Lesson from the past

Despite certain reservations, I am happy that finally PM has taken the bold step forward and announced the repeal of ISA and the relaxation oer certain restriction on civil liberties.

Even if this announcement is meant to gain votes for the next GE, I will still be happy if it can be carried out as promised and it can lead to more freedom for the society. WHAT IS important is that the rakyat gets better lives and more freedom, regardless of the motives behind such announcement.

This would not have been possible if not for the fact that BN has lost its 2/3 majority after 308. This is further proof that a 2 party system, no matter  how imperfect it may be, is better than a single-dominant-party rule.

The million dollar question remains that whether such reform can be carried out as promised.

In 2004, Pak Lah has promised the sky but we not only did not see the sky, but we lost our ground too.

To answer the million dollar question posted above, we need to look at history, since history, as I have often stated in this blog, can show us that   many  reformist governments  landed up as failure.

Since I am quite familiar with China History, i shall share with my readers  the so called ” Hundred Days  Reform”  which was carried out during the reign of Guang Xu, the 12th and last-but-one emperor of Qing Dynasty.

When the Last-but-two emperor of Qing Dynasty, TongZhi,  passed away ( unofficial sources said he died of syphilis but that was outside this topic), he left no children, so Empress CiXi, installed Tongzhi’s cousin, who was also her  younger sister’s son,  Zaitian, as the new emperor. He was known as  Guangxu.

Guangxu ascended the throne at age 4 with Empress CiXi as the regent.  She was all powerful and was known in History as the Empress Dowager. All the ministers were all her people and no one dared to oppose her, as doing so would result in whole tribe being executed, in those feudal days.

Guangxu was given back his reign when he was 17 (Chinese age 18), and he ws vry much influenced by his teacher, who was reformed minded.

At that time, China was very weak, and was bullied by Western powers, and a resurgent Japan which had just undergone the Meiji restoration. After losing the opium war, China had to sign a number of unequal treaties and as a result ceded Hong Kong, Macau etc to the western power.

Guangxu knew that the only way to save China was to reform , as in the case of Japan under the Meiji Emperor.

He appointed a few reform minded minsiters like  Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao.

At that time, there were 2 schools of thought among those reformed minded Chinese intellectuals . One like Kang and Liang wanted to save China through reforming the Qing government, using Japan as a model; the other school thought that to have a thorough reform, Qing Dynasty had to be overthrown and a new reform minded government, in the form of democracy , would be the only answer. The latter school influenced people like Sun Yat Sun and Wang JiWei.

Empress CiXi, despite allowing Guangxu to finally sit on the throne to decide matters of the State, did not let go all her powers. She remained literally behind the throne and listened to how the matters of the State were being run, and many a time, she had the ultimate say through her connections with other royalties sitting as major advisers to the Emperor.

Guangxu with his reform team instituted the Hundred Days Reform,  aiming at instituting sweeping  political, legal, social changes. However, the change was deemed too drastic, and they lost support of most of the conservatives and the important ministers, who turned to Empress Cixi for help. Even among the population, many could not accept such drastic changes.

In the end, even the general Yuan shikai, commanding a modern army ,  who the reformists turned for help in ensuring power, turned against them and revealed their plans to Cixi. In the end, the reform was put to an end, through the use of army loyal to Cixi. Liang and Kang fled and escaped, but Emperor Guangxu was put under house arrest and was rumoured to be poisoned one day before the death of Cixi, many years later.

What can we learn from this?

That changes will always be opposed. Unless these opposing forces can be tamed, reform would not succeed.

To tame these forces, support from those holding the power levers , such as those with gun barrels are very important.  (Mao had famously said that power came from the barrels of guns )

Support from the people is of utmost important, for the opinion of the people influences those holding the power levers.

These people who hold the power levers would likely turn to a former Ally when their own interest are being threatened. In the Qing case, they turned to cixi.

In Malaysia, they would likely unite under the Old Horse when their own interest are threathened.

This piece of history would serve our PM well, to remind him that to push through changes, he needs to be determine and had a steely resolve. He needs to be prepared to do political battles with his ministers and other warlords, not only within his party, but outside in the civil service as well, especially those holding the power levers.

ANother valuable lesson is that ultimately, 13 years after the failure of the Hundred Days Reform, Qing was overthrown, and Republic of China was born.

This means that if PM cannot overcome the resistance to change,  the government would be at a risk of being change.

I wish PM luck and success, and I sincerely hope that he can implement the changes ,. for the benefits of the people. I also believe that any failure of implementing what he has promised would result in change of regime.

This is the lesson from history!


64 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 13:03:04

    Dr. Hus. I am not optimistic Najib will get to reform the law as he announced. The simple fact was that he announced it without the cabinet behind it. It was reported that only a handful of ministers were told and sworn to secrecy. Would this announcement speed up his removal? With his removal, then there will be no reform.


  2. Dr Hsu
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 13:16:35

    Let us hope that he would not be like Guangxu. But the forces around Old Horse is like those around empress dowager, warloards and powerful guys holding the levers of power.
    I am hoping against hope that he can succeed, for the sake of Malaysians.


  3. ong
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 13:41:07

    Your one million dollar question remains “that whether such reform can be carried out as promised.”

    Unless the reforms are carried out before the next GE, the chances for it to happen is almost 0% in my view, my ten million dollar question is “whether there are still enough naive Malaysians who will be conned into giving BN one more term”, the same way they were conned by sleepy head’s “work with me, not for me” plea.


  4. Dr Hsu
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 14:13:29

    I think at this juncture, after his announcement, the die is cast and there is no going back for PM.

    If he does not deliver his promises, he and BN would be thrown out.

    If he pushes through his promises, he would no doubt encounter resistance from the right wingers and hardliners, but he can still hope to get public support to overcome such challenges, especially from the 3Ms.

    He has no other choice but to push for change now… What the hardliners can do is to delay the process, since to repeal law and amend laws, you need the cooperation of the law ministry and the home ministry… they can do all sorts of things to delay.. Just like the Hundred Days reform encountered lots of resistance, when Guangxu tried to implement them..


    On a lighter note, all of us can see that even the fat lady is coming out to speak on national TV and was prominently photographed in the National Day parade… She must have known that her days may be numbered , so why not bask in the limelight while she still can? I personaly think that by doing so, she would be digging the political grave of PM, but to her, this may be the last chance to be seen as the Lady!! 🙂


  5. Rhan
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 14:48:48

    I do not want to delve into the path of the reformists (British) and revolts (French), China recent history tell us reforming take times and smart politicking. Compare the adamant Kang and the smart Deng, we can see the difference. Deng know how to deal with both the conservative and the reformist. But of course, education of the mass play a role, I believe the educated Chinese in 70’ to 80’ is much higher than Qing period.


  6. A true Malaysian
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 15:17:04

    To repeal ISA, Najib has to put this to vote in the Parliament.

    The million dollar question is, even if Pakatan MPs vote in favour of the repeal, will he get enough support from Umno and BN MPs?

    What is the new law in replacement is more or less the same as ISA? There are still many uncertainties as far as I am conerned. I would prefer Pakatan to do the job by voting them to be the next Federal government.


  7. Li Li Fa
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 15:30:40

    Likening the current Malaysian scenario to the Quangxu experience of China makes a lively and interesting comparison. .

    Repealing draconian laws for the good of the people is admirable and commendable of the PM who has no choice but to change otherwise be changed. I also wish him well. He has found himself in a precarious situation which is like riding a one-wheel bike on a tight-rope with his hands holding and balancing a long horizontal pole.

    He has no choice but to make it and see that the whole process of repealling the various laws is completed in due course, especially with a general election looming overhead, and the forces of power struggle on all sides.

    In the midst of such intriguing developkment, could a third force emerge and change the whole scenerio?


  8. A true Malaysian
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 17:03:22

  9. Rhan
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 00:07:27

    RPK “Reforms must come in a complete package”

    ATM, do you see this happen in any one country at a short span of time, let say 10 years?


  10. iamyuanwuYYW
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 01:42:49

    I would still vote for PR, just to keep Unker Jib on his toes…
    And I’d rather have the PR guys do the reform since they don’t have the experience of corruption.


  11. A true Malaysian
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 12:53:25


    Do you or do you not agreeable to RPK’s ideas?

    I think it is not our concern here whether any other country did or not. Why should we look at others that something we should do ourselves?


  12. Rhan
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 13:50:32


    “Do you or do you not agreeable to RPK’s ideas?”
    Some agree and some not, but I think his point is on MCLM, Petra have the habit (talent) to throw in some questions and lead us to the apparent solution, which may or may not be sensible if we read carefully, his excuse is always the devil’s advocates.

    “I think it is not our concern here whether any other country did or not. Why should we look at others that something we should do ourselves?”
    This is a fair statement, I often think we are the one that like to compare and that is why I ask in a similar manner.

    We have to set the priority, I don’t see the needs of a complete reform at this pint of time, I hope we can focus on democracy, governance, clean election and freeing of media.

    PS/ Just curious, what is your view on Ouyang Wen Feng (欧阳文风) married?


  13. A true Malaysian
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 00:29:07


    RPK is a controversial figure and many people read him differently, but for you to deem his excuse is always devil’s advocate is something not right. To me, I never doubt him at all. I support his ideals through MCLM as what they presented in the form of Rakyat Reform Agenda (RARA) which I read it as apolitical and for Malaysia civil liberty in the long run. Pakatan should indeed offer some seats for MCLM recommended candidates like Malik Imtiaz so to liven up the Parliament with quality debates.

    About your point on Ouyang, if I not mistaken, the gay pastor, I think we should let him (or her?) to decide even though we may not agree with his or her marriage with another gay. I read many people, especially from his fellow Christians and also from Muslims, criticise about him as against Christianity and Islam. But to me, from the point of Buddhism, where one of the 5 precepts is ‘refrain ourselves from sexual misconducts’, if you deemed his marriage with a gay as ‘sexual misconducts’, then, he and his partner maybe infringed of the precept, if not, then no infringment at all. Again, who are we to say infringement or not if both partners like husband and wife, can be ‘faithful’ to each other. Of course, many still see this kind of relationship or marriage as against the norm, tradition or custom, and interpret as against their beliefs and religions. I better not delve into this as this may offend others.

    What I can say is that things in this world evolve from time to time. What is right previously may not be right at present. I believe this is one of the reasons why Buddha never imposed his teachings to his believers but tell them to think, analyse and understand from time to time before adopting his teachings, and this is what I try to do when answering your question on how I see Ouyong’s marriage.

    The best I can do is to wish them to have a happy relationship. Criticising them will only make their lives miserable, which to me, is unproductive and not meaningful at all.

    I hope you satisfy with my response 🙂


  14. BeWildered
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 01:01:10

    Great perspective with reference to history, the resemblance is close. Jakob has the advantage to leverage the democracy platform which Guandxu did not. Let see if Najib is wise enough to see that and utilise that. If he leverages support from PR and his own faction within BN, he may stand a chance.this is a big stake move involve serious consequence one way or another. Najib is riding the tiger.


  15. A true Malaysian
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 09:58:26

    Dr. Hsu,

    See the way your ex-party leader Teng Hock Nam blemishing Lim Guan Eng, more damages are sure to inflict on Gerakan and the whole BN.

    I can’t even visualise how can a good doctor comes out such love story.


  16. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 10:25:27

    Will we see a Malaysian Boris Yeltsin ?


  17. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 10:34:39

    Dear Dr Hsu

    I think the Old Horse’s influence on UMNO is over-rated.

    UMNO is a political party ridden with corrupt people who live off
    rent-seeking capitalism opportunities dispensed through political patronage.
    It has lost its 1946 idealism completely (much like the Communist Party of China today
    that only pays lip service to Marxist ideology)
    So, in UMNO, the ones who have the resources to distribute goodies are the ones who hold the real power. (Note how impotent Old Horse was when the FIL and the SIL were running the country?). Current PM is the one dispensing the goodies, not the Old Horse.

    Old Horse can only make mischievious speeches to rally the fascist wing of UMNO.
    (And repulse decent-minded members of the Malay community)


  18. Rhan
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:11:25


    Thanks for the reply, I applaud your view on Ouyang. We are aware that there is criticism from the viewpoint of personal belief system and values pertaining to his marriage, and like you said, the world evolve from time to time hence I don’t quite agree to package those related to personal into part of “complete reform”. If Western values that are pretty individualistic took many years to transform (even now still in progress), Eastern society like ours that is collective in nature shall be given more time. The bias and bigot can only be reduced via education.

    On MCLM, I hope they don’t take the path of HRP at this point of time, and I am okay if you think my opinion on Petra is not right, my impression toward his writing is that he contradict himself from time to time, my only defense toward his deed is that his ‘view’ may not solely his, he present the opinion of various segment of societies, thus my devil’s advocate labeling. And I wrote in rafick blog that internet base journalism/blog pioneer like Petra and Pillai do play a great role to open up the closed mind of many Malaysian.

    I personally think this is now the crucial time to read and understand the view from the ‘other’ side, for instance, those from Ellese. We may not agree with him but if we ponder broad and far enough, his viewpoint and his argument might not in conflict even if PR is the government, the means and mode could still be similar, the difference might be our perception towards corruption and leakage, in other word, the crux is on rule of law and democratic system, we can’t afford to entrust our future to politician of both political divide. That said, my take is similar to Rafick and Hsu, I am all for balance of power, and I believe BN revamp can only be realized through losing of power.

    Back to the post subject, China most well-known reform is Shang Yang, Wang Anshi and Wusu (I think klm is pretty well versed in this part), the first brought Qin into the strongest during Warring States period but end up with one of the most dictatorial state in human history, while the latter two failed due to lack of peoples support, actually the one reform that success is Meiji Restoration in Japan, I think one of the prime reasons is the very high Japanese literacy rate in late nineteen century compare to most other Asian countries at that time.


  19. klm
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:13:20

    MI: From the people behind Tony Blair, a ‘cool’ Najib. Here’s the answer to the new Najib. Same people were behind Blair the Liar, we have Najib The Flip. He is trying the Kennedy motto ” It is not what you are. It is what people think you are.”


  20. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:31:36

    Keep up the pressure (unrelenting pressure) on politicians to
    “do the right thing” (even if their actual motives are suspect).

    Those without principles will respond accordingly, for their own
    political survival.


  21. Dr Hsu
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:13:58

    I see there will be some resistance from the right wingers. But Najib should be able to ride out the resistance.

    The public response which is generally cautiously favourable is a good start to rebuild his support base.

    But ultimately, whether this will translate into more votes or not will depend on the implementation of the reform. People need to see the change , not just words.. If there are no changes after 6 months or so, there would be backlash, and he would find himself losing all supports and become Pak Lah the Second.

    His team of advisers which is said to be behind Tony Blairs can only do so much… Ultimately it is still his policies that would decide whether he would get better or worse rating.

    Politics is all about perception.. I agree that it is all about how people think you are, and not what your are.. But over time, what you are will influence how people think you are.. Look at Obama, the shine is long gone, and he faces trouble defending his reelection. In other words, over time, people may see through him if he is not sincere in implementing the reform he promises.

    Talking about British politicans, there is a 2011 movie “Page 8” about a lying Prime Minister trying to cover up what he knew about US torture of prisoners which he did not share with his ministers… and this show depicts what really going on in the political world,, cutting deals and trade off in order to project a ‘good guy’ image to the public..

    For those with a fast internet, 4Meg and above, you can download the show here (choose the free downlaod or slow download button as it maybe.it will then be free and it takes less than an hour if your internet speed is over 4Mbps):


    It is worth watching to see how politicans function… It is the same way that i have seen with my own eyes..


  22. Kenny
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:27:49

    The Old Horse is making noises that Najib should not hold an early election. I expected him to do this. The cheating is now so massive that there is a danger Najib may get back 2/3 majority and his job would be safe. This will not tie in with the Old Horse’s plan to oust Najib in favour of No. 2. Hence Najib must be pulled down before the G.E. and this can only be done at the Umno election next year. The Old Horse wants the G.E. after the Umno election.

    But I doubt Najib will fall for this. He knows he can win the G.E. easier than he can win the Umno election. My prediction for the G.E. is this Nov failing which it will be March next year. All the signs continue to point to an early election.


  23. A true Malaysian
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:41:16

    Knowing ‘The cheating is now so massive that there is a danger Najib may get back 2/3 majority and his job would be safe’ and still want to participate the GE?

    If I have the authority in Pakatan, I decided to ‘BOYCOTT’ the GE. How on earth you can win if you already know ‘the cheating is now so massive’?

    Najib may ignore this BOYCOTT, but he can’t carry on with a illegitimate government. We need to put pressure on him to have a clean, free and fair GE.


  24. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:54:59

    No, no boycott.

    A boycott will only play into the hands of UMNO/BN.

    Compete fiercely in the GE. If there is massive fraud, then
    “democracy will be in the streets”

    (Lesson from history: Barisan Sosialis boycotted the Singapore GE.
    Where are they now?)


  25. A true Malaysian
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:11:43

    Phua Kai Lit,

    In fact, I already responded to your ‘no boycott’ comment (https://hsudarren.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/the-same-type-of-rice-raises-hundred-types-of-different-people/) . I re-post over here again,

    Just discovered your last comment on ‘no boycott’. It’s been getting harder in retrieving comments these days in this forum.

    It seems ‘BOYCOTT’ is no more an issue as we can feel negotiation of seats allocation is hotly put on drawing board. But, the contentious issue here is who to blame if one intend to participate even glaringly know the mahjong game is a dirty one?

    Seriously, the 13th GE will be the dirtiest one.

    As to the lessons from Barisan Sosialis boycott, I too have responded to Dr. Hsu’s points, to be exact.

    I re-post over here again,

    Let’s visualise again, if Pakatan decided to boycott the 13th GE and majority of we rakyat abstain from voting, this can be a huge issue internationally that Umno cannot chose to ignore. The repercussions will be great on our country politically, economically and international reputation as a sovereign country. This is no joke, by the way.

    I thank Dr. Hsu for bringing up the point of earlier boycotting of election by opposition in those days, frankly, I was not aware of this before that. The condition then, I should say, is not like present. Opposition then was not as united and strong then, and as a result, they were buried for good.

    Coming back to present day opposition, i.e. Pakatan Rakyat. Anwar, being an ex-Umno, is familiar with how Umno play politics, and with this special knowledge, he managed to unite the opposition under Pakatan Rakyat. Of course, Umno is aware the damage Anwar can do on them, and we see scandals to knock Anwar down so at the same time, knock Pakatan out. One thing Umno underestimate is that, over the years, Pakatan has become more matured, and managed to nurture good calibre leaders over the years where, even without Anwar, Pakatan will still survive. Not only that, they have gained supports all over from rakyat.

    So, to me, boycotting the GE is still an option, and Pakatan can use it to pressure Umno to make the electoral clean and go for a clean, fair and free election. It will be some sort like the Arab Spring but in different form.


  26. Kenny
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:38:35

    Umno considers power an end in itself. It can’t be bothered about reputation and legitimacy as long as it holds power. Look at the way they grab the Perak govt and held on to it with controversial court rulings that disregard the Constitution? If BN wins by massive cheating it will be illegitimate anyway but if PR boycott the polls nobody can claim that they are illegitimate.

    PR’s best bet is to highlight the cheating as much as possible and hope for enough sympathy votes to offset the cheating. Take the case of the ‘citizenship for votes’ article in the Bangladeshi PM Dept’s website. If the rural Malays are informed about this even they may turn against Umno. It’s their livelihood at stake from these instant bumiputras.


  27. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:51:23

    Dear True Malaysian

    Remember that if UMNO/BN has 2/3 majority in Parliament, they can
    amend the Constitution!

    Boycott = giving UMNO/BN the 2/3 majority on a silver platter !
    (They would be most happy if PR boycotts the GE, you can be sure of this)


  28. A true Malaysian
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 14:17:42

    Kenny and prof Phua,

    Let’s visualise. If Pakatan boycott the GE, and to make it looks ‘legitimate’, Umno put in it’s dummies as independent candidates (if not doing that, EC would have declared all seats uncontested and won by BN. That may sound stupid, but real), and rakyat all out to abstain from voting, and we see a very low voters turnout of 5%-10%. Can the government formed be seen as ‘legitimate’?

    So, I don’t think this as giving Umno on silver platter. This will see even greater repercussions on them than what Bersih 2.0 created. A government cannot be formed with such low turnouts. This will definitely be an international issue of the scale of Arab Spring.


  29. Rhan
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 14:24:56

    “The cheating is now so massive …”

    Kenny, please articulate more, beside the Bangladeshi (foreigner) and postal system, what else?


  30. Kenny
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 15:31:55

    Rhan, almost everyday in malaysiakini you can read of clone voters, twin voters, double army voters, double army spouse voters, non-citizen voters, instant citizenship voters, no MyKad voters, fake MyKad voters, etc in the electoral rolls. If PAS can find 10,000 voters on the rolls who are not in the NRD what is the real extent of this cheating by EC/NRD?

    This Bangladeshi webpage is not the first involving foreigners getting citizenship for votes. Wanita PKR has also exposed a scheme where illegal immigrants had to undertake a vow to vote for BN during the registration exercise.

    Najib is desperate to win – my any means.


  31. A true Malaysian
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 16:00:56

    Poster votes are the main fraud in these electoral malpractices. Najib nearly lost his Pekan seat in one of the GE if not for poster votes.

    Imagine Pekan is full of rural Malays, yet he nearly lost. What does this indicates to us? Rural Malay votes are no more a sure thing for Umno. Umno knows that, and that’s where ‘massive’ cheating come into play.

    Think and visualise again the mahjong game. 3 players (like Umno, MCA, MIC) collude to cheat you, and you still willing to go for slaughter? What a joke this can be.

    BOYCOTT is still an option, don’t discount it, Pakatan.


  32. Kenny
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 17:22:06

    A true Malaysian, your mahjong analogy is only correct if you are putting down your own money to play. Imagine a prize money of RM100,00o to be won. You know there’s cheating but if you don’t take part you have no chance to win even a bit of it.


  33. A true Malaysian
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 17:41:03

    Visualise why Arab Spring occurred in Libya, Egypt, etc, etc.

    These Arab countries have their own electoral system as well. I supposed the oppositions there participating in these GE, but just cannot or impossible to win due to massive electoral frauds and malpractices, and this led to these countries read the point of unbearable to the people there, and came out to revolt their highly corruption government regime.

    Ask yourselves honestly, do you like to see our country to be like these countries one day by continue to participating in unclean, unfair and unfree elections?

    We should not wait until we reached the ‘unbearable’ point. Lending credence to Umno-led electoral malpractices by participating the GE is not the long term solution.

    We need to have another Bersih to pressure Umno to have clean, fair and free election. The last resort of course is to BOYCOTT.


  34. A true Malaysian
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 18:16:52

    I am curious why so many political analysts, when dissecting election results, mentioned only how racial mix, sentimen and so on, but never go deep into analysis ‘what if there is no postal votes or if no malpractices’.

    Perhaps they should do such analysis. Umno has definitely done this, and start to create buffers before GE is announced.

    For the sake of winning RM100,000, however attractive it maybe, I will not bet a single cent knowing the game is unfair, what more about betting my country’s future by participating in an unclean, unfair and unclean election?


  35. Rhan
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 18:22:17


    I agree there are irregularities, fraud, cheat, or error or mistake but I am not sure if that is significance enough to label it as “massive”, hence boycott is the very very very last option.

    Read John Malott “Who would win elections in Malaysia that truly are free and fair? The U.S. State Department reports that despite the many election irregularities during the 2008 elections, “most observers concluded they did not substantially alter the results.” But unless the electoral reforms that Bersih is calling for are made, we will never know.”

    I wish to emphasize that the Ex-US Ambassador did claim “most observers concluded they did not substantially alter the results.”

    So Bersih and PR need to work harder, me and you guys as well.


  36. disgusted
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 18:34:20

    Sorry, Dr. I think we are going to lose that million dollar ……lucky it is a (RM1 M question)


  37. A true Malaysian
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 19:52:05

    Bersih will not be there if electoral fraud and malpractices are not ‘massive’.

    That’s why my call for BOYCOTT. Berish 3.0 is imminent if Umno is still stubborn on cleansing the electoral processes.

    We can no more give the impression to our children that fraud and malpractices are ok. I definitely don’t like to see them end up with like we see in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan…..


  38. CYC
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 20:43:43

    Boycott is not a wise option in the context of Malaysia politics. Period.


  39. Ellese
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 08:01:08

    I have a contrarion view and will defend it. I think our voting process during the polling day is very transparent. In fact too transparent. I espouse a wider use of postal votes. Liberal democracies allow option for each citizen to go for postal votes. Thus if I don’t want to vote on polling day, I can opt for postal voting. Our issue of postal voting is overblown to benefit self interest.

    Main issue in voting is that a system must be in place where only a person can vote only once. That’s crucial.

    My main gripe is the perception on voters list. I note every democracy including liberal democracies like US which practice registration have this issue. Not many know we have the right to object voters list as part of our voter registration procedure. Those who disagree can get it strike out.

    Our registration procedure is clear and easy. That’s good. It’s that we have a civic problem where we don’t inform authorities those who died. Authority must devise a system to not allow people who has died to be on the list. Nevertheless I disagree on a requirement that those above 90 is to reregister. To me those above 110 can de deleted and allow exception for genuine cases.

    I disagree to allow those overseas to vote. There must be a stake. In many countries they require residence within 3 or definite years. In US I’ve been informed that you need to pay tax. Those who has left, no intention to come back and exercise the right of citizenship of another country should not be allowed to vote. There must be stake to determine our leader.


  40. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 08:47:55

    Dear Ellese

    You are Malaysia’s Dr Pangloss?


  41. Kenny
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 10:05:28

    Ellese, do you read malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider? Everything looks rosy with the system if you confine your news to The Star or NST.

    The issue with postal voting is that there is no proper monitoring. Opposition reps are not allowed to monitor the process. There are suspicion that postal votes from army camps are fake votes. True enough ex-army personnel have come forward to say that they have been ordered to mark thousands of postal ballots for BN.


  42. A true Malaysian
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 11:37:42


    Can you elaborate to us here the mechanism of postal votes?

    Can I have your view on ‘BOYCOTT’ that I commented. Most of the commentators here are not agreeable to this idea except Rhan (if electoral irregularities, fraud, cheat, or error or mistake are ‘massive).


  43. Li Li Fa
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 12:03:13

    May I also recommend these good web sites as well.
    1. Malaysian Digest
    2. Free Malaysia Today
    3. Malaysian Mirror
    4. Aliran Home Page
    5. Bersih Home Page


  44. Kenny
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 15:19:52

    6. Malaysia Today

    how could I miss this?


  45. Dr Hsu
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 15:46:44

    In competitive sports, umpires sometimes can be biased and sided with one side. But that does not mean that the other side cannot win. There are many instances in competitive sports that despite the biased referring by the umpire, the side that was biased against would still win, if they are good enough.

    Even if the side that was biased against loses, and the whole world has seen that the biase, the uproar would be greater than just give a walkover and concede defeat even before the battle has started. In the last world cup , the goal that was not recognised in the England Germany Game caused a world wide uproar is an example.
    ( https://hsudarren.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/entire-world-sees-the-goal-went-in-except-the-referees/)

    In the case of Malaysia, we have come so close.. After Bersih, even if there are electoral fruads, the chances of PR winning is no longer a dream but a reality.. Najib came out with his reform agenda precisely because he felt that he could no longer assured of winning in the next GE.

    So a boycott at his hour is just illogical. The call is dangerous and would only influence many of the younger generations to refrain from voting, when we need every vote from the youth to make the difference. I did not want to make any comment initially but since this topic is being raised and raised again, I feel that i need to write to encourage people to come out to vote and do nt resort to boycotting.

    Malaysian electoral system is fraudulent, but even so , it is not as bad as many of the other third world countries. I have been observer at polling stations and counting stations, and whatever you can say, voting and counting is still relatively fair. It is the gerrymandering and postal votes that are skewing some results, but despite that, PR still win in many areas with high postal votes. Examples are Segambut and Batu, where each areas have few thousand postal votes, but PR still won despite the postal votes..So do not give up.. We almost did the impossible in 308, and the inertia is still here, judging from the Sarawak election and the Bersih crowds. I believe that PR can still win despite all these handicaps, and only by winning, can a real overhaul of the whole system be carried out..

    Yes, the opposition is handicapped, but if despite the handicap, they could win 5 states previously, the chances of them winning and forming a real 2 party system is there, why give up now? It is like we are in a badminton game, and from trailing 10-19, the score is now 18-19, why give walkover when it is so near..? When there is a possibility of winning?

    Looking at history. In Singapore, Barisan Socialis won 53% of popular votes in 1963 election of that state, even though that translated to only 13 seats out of 51. It had huge support then in Singapore, rivalling that of PAP..
    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barisan_Sosialis) (And how uneven was the playing field, you could see from the figures).

    In 1968, Barisan Socialis decided to boycott the GE in Singapore, as a protest that many of its leaders were arrested, PAP won big and ever since, until this year’s election, it has won overwhelming support. There were practically no oppostion in the 70s and 80s in Singapore as a result of that boycott by Barisan socialis of Singapore.
    (read this article by an Ambassador from Singapore: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/05/06/singapore-facing-a-watershed-election/ )

    In Malaysia, Socialist Front which were made up of Labour Party and Parti rakyat, and popularly known as “Gu Dao or Bull’s Head” , was the biggest opposition party before 1964. Its decision to boycott election eroded its support.

    Just imagine, if opposition is to boycott the next election, and BN wins all seats without contest ( albeit a few with independents losing even their deposits), it can claim legitimacy and with overwhelming support, it would be even worse than after 2004.They would become more corrupt and arrogant –worse than 2004 when they won big…To think that outside world would interfere when it is the opposition that gives up without a fight is wishful thinking.

    And imagine a parliament with no opposition inside? Like the PAP in SIngpaore in the 70s? Even then they realised that they needed to appoint some non-elected MPs, just to show the whole world that there were debates within the Parliament.

    The world would take more notice if the opposition goes into the GE and expose all the frauds during the next GE. Show them proof instead of just boycotting…

    Postal votes, gerrymandering and so on has been there for ages, did outside world condemn us? No, most of them still regards Malaysia as a democracy,even though some may acknowledge that there are some irregularities in the electoral process….Did they stop doing business with us? No. Did they stop investing in US? NO….Just google and read about what the west says..

    Diplomacy like politics is about self interest. Many countries in fact,( I have the privilege of talking to many diplomats who had invited me for tea off and on, as a sociopolitical blogger, to hear my analysis of the political scene) and you would be surprised to hear that many of them would prefer BN to win, even though they do not want them to have 2/3… Even among neighbouring countries..So to think that by boycotting , we can bring down the government is again wishful thinking.

    I would like to paraphrase one sentence in Art Harun’s article that says:

    Do not stop knocking at the door even if nobody opens the door for you.You have to keep knocking. WHo knows, one day, the door may just crumble down”. That should be the spirit if we want to have a better Malaysia..

    Furthermore,coming back to my analogy, if you do not even participate in the game, how do you expose to the world that the umpire is no good, that the umpire is biased?? by boycotting , can you bring out the fact that he is a very biased umpire to the whole world? He may have cheated in the past , but the fact that he is still allowed to be umpire shows that more need to be done to expose him.. But how do you do that if not by playing in the game and letting him show his biase?

    I also see gerrymandering as the most serious fraud, but without the 2/3, Election Commission can no longer draw boundaries as it likes.

    The use of the indelible ink, if carried out, would go a long way to check people from voting a second time..


  46. Rhan
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 16:14:43

    Oh Hsu, I think that were explicit enough for everyone to get the message, especially the last paragraph said out loud the political reality of a small country like Malaysia. Some should realized by now why I often despise and condemn our neighbor, PAP and LKY share the same fate with BN, we can’t criticize a relatively authoritarian government and at the same time praise the other one, we lose the mental war before we even start.


  47. A true Malaysian
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 22:14:34

    Looks like we need to swallow what Umno intended by participating the coming GE even though we know electoral is unclean, unfair and not free. The way you said it sounded very much like them that Pakatan can still win 5 states even though hanky-panky were there.

    My idea of BOYCOTT is not like what you meant of walk-over, concede defeat or give up. You got me wrong here. It is not like competitive sports that you mentioned where players participating not even know the umpire is bias before the game start. Any sporting event, if any side suspecting the game will be an unfair one, they will not be participating. It is unlike what we see over here, where EC themselves acknowledged the frauds, but blatantly refused to do amend simply because of Umno.

    My idea of ‘BOYCOTT’ is the for worst case scenario, to force Umno to go for electoral reform before going for 13th GE, like what pointed out by Kim Quek, where he ended his article with ‘Top priority must always be electoral reform, as it holds the key to a fair chance of winning the right to administer the country. Without the mandate to rule, all talks of reforms will be in vain’.

    Even before I complete writing this post, the news about ex-EC chief issued 60,000 fake ICs was out. What about those still not uncovered? And you said Pakatan has winning chances? Do you expect Umno are going to stop their cheats? What happened to your ideals to see ‘natural justice’? We are no more in a situation where sportmanship spirit of 友谊第一,比赛第二 (i.e. Friendship first, competition second).

    Anyway, it is not up to me to convince Pakatan Rakyat to BOYCOTT coming 13th GE. I am just a nobody. i am just one who put ‘natural justice’ above anything else. Participating and lending credence to something rotten is against natural justice.

    Forget about BOYCOTT, but go vote OVERWHELMINGLY for Pakatan Rakyat. If this failed, then perhaps we need to go for Arab Spring, as it’s impossible to win the right to administer the country with Umno around. Natural justice is not in their vocablury.


  48. A true Malaysian
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 22:45:32

    Imagine if no electoral frauds, Najib is not PM today. The whole nation BOYCOTT the GE, led by Pakatan Rakyat, is no laughing matter.

    Bersih 3.0 is on the way, mark my words here.


  49. Ellese
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 23:35:44

    Dear Kenny Lff tm ph etc,

    Thanks. If you read my write it’s not from MSM. I regard MI on similar footing with Utusan. In fact all MSM and alternative media are the same. They have a wonton disregard for objectivite fair and balance reporting. Many don’t realize that the person they quote has no reputational value save for partisanship but people take it as a worthy opinion. For example AM will quote a non historian to back up their views like Aziz Bari and condemn without fairness the reputation of historians opposing their views. Similarly MSM who dismiss ambiga on election issues.

    On postal voting, My thinking is that it’s inherent in all postal
    voting mechanism that there is a possibility another person will use your vote. Say in a Scandinavian country. Once a person elects for postal voting He/she can ask his/her mum wife or anyone else to vote for him and post it. There’s no way to check. This is practice in liberal democaries in the west.

    In our case, we got it wrong. It’s not wrong for an army personal to ask another to vote. But it’s wrong if his right to vote is denied. Each army personnel must be educated to know their right to demand the voting. Then must provide mechanism to complain of the denial of their right. Thus it’s the army itself must complain.

    Why I insist in this manner is that I want that right to elect for postal voting. I don’t like to queue and at times not in the country. thus would want the postal voting rights. It’s already in practice overseas.


  50. streetfighter
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 23:51:19

    Sound so liberal and open-minded like western but so shit in substance and stink to hell of bullshit.How much you got paid for this bullshit?Can i join you baby?


  51. streetfighter
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 00:19:57

    My idea of BOYCOTT is not like what you meant of walk-over, concede defeat or give up. You got me wrong here. commented by ATM at 22:14:34

    We should not wait until we reached the ‘unbearable’ point. Lending credence to Umno-led electoral malpractices by participating the GE is not the long term solution.
    commented by ATM at 17:41:03

    He is such a confusing man or is he applying confusing way to fool Malaysian to let BN rule forever as he has some stake in government’s handouts.Sickening no manners Malaysian Chinese!Dr Hsu has explained and answersed umpteen times but yet this member of Ellese is trying to twist and confuse as much to their own vested interest.


  52. monsterball
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 02:11:04

    hi….StreetFighter….I bet you…ATM dare not disagree with you.
    He will just vanish into thin air…………..hahahahahahahaha
    Come back..my turn to hentam.
    “BOYCOTT” not his idea…he said previously.
    What a nice piece you wrote…Streetfighter.
    That encourages me to come back and comment..


  53. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 09:20:47

    When members of the ruling elite (more bluntly, ruling oligarchy)
    openly quarrel amongst themselves, and some of them even start jumping ship
    to the other side, the chances are high that the end is near.


  54. Dr Hsu
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 09:59:56

    Prof Phua,
    That is why at tis moment, we should continue to knock at the door, and not give up and boycott.. that is dangerous to the whole agenda of change…

    If just because of some obstacles and we give up, it will only play into the hands of BN.. BN politicians will all be laughing to the bank if there is a boycott, and i just do not want to see what the country will turn into when there is absolute power.

    In political reality, PR will not go for a boycott, since the goal is now within reach. But the talk of boycott may influence some voters not to come out to vote.. and these voters will probably vote for PR if they cast vote, and hence the talk of boycott is deemed very dangerous to the political agenda of change..


  55. monsterball
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 10:15:59

    How right you both are.
    Prof Phua…the end is surely near for Najib.
    He knows that too well.
    And Doc…for all your hard work to convince voters to vote for change…you must stay on course…and not let any commentators twist your words or insult you…to make your many wise intelligent posts into an amusement park…to talk nonsense to each other…indirectly making young voters…ignoring your advises.
    You must not be too forgiving and humble.
    What you wrote at to ATM at “Do or Die…” is excellent….keep it up.


  56. alice cc ang
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 11:17:52

    Just ignore that sleepy flip flop ex-PM what he says. The Malaysian constitution allows people like Mamakutty, who are Muslims, who speak Malay and follow Malay customs, to call themselves Malays. To gain power and plunder the country, a lot of people of mixed ethnicity in Umno call themselves Malays so as to endear themselves to the majority Malays.
    To get their votes they also play the race and religious card to the hilt. In reality, they have no love or interest in the welfare of the Malays as illustrated by Mamakutty’s ‘Project M’ in Sabah. To win the elections, this guy made hundreds of thousands of illegal foreigners ‘bumiputeras’, who will now want an equal share of all the privileges enjoyed by the native Malays. Now the present PM and Umno seem to be doing the same thing in the peninsula. And did the Home Ministry ask the 700,000 newly-granted citizenships in Sabah to write 150-word written tests? Has the ISA been used on those who made this happened? My answer on behalf of Home Minister Kerishammuddin: “No. Never.”


  57. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 13:48:14

    The “have nots” (working class) and the “have some(s)” (middle class) plus some sympathetic members from the “have a lot(s)” (upper class) must stay united and turn out in full force and vote and work for change. Unity is strength. They have the resources. Our only strength is numbers.

    Some of the proponents of (1) GE boycott and some who argue that
    (2) all politicians, whether BN or PR, are morally the same & should all be damned, are just trying to use propaganda to confuse and divide the movement for real change. We are not fooled.

    Nazi sympathisers in today’s Germany (and their intellectual allies) use a similar argument as in (2) above i.e. the Allies commited war crimes too by bombing Dresden and Hamburg. So, the Allies are AS GUILTY as Hitler and the Nazis.
    The “moral equivalence” argument.

    Here in Malaysia, we have BN sympathisers arguing that PR is AS BAD as BN
    (when they can’t deny that the BN regime is corrupt)


  58. Rhan
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 14:41:50


    “all politicians, whether BN or PR, are morally the same & should all be damned, are just trying to use propaganda to confuse and divide the movement for real change.”

    You are pretty insightful and made a valid point. I position myself at the extreme left in the past, but now move a little to the middle but remaining left inclination. If you do read Petra, you should notice that he have similar tendency lately, that is why the argument on ABU, and his writing on ‘I will not respond’.

    You are a learned man I presume, and certainly read Niemoller “When the Nazis came for the communists,….”, I am curious how you tell apart propaganda and speaking out? I hope you don’t be suspicious of my motive, I am sincere to find out.


  59. monsterball
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 14:49:42

    As a simple man from the street….I can feel …the feelings of today’s vast majority ordinary voters who happens to be daily wage earners…belonging to the low class Malaysians are no more keeping quiet ….nor ignoring the affairs of our country.
    It is strange….voters are congregating and grouping into one powerful force…..all due to Najib’s words and actions.
    It is now..so easy to decide….FOR or AGAINST.
    And if Najib is so cocksure of his 72% support….he would not hesitate one second to declare a 13th snap election.
    And now…down to 59%..still very safe…yet…his 13th GE
    “around the corner” ….is such a long long big corner.
    Why so?
    He knows the 59% is all about support for UMNO b by one race only….and others are 90% against BN….so put that together….his ratings from 52% went down to 32% in total.
    Out come ISA….and the show must go on.
    He dare not end it…as announcing the 13th GE date…is the end of his unelected PMship.
    He will never be elected as PM. ..with so much filth and dirt sticking into his body…and wife too.


  60. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 17:59:07

    I’m saying that all Malaysians of goodwill should support PR and work to get BN out of power by voting and other non-violent means.


  61. Rhan
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 20:35:29

    Fantastic reply, though I am not too sure if that is a respond to my question. Perhaps you think some readers need to be convinced over and over again. But no doubt I agree wholeheartedly with your statement.


  62. Anti kotor
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 20:42:35

    Just let Najib do it. If he can’t do it, then he does not deserve to be the PM. However the intent is good and he has made the first step. We should support his endeavour for reform. He is a politician and his objective is to retain power. The motive might not be as noble as many would like but this is the result of meeting the demands of the market. He has made a study of market demands and has structured a product that he hope will be acceptable by all. If he succeed, he will definitely be reelected.


  63. Ellese
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 04:58:50

    Dear phua,

    All politicians are the same. Judge by what they do and not what they say. They are like this coz we have a systemic political structure problem of which we need to change the incentives and rewards. Crux to this is political financing and internal elections which both don’t want to touch. Thus for example, (giving pr as example), we look at pkr and dap internal elections. Pkr condone fraud manipulation forgery and anti democratic practices against it’s members. Dap exhibited a political play of creating new branches and making alive of defunct branches to gain additional votes. This chicanery is no different from bn. It reflects the values of the pr leaders.

    So don’t be disillusioned. We fight for a cause. Not for personality. Our politicians change value all the time. See hudud stand now.


  64. Rhan
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 20:51:54

    A very rough translation of Chin Huat two paragraphs that relevant, from his Mkini (Chinese version) article on 25 Sep 11.

    “Unfortunately due to the bad influence, oppositions were infected with the same arrogance of UMNO, the response toward any dissent voices from both internal and friendly party is intense, such disease become apparent especially after 308 tsunami. Whoever criticized the poor policy under PR, their aficionado would immediately rebut 1) PR take over the state government by merely 1/2/3 years, BN is there for 52/53/54 years, no way can comparison be made. 2) PR not yet takes over Federal, therefore powerless to tackle issues.

    Base on this logic, unless BN loss it power, nobody can criticize PR. However the notion that “we should not whip own child” would helps to attract those undecided voters to support PR or push them away? This line of reasoning would make PR look more progressive than BN, or similar with BN?”

    Is this too hard to grasp? Even for the learned one?


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