Touch and Go

GE is coming. It is now immaterial when PM dissolves Parliament. It has to be held by June 28 at the latest, and now it is almost April.

So far, most observers would agree that this is one battle that is not easy to judge the outcome. The whole situation is so fluid, that this is the first time in the history of Malaysia that there is a real chance for the incumbents to fall. But as incumbents, they still hold the upper hands, and as I have mentioned before, the gradient of the uphill battle is now less steep, but it is still an uphill battle.

One fact is very clear and most people would agree:  Most urban people are eager to vote for change.  But among the rural and semirural areas, things are not as rosy for the opposition.

While the opposition may gain some seats in Johore, Sarawak and Sabah, they need to create a tsunami there in order to win GE 13.

Many months ago, I have told a foreign observer that one of the cards that PM will play is that he will tell people that  his position is not strong, and if he doesnt win convincingly, he will be toppled by his own people in his party, even if BN wins. By playing this card, he can hope to  win back some of the  votes even among the ethnic Chinese voters, especially those older ones in smaller towns and rural areas, who would prefer him than his deputy.

This is exactly what he is doing now. He is now saying that without a convincing win, he may lose his job. This may create fear among some of the oldr voters since to many people, the perception is that his replacement would be worse than this PM. SO his play is to tell this group that if you vote for opposition, and opposition is unlikely to win, then you would have a worse PM than him.

While this may help swing votes for PM, based on his own personal merits, I think we need to convince people that having come so far, we need to consolidate the 2 party system by voting in the other side for once.

At this stage, it is in my humble opinion that the opposition pact must try to win as much support from the majority race as possible. In my observation and calculation , and of course I could be wrong, many of the Malay votes have indeed gone back to BN.  Without winning a sizeable portion of the Malay votes, political reality would make it difficult for PR to govern, even if they win the GE.  A sizeable portion means at least 40% of Malay support. Theoretically, PR can win by winning over 80% of nonMalay vots and just over 30% of Malay votes; but that kind of government would not be healthy.





We reap what we sow!

The west has a saying that ‘we reap what we sow’. Although I am not a Christian, I believe that this is mentioned in the Holy Book too ( Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap ).

In the East, the Chinese has a saying that ” if we plant melon, we get melons; if we plant bean, we get beans”. The Indians believe in karma which is basically a law of cause and effect;  the same as we reap what we sow. Buddhists too believe in Karma; we are what we are today because of our past deeds.

The problems that we are facing in Malaysia can actually be attributed to our past deeds.

As the nation progresses,  we have built more and more  infrastructure. Some are even world class and very impressive.  But as a former  Prime Minister had once lamented:  we have first class infrastructure but third class maintenance. We literally let things rot.

We have also formulated more and more rules and laws as the society becomes more sophisticated. Which is theoretically good if these law s are actively enforced.

The problem with us is that just like we do not maintain properly what we have built,  we do not enforce laws and rules strictly and  uniformly. We often see double standard in enforcement. Sometimes there are just no enforcement and you know why.

This was not so just after Independence.

When I was a young boy, my father had a Austin A40 car which was of course the pride of the house as at that time, few people owned cars. He was very careful at traffic junctions. I remember he telling me that in any junction with “stop-look-go” sign, the car had to come to a complete stop behind the white line drawn on the road. If the car has not stopped completely, even if there was no traffic, a person would be liable to be fined. If the car stopped but oer the white line, the driver would be fined too.   He was once fined just for that when his car’s front wheels went over slightly the white line.

The law was so strictly enforced at that time that some of the weeping  children would stop crying immediately  when mothers telling them that police was coming if they didnt stop .

But things started to change and we became more and more lax in enforcement. I suspect this might even be correlated and proportional to the increasing trend of corrupt practices.  Some probably have to do with our ‘tidak-apa’ attitude.

We have strict immigration checkpoints at all international airports. We have strict immigration check point at the causeway and second link with Singapore.  Law abiding citizens or foreigners would have to wait patiently to cross these checkpoints. Contrast this to certain border areas like Sabah, or even Northern part of Peninsular, where the border is so porous that many illegals have taken advantage of these porous borders to come and go as they wish.  What is the points of having strict checking at some points and no checking  at others?

We have done nothing when someone clearly has violated the law when he threatened to burn the Bibles. We have been quick to pounce on those who have no connections when they uttered things which are much milder and   less provoking and inflammatory.  We have even arrested an innocent journalist under the previous ISA ‘ for her protection’.

We have seen people breaking traffic rules with no action taken. We have seen foreign workers setting up stores to do businesses when they have no right to do so.  We have so many illegals in the country that we encounter them everywhere we go.

We have people who are not qualified for citizenship but were given citizenship freely for political reasons. On the other hand, we have genuine cases of those who are born here and stay here all their lives but still have their citizenship application rejected every time  they apply.

Because of selective and lack of enforcement, corruption practices have become common and pervasive. We have lost excellence in every field.

The incident of Sabah would not have happened if we have strictly enforced immigration laws.

I hope the Sabah incident would serve as an eye opener and wakeup call for the power-that-be. Malaysia needs to have better enforcement of the hundreds of laws and rules that we have passed and implemented.

For Malaysia to achieve a First World Status, we need a complete overhaul of the system and the mindsets.

We need change, real change not cosmetic ones, to move forward!!

This article is also published in The Malaysian Insider here.

This is war!

First and foremost, I would like to offer my condolences to the families of those security personnel who were killed in the Standoff between our forces and the Sulu invaders in Sabah.

They have fought bravely as front line forces to maintain security and protect our sovereignty.

They were pawns in the front line , obeying orders from higher up and they did their  utmost for the country  by sacrificing their lives. I salute them.

As a fellow Malaysian, I  pay full respect to these fallen heroes , as well as those who were injured  and  those who were in active duty there.

Many friends have asked me to comment on the initial  handling of this standoff. I wish to reserve my comment at this moment, since our front line security forces are now risking their lives actively engaging the invaders. Any adverse or critical comment at this moment may affect morale and it would not be fair to these security personnel who are just following orders and doing their duties.

Nevertheless, I would like to quote General Douglas McArthur who in his speech to Congress in 1951, said this : ( the whole speech is about the Korean War and I would like to state that history had proven his view about China wrong, but what I quote here from part of his speech  is relevant to our situation)

” I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting………Men since the beginning of time have sought peace. Various methods through the ages have been attempted to devise an international process to prevent or settle disputes between nations………

 But once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end.

 War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.

 In war there is no substitute for victory.”

What the Sulu invaders have done is more than threatening national security. They have invaded our territory, and they have killed our personnel. It is now a matter of threat to our sovereignty, and as such, we should now apply every available means to bring it to a swift end.

This is now war. The Sulu invaders have forced war upon us. And as Malaysians we must rally behind our forces.

This also means that  we have to deploy whatever resources that we have to end this;  our navy to patrol and seal off the narrow straits separating Sabah from the Sulu Archipelago, the army to use its might and heavy weaponry at its disposal to drive off these invaders, and air force for surveillance and bombing if necessary.

We can no longer rely just on the police who is actually not  equipped to fight a war.

In war, as General McArthur has said, there is no substitute for a swift victory.