said...

If you voted along racist lines AND bite the hands that feed, you have to shoulder all repercussions.

Najib bent backwards to PLEASE the chinese but they rewarded him with the chinese tsunami, even after getting psy to entertain at high costs and all the FOC dinners.

Najib even wore RED samfoo, beat the chinese drums in his ill-advised pursuit to unite all races in his naive aim at 1Malaysia.

He saw chinese holding banners of I love PM, we support Ah Jib Gor etc.

So serve najib right for a**licking the ungrateful chinese.

NOW UMNO/BN supporters want their turn at Najib a**licking. All is fair in politics and backlash.

Anonymous said...

anon July 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM

If the PR has taken over Putrajaya, the bumis will not even get their fair chances and will be chased back to the 'hutan' to live in trees.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese and their proxy PM to be Anwar were so confident until they had counted their chicken before they are hatched. This is the time to implement non popular policy on education and other policy which always were protested by them and we always give in. Turn around the table now Najib.