Archive for category Elections

‘Flawed democracy’ Malaysia slips down in The Economist unit’s ranking, behind Indonesia

Malay Mail Online
January 22, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — Malaysia stayed mired among countries rated as “flawed democracies” in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index 2015 released this week, losing three positions from the previous year.

According to the EIU table, Malaysia is now 68th out of the 167 countries measured, after it scored 6.43 in the index, down from 65th in 2014, putting it behind Indonesia (49th) and the Philippines (54th), but ahead of 74th placed Singapore.

“These countries also have free and fair elections and, even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected.

“However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation,” the EIU explained.
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UMNO leadership should consider Onn’s 66-year proposal that UMNO open its membership to non-Malays to defend and save democracy in Malaysia

Yesterday, I gave as the reason why the UMNO leadership should consider founding UMNO President, Datuk Onn Jaafar’s 66-year proposal that UMNO open its door to non-Malays the simple and basic one as to whether UMNO is a loyal and patriotic Malaysian party or just a communal Malay party – how the nation could have a Prime Minister from UMNO who could be a Prime Minister of all Malaysians when the ration d’etre of his political existence is to be the champion of one race against the other races.

I was responding to the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Salleh Said Keruak, who had asked why UMNO must open its membership to non-Malays as UMNO has never claimed to be a multi-racial party.

Datuk Shabery Cheek, who was shunted off from the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia in the Cabinet “purge” reshuffle on July 28 last year, tried to come to his successor’s rescue, declaring that UMNO’s opening up its membership to non-Malays is not as simple as opening up a durian.

In a way, Shabery is very right.

If UMNO just opens up its membership to non-Malays, no non-Malay would want to be an UMNO member unless UMNO can change its political culture from a race-based party to a Malaysia-based national party.

But this is not adequate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia is seriously sick and the only way for the country to be healthy, vibrant and vigorous again and stop being the “Sick Man of ASEAN” is the cure of a change of government in the 14GE

The first fortnight of the new year, 2016, provided fodder for the prophets of doom and gloom for Malaysia, as Malaysia is very sick, afflicted with a multitude of political, economic, good governance and nation-building ailments.

One indication of the seriousness of the Malaysian malady is my six-month suspension from Parliament, not because I had committed any heinous crime or guilty of grave misdemeanour causing Malaysia to be placed in the third ranking of world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015”, but because of my persistence in the pursuit of the question to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak: “Mana RM2.6 billion?”

This is further proof that those who want answers to the “Mana RM2.6 billion?” are punished while those responsible for these scandals continue to enjoy immunity and impunity under our system of democratic governance!

It is sad is that Parliament has again proven its utter irrelevance and impotence when the Najib government could blatantly break its promise to “answer all” about Najib’s twin mega scandals – the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB – on the last day of the 25-day Dewan Rakyat budget meeting on Dec. 3 and there was nothing anyone could do to demand full and satisfactory accountability from Najib and the Ministers for the twin mega scandals.

This is why I am using my six-month suspension from Parliament to tour the country – I have so far visited 66 of the 222 parliamentary constituencies – to feel the pulse of the people about Najib’s twin mega scandals.

What I had found and learnt is that Najib cannot be more wrong when he claimed that his twin mega scandals are “dead and buried” and no more burning issues of the country, for all over the country, in every nook and corner, Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or even politics, age or gender, are demanding answers to the teeming questions about Najib’s twin mega scandals. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Ibrahim Ali did not find me objectionable as anti-Malay and anti-Islam when he sought my help in the seventies to escape detention under ISA as a student leader?

It is amusing and comical that Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali claims that he suffered sleepless nights after the DAP declared that it is not anti-Malay or anti-Islam.

He claimed to be shocked by the statement and said he could not sleep for 50 hours.

Clearly, Ibrahim Ali was still talking when sleep-walking.

Can Ibrahim explain why he did not find me objectionable as being allegedly anti-Malay and anti-Islam when he frantically sought my help as Parliamentary Opposition Leader when he was trying to escape detention under the Internal Security Act for his activities as a student leader in the seventies?

I had raised this issue once publicly some five years ago, and Ibrahim Ali did not dare to challenge the veracity of my statement.

This show the quality of leadership of the Perkasa chief. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib and UMNO propagandists are giving the Malays the supreme insult doubting their intelligence and capability when they spread the canard that the Malays will lose political power to the DAP and Chinese if Najib and UMNO lose in next general election

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and UMNO propagandists are giving the Malays the supreme insult doubting their intelligence and capability when they spread the canard that the Malays will lose political power to the DAP and Chinese if Najib and UMNO lose in the next general election.

There is no doubt that Najib and UMNO are facing the greatest crisis of survival in their lives, for a recent poll has shown that the popularity rating of the Najib UMNO-led government is at an all-time low – below the 50 per cent mark for the first time, down to some 30 per cent.

Even UMNO leaders accept the real prospect that Najib can lose not only the popular vote (which UMNO/Barisan lost in the 2013 general election securing only 47% of the total votes cast) but also the majority of the parliamentary seats (which through an undemocratic electoral system, enabled Najib to secure 60 per cent of the parliamentary seats in the 13GE although with 43% of the votes, and therefore entering Malaysian history as the first minority Prime Minister in the country).

If the 2013 General Election had been fair and democratic, where the principle of “one man, one vote, one value” is the abiding feature of the electoral system, the Prime Minister after the general election in May 2013 would have been Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and not Najib Razak, and Anwar would not be in Sungai Buloh prison today.

It is a national tragedy that instead of redeeming his position as the first minority Prime Minister of the country, by heading a government which really cares for the people and nation, which is clean, incorruptible, consultative, democratic, fully guided by the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance, Najib had done the reverse, which is why there are Najib’s RM2.6 billion and RM55 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals giving Malaysia a bad name not only locally but in the international arena as well. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 14GE is not battle between the Malays and Chinese for political power as Malays will not lose political power but whether Najib and UMNO leaders can continue to mislead Malaysians to continue their economic scandals and abuses of power

I want first to thank the DAP Assemblywoman for Senai, Wong Shu Qi for a new translation and bringing out this new Chinese edition of “Time Bombs in Malaysia”, a collection of my speeches in Parliament during my first two terms as Member of Parliament from 1971 – 1978.

I am reminded of the first day of the resumed Parliament on Feb. 23, 1971, when Members of Parliament convened for the first time after a 21-month suspension of Parliament and National Operations Council (NOC) Emergency rule after the May 13 racial riots of 1969, under the grave threat that Parliament will be closed down and Members of Parliament sent home if they failed to accomplish the first task expected of them – to amend the Malaysian Constitution to entrench four issues as “sensitive” issues which could not be questioned on pain of conviction for sedition and the removal of the parliamentary immunity of MPs with regard to these entrenched “sensitive issues” even in parliamentary debates.

In fact, a few days before MPs met, the UMNO Youth leader at the time warned that UMNO Youth would surround Parliament until MPs approved the Constitution Amendment Bill.

During the debate on the Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament, there was palpable electricity in the air, with government MPs walking around with bulges in the pocket, signifying the least pacific intentions.

However, the 13 elected DAP MPs were not so easily browbeaten and we stood up for the people’s rights and made it clear that DAP MPs were not elected into Parliament to be “yes-men” to surrender their principles or betray the trust and confidence of the electorate. Read the rest of this entry »

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UMNO Asemblyman raises eyebrows when he demands revelation of donor for the RM10 million arch facelift, but cowardly silent about Najib’s 2.6 billion “Donorgate”, which is 260 times bigger than the face-lift donation

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the report, “Reveal donors for RM10m arch facelift, Umno rep tells MB” (Malaysiakini), and I had to read it a second time to believe what I had.

Most readers would have reacted in similar disbelief and incredulity to the report, for the common question which would leap to everyone’s mind is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM2.6 billion “Donorgate” with the astronomical sums in his personal banking accounts before the 2013 general election, and the many turns and twists, including parliamentary escapades, of this RM2.6 billion “Najib Donorgate”, which had intrigued national and international attention for some six months since it was first exposed by Wall Street Journal in early July.

The marvel is not that a Selangor UMNO Assemblyman Mohd Sharif (Dengkil) is asking for the identity of the donors for the RM9.8 million facelift for the Kota Darul Ehsan arch along the Federal Highway and marks the border between Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, but that there is not a single one from the whole gang of UMNO Members of Parliament and State Assembly representatives in the country demanding revelation from Najib about the RM2.6 billion “DonorGate”, which is 260 times bigger than the RM10 million facelift donation in Selangor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why it is good for the soul of UMNO to be defeated in 14GE – the only way for UMNO to get rid of corrupt leaders and to reform to be politically relevant again as experienced by Indian National Congress, Taiwan Kuomintang and Japanese Liberal Democratic parties

Some 10 days before the recent UMNO General Assembly, the Deputy UMNO President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in his speech to 1,000 Barisan Nasional leaders in Pagoh that Malay support for UMNO had dwindled to 30 per cent when Malay support for UMNO over the years had always been above 50 per cent.

He warned that unless this warning signal to UMNO, in particular the unhappiness of the people over Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s twin mega scandals of the RM2.6 billion “donation” in his personal banking accounts before the 13th General Election and the RM55 billion 1MDB debts, is faced by the UMNO leadership, UMNO may be defeated in the 14th General Election in two years’ time.

This theme was taken up by the Perak Mufti, Harussani Zakarai who warned at the Regional Conference (Multaqa Serantau) for al-Azhar University alumni in Kuala Lumpur that Malays will lose their political power in about two years’ time if their leaders continue to fight against one another.

In an apparent reference to the 14th general election, Harussani called for the defence of Malay power in the country, saying the maintenance of that power would protect the position of Islam.

He said: “Malay leadership in this country must be defended because that’s where the strength of Islam lies.

“If the Malays are defeated, then Islam will too.”

There are two dangerous fallacies here. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Najib accept the democratic verdict of the voters in the 14GE rejecting UMNO/BN and demanding for a change of government in Putrajaya through the ballot box or will he resort to undemocratic powers like the National Security Council Act even without a Proclamation of Emergency by Yang di Pertuan Agong?

I asked around just now when the Alor Pongsu State Assembly by-election in Perak was held but nobody seems to know.

It was 41 years ago when the DAP contested in the Alor Pongsu by-election in 1974, and although the UMNO/Barisan Nasional director of operations for the Alor Pongsu by-election announced on nomination day that the DAP’s Malay candidate would not secure more than 2,000 votes, i.e. getting only non-Malay voter support, DAP polled about 3,500 votes – indication that the DAP Malay candidate was able to secure significant Malay voter support as well.

The Alor Pongsu by-election is testimony that right from the beginning of DAP’s formation 50 years ago, DAP had never regarded itself as a Chinese or non-Malay party, never an anti-Malay and anti-Islam party, but a party for all races and religions in the country.

DAP contested the Alor Pongsu by-election not because we expected to win, but part of a long-term reach-out by the party to all Malaysians and regions with the DAP message for national unity, justice, freedom, development and good governance for all.

I am pleasantly surprised by an old photograph taken when I visited Bagan Serai at the end of 1970, which was shortly after I was released from the first Internal Security Act (ISA) detention, and I thank the strong party supporter, who was in also in the photograph 45 years ago, who had presented with an enlarged copy of the photograph. Read the rest of this entry »

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What “olive branch” Najib could offer PAS in exchange for support of 14 PAS MPs to secure two-thirds parliamentary majority together with 134 UMNO/BN MPs to amend the Constitution for redelineation of parliamentary constituencies?

If by some miracle, it is possible to restitch back Pakatan Rakyat and get back together the three parties, DAP, PKR and PAS (plus a second miracle of re-uniting PAS and Parti Amanah Negara) under one roof for the 14th General Election, could the reconstituted Pakatan Rakyat defeat the UMNO/BN coalition by winning more parliamentary seats than the 13GE?

I don’t think so although UMNO in the 14th GE will be more fractured and weaker than in the 13GE with Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister haunted and hounded by so many political and economic scandals as compared to the general election two years ago.

This is because the reconstituted Pakatan Rakyat in the 14th General Election will be fighting a losing battle just to win back the same number of parliamentary and state assembly seats, for the most important element which led to the 53% popular support for Pakatan Rakyat in the 13th General Election, resulting in 89 Parliamentary and 229 State Assembly seats (minus Sarawak) will be missing, i.e. absolute trust and confidence in the PR because of the people’s belief in the adherence and unswerving commitment of DAP, PKR and PAS to the PR Common Policy Framework and the PR consensus operational principle.

I am reminded of the nursery rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Like Humpty Dumpty after its “great fall”, it would not be possible to put Pakatan Rakyat together again. Read the rest of this entry »

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Greatest challenge in 14GE is how to re-ignite hopes of Malaysians for change in Putrajaya after the failure of the seven-year Pakatan Rakyat experiment

The country is in unchartered waters with unprecedented fracture and fragmentation on both sides of the political divide – both with the UMNO-led coalition of Barisan Nasional and the splintered Opposition.

The gravity of the political situation in the governing coalition is best illustrated by the warning by the UMNO Deputy President and former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at a gathering of 1,000 Barisan Nasional leaders in Pagoh on Sunday that Malay support for UMNO has dwindled to 30 per cent while 78 per cent of Malaysians are dissatisfied with how the government was handling the economy.

Muhyiddin said the level of Chinese support for the government has also dwindled, from 13 percent in the last general election to only five percent at present.

Muhyiddin blamed UMNO’s woes primarily to Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega-scandals and warned that if the UMNO decline is not corrected within the next two years, UMNO may lose in the 14th General Election.

As Muhyiddin rightly pointed out, this is the first time approval for the government among Malays has fallen below 50 percent since Merdeka Centre began recording the data in February 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

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How the opposition can win the next elections

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
30 November 2015

By now it is clear that the 1MDB financial scandal, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s campaign against Datuk Seri Najib Razak, GST pain and numerous examples of corruption, abuse and mismanagement of the economy and governance, are not going to win the next election for the opposition coalition.

This is not to say that we should underestimate the average Malaysian’s disillusionment with, and distrust of, Umno and its partner parties in Barisan Nasional (BN).

Even the most simpleton Umno member is fully aware of how the division chiefs have enriched themselves with fat contracts, scholarships for their children, jobs in the civil service for their relatives and friends, etc.

Umno members are no fools. They know that the higher one gets to be in the Umno leadership hierarchy, the more the goodies and wealth they can accumulate.
So they are not surprised that RM2.6 billion was deposited in Najib’s personal account.

Many of the more ethical and principled Umno members agree that this is wrong. But will this mean that they will not vote for Umno in the next election?

I hope they listen to their conscience and I am sure many other Malaysians will join me in wishing the same.

But hope is not enough. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Najib could win the next election

– Murray Hunter
The Malaysian Insider
30 November 2015

With the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and RM2.6 billion ‘political donation’ crises looming and anti-Najib (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) forces aiming to remove him from office, there is one strategy open to the prime minister – a snap election, should he feel cornered.

This is a remote scenario, but one that is currently being drawn up now as a contingency in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The forces of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – who Najib fired as deputy prime minister – have largely been neutralized, as well as the opposition, primarily through botched votes of no confidence and the attempt to block a second budget reading.

No Barisan Nasional (BN) votes drifted over to the opposition, indicating that this group’s influence within Umno/BN is negligible. Read the rest of this entry »

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With formation of Parti Amanah Negara and Pakatan Harapan, Malaysians can now hope again for political change in next general election after the roller-coaster ride of high hopes and virtual despair in the two years since the 13th GE

Malaysians can now hope again for political change in next general election after the roller-coaster ride of high hopes and virtual despair in the two years since the 13th GE in May 2013.

The 13GE in May 2013 was the highest water-mark of hopes of Malaysians for political change and the end of UMNO rule since Merdeka in 1957 and the beginning of a new Pakatan Rakyat Federal Government with a new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Although Pakatan Rakyat comprising DAP, PKR and PAS won the majority of 53% of the popular votes, Najib continued as the first minority Prime Minister when the UMNO/BN coalition won 60 per cent of the parliamentary seats with only 47% of the popular votes.

The two years after the nation-wide disappointment at missing the opportunity for political change in Putrajaya on 13GE Polling Day on 5th May 3013 because of gerrymandering and unfair, unjust and undemocratic redelineation of parliamentary constituencies can be likened to a roller-coaster ride by Malaysians of high hopes for political change and virtual despair that such political change is possible because of an increasingly divided Pakatan Rakyat.

After the 13 general election, Pakatan Rakyat existed only in name – as PAS decided to renege on its commitment to adhere to the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework as well as the Pakatan Rakyat operational principle of consensus.

In retrospect, if Pakatan Rakyat had captured the majority of the parliamentary seats and the mandate to form the Federal Government in Putrajaya in the 13th General Election, Pakatan Rakyat would have been confronted with it first crisis even before the Pakatan Rakyat Federal Government was formed, as the PAS President had refused to accept Anwar Ibrahim as the Prime Minister candidate.

With the history of the PAS President refusing not only to accept Anwar as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, but also the PKR President Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the Mentri Besar of Selangor, as well as his decision to renege from th PR Common Policy Framework particularly on the hudud and local government election issues, what is the basis to hope that there could be a revival of Pakatan Rakyat co-operation and unity? Read the rest of this entry »

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Despatching UMNO to Opposition benches in 14GE will be doing both UMNO and nation a great favour as it will not only promote healthy growth and development of democracy in Malaysia but will give UMNO the chance for reform and regeneration

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Malaysia last week, in the company of other ASEAN, Asian and Pacific leaders like President Xi Jingping of China, President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia for the ASEAN and Post-ASEAN Summits.

Modi is the fifth Prime Minister of India resulting from a change of government through the ballot box in a general election.

The first time India had a change of government through the ballot box was in the sixth Indian general election in 1977 when the Indian Congress which had ruled India for 30 years was voted out of office, replaced by an Opposition coalition headed by Morarji Desai of Janata party.

Indian Congress under Indira Gandhi won back federal power in the seventh Indian general election in 1980 but BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leading an Opposition coalition captured New Delhi in the 11th to 13th Indian General Elections from 1996 – 1999.

Indian Congress leading a coalition of parties won back the Indian Federal Government in the 14th and 15th General Elections in 2004 and 2008 under Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister.

The last change of government through the ballot box was in the 16th Indian General Election in 2014 with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.

This means that in 63 years in sixteen General Elections, there had been five changes of government between the Indian Congress and Opposition coalitions.

In comparison, Malaysia has held 13 General Elections in 56 years but there has not been a single change of Federal Government in Putrajaya form the UMNO-led coalition, which makes Malaysian democracy as a most abnormal one. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians can now hope again for political change in next general election after the roller-coaster ride of high hopes and virtual despair in the two years since the 13th GE

Endau made history tonight, firstly, with Endau joining the national mainstream of Malaysians demanding that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak must answer the question uppermost in everyone’s mind, regardless of race, religion, region (whether urban or rural areas, whether in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah or Sarawak) or even party politics.

Secondly, the establishment of the protem committee of the new DAP branch in Endau and the strong presence of Parti Amanah Negara which is in the process of forming a branch in Endau – and I welcome in particular the four AMANAH and Pakatan Harapan stalwarts who are here tonight: Professor Madya Dr. Sulaiman Mohd Nor, representing the Johor AMANAH Chairman; IR Hj Khairudin Abdul Rahim, Johor AMANAH Secretary; Prof. Madya Hj Hamidon Musa representing Pakatan Harapan Mersing and Sdr. Fadli Ramli of Rompin Pakatan Harapan.

Mersing (with the two State Assembly seats of Endau and Tenggaroh) is the 30th Parliamentary constituency I am visiting since my outrageous suspension from Parliament on Oct. 22 to spread the word that Najib can suspend one Lim Kit Siang from Parliament for six months, but this will only seed tens and hundreds of thousands, even millions of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics, to stand up to declare that they are also Lim Kit Siang in demanding full accounting of “Mana RM2.6 billion?” and the RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals.
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Let 2015 be another historic milestone in Baling, marking not only the formation of DAP and AMANAH in Baling, but the beginning of the Pakatan Harapan campaign to win Kedah state government in 14GE

DAP State Chairman and Assemblyman for Derga, Sdr. Tan Kok Yew just now regaled us about the three historic milestones of Baling, viz:

*the 1956 Baling Peace talks featuring Tunku Abdul Rahman, David Marshall and Chin Peng;

*the 1974 Baling hunger strike by peasants protesting against poverty, featuring Anwar Ibrahim and resulting in his detention under the Internal Security Act;

*the 1985 tragic Memali Incident which left 18 dead.

Let us make 2015 a fourth historic milestone for Baling, for it is in this year that two political parties were formed in Baling – Parti Amanah Negara and DAP.

Even more significant, let the formation of Parti Amanah Negara and DAP in Baling in 2015, together with the establishment of Pakatan Harapan, mark the beginning of the Pakatan Harapan campaign to win the Kedah state government in the 14th General Election which must be be held within 30 months in 2018. Read the rest of this entry »

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Johor will head the list of states Pakatan Harapan aims to win and form State Government in the 14GE on the way to Putrajaya

The launching of Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) in Gelang Patah parliamentary constituency a week after AMANAH’s official launch in Johor is a sign of AMANAH’s thrust and momentum in preparation for the next general elections which must be held in less than 30 months.

In the 14th General Election, Johor will the front-line state and Johor will head the list of states Pakatan Harapan aims to win and form the State Government on the way to Federal power in Putrajaya.

Until the 2008 General Election, Johor was the impregnable and invincible state of Umno/BN, so much so that UMNO/BN leaders boasted about making Johore a zero-Opposition state in the 12th GE in 2008.

However, the political landscape in Johor underwent a drastic and fundamental change in the 12th and 13th General Elections, and Johor politics will never be the same again as compared to the first five decades after Merdeka in 1957.

In the 13th GE in 2013, Pakatan Rakat comprising DAP, PKR and PAS achieved the “Great Leap” forward in Johor with PR representation in the Johor State Assembly tripled from six to 18 seats, one seat short of denying the BN its two-thirds majority in the Johor State Assembly.

If there was a fair and democratic “one man, one vote” delineation of constituencies, PR should have won another eight seats, i.e.26 out of a total of 56 State Assembly seat in Johore as PR secured 46% per cent of the total votes cast for the Johore State Assembly seats.

The Opposition parties are not asking for another trebling of State Assembly seats in the 14th GE, but only to double our seats from 18 to 36 seats, which will see the formation of a Pakatan Harapan state government in Johor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celebrating democracy

Nov 14th 2015

– Politics in Myanmar YANGON

THE excitement was palpable. In the pre-dawn dark of November 8th, 30 minutes before voting in Myanmar’s general election began, the queue at a polling station in Yangon, the country’s biggest city, stretched for several blocks. In midmorning a line of voters trailing through a monastery’s leafy grounds suddenly shifted to allow a frail elderly woman, carried up a flight of stairs by two young men, to cast her ballot. Through blazing midday sun and afternoon rainstorms, Myanmar’s citizens turned out to vote in their country’s first competitive general election since 1990—most of them, it appeared, to deliver a blow to the army, which has controlled the country for half a century.

Full results are not yet in, but as The Economist went to press, the National League for Democracy (NLD), an opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, a longtime democracy activist, had won 291 parliamentary seats, compared with just 33 taken by the incumbent Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and 35 by assorted ethnic parties and independent candidates. Miss Suu Kyi believes the NLD is on track to win at least 75% of the seats contested—enough to give it a majority, despite the constitution’s provision that one-quarter of the seats must be reserved for the army. Read the rest of this entry »

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Five things I will do on RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals if I am Chairman of Public Accounts Committee

These are the five things I will do on the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals if I am Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee:

Firstly, I would have summoned the former Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail as a star witness of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigations, in particular to testify whether there was a draft corruption charge sheet against the Prime Minister, Datuk Sri Najib Razak related to 1MDB and whether this was the real reason why Gani had been summarily sacked as Attorney-General although he was three months short of compulsory retirement?

Gani’s presence and testimony is all the more urgent as a result of two recent developments: the statement by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Oct. 22 that it had never denied the authenticity of a draft charge sheet against the Prime Minister and Gani’s first public appearance at the Bar Council forum on Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) on 3rd November rubbishing the government claim that Gani was removed for “health” reasons as Gani had showed up at the public forum not in a wheelchair or as an invalid but looking very “hale, hearty and healthy”! Read the rest of this entry »

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