More questions to consider, Gerakan leaders !

In most of the meetings with grassroots, the Gerakan leaders will cite  3 questions and their answers to justify their stay in BN. The leaders often say that when they ask these 3 following questions to the ordinary people in traditional Gerakan strongholds in Penang, Klang Valley and Kinta Valley, they get these answers:

1. Will the people support BN in another General election?

The answer in Gerakan’s traditional urban and suburban areas will be “No”.

2. Should Gerakan leave BN?

The overwhelming response, especially from the Penangites, is a big “YES”

3. In a 3 cornered fight between Gerakn, DAP and BN, which party would you support?

The answer is ‘DAP” because the people thought even with Gerakan out of BN, DAP should be given one or 2 terms to prove its worth.


So some of the leaders are using the answer to the third question to justify their argument that Gerakan should not go out of BN.

I would like to, as a loyalist ( as called by Jeff Ooi once in his article) grassroot member, however, ask 2 more questions:

Q4. supposing Gerakan is still in BN, and there is a straight fight between Gerakan and DAP, which party will you choose?

The answer is obvious, 70% of the votes will probably go to DAP now based on the feedback of the people. Gerakan would only get one MP seat in Simpang Renggam because the other seat, Gerik, will have to be returned to UMNO in the next general election.

Q 5. Would Gerakan  be better able to contribute to the establishment of a more fair and equal society, which is our our ideals,  inside or outside of BN?

The answer to question 5 would depend on whether UMNO reforms or not. I have already mentioned in my earlier article , Gack to the grassroots, that if ZAid Ibrahim cannot change UMNO, outside party cannot expect to change it, especailly viewing UMNO in the context of the Ahmad Ismail episode. So if UMNO cannot be changed, the answer to Q 5 would be, Gerakan would contribute to change more effectively by staying outside of BN.

Q6. Would history consider Gerakan more kindly if it goes out now or if it continues to support a regime full of corruption, abuses, leakages?

The answer is again obvious, historians would have a better view of a party that move decisively away from a regime that has compromised most of the Malaysian Institutions, including judiciary.

Another oft mentioned reason is Gerakan would be split if it moves out of BN. One way to minimise the split is to call for a referendum to let grasssroots decide whether the party should remain in or go out of BN.  The members will of course have to abide by the majority position. If 70 % of members want to leave, the other 30% will have to close rank and support the decision. In this way, the chances of a split will be smaller. (read my post : Back to the grassroots, Gerakan)

If it remains inside, there are already signs of many members leaving the party, which is an indirect form of splitting, and which will result in the party having generals and few foot soldiers as I have  mentioned in my earlier articles. The longer the leaders drag their foot, the weaker will be the party.

 I will use once again Dr Lim CHong Eu’s example to motivate members not to be too disheartened. DR Lim won Penang with little recources, with only few cadres, but most of them loyal and faithful to the party ideology.. (read my post:  Time for Gerakan to regain credibility).

The grassroots will have to see further than our leaders. The leaders are thinking only of the next GE. We have to see beyond one or 2 GEs. We can do it small and bid our time, and we can also,  in the meantime, combine with like-minded forces in East or West Malaysia to slowly rebuild the party. I am confident that , given a time span of 10 to 15 years, Gerakan can slowly rebrand itself into a credible party between 2 the bigger coalitions.

It is no longer a question about whether members are emotional or not. It is rather a question of leaders having the will and determination to do it alone outside of BN.

 recommended readings:

A square peg in a round hole


Is the Iron Triangle breaking up?

This is from Bernama’s news analysis today:

Is Gerakan’s iron Triangle Breaking Up?

By Alan Ting

PENANG, Sept 28 (Bernama) — For the past 20 years, Gerakan’s top three leaders — acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, vice-president Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nam and secretary-general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye had always formed a formidable team.

So much so they were dubbed as the “Iron Triangle”, reflecting their closeness, with some party members even likened their bonds to the party’s emblem, which is triangular in shape.

The trio also built up their respective political career in the Bukit Bendera constituency.

Dr Koh was previously the state assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah, Dr Teng was the Pulau Tikus state assemblyman — both are in the Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat — while Chia was the MP before his defeat in the March 8 general election.

“Once, they were also called the ‘Dream Team’ as they had built up such a formidable political force in Penang and in the party,” a retired senior Gerakan leader told Bernama.

Lately however, some party leaders and insiders said they began to detect signs that the Iron Triangle was breaking up.

Cracks seemed to have appeared after the March 8 general election and some party members even interpreted that the cracks meant that the trio might no longer be on the same ship.

“Their public appearance is very superficial. I think the ‘triangle’ had actually started to collapse sometime in February and early March when two of them (Dr Teng and Chia) started to lobby to become the next Penang chief minister,” said a grassroots member from the Bukit Bendera division.

Lending further credence to the perception was the fact that Dr Teng decided to contest against Chia for the Penang state Gerakan chairman’s post — a move, according to some Penang Gerakan members, that had upset Chia.

“There has been an arrangement earlier that when Dr Koh steps down as the Penang Gerakan chairman, Chia would be given a chance to take over. However, at the last minute, Dr Teng came in and challenged him,” a Gerakan divisional leader said.

Differences between Chia and Dr Teng began to surface when Chia, just a day before the Penang Gerakan state elections, suggested that the party break away from Barisan Nasional.

“This was a calculated move by Chia to win the delegates’ support after some personal attacks were hurled at him,” one of Chia’s supporters said, claiming that the “pull out from BN” statement had prompted Dr Koh to hold an unscheduled closed-door briefing just before the start of the party’s state elections last Sunday.

During the briefing, Dr Koh had said that there was no doubt that some would want to see Gerakan leave the BN but at the same time, they did not indicate whether they would continue to support the party after the pullout.

This seemed to have jolted the delegates to their senses and forced them to ponder about the fate of the party if it were to be out of BN and with support eroding.

And because of this, the Chia supporter claimed, some delegates threw their support to Dr Teng, who won by a mere 10-vote majority.

Dr Teng secured 166 votes, Chia obtained 156 while another candidate, Bukit Gelugor division chairman Cheang Chee Gooi, only managed to secure 21 votes.

But for former Penang state executive councillor and Gerakan Youth chief Teng Chang Yeow, the rift had not reached a level of breaking, only at the point of “loosening up”.

“After a while, corrosion will set in. So you need to put some oil. Whether this would smoothen the whole thing again, it remains to be seen,” he said.

But the latest development has given some veteran party leaders a cause for concern.

For instance, one of them, Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, said, “Whatever happens, the Iron Triangle cannot break as it holds a very significant power play and balancing act in the party.

“If the triangle breaks, the consequences are that any one of them may break away from the party, bringing with them a substantial number of supporters.”

Results in the recent Penang Gerakan elections showed that both Dr Teng and Chia still wield considerable support.

“Some members have said that it was a proxy fight but as a keen watcher, I would rather say that each one of them has a different personality, with their own ways and ideas,” Dr Chin said.

“It is how we get these people to come and work together. Chia coordinates well, that is why he is always regarded as a good coordinator. You get maximum result,” he said.

Dr Teng, on the other hand, is a person who has a good appearance and good public relations skills, including the ability to speak various languages, including Tamil, said Dr Chin.

“Each of them has strengths and weaknesses and they need each other’s strengths to cover their respective weaknesses,” he said.

Now it would be interesting to see whether Dr Teng, the elected Penang Gerakan state chairman, would bring Chia to sit on the Penang state liaison committee (SLC).

“Chia has lost and he is not a division chairman. How to have him at the SLC when he is not even one of the six delegates voted in?

“But that can be done by bringing Chia to the SLC through the Central Working Committee (CWC), which has a provision to appoint a central liaison officer to sit in the SLC,” said Dr Chin.

Dr Chin explained that the CWC could appoint anybody to be a central liaison officer and that the state chairman had to consult the officer whenever important decisions were to be made.

“We can also appoint three persons as central appointees in the SLC. This has been used to stabilise the party in the past,” he said.

For Bayan Baru division chairman Wong Mun Hoe, the trio is not breaking up as Chia is known to be a team player and party leaders normally closed ranks after the election is over.

“The Iron Triangle is not easy to break. The triangle members understand the Gerakan way of doing things. Gerakan does not usually practise the winner takes all and loser loses all concept.

“Once the election is over, the rivals will close ranks and those who have been elected will usually bring in those who did not make it,” he said.

Wong said it would be something unexpected if Chia decided to break away from the triangle as suggested by some.

There are talks that Dr Teng and Chia will fight it out again for the deputy president’s post in the party’s elections scheduled for Oct 11.

Some even predicted that Chia might go for broke by contesting against Dr Koh for the party’s presidency.





Happy Birthday, RPK !

I will post this comment from Justin Choo, a blogger friend of mine here, wishing RPK a happy birthday, as today , 27th September, is his birthday.

Let us all wish RPK a very Happy Birthday, and wish that he can regain his freedom soon. The truth will always prevail:



Fom Justin Choo :

Please allow me to express my feeling here as today is RPK’s birthday. This is what I wrote in my blog:

“I read that today 27 September is the birthday of Y.M. Raja Petra who as everyone knows is being incarcerated. This is a short message of support and gratefulness for what he has done for the nation, for all of us, at the expense of his freedom. A travesty of justice in the name of justice. Freedom sacrificed for the sake of freedom.

To wish Y.M. a “Happy Birthday” today, in my humble opinion, will not do any justice to him, to put it very mildly. There will be many well-meaning friends who will wish Y.M. so, as is the normal greetings on one’s birthday. But today is not a normal day for Raja Petra. He is sacrificing his freedom for our freedom.

I wish him well.

I salute you, Y.M. Raja Petra Kamarudin!!

Justice will prevail in due course!”

What sounds good may not be good !

This is the latest write up in my column in Malaysian Insider posted yesterday afternoon. It is also availbale in Malaysia Today at this link.

Malaysian Insider

Is the Race Relations Act the solution?

SEPT 26 — A Race Relations Act (RRA) sounds good. But what sounds good may not be good. What sounds good may even be bad or redundant. In the case of the proposed RRA, I think it is a waste of time.

We already have a Sedition Act. During 1987 when race relations were at a low ebb, the Internal Security Act was used in Ops Lalang to arrest many people. I remember the then PM issued a stern warning that no one should question the special rights of the indigenous people, who include our Malay brothers, and no one should question the right to citizenship of the non-indigenous people, the Indians and the Chinese.

I remember, and correct me if I am wrong, that there was some sort of understanding that in return for not questioning the special rights of the indigenous people, the non-indigenous people would not be called “pendatang”.

Recently, we had a politician from a dominant party uttering this word and it resulted in a big hoo-ha in the country, raising tensions and temperatures. Police reports were made, state-level political ties were suspended, a photograph was torn but the Sedition Act was not used.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has spoken about “selective prosecution”. This case clearly gives the perception that there is indeed selective prosecution and perhaps “selective persecution” as well. The latter was perceived because of the use of the ISA to detain a newspaper reporter who was clearly innocent, an MP who did not say or do anything to threaten internal security and a prominent blogger whose fault was only to write reports that may or may not be true but which would not have been constituted as “threatening internal security”.

So, there is really no point in having an extra law, the proposed RRA, if there is selective prosecution as well as selective persecution. It would only give Big Brother an extra means to selectively arrest or silence certain groups, including opposition politicians and those in civil society fighting for righteousness and good governance.

It may be even used against the MCA, MIC or Gerakan, but certain “warlords” will never be touched.

Relations between people can only be slowly fostered in an environment that is free of bias. If there is perceived favouritism and unequal treatment, animosity is going to result and genuine relations cannot be established. Relationships can only be built if everyone is willing to give and take. They cannot be built on the basis of “I take almost everything and you have to fend for yourself”.

In a marriage, you cannot have one spouse taking everything and the other spouse feeling dissatisfied. This one-sided relationship can never last, no matter how many functions you organise for them, or how many outings you arrange. It has to be based on equality, mutual respect and, as I earlier mentioned, a “give and take” spirit.

Why harp on race relations when the parties in the Barisan Nasional are almost all race-based? If they genuinely want to see a united Malaysia, they should discard their race-based ideology and become one big multiracial party.

Leaders are supposed to lead by example. But now we have leaders who are uttering “race” and stressing “race” day in and day out. If leaders are harping on race, do you think people would suddenly cease talking about race and huddle together?

What we need to do to foster better race relations is very simple. Do away with the perceived unequal treatment. Do away with the race column in every form that we need to fill.

If the poor need to be given special help, by all means do so, but it must be on a basis of “need”. Only then would each community feel that it is not being left out, because the poor in each community would be given special care, just like we give special care to our handicapped brothers and sisters.

Logic tells us that the rich need less help; so let them compete on their own, on a level-playing field, so that they can be toughened up to face external competitors. Only through this can Malaysia reinvent itself, and play catch-up with those nations that were once, not too long ago, behind us — countries like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

We have to buck up to prevent being marginalised

In November 2006, I wrote an article “Will Malaysia be marginalised”?  In the article, I quoted certain figures to argue that economically, Malaysia was being marginalised by world community and that other countries in the region are fast catching up.

I posted then  2 tables from data I collected:

Table one was the total market capitalisation of   the stock markets of some of the countries in this region at end of 1996 and 2005.


While  market capitalisation of stock markets of most other countries in the region in 2005 exceeded that of 1996, Malaysia stood out for having a market capitalisation of its stock market smaller in 2005 than 1996.

Then I posted a 2nd table:

fdi-table1.jpg(data from UNCTAD)

Malaysia FDI performance index was ranked NO.4 in the world in 1990, whereas its ranking in 2005 was NO 62, a drastic drop by any means. But even then in 2005, Inward FDI was still more than outflow of investment from the country.

The latest UNCTAD World Investment Report 2008 was a shocker. Malaysia’s foreign direct investment (FDI) outflow surpassed inflow for the first time last year, with net outflow amounting to almost RM9 billion. While many can argue that this is because many Malaysian companies are investing abroad, we can counter argue that not many overseas investors are bringing money to invest in Malaysia compared to 10 or 20 years back. (Malaysia’s fall on the Inward FDI Performance Index to 71st position last year from 67th in 2006 and 62 in 2005, which is a real cause for worry).

Malaysia economy is now a pale shadow of its former self compared to ten or even 15 years ago. That maybe one reason why even local companies prefer to invest overseas when our own economy badly needs investment funds to enable it to move up the technological ladder so that it can compete with its former rivals, such as Singapore , Hong Kong, taiwan, and South Korea, which are now miles ahead of our country.

The Philippines was the richest nation in South East Asia in the fifties.  It is now among the poorest in the region now. Why? Poor governance, corruption, leakages, wastage, cronyism, nepotism all contribute to the present state.

WIll Malaysia be like the Philippines? In 2006, my answer was no, because i thought then  we had a very healthy reserves, comfortable  current account surpluses and an intelligent workforce which understood English. I am not so sure now.

What has inflicted Philippines is in fact present in our society now: corruption, abuses, wastage, cronyism, nepotism, compromised government institutions, albeit at a smaller scale.. Unless we buck up, we will soon lose to other countries which will no doubt overtake us, just like South Korea and Taiwan, which have gone so far ahead of us that we may forget the fact that these countries were behind us even in the early 80s.

There were 3 observations in that article which are even more relevant now:

  • Malaysia is a pale shadow of itself compared to 10 years ago.
  • It is not because Malaysia is moving backward but rather other countries are moving faster forward.
  • even while accepting the NEP objectives, the debate should shift to how best to achieve this objectives with minimal market distortion.

    The last point is important, because NEP skews the whole economy and actually retards our economic progress. We should be farsighted enough to do away with the restrictions under NEP, and then allow our businesses learn to stand up on their own merits, and only then can we expect our economy be moving forward again and benefiting all the people regardless of race.

    A Prisoner of Conscience – RPK going to Kamunting

    The latest news from Malaysiakini reported that RPK is going to be sent to Kamunting for its 2 years detention.

    today is also the court hearing for RPK’s Habeas corpus ‘s hearing in High Court.Habeas corpus  is a writ ordering prisoners to be brought before a judge to ascertain if there are any procedural defects which could render their detention unlawful. Hopefully the judge would free him. As I see it, there is really no security threat to the country, although certain inside news that he reported do hurt many people in high places.

    But if you do not want people to know about bad things, the best thing is not to commit them.

    What RPK did in his blog heralds a new begining of the freedom of expression in Malaysia  . If anyone feels that he or she is unjustly accused of certain things, they can always resort to suing RPK for defamation. If there is no basis, RPK would be punished, but if there are truths to what he writes, then he should be allowed to defend himself and show evidence to back up what he has written.

    This is what human rights is about; this is what freedom of expression is about; this is what accountability is about.

    By sending him to Kamunting, he would be kept there a minimum of 2 years, since they would only review his case every 2 years.

    I would like to once again deplore this act of detaining someone without trial, and I hope the power-that-be would really consider releasing him unconditionally, since by detaining him, the government would lose even more support among the people. And this is no way of trying to gain back the people’s support.

    RPK is indeed a prisoner of conscience, and all those who conscinece should lobby for his release. ( International convention considers a person as a prisoner of conscience when he is being physically restrained -by imprisonment or otherwise- from expressing (in any form of words or symbols) any opinion which he honestly holds and which does not advocate or condone personal violence.)

    Material happiness never lasts !

    I received this articel via email. This is written by Adam Khoo in Money and i think what he says is very sensible and correct. this is like what I wrote in my article ” the third Generation curse”

    A Blog Post by Singapore ‘s Youngest Millionaire

     By Adam Khoo In Money |

    Some of you may already know that I travel around the region pretty frequently, having to visit and conduct seminars at my offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Suzhou (China).  I am in the airport almost every other week so I get to bump into many people who have attended my seminars or have read my books.

    Recently, someone came up to me on a plane to KL and looked rather shocked.  He asked, ‘How come a millionaire like you is travelling economy?’  My reply was, ‘That’s why I am a millionaire.’  He still looked pretty confused.  This again confirms that greatest lie ever told about wealth (which I wrote about in my latest book ‘Secrets of Self Made Millionaires’).  Many people have been brainwashed to think that millionaires have to wear Gucci, Hugo Boss, Rolex, and sit on first class in air travel. This is why so many people never become rich because the moment that earn more money, they think that it is only natural that they spend more, putting them back to square one.

    The truth is that most self-made millionaires are frugal and only spend on what is necessary and of value.  That is why they are able to accumulate and multiply their wealth so much faster.  Over the last 7 years, I have saved about 80% of my income while today I save only about 60% (because I have my wife, mother in law, 2 maids, 2 kids, etc. to support).  Still, it is way above most people who save 10% of their income (if they are lucky).  I refuse to buy a first class ticket or to buy a $300 shirt because I think that it is a complete waste of money.  However, I happily pay $1,300 to send my 2-year old daughter to Julia Gabriel Speech and Drama without thinking twice.

    When I joined the YEO (Young Entrepreneur’s Organization) a few years back (YEO is an exclusive club open to those who are under 40 and make over $1m a year in their own business) I discovered that those who were self-made thought like me.  Many of them with net worths well over $5m, travelled economy class and some even drove Toyota’s and Nissans (not Audis, Mercs, BMWs).

    I noticed that it was only those who never had to work hard to build their own wealth (there were also a few ministers’ and tycoons’ sons in the club) who spent like there was no tomorrow.  Somehow, when you did not have to build everything from scratch, you do not really value money.  This is precisely the reason why a family’s wealth (no matter how much) rarely lasts past the third generation.  Thank God my rich dad (oh no! I sound like Kiyosaki) foresaw this terrible possibility and refused to give me a cent to start my business.

    Then some people ask me, ‘What is the point in making so much money if you don’t enjoy it?’  The thing is that I don’t really find happiness in buying branded clothes, jewellery or sitting first class.  Even if buying something makes me happy it is only for a while, it does not last.  Material happiness never lasts, it just give you a quick fix.  After a while you feel lousy again and have to buy the next thing which you think will make you happy.  I always think that if you need material things to make you happy, then you live a pretty sad and unfulfilled life.

    Instead, what make ME happy is when I see my children laughing and playing and learning so fast. What makes me happy is when I see by companies and trainers reaching more and more people every year in so many more countries.  What makes me really happy is when I read all the emails about how my books and seminars have touched and inspired someone’s life.  What makes me really happy is reading all your wonderful posts about how this BLOG is inspiring you.  This happiness makes me feel really good for a long time, much much more than what a Rolex would do for me.

    I think the point I want to put across is that happiness must come from doing your life’s work (be in teaching, building homes, designing, trading, winning tournaments etc.) and the money that comes is only a by-product.  If you hate what you are doing and rely on the money you earn to make you happy by buying stuff, then I think that you are living a life of meaningless.


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