shadow sparring?

In my opinion, in his haste to get back to Parliament, contradicting his earlier stand that he would take it easy while waiting for his turn, Anwar  has created certain uncertainties which can destabilize the new PH government. 

As a Parliamentarian, he will be in position to seek and form alliances with UMNO and east Malaysian politicians and introduce a vote of no confidence in Parliament  IF DrM does not see eye to eye with him for whatever reasons. Even though formation of this form of unholy alliance with UMNO and associated is remote, it will be hanging like a sword of Damocles over PH, thus destabilizing the new government. 

The new government needs support, given that many of the new ministers are very inexperienced and still need time to settle in. 

If he is sincere to see institutional reforms being carried out, he should not be in a hurry to get back to Parliament. He should keep to his earlier promise. The best support to the new government is to wait for his turn, play less politics and persuade Rafizi to drop the bid for deputy president of PKR.

While he is busy trying to get back to parliament, big names in UMNO are abandoning the big brother. Perhaps DrM’s associates think like yours truly, and thus trying to weaken UMNO  so that the sword of Damocles can be rendered useless. 

I see all these as shadow sparring of the two.

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Say no to a divisive survey

politics has to be realistic especially in Malaysia’s setting

I am against participating in the online survey about UEC. I don’t know who started it but the survey is potentially divisive and not good at the moment.

For the record, I am all for the recognisation of UEC. I think Chinese independent schools provide an extra option for Malaysians and education should be about letting people choose the best option for the academic development of their children.

I think because PH won the election, the expectation is very high among the various groups that voted for them.

But politics has to be realistic especially in Malaysia’s setting.

just because one third of Malays voted for PH doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to change the core system of the country. Many of them voted because of gst and the rise in the cost of living, more than anything else. This is especially true for the urban Malays.

But even some urban Malays will feel threatened if the govt is perceived to concede to the wishes of the Chinese community in everything. ( note I use the word ‘perceived’which is not the same as the truth- but politics is about perception). Once the support of this group is gone, the Chinese will be back to square one or even worse. It will only encourage the teaming up of all Malay parties.

UEC is now recognized all over the world. Chinese independent schools graduates have more than enough opportunity to further their education or seek employment.

If UEC recognition comes at the expense of altering the nature of independent Chinese schools, then its best to leave things as it is. More importantly, use this issue to bargain for the setting up of more Chinese schools n independent Chinese schools.
The Chinese schools are bursting at the seams as it is.

Mindsets can only be changed gradually. To change mindsets, we should adopt blue ocean strategy. Get the govt to build more Chinese schools and Chinese independent schools. Encourage more non Chinese to study by waiving fees etc. Once this group becomes sizable , it would change the mindsets of the more conservative Malays.

Better late than never

Gerakan has finally made the decision to quit BN.

Since 2006, I have been advocating that the party move out of BN as I have foreseen any association with the racist and corrupt culture of UMNO will drag Gerakan down.

It’s good though a bit late for the party to quit BN now.

Politics should be about the welfare of the people and the country, not about individuals. The world would be a much better place if more politicians can subscribe to this principle.

Perhaps it’s time to revisit my press statement in 2011, when I decided to resign from the party:

Press Statement by Dr Hsu Dar Ren (08-03-2011)

It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my resignation from all my positions in Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, including that of Central Committee member, FT state liaison committee member, division chairman, branch chairman and ordinary membership.

Parti Gerakan is a party with good ideology to establish a fair and equitable society in Malaysia . It too has many conscientious members who subscribe to this ideology.

Unfortunately, within the framework of BN, where the hegemonic race politics of UMNO predominates, it is impossible for Gerakan to realize this ideal.

In fact, as a result of more than 5 decades of race based politics, the country has drifted so much apart that racial polarization has never been as bad as now . Despite the many decades of trying to work from within, Gerakan is now further and further away from realising its ideals.

Three years after the 308 General election, I sense that apart from rhetoric, there is little change in policies gearing towards uniting the people and providing a fairer and more equal footing for all. I feel that it is now futile for me to try to fight within the system anymore.

I have no intention of joining any other political parties, but I will continue to voice out through writing and blogging on the importance of building a fair and equitable society.

Two tigers cannot share the same mountain.

 

We don’t need to have a PM inside the government and another guy acting as one outside the government

In the past few general elections, I have been advocating change and have been very supportive of the then opposition alliance , held together by the De facto leader.  In my blog posts then, I had said many times that without him, there would not be a Pakatan to oppose BN.

I am also very impressed that he can forget about the past and join hand with his former nemesis DrM to  fight the previous kleptocratic government. In fact, this must be one of his wisest decisions ever made, since without the charismatic and indefatigable DrM, PH would not be able to win, let alone winning so convincingly.  Without DrM’s adroit maneuvering on the night of the election, I don’t think the change of government could have proceeded so smoothly. I also believe that had PH be helmed by any other person, UMNO would not have given up so easily and those in charge would not have given up without resorting to other ‘tricks’, so to speak.

But after Dr M was sworn in, many happenings have led me wonder whether the old wayang kulit master of the 90s  is back. There are many instances to let me think so, and to list some here:

1. On the second day of forming the new government, Rafizi was quoted to question why DrM bulldozed the cabinet appointments. The word ‘bulldozing’ makes the new PM look like a dictator. Is Rafizi just a proxy or is he voicing out in his own personal capacity?

If his intention is to make Dr M look bad, it has the opposite effect. The general consensus is that it made Rafizi  look bad.

Even if we need the freedom of criticizing government, why do it at such an early stage when The whole nation was still in an euphoric mood. There is also the so called internal channel which he could have utilized, given his position as a senior leader of PKR.

Then again  towards the end of May, the same Rafizi was reported to say that Dr M was not the main factor for PH to win GE 14, citing a survey. Why he needed to say this when the general consensus was that without Dr M, PH would not have won nor formed the government? It really gives an impression that someone is trying  to belittle Dr M, and if so, why? Is it because if they can show that Dr M is not the deciding factor, then PKR with its largest number of elected MPs in PH would have the biggest say in deciding cabinet appointments  as well as those in the PH administered state governments.

2.  Dr M’s appointment of Azmin as the minister in charge of economic affairs, despite the fact that Azmin was already sworn in as Selangor MB on presumably PKR’s recommendation to the Sultan. I wonder whether there was any discussion on this? Or is there some truth to the suggestions on social media that Dr M is using  Azmin to balance the influence of the de facto leader? I am curious too whether azmin’s appointment as MB was discussed by the top echelon of PH?

3. Then the appointment of the new MB of Selangor. It was earlier reported that Dr Idris was one of the names nominated as MB , but it was Amirudin who was sworn in as the new MB. It should be a non matter but for the fact that Dr Idris claimed in a PC that Amirudin was not the one endorsed by PH. Dr Idris was also the name announced by Dr Wan Azizah a few days ago. What happened during the last few days? Note that now both DSAI and wife said they supported Amirudin; what else can they say if they want to portray to the public that ‘ all is well and under control’ . As a person who was in politics before, I believe that this incident shows that there are really strong undercurrents beneath the surface calm in PKR.

4. DSAI has been acting as if he is  a senior member of the administration (at least that is the impression I get) by holding meetings and saying so many things to the press  since his pardon.  Just yesterday, it was reported that he urged the Finance minister not to publicly expose the scandals of the previous administration because he claimed that it can affect investor sentiments.

Its strange that he needed to publicly say this. He has been advocating a new Malaysia with transparency. This type of exposure is transparency and will also act as a deterrent. Furthermore, why can’t he call the Finance minister and give the advice over phone? Both have been cooperating since the days of Pakatan Rakyat. Why the need to do this publicly? It gives a perception that the PM in waiting is reprimanding a senior minister publicly. At the very least, it gives an impression of him trying to belittle the FM. The finance minister has now publicly replied that he was asked to do so by Dr M, the present PM. One wonders why are there no channels of communication among the PM and PM in waiting, especially when the wife of the latter sits in the cabinet as the second in command.

In my humble opinion, I think the De facto leader should try to adopt a lower profile, because that was the impression many of us had when he indicated upon his release that he is going to take a rest, go overseas for awhile before considering a return to parliament.

I hope he truly learns his lessons and be more patient. Let Dr M and his chosen team have a free rein to tackle the difficult tasks they are facing,  without interruption or so called advice from PM in waiting.  If he really wants to give advice, do it via PH leadership council, or better still, through his wife who is the DPM.. he could also meet up with Dr M to give his input, since he has allegedly forgiven DrM.

We don’t need to have a PM inside the government and another guy acting as one outside the government.

Remember the Chinese proverb: there cannot be two tigers sharing the same mountain.

 

Boomerang

It is now more than one month after PH, against all odds and predictions, won the 14th GE. PH members and the many of the voters are still in euphoric mood. Many are still in disbelief.  The latter includes the former ruling coaltion which has been in power for 61 years.  They were the only ruling party Malaysians had ever known.

Within a short period of a month, the 14 member coalition is now down to only 4. That is how cruel politics is; no one likes to be on the losing side, especially a side that is now deemed to be so corrupt that any association with it would invoke scorn from the rakyat.

Now in the unfamiliar role of playing opposition, many in the  BN component parties   are now voicing out vocally against what they perceive to be ‘mistakes’ or ‘excesses’ of the new government, only to find that whatever criticism they made against the new government invariably comes back to haunt them.  They either dont realize or are too forgetful that they had made bigger mistakes before, and the excesses of their past masters were astronomical, not to mention the billions of taxpayers’ money siphoned away.

My advice to these minions is to hold their tongues at the moment, wait for at least a few months.. let the new administration settle down andgive them time to learn the ropes.  Actually in the past one month, they have brought back confidence and most importantly ‘ hope’ to a country where no one can deny that corruption was so rampant that if left unchecked, would have brought the country to a point of no return.

 

 

Can the west’s Democracy survive China’s rise in dominance

A very good read. In fact, as the West continues its decline, many people are starting to question whether democracy in the western forms is the best syste.

From the economist:

For long the West has thought that history is on its side, that the global future would and should be in its own image. With the end of the cold war and the implosion of the Soviet Union, this conviction became stronger than ever. The future was Western; nothing else was imaginable. Of course, already, well before the end of the cold war, in 1978 to be exact, China had started its epic modernisation such that, in the annals of history, 1978 will surely prove to be a far more significant year than 1989. During China’s rise, hubris continued to shape the West’s perception and understanding of China. As the latter modernised it would become increasingly Western, it was supposed: Deng’s reforms marked the beginning of the privatisation and marketisation of the Chinese economy—its political system would in time become Western, otherwise China would inevitably fail.

“We should not expect or require China to be Western.”

China’s political system did not turn Western. The state continues to be a very powerful force in the country’s economy. China remains very distinctive from the West—and has gone from strength to strength in the process. China never had the long-predicted economic crisis that so many Westerners forecast, nor the great political revolt that was destined to deliver Western-style democracy. Instead economic crisis and political crisis befell the West. The Western financial crisis in 2007-08 was the worst since the early 1930s. By 2015-16 its political consequences were upending Western politics, sounding the death-knell of neo-liberalism, undermining the governing elites and weakening governing institutions.

The West—both the United States and the European Union—is, in historical terms, in precipitous decline. The developing world, led by China and India, now accounts for just under 60% of global GDP, compared with around 33% in the mid-1970s. The great story of the post-war era has been the rise of the developing world, representing around 85% of humanity, and the decline of the old developed world, accounting for around 15% of humanity. The developing world has learnt much from the West but it is not, and will not be, Western. China is the classic case in point. It is not even mainly a nation-state. It is, first and foremost, a civilisation-state, a concept that the West has not begun to try and understand. The relationship between state and society is profoundly different from that in the West, and so is its tradition of governance. It was never expansionist in the manner of western Europe and America. China has a very different culture and history to that of the West. We should not expect it or require it to be Western.

“Do not expect the Chinese to behave in the same aggressive military fashion that Europe did in its days of imperial pomp, or as America still does.”

The rise of Europe transformed the world. The rise of America did the same, though enjoying strong lines of continuity with Europe. China will likewise transform the world, but probably on a much greater scale than either Europe or America, mainly because it is that much larger. To think otherwise is both unrealistic and ahistorical. Western hegemony has left a huge imprint on the world, but it was never destined to last for ever. Hegemons are never eternal. To expect China to become a Western-style country in an American-shaped world was always an illusion. But nor should we expect China to delete that world and replace it with something entirely different.

to read more, go to:

https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/06/14/can-the-wests-democracy-survive-chinas-rise-to-dominance

 

Simply too expensive!

A lot of people, especially those associated with BN, are unhappy about scrapping of the HSR project.

Thank about this:

Even if we can afford the HSR, how about the maintenance n operating costs?how about the affordability of the tickets?

Not all China’s HSR routes are making money. My recent trip to China the airfare from Shanghai to tunxi ( huangshan) is cheaper than my HSR tickets from huangshan to Hangzhou ( first class tickets).

If the cost is 110 billions, and assuming 100% financing , interest alone will be 3 -4 billions a year. How pricey will be the tickets?
Let’s assume the interest to be 3.65 billions for ease of calculation. Interest alone will be 10 millions a day. Add the operating costs. The tickets will be quite pricey. If you want to factor in the principal amount of 110 billions, the tickets will be so pricey that people may not be able to afford.

Assuming each trip can take 500 people. And assuming that there will be 20 trips a day. There will be 10000 tickets for sale. Again for the ease of calculation ( all tickets same price), each ticket needs 1000 Ringgits to just cover the interest payment.

If you price the ticket price lower,then the country will hv to subsidize the tickets. When we already have so high debts, can we afford to subsidize?

The actual ticket cost will be much more complicated n I reiterate that this calculation is simplified to show how expensive it will be to operate. Even if we increase passenger load to 50000 a day, it will still be expensive.

Note that the above calculation does not factor in the principal payment of 110 billions.
If we want to recover this cost over 20 years, we have to add 5.5 billions to the 3.65 billions interest above. That will be 9.15 billions a year. Add onto that the operating and maintenance cost.

You all can continue the simplified calculation to show how much we need to price the tickets.

For the moment, the priority is to reduce the debt level to a lower level.

Just like in a household. When your borrowings are so much that most of your pay go to pay for the interest of the borrowings, you should just try to pay as much as you can to reduce the principal borrowings.

So you have to cancel the luxury car your wife ordered , even if you have to let them forfeit the down payment.

That’s is called financial prudence.

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