We Have moved . . . .
Monday, August 31, 2009
In the heyday of UMNO the joke was that the party could field a dog as an election candidate and it would still win. The party leaders must still harbor that delusion for in the recent Permatang Pasir state by-election they fielded a disbarred lawyer. This time however, voters wisely drew the line at the dog.
The surprise was not that Rohaizat Othman successfully hoodwinked UMNO leaders to secure the nomination rather how easily those senior leaders were taken in by this shyster. Now that their candidate has been thrashed, those UMNO leaders were belatedly bemoaning the fact that their chosen man had been less than truthful to them. That is the quality of UMNO top leadership, folks!
Even after the sordid details of the man’s sleazy professional past and checkered personal life had surfaced, UMNO leaders still vigorously defended their choice. They had the nerve to suggest that those critics were trying to smear the UMNO candidate. Those UMNO leaders obviously did not realize that their man was already soiled.
Reflection on Muhyyuddin
Consider UMNO Deputy President Muhyyuddin Yassin’s comments. He went to great lengths defending the integrity of his party’s standard bearer. He likened the Bar Council’s sanctions as nothing more than a traffic violation! I recognize that traffic in Malaysia is terrible, but really! I wonder what it would take to be branded a crook and thus be disqualified by Muhyyuddin’s reckoning. I am making a huge assumption here, that is, the man has some standards.
A commentator in the mainstream media reported that Muhyyuddin was apparently livid on hearing the details of Rohaizat. Only his severe poker face belied his anger, so she claimed. If Muhyyuddin was truly angry he sure did not reveal it in his actions; he was ‘gung ho’ right to the end. That commentary revealed more about the writer – ‘sucking up’ to Muhyyuddin so early on. She should try a better excuse next time.
It is a recent tradition with UMNO that its deputy leader be in charge of by-elections. This Permatang Pasir election was the first to be under the direct leadership of Muhyyuddin. Hence his comments and actions bear scrutiny.
Muhyyuddin’s decision to continue with Rohaizat’s candidacy despite all the revealed blemishes says volumes on the judgment as well as ethical standards of Muhyyuddin. Not to scare readers, this character is also Deputy Prime Minister, and going by our recent history, he could very well be Prime Minister one day.
If a two-bit disbarred country lawyer could easily dupe Muhyyuddin, imagine him as Prime Minister negotiating with his counterpart across the causeway on selling our precious fresh water, or his participating in crucial international treaty conferences! That is a scary thought.
The brief Permatang Pasir election campaign revealed more than we ever wished to know about this crooked lawyer and his equally slimy personal life. While Rohaizat was disbarred by the Bar Council, he could still practice in the Sharia court. This is the same court that recently sentenced a young mother to be whipped for drinking beer. That should tell us something of the ‘Islamic’ (at least the Malaysian variety) standard of ethics.
To me, the Permatang Pasir campaign revealed more about UMNO, specifically its culture and top leaders. What has been revealed should scare all Malaysians who are concerned with our nation’s future.
Muhyyuddin’s ethical blind spot was disturbing enough. More reprehensible was his performance during the campaign. He fell into the predictable pattern of past ambitious UMNO leaders-in-waiting. There he was, freely and irresponsibly playing up the race card, eerily reminding me of Najib’s and Hishammuddin’s brandishing of their kerises. Aspiring UMNO leaders like Muhyyuddin have this primitive urge to display their chauvinistic manhood during tough election campaigns. That is their culture.
Unfortunately, as the party still garnered over a third of the votes (presumably Malay votes), UMNO leaders will continue with their bigotry. Now they are blaming non-Malay (specifically Chinese) voters for abandoning Barisan.
UMNO of The Future
To be sure there were a few – very few, in fact only two – UMNO leaders who spoke out against Rohaizat, and did so early. Mahathir wondered out loud whether a liar could be a people’s representative. Tengku Razaleigh was much more forceful, “… UMNO is projecting the image that it lives by a different moral code from the rest of Malaysia.”
“Either that, or this is the best we can do,” he continued. Indeed!
Alas, both Mahathir and the Tengku represent UMNO’s past. To gauge UMNO’s future, look at the leaders of its Youth and Puteri wings. They not only endorsed Rohaizat but aggressively campaigned for him. I would like to ask UMNO Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin specifically whether he feels that a disbarred lawyer and a man who lied about his wife is a worthy representative of UMNO.
The situation with UMNO Puteri is even more interesting. I wonder how those pretty young girls in their distinctive pink baju kurong feel about campaigning for a man who took a second wife secretly, and then lied about it publicly. The Puteris’ stand-by-your-man stance may be praiseworthy in other circumstances but not when your man is a cheat and a crook. Instead of campaigning for him, Puteri members should be contacting the second wife to see whether her man had been providing for her.
The Permatang Pasir by-election could have been a splendid opportunity for UMNO to shine if only their leaders had been smarter and pursued a radically different tack. Imagine if upon knowing the sordid details of Rohaizat, UMNO leaders publicly admitted their mistake and demanded their candidate withdraw on pain of being expelled from the party.
Yes that would give PAS a walk-over, but that would not have changed the end results. Besides, UMNO had done this a few months earlier in the Penanti by-election. Think however, the message the party and its senior leaders would have sent to their members and Malaysians generally, and the impact that would have on all. UMNO would have won a great moral victory. As it is, UMNO lost the election as well as the moral high ground. The party had set a new low on what is acceptable.
Judging from the post-election comments by UMNO leaders, from Najib Razak and Muhyyuddin on down, UMNO has yet to learn this pertinent lesson from this latest debacle. The party still harbors the delusion that even its flawed candidates could still win.
The next time around expect UMNO to reach even lower to a new bottom in their search for talent. I must admit it would be difficult to find someone more unworthy than a disbarred lawyer. Trust me however, UMNO will find one.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
AUG 28 — We know the verdict of the people in Permatang Pasir now, and no matter how you spin it, this was a tremendous victory for Pakatan Rakyat. Yet I know quite a few people wondering why, with all of Pakatan’s woes, the people of Permatang Pasir would return the Pakatan candidate with almost as big a majority as before. While I cannot pretend to speak for anyone but myself, here is why I would vote Pakatan.
People say Pakatan has no common platform. Pakatan has not yet issued a common policy document, true. But read each of the different parties’ manifestos, and try telling me they have nothing in common. All three Pakatan parties have a common economic platform, based on equality of opportunity. All three parties have committed themselves to abolishing racial politics and racist policies. Barisan Nasional has had over five decades to sort out its own race issues, and yet like clockwork, it threatens violence and bloodshed against the other races every year, at each component party’s general assembly.
Barisan still cannot tell us how it will make us truly 1 Malaysia; it cannot say how it plans to fix the horribly unjust basis on which we run our economy. Pakatan still has to deal with religion; Barisan has not yet even begun to tackle race, religion, or the economy. As far as I’m concerned, Pakatan is way ahead of Barisan in two of these key areas, and tied in the other.
In terms of people, I honestly do think — as bad a rep as Pakatan often gets here — Pakatan clearly has better folks in its ranks. Even the crazy extremists who most of us cannot stomach, such as Zulkifli Nordin, can actually converse intelligently (in more than one language!) about the policy issues close to their heart, without any prepared remarks or hesitation. There are PAS leaders who have gone to churches to meet their constituents, and DAP leaders who have gone to mosques to do the same; how many Barisan politicians have done this?
Have you ever listened to or spoken with a Barisan leader? Except for a handful, such as — surprisingly — Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin, most of them don’t know what the hell they are talking about. They read from prepared speeches which they obviously barely comprehend, and they cannot answer questions about basic facts which they ought to know. I honestly think Zulkifli Nordin would make a better minister than many in our present Cabinet, and that’s much less a compliment for him than it is a sad fact about the quality of our government.
Now, maybe you really believe Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be as bad a prime minister as Datuk Seri Najib Razak or Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Maybe you really think the inflammatory rhetoric at a DAP, PAS, or PKR gathering is as bad as the discriminatory flak you find at Umno or MCA rallies and meetings. I’m not sure why you might think these things — Anwar’s track record is no worse than these other men, and if anything, it’s probably better. Likewise, if you honestly think Pakatan is radical, extreme and divided, you probably haven’t been looking too closely at Barisan. All the evidence suggests that Pakatan will govern better than Barisan.
It is absolutely true that Pakatan will not govern perfectly. But in part, these problems really can be blamed on Barisan. Establishment men and women dominate the civil service, and strict tenure rules prevent the state governments from firing them. Court cases and corruption investigations keep our representatives busy filing paperwork instead of attending to their real jobs. Virtually everything in the establishment is conspiring against Pakatan, even as we speak.
Yes, some of these problems can be blamed on Pakatan too; it could be doing a lot more to fix its divisions. A lot of time is being wasted on small-picture issues, and quite a few of Pakatan’s reps are no angels. Pakatan would likely be better off reshuffling some of their leadership, and refocusing themselves on building a common platform; its critics are right on quite a few counts.
But look at everything wrong with our country — whose fault is it? Pakatan has had a bit over a year in four or five states to start tinkering at the edges of policy — it doesn’t even have full control of the civil service because of tenure protections. Barisan has had over 50 years to govern. Like it or not, almost every major problem today is the fault of Barisan’s poor policy and poor leadership.
Pakatan is, if you ask me, indubitably more qualified to govern than Barisan. And even if it wasn’t — if it was only as qualified as Barisan (something I highly doubt) — the fact is we are in deep shit as a country. Barisan has had too many freebies over the years. It’s gotten lazy and complacent, and in spite of the wake-up call we sent on March 8, it is still wasting time instead of properly reforming itself and our institutions. If we want to put Barisan on its toes, we have no choice but to put it in the opposition benches, and to vote for Pakatan.[more]
Pakatan Rakyat berjaya menyapu bersih semua saluran pengundian di DUN Permatang Pasir semalam, sementara menjauhkan jurang antara PR dengan BN dengan rekod 6-1, dalam pilihan raya kecil sejak Malaysia dilanda tsunami politik pada 8 Mac 2008.
UMNO-BN yang tidak meletakkan calon dalam pilihan raya kecil DUN Penanti, 31 Mei 2009, walau bagaimanapun mengekalkan rekod kekalahan 6 kali berturut-turut di Semenanjung Malaysia selepas PRU ke-12, dalam pertembungannya dengan Pakatan Rakyat.
PAS dari PR semalam bernafas lega, apabila menundukkan calon UMNO-BN dengan kemenangan mutlak di kesemua saluran pengundian.
Menurut keputusan terperinci yang terpapar, BN hampir menembusi saluran pengundian kedua di Permatang Ara (97% pengundi Melayu) dengan 287 undi, bagaimanapun tidak kesampaian apabila PAS-PR memperolehi satu undi lebih daripadanya.
Antara sembilan daerah mengundi, PAS-PR menang dengan margin majoriti yang paling selesa di Cross Street, dengan menyapu 75% undi. Cross Street terdiri daripada lebih 80% pengundi bukan Melayu. Sebaliknya, di daerah mengundi yang terdiri daripada 93% pengundi Melayu, Kubang Semang, menyaksikan PAS-PR merangkul 74% jumlah undi.
Di daerah mengundi seperti Sama Gagah, Permatang Pauh dan Permatang Tengah, PAS-PR berjaya mencatat nisbah jumlah undi 7:3, berbanding UMNO-BN.
UMNO-BN hanya mampu merapatkan jurang di daerah mengundi seperti Permatang Ara (43% undi), Kampung Pelet (42% undi) dan Bukit Indera Muda (40% undi).
Dari struktur kaum pengundi, kawasan tersebut adalah kawasan Melayu majoriti, dengan Permatang Ara 97% pengundi Melayu, Kg.Pelet 72% pengundi Melayu dan Bukit Indera Muda 96% pengundi Melayu.
Pengundi muda tetap memihak PR
Walau bagaimanapun, PR kekal dengan kelebihannya di saluran pengundian ketiga dan keempat, memperlihatkan sokongan pengundi muda terhadap pakatan politik baru ini.
Walaupun di kawasan yang majoritinya pengundi Melayu, misalnya di ketiga-tiga daerah pengundian di mana UMNO-BN "berjaya merapatkan jurang", golongan pengundi muda tetap bersama PR.
Di Permatang Ara misalnya, UMNO-BN kalah dengan satu undi di saluran pengundian kedua, tetapi kalah dengan 152 undi majoriti (PAS 349: BN 197) di saluran ketiga.
Di daerah mengundi Permatang Tengah misalnya, dengan majoriti 89% pengundi Melayu, jumlah undi di saluran pengundian ketiga, keempat dan kelima menyaksikan bagaimana UMNO-BN tewas dengan 491 undi majoriti, apabila PAS-PR memperolehi 804 undi dan UMNO-BN mendapat 313 undi.
UMNO-BN dijangka tidak berubah
Peningkatan sokongan Melayu mungkin tidak jelas, khususnya di kubu politik Anwar Ibrahim. Tetapi, mungkinkah keputusan ini cukup untuk memberangsangkan pemimpin UMNO?
"Sememangnya kami (PR) juga bimbang akan kehilangan undi Melayu, tetapi selagi kami mengambil pendekatan yang sederhana, mengekalkan sokongan dari struktur pengundi yang sedia ada, maka UMNO-BN akan musnah dengan sendirinya," jelas Tian Chua kepada MerdekaReview.
Kelas pekerja bersama PR
Ahli Parlimen Batu ini mengingatkan bahawa golongan yang tidak mengundi semalam adalah dari kelas pekerja, yang tidak mempunyai cuti, malah mungkin keberatan untuk balik mengundi kerana tambang kenderaan yang mahal.
Maka, kemenangan PAS-PR semalam mengukuhkan keyakinan PR bahawa strategi dan pendekatan yang sama wajar diteruskan, untuk berdepan dengan PRU ke-13.
Cuma, bagaimana pula dengan UMNO-BN?
- Merdeka Review from bulletin online
Friday, August 28, 2009
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
By Hakim Joe
How many people remembered this day if I only mentioned the date? Hint, it was a Tuesday. No? How about Ops Lallang? (Or is it spelt with only one “l” as in Lalang?) Certainly a day of infamy that will forever rest in the minds of the people of Malaysia as it is the ultimate portrayal of an oppressive law that was blatantly used to silence the opposition. Democracy lost its meaning here from that day onwards.