PAS=DAP why not?

The public spat between certain DAP and PAS leaders on the issue of Hudud should not be viewed emotionally. Hudud is not going to happen any time soon, even  if PAS wins all its allocated seats in this GE.

PAS contested around 70 seats this time–correct me if I am wrong– and that is just around 1/3 of total seats. Even if they win all their seats (which of course is impossible), they cannot implement Hudud since it is not in  the common policies agreed upon by all three partners of the coalition.  To implement Hudud, a party needs to have more than 2/3 of support in Parliament, because that is the mandatory requirement to amend our Constitution.

In coalition politics, for example in Germany and many other countries,   it is what is agreed upon by all partners  that will form the basis of rule.

Both PAS and DAP leaders have said time and again that they have agreed on 95% of issues and that will form the basis of their policies when PR wins and start their administration. The other 5%, including Hudud, would not be implemented since it is not agreed upon by all 3 partners, and it is not in their common platform.

The public ‘spat’ or rather disagreement  should be viewed positively and shows that there is no one dominant force within the coalition. It goes to show that in PR, the three components  are equal partners, and no one is going to dominate over another.

This contrasts with BN which has nominally many component parties, but in actual fact, there is only one dominant force, The Big Brother. What the Big Brother wants, it becomes BN’s policies, the Big Brother gets. Other components are no more equal partners, but merely there to lend legimacy to the Big Brother.  Where were Gerakan and MCA and MIC when DR M announced that Malaysia is an Islamic country in one of the National assemblies of Gerakan many years ago?

I cannot imagine any public disagreement  of the sort between PAS and DAP happening in BN. If any component party were to be at loggerhead with the Big Brother, all sorts of deals or manuvering (either carrots or sticks) would be taken to ensure the componet party toe the line of the Big Brother.  So the more skeletons the heads of componnent parties have, the more pleased would be the Big Brother because they can effectively put a leash on the necks of those ledders and thus indirectly control the parties.

So the public disagreement  between DAP and PAS has given more confident to me that their coalition, PR, is  made up of equals . That augers well, since in that case, the agreeed upon platform would not be skewed to one side only.  Logic would dictate that only the middle ground would be in the agreed platform of policies to be implemented.

So there is really no fear to vote PAS since even if HUDUD is their agenda, it is not in the common policies that all 3 partners agreed upon.

PR should thank MCA for this advetisement which states that DAP=PAS. Why Not?

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listen,listen,listen

For those whoa re too busy to attend ceramahs for this election, and those who were unable to attend because of heavy downpour, I will post a video for you to listen and decide whether there is any logic in what was said:

Simple logic

This is a story told to me.

An old lady who went to collect her RM500 under BRIM proclaimed ” Thanks DAP; Thanks Pakatan” immediately after collecting her money. The person who gave her the money immediately told her that this money is not from PR or DAP but from BN.

The old lady retorted:  “if not for PR who is now so strong, would you even think of giving us this money? If not for DAP, would BN even think of giving away all these to help to gain votes? SO I have to thank DAP and Pakatan”.

What she uttered is simple logic which not all recipients of BR1M realise. The money is also not from BN but from the pockets of taxpayers.

There are many benefits of a 2 party system, but to the layman like the old lady mentioned above, perhaps the most important part is that they are no longer being ignored. Suddenly both sides realise that they need to implement people-friendly policies.  Both sides need to gain  support which either side can no longer take for granted.

As a neutral commentator mentioned in this blog not too long ago, PR has not done too badly in governing Penang and Selangor. So why not give them a chance at the Federal level?

Give them a try for 5 year; we have given the other side almost  56 years, so why not try the other one for once? If they are no good, boot them out 5 years later.

The ‘spoilers’

Although this election is essentially a fight between BN and PR, there is  a record number of independents being nominated. There are many 3 cornered or even 4 cornered fights.

Basically, there are 2 main categories of independent candidates. Some decided to join  the fray because they expect their respective parties to select them but for certain reasons they were not given the nod. Some may have worked the ground for many years, and thus they feel that their effort has been ignored when their party did not choose them for certain strategic reasons.

This group has put their own self-interest above that of the party. Some of them are for BN  some are from PR. But whichever side they are from, they have not put the big picture above their own self.  Some may have been  preaching for  a 2 party system all this while, and suddenly they are standing as an independent third force, forgetting their earlier pledge to fight for a 2 party system.

Another category of independents are sponsored candidates to enhance the chances of the side who is sponsoring the candidate. This may sound ironical, but by taking away votes from certain section of the people, they actually help the sponsoring side (usually the incumbents ) to win. This has been a classic  strategy(trick) used in certain areas , especially in a mixed seats .

This time, there is also an isolated case in Kelantan where the BN candidate did not turn up for nomination and thus let a PAS candidate to have a straight fight with Ibrahim Ali, purportedly standing as an independent but with blessing from you-know-who.  This is all about strategy and I need not elaborate since my readers know what sort of strategy is being played out there.

In this election, the choice for the people is very clear. It is either you vote for change or you vote for ‘1Malaysia’ status quo . The choice is that simple.

So I do not expect any of the independents to win.  However, in certain areas where there is a close fight, they can siphon away enough votes to make a difference. Even if they can siphon away a hundred votes, this may prove to be crucial in deciding the outcome in a very close fight.

I hope some of those independents in the first category will reconsider their positions and withdraw and let there be straight fight between the 2 big coalitions.  I hope they will look at the big picture and not let emotion and self-interest interfere.

I do not expect my plea to have any effect on the second category– those who are sponsored. Their presence has been  carefully calculated and thus they are there to stay.

Even in Pandan, where OTK’s proxy is  satnding as an independent, I hope he can be big enough to withdraw the proxy and let there be a straight fight.  In a contest where the results are expected to be close, every seat is crucial.

Why overseas Malaysians are coming back to vote

I come across this article in the prestigious Foreign Policy Magazine written by a Malaysian residing in Switzerland and who will be coming back to vote.

Hundreds of thousands of Malaysians this time will be coming back for the same reason. Most of them will vote for change. In a situation where there is a very close fight between the two sides, these votes will make a difference.

I will quote the article here, for the original article, please  click  here  or Foreign Policy magazine.

Why I’m Flying Back to Malaysia to Vote

BY HUI MEI LIEW KAISER | APRIL 18, 2013

I’m a Malaysian citizen who’s been living in Switzerland since I married my German husband two and a half years ago. Ever since I made the move to Europe, though, I’ve been keeping an eye on the political situation back in my native country. Earlier this year, when it became apparent that a general election was imminent, I flew back to Malaysia — 6,200 miles away — just so that I could vote.

Unfortunately, after my arrival, the government decided to hold off on calling the new election, so when I couldn’t wait any longer I flew back to Zurich — only to hear the news that Prime Minister Najib Razak had dissolved parliament. Soon after that the date of the new election was set: May 5.

So I turned around and flew back to Malaysia.

Yeah, it’s crazy. But I’m not the only one. Many of my compatriots in Malaysia’s far-flung expat community — it’s estimated that there are around one million of us around the world — are doing the same thing. That’s a reflection of how high the stakes are in the upcoming election — and how strongly many of us want to vote for change.

The 2013 general election (or “GE13,” as Malaysians like to call it) is shaping up to be one of the most decisive battles in the country’s modern history. The ruling National Front Coalition (Barisan Nasional or BN) has run Malaysia for the past 56 years. The opposition People’s Pact (Pakatan Rakyat or PR) believes that the chance may have finally come to challenge BN’s hold on power.

I don’t think it’s important to tell you which candidates I’m voting for. Suffice it to say that I don’t think it’s a goodthing when one group of people run a country for so long, and that I believe we desperately need change. In my own life as a Malaysian I’ve experienced far too much in the way of discrimination, injustice, bureaucracy, and inefficiency. And I don’t want others who live in Malaysia to go through the same things.

So why not just vote absentee? Can’t I just sign up to send in my vote by mail? Why do I need to go to the trouble of taking a sixteen-hour flight just so that I can be there in person at the polling place? After all, there’s plenty of evidence that the government won’t shy away from tampering with the vote even if you’re physically present in Malaysia.

It should be noted that this is the first time in Malaysia’s history that citizens living overseas have the chance to vote (with the exception of some Malaysians in a few other Southeast Asian countries). But very few — only about 0.6 percent — have actually signed up to vote absentee. Thousands have decided instead to return home solely for the election. (Malaysian Sam Khor and his wife paid flight penalty and postponed their trip to stay back not even to vote, but to register as counting agents to monitor and report malpractice.

Some of them may have opted to do this because the absentee voting law doesn’t actually make it very easy for overseas Malaysians to register. But I think the far more important reason is that most of us don’t trust the government to tally our votes, especially when we’re not there to stand up for our right to be counted.

Over the past few years Malaysias have witnessed the astonishing growth of the Bersih (“Clean”) reform movement, a grassroots initiative that has galvanized the longing for free and fair elections. (The most recent Bersih demo a year ago drew up to a quarter of a million people onto the streets of Kuala Lumpur.) That’s a response to widespread and credible reports of vote tampering that traditionally plague Malaysian elections.

Government meddling spans vote buying, ballot box stuffing, multiple voting (including busing of pro-government voters to other constituencies), and even the granting of quick citizenship (with voting rights) to illegal immigrants who are instructed how to vote. Many of us fear that there will be even more such shenanigans this time around, given the government’s obvious nervousness about its eroding support in recent by-elections. (The minister of education, for example, recently called together teachers and told them to vote for the BN-led government.) Our distrust extends to the national election commission, which has uncomfortably close ties to BN and offers little in the way of independent oversight.

Overseas Malaysians offer particular opportunities for fraud. There have been recent reports of Malaysian citizens living in China who have been registered as postal voters without their knowledge. In one case, a businessman residing in Shanghai for over nine years discovered that he’d registered as a voter in Kelantan, although he has never been to the state. In fact, he’s never even registered as a voter. Such tales of “phantom voters” reinforce the notion that the best way to prevent such fraud is by showing up at the polls. (The Election Commission has already admitted that some 42,000 names on the electoral roll are actually “phantoms,” and civil society organizations fear that the number is far higher.)

So far I’ve spoken with Malaysians in Afghanistan, Australia, and the United Kingdom who are planning to fly home to cast their ballots. Two university students in Taipei each spent a sum equivalent to a month of living expenses in order to purchase tickets home. One middle-aged Malaysian lady posted a photo of herself online at Los Angeles International Airport as she prepared to head pack to her hometown of Perak. “I am flying home from Los Angeles to cast my precious vote!” she wrote, “I refuse to be dumb anymore for my grandchildren and next generations. I love my country. I love the land where I have grown up ~ Malaysia! Change!”

Some Malaysians have responded by getting together to help others make the trip. The local branch of Bersih in Shanghai has initiated a “Go Back to Vote Campaign” that is offering 500 renminbi (about $82) for airfare to Malaysians in the city who might not be able to afford the trip home. Bersih Shanghai’s Weng Liew estimates that a total of 3,000 people have confirmed flying home from China. Bersih’s Hong Kong chapter has launched a similar campaign, offering 500 Hong Kong dollars (about $60) towards a plane ticket “A high turnout will minimize fraud and offers a better chance of stability in the event there is regime change or hung parliament,” says Lee Willson of Bersih Hong Kong

Of all the Malaysians living abroad, by far the biggest group — some 300,000 to 5000,000 — is in Singapore. Two travel companies, easibook.com and catchhatbus.com, have jointly launched apromotion bus fare for all Malaysians working in Singapore to go home to vote. One company says it will be doubling the number of coaches making the trip (from 50 to 100). Some Malaysians working in Singapore are also arranging carpools or offering lifts to compatriots through social media. That prompted the Electoral Commission to warn foreigners not to drive Malaysians cross the border in cars with foreign plates.

Norman Goh told me that he’d decided to fly back from Singapore to vote in his home state ofSarawak. He told me that the journey home to vote for some of his friends from there will only be beginning when they get off the flight from Singapore. They still face another two hours by bus and then another three by boat in order to arrive at their destinations deep in the jungles of Borneo.

This all might sound rather extreme. But it’s actually pretty reasonable. Many of my compatriots are tired of the corruption and racism that rule over public life in our country. We want to establish a truly bipartisan system that encourages real checks and balances. And we want a country that’s clean, green, safe, and progressive. To get there, we have to vote.

A matter of maneuvering

OTK was not on the list of MCA candidates. There were earlier rumours that he would be fielded directly by BN.

OTK is one of those in MCA who still command some respect by the people. He is perceived to be a person of integrity. Many of his constituents view him as a sort of hero that dares to stand up; a  durian with  seeds, so to speak.

When announcing the list of candidates, CSL urged MCA members to put the party interest before self, and urged those who are not selected to be candidates to continue work hard for the party.

This is urging members to do something   that he does not practice. If he has taken party interest into consideration, he would have retained OTK, despite the latter been his arch rival, as Ong is one of the few remaining winnable candidates left in the party; someone who can beat back PR’s challenges based on his own merits, and not based on Big Brother’s help to get votes.

But apparently, CSL either thinks that he is above the party so his interest should come first or he has some other plan in mind. Other memebrs  must put the party interest above self, but not in his case.

The perception among the people is now this: by dropping OTK, and one of Ong’s perceived ‘former’ supporters, Vice president Gan, he hopes to consolidate his hold on the party. Never mind that the party will lose  more political clout by  surrendering  lending some seats to Big Brother; as long as his list  consolidates his power and beats off potential challengers in the next party election, who cares whether the party gets less seats? Only by holding on to the party’s helm , can a personal dynasty be created, and buys time for the junior to come up.

One cannot help to wonder whether the surrendering lending of a few seats has something to do with the  elimination of Ong from the candidate list.  If there is really such a trade off, or even a perception that there is such a trade off, MCA is going to lose even more votes. Already everywhere I go since yesterday, people are shaking their heads in disbelief that a head of a party can go to such an extent to finish off his arch rivals.

I hope OTK will not stand as an independent. I hope he put the big picture before himself. Otherwise, a three corner fight would only benefit you-know-who.

…………………………………………..

One piece of good news coming from the BN list is that Ibrahim Ali has been dropped despite the open endorsement by the OLD MAN. Both have done more than any other person to fan racial sentiments.

PM has done 2 things to ‘piss’ off the OLd Man. Dropping Ibrahim Ali is one, naming Khairy again as a candidate is another.

It is clear that he is putting many of his own men up this time. By dropping many of the old timers , some aligned to the Old Man, he is actually putting his head on the chopping block for a last gamble.

If UMNo wins more than 2008 ( I refer to UMNO alone , and disregard  the component ‘mosquito” parties, since these would have no influence on UMNO politics), PM would have a more independent say and the OLd Man’s influence would become smaller. If the BIg Brother wins less than 2008, then expect a fierce internal fight to oust PM. This is of course on condition that BN wins the election; and there is a good chance that BN may lose.

I have told a foreign diplomat who is amazed by the politics of Malaysia that Malaysia is the classic textbook for learning dirty political maneuvering and tricks. What CSL and PM have done is really a matter of maneuvering for the respective consolidation of their own power.

The fate was sealed!

After 308, while I was still a member of Gerakan, I voiced out the concern that the party was fast losing its relevance since it has not been able to bring about a change in the policies of BN government to be  more in line with the party’s ideology of a fair and equal society.

I argued that by losing its base in Penang, and becoming a party with only 2 parliamentary seats, it could no longer hope to bring change since if it could not be effective after 2004 with 11 elected MPs (out of 12 contested)  how to be effective with only 2 MPs left?

I also predicted that in the next GE, some of its seats as well as that of the MCA will be taken away and ‘loan’ to other component parties, including the BIg Brother.  This move would of course erode the power of these 2 component parties, since political power emanates from the number of seats a party has. The smaller the representation, the weaker would be the power. (The word ‘loan is actually an euphemism for  ‘surrender’.)

As things stand now, it is likely that MCA is going to ‘loan’ a few seats away. One is Kuantan, the other would probably be Gelang Patah, and the third might be Wangsa Maju.

 With that, even before GE has started, it has lost about 10 % of its seats to the Big Brother without a fight.  How is it going to represent what it has set out to represent, when it cannot even retain its own seats?

When a person cannot even fight for the interest of his own party, how can he and his party fight for the interest of the people? How can it still remain relevant? How would the electorates view this lame surrendering of power?

While the head of the party may say that  this is done in the spirits of the Coalition, the fact that this is still a coalition of parties means that a head of a component party must try to get as much seats for the party in order to have a bigger say within the coalition, rather than surrender a few seats lamely to the BIg Brother. Furthermore, in Kuantan, in Gelang Patah, in Wangsa Maju, whether the candidate is from UMNO or MCA  is really immaterial, since whoever chosen to stand will be contesting under BN’s logo.

By ‘loaning’ its seats, it is harder for the party to get a better result than the last GE. SO would the earlier announcement that the party would withdraw from government if it does not do better than 308 still valid, even if BN wins?

 Would this 10% less of contested seats be used as an excuse not to honour the early stand that if the party cannot gain a better performance than last election, it would not join the government?

Some one from that party told me that the fate of the party was sealed when members elected this person to be the president.  He has hit the nail right on its head!

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