Did Malaysia take the world for a ride and won the highest-ever 187 votes to be elected non-permanent member of UNSC under false pretences that we are a role model for moderation when moderation is under unprecedented attack?

(Speech on the 2015 Budget debate in Parliament on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014)

First, I want to commend Malaysia for being elected for the third time and with the highest-ever 187 votes to be a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Regrettably however, Malaysia is not living up to the high international standards of moderation which Najib has set for the world despite the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s repeated statement that Malaysia’s election into the UNSC for the third time with such high votes was testimony of world recognition of Malaysia as a role model for other countries in the practice of moderation.

Have we taken the world for a ride and secured such high votes to be elected UNSC non-permanent member under false pretences that Malaysia is the very model of moderation against extremism, when in actual fact, Malaysia as a model of a peaceful, stable and harmonious multi-racial and multi-religious nation has never come under more intense unprecedented attack in the nation’s 57-year history resulting in moderation in retreat?

The volume, frequency and venom of hate speech on race and religion, promoting extremism and religious intolerance in the country in the past four years had outpaced all such hate speech in the country in the previous four decades.

The evidence of such immoderation and the rise of hate speech, extremism and intolerance posing unprecedented threat to moderation have been piling up relentlessly – in fact, in the ten days since Malaysia’s election as UNSC non-permanent member, there have been over a dozen examples of moderation under threat and attack by hate speech, extremism and intolerance. Read the rest of this entry »

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When Malaysians flee to get justice

26 October 2014

In the same week that Malaysia won a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, a Malaysian shockingly fled Malaysia to seek asylum and protection from what he called oppression from authorities and gangsters.

Activist Ali Abd Jalil is the second Malaysian in as many weeks who ran away, citing oppressive laws and lacking faith in the system to protect his rights.

Posting in his Facebook page, Ali said “Now I am in Sweden, looking for asylum… the Malaysian government and sultan treated me like rubbish.

“I have been threatened by gangsters and racist Malay groups in Malaysia. Malaysia is not safe for me, police and gangsters are following me all the time.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Najib so cruel, callous and heartless as to want Anwar to be jailed for 20 years and not released until he is an octogenarian?

I find it shocking, unbelievable and outrageous that the Attorney-General is counter-appealing against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s five-year jail sentence in the Sodomy II case when the Federal Court sits on Tuesday and Wednesday to hear Anwar’s appeal against his Court of Appeal conviction and sentence on March 7.

It has been reported that the prosecution has counter-appealed and wants Anwar to be jailed for more than five years contending that the Court of Appeal’s five-year jail sentence is “manifestly inadequate”, “does not reflect the gravity of the offence” and “fails to serve the ends of justice from the perspective of public interest”.

There are forces among those in power who want to get rid of the Opposition, by “hook or by crook”, but I want to ask the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak whether he is so cruel, callous and heartless as to want Anwar to be jailed for 20 years and not released until he is an octogenarian?

Is this in conformity with Najib’s preaching of wasatiyyah or moderation with its emphasis on the principles of justice, balance and excellence?

Here we see another glaring difference in the political ethos and culture between Malaysia and Indonesia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Challenge to make Sabah a model of corruption-free administration instead of topping the list among the most corrupt administrations in Malaysia

Recently, anti-corruption is in the news.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had finally acted against illegal logging activity in Sarawak, with the arrest of a senior police officer who is head of a police district headquarters in the State and believed to have received RM16,000 in bribes.

MACC has estimated some RM100 million are lost as a result of illegal logging activity in Sarawak, which is a puny figure compared to the tens of billions of ringgit garnered by corruption every year.

Last month, eight customs officers were charged in Kuala Lumpur with 28 separate counts of receiving bribery involving a total sum of RM34,400 at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

These anti-corruption actions made quite a splash in the local media simply because there had been so little real anti-corruption news as distinct from propaganda to report for the past few years, even thought those arrested recently belong to the ‘flies” category in China’s anti-corruption campaign against “tigers and flies”. Read the rest of this entry »

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The day-and-night difference in anti-corruption efforts between Malaysia and Indonesia

The past month has continued to provide mounting evidence of the day-and-night difference in anti-corruption efforts between Malaysia and Indonesia, which should raise the red flag that it is a matter of time before Malaysia will be regarded internationally as lagging behind Indonesia in fighting corruption.

This is best illustrated by the contrasting headlines on anti-corruption in the two countries in the past month.

For instance, one of the most electrifying news on the anti-corruption front in Malaysia was the headline last month: “8 officers face 28 fresh charges in Customs bribery case” but this paled into insignificance when compared with the following headline on the fight against corruption in Indonesia a week earlier: “Ex-leader of Indonesia’s ruling party gets 8 years in jail for corruption, money laundering”

But what gives the feeling of the night-and-day difference in anti-corruption efforts between the two countries are the headlines in Indonesian newspapers on Wednesday like “Jokowi to replace eight prospective ministerial candidates following KPK`s recommendation”, following the KPK (Corruption Eradication Commission)’s recommendation that the eight prospective Cabinet Ministers are “high risk” of being named graft suspects, and those yesterday like “Indonesia president submits new cabinet list” to KPK and “Eight new ministerial candidates still under KPK consideration: Jokowi”.

The gloom felt by Malaysians at the puny anti-corruption efforts are not relieved when they are inundated with disastrous, ambivalent or downright inane news headlines like “Malaysia one of the most corrupt nations, survey shows” (Sept. 27), “No plan to boost law to probe into ‘high-living’ civil servants” (Oct.8) and “Top cop looks to ordinary Malaysians to keep police in check” (Oct. 23). Read the rest of this entry »

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Joko Widodo says the time has come to “work, work and work”

Oct 25th 2014 | JAKARTA

Indonesia’s new president – Taking the reins

EVERYONE loves a politician with a common touch—except that politician’s security detail. After Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, was inaugurated as Indonesia’s seventh president, he and his vice-president, Jusuf Kalla, rode through central Jakarta to the presidential palace in an open horse-drawn carriage, their wives following along behind. Tens of thousands of well-wishers lined the path, banners saluting “the people’s president”. As ever, he reached out to them. Only the security men in black suits failed to look elated.

More hard-bitten observers did not share the crowd’s optimism. They set the simple, almost innocent demeanour of this grass-roots politician against the ruthlessness of the old guard he beat. It is determined to fight hard to preserve its wealth and privilege—and parties sympathetic to his opponent in the presidential election, Prabowo Subianto, control the legislature. Such observers are writing Jokowi off as a decent man but a political naif. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Pendatang’ and other manufactured crises

By Azly Rahman
Oct 24, 2014

Again, this question of migration has bored us to the point of death and dying and Sartrean nausea (see Jean Paul Sartre’s play La Nausee on the meaninglessness of concepts). Aren’t we all here in this land now, whether you like it or not? We just need to be good thinking and moral citizens and uphold the ideals of the constitution and live by the spirit of it. We don’t need to keep on manufacturing crises to sustain conflicts and produce new ones.

Why fight over whose grandpa or grandma was here first? Who knows what these interpretations of the history of migration should mean, but what is clear is one’s legal status and citizenship and what all of us have contributed and will contribute to the betterment of each other if not for this ‘imagined community’ and ‘nation-state’ of Malaysia.

I fear that these arguments about ‘pendatang’ will turn into us calling each other ‘binatang’, ‘menatang’, and ‘menate’ (as in Kelantan dialect). Not good for human progress.

Each citizen, lawful citizen, must be given the equal rights and privileges as Malaysian citizens, whether they have been a citizen yesterday or 10,000 days ago. There should be no discrimination in educational opportunity, welfare services, housing, or anything – these must come with the reward for loyalty. I hope we have read Rousseau’s idea of social contract, or at least understand how airlines give free miles as rewards.

So, let us quit arguing and move on. To those still producing these over-used and abused arguments, as if there are no intelligent things to argue about, I must say this: You are all wrong in framing your argument and asking the right questions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Joko Widodo Sworn In as Indonesia’s President and Faces These 5 Challenges

Hannah Beech
Oct. 19, 2014

The ‘Jokowi Effect’ Could Be the Most Important Thing in Indonesia’s Elections

On Oct. 20, Indonesia inaugurates its first President truly of the people. Joko Widodo, known commonly as Jokowi, is unique in Indonesian presidential history because he comes from neither a politically elite nor a military background. Raised in a riverside slum, Jokowi ran a furniture-exporting business in the heartland city of Solo before he successfully ran for his hometown’s mayor in 2005. Two years ago, he was elected governor of Indonesia’s chaotic capital, Jakarta. Although he prevailed in the July presidential election against old-guard candidate Prabowo Subianto — a former general once married to the daughter of Indonesian dictator Suharto — Jokowi, 53, faces numerous challenges as he helms the world’s third largest democracy: Read the rest of this entry »

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The thinking Malay is dangerous

Mariam Mokhtar| October 24, 2014
Free Malaysia Today

The ulamas, like the political leaders, are obsessed with power and want Muslims to be at their mercy.

The most dangerous threat to the Malaysian government is not an invading army, a contagious disease, or a nuclear threat. It is the thinking Malay.

When young pharmacist Syed Azmi Alhabshi decided to organise the “I Want to Touch a Dog” event at Bandar Utama on October 19, he didn’t expect such a huge response. More than 1,000 people –Muslims and non-Muslims – turned up.

Whilst man and beast were having lots of fun, in other parts of the country temperatures were raised. Syed Azmi was perceived as a threat.

Syed Azmi may have united Malaysians but he was alienating some conservative Muslims in Malaysia. His innocent “dog touching event” is a defining moment in 21st Century Malaysian history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will IGP Khalid now support IPCMC with police given right to appeal against conviction?

Eyebrows of all Malaysians would have been raised when they heard the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar claiming yesterday that the police had never objected to the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), the key recommendation of the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission of Inquiry a decade ago.

Khalid should not think that Malaysians have short memories as to forget that it was the vehement and even ferocious opposition of the police leadership, even at one time threatening a police revolt, together with opportunistic UMNO leaders at the time, who was responsible for the killing of the IPCMC proposal, which speeded up the downfall of the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who could not walk his talk of police reforms.

Khalid now says that the IPCMC proposal treated the police like “second-class citizens” with no avenue for justice, as there was no right to appeal any conviction.
Is Khalid now saying that the police will support the IPCMC proposal if police is given the right to appeal against any conviction?

Malaysians fully agree that the police are entitled to fairness and justice and should have the right of appeal against any conviction under the IPCMC bill.

Is Khalid prepared to take the initiative to propose to the Home Minister, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet that the IPCMC Bill, giving the police the right to appeal against conviction, should be presented to Parliament for passage especially as this is the only way to restore public confidence in the integrity and professionalism of the police and to eradicate police abuses and corruption. Read the rest of this entry »

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Gani Patail fuelling worst crisis of confidence in nation’s history over the role and powers of Attorney-General

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail is fuelling the worst crisis of confidence in the nation’s history over the role and powers of the Attorney-General (AG) as a result of his silence over the escalating controversy over non-prosecution of Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible on the one hand and the sedition blitzkrieg against scores of Malaysians who did not make incendiary statements to create a climate of fear on the other.

This is because the continued absence of satisfactory accountability and acceptable explanation that there have been no arbitrary abuse of the AG’s prosecutorial discretion as highlighted by the decision not to prosecute Ibrahim Ali despite the threat to burn the Malay-language Bible and the mass sedition blitzkrieg have raised serious questions whether the Attorney-General is committed to uphold the Rule of Law and to act as guardian of the public interest.

Gani’s predecessors as Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib from 1980 to 1993 and Tan Sri Mokhtar Abdullah (1994 – 2000) had their controversies when they served under the country’s most controversial Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir but Gani Patail had put both Talib and Mokhtar in the shade both in the volume and gravity of controversies since becoming AG in 2002.

Gani has gained another distinction of having been criticized by his predecessor, as last month Talib excoriated Gani Patail for undertaking to review the sedition cases against Pakatan Rakyat leaders, academicians and social activists like Prof Dr. Azmi Sharom after the charges were framed, as the barrage of sedition charges came across as “persecution” and not “prosecution”. Read the rest of this entry »

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The ‘pendatang’ label and Gerakan’s ‘wayang’

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
23 October 2014

At Gerakan’s recently concluded national conference, the public was treated to a lone voice from the party who stated his view with regard to the birth place of the various racial groups in the country.

According to Johor delegate Tan Lai Soon, the Chinese and Indians were not the only pendatang (immigrants), but the Malays were also not natives of Malaysia as they had emigrated from Indonesia.

Tan said he wanted to explain the position of Malaysians in the country, as the original Bumiputeras were the Orang Asli and natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

“Except for the natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the Orang Asli, everyone else in Malaysia is a pendatang.”

Tan noted that “when Umno members say that the Chinese are pendatang, they obviously forgot that they were also pendatang from Indonesia,” he said.

This view is one which many Malaysians hold – whether in public or privately. But it is one which Umno, Perkasa, BTN and “ketuanan Melayu” supporters do not like to hear about and are trying to suppress as it delegitimises the special privileges that they are addicted to. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anwar rejects exile

By Mariam Mokhtar
Oct 20, 2014

Najib Abdul Razak and Umno Baru were denied an early Deepavali present when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim dismissed all talk of going into exile, in London.

Just imagine the headlines in Utusan Malaysia and TV3 if Anwar had chosen exile: ‘Coward Anwar seeks exile to escape jail’, ‘Exile proves Anwar’s guilt’, ‘Anwar abandons followers, lives in luxury in London’, ‘We told you so; Anwar is scared to face the truth’.

When he was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph, Anwar expressed no plans to form a government in exile, in London, despite unsuccessful attempts by his friends to convince him to stay. He admitted the strain placed on his family. He was sanguine about reform.

He said, “It is very difficult, particularly for my family. But when I started this case for reform in Malaysia I knew it was not going to be easy.”

If Anwar had chosen exile, Najib would have effectively isolated Anwar from his followers. The rakyat would not be spared either. They would be told that throwing their money and weight behind Anwar was wasteful, and their support for the opposition a futile cause.

Najib knows that having Anwar in exile is as good as putting him behind bars; but there are subtle differences. Read the rest of this entry »

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Recent “pendatang” furore not only proof of failure of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy but 57 years of UMNO/BN Malaysian nation-building

The recent “pendatang” furore is not only proof of failure of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia policy, but the 57 years of UMNO/BN Malaysian nation-building.

Apart from Sabah, which is a special case by itself, the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, are local-born and 100% Malaysians – a figure which can be as high as over 95 per cent for Malaysians in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

Whether the ancestors of Malays, Chinese or Indians are immigrants, there can be no cause or justification for any Malaysian to describe another Malaysians from different ethnicity as “pendatang”, especially when the term is loaded in a very derogatory, pejorative and even abusive sense.

This is in fact questioning the citizenship rights of Malaysians, which is entrenched as one of the four “sensitive” rights in the Malaysian Constitution in 197i, whereby it becomes an automatic sedition offence to call for the withdrawal of a Malaysian’s citizenship. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has Malaysia got the most powerful Attorney-General in the Commonwealth who is more powerful than the Prime Minister and Cabinet and is not bound by any principle of accountability to Parliament and the nation for the exercise of his discretionary powers

I refer to yesterday’s Malay Mail Online (MMO) report with the headline: “DAP vows to hound Nancy Shukri over Ibrahim Ali’s Bible-burning threat”.

The MMO headline is wrong and misleading as I had never made any vow, threat or statement to justify the headline “DAP vows to hound Nancy Shukri over Ibrahim Ali’s Bible-burning threat”.

For the record, this was what I said in my statement yesterday:

“It may seem unfair that Nancy had been hounded for over two weeks for her parliamentary answer that Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible, but this national outrage will not cease simply because right-thinking Malaysians cannot accept the two reasons which had been given for the Attorney-General’s decision not to prosecute – that Ibrahim was protecting the sanctity of Islam and Ibrahim’s action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Constitution.

“Ibrahim Ali’s threat to burn the Malay-language Bible and his ability to get away scot-free enjoying immunity from any sanctions of the law will continue to dog Nancy wherever she goes in the country until the Najib government can give a satisfactory and acceptable accounting on the matter.”

It is not that DAP would “hound” Nancy over the issue, but that she would be dogged by the issue wherever she goes in any part of the country, as this would be the question uppermost in the minds of Malaysians, including the media when they meet her, as the gross miscarriage of justice of the non-prosecution of Ibrahim Ali over such provocative and incendiary threat is so palpable that it stands out in direct contrast to the “white terror” regime of sedition blitz launched recently by the government, resulting in the investigation or prosecution of some 40 Pakatan Rakyat leaders, social activists, academicians and members of the press under the Sedition Act and other laws for the most legitimate and inoffensive expression of views. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakatan needs revamp and reboot, not just recommitment

– T K Chua
The Malaysian Insider
22 October 2014

Lim Kit Siang is one politician I admire and respect for a long time. Usually he is realistic and accurate in his assessment of events or happenings in the country and abroad.

However, his recent warning to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) against complacency and his call for the coalition to “regain bearings” and a recommitment to Common Policy Framework and Operational Principle of Consensus may fall short of his usual astute discernment.

I think what happened to PR lately was more than what he described. I think PR needs total revamp and rebooting, not just refocusing or recommitment, if the coalition ever harbours the hope of governing Malaysia someday.

The dichotomy within PR is just too wide and too irreconcilable. The Common Policy Framework is just a Panadol, not a cure. It states what the coalition partners agree, but it ignores and denies what they disagree. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nancy is forgetful and confused

– Ravinder Singh
The Malaysian Insider
21 October 2014

In one breath Nancy said that her parliamentary reply “would have been similar, if the threat was to burn the Quran”.

In the very next breath she said “But I had to answer based on what was done, what was carried out. Based on their analysis, there wasn’t enough evidence (to charge), that is their answer,”

So, can Nancy clarify: if the answer she gave was “their answer”, how could she assure the public that “if the threat was to burn the Quran”, “their answer” would be the same, for she would only be reading “their answer” again. No?

She is all confused. While saying that the answer she gave was “their reply”, she is at the same time asserting that it was her reply. For only if it were her own reply, could she give an assurance that she would give the same reply if the threat was to burn the Quran.

If somebody takes her courageous words to heart and threatens to burn the Quran, can she guarantee that her reply would be the same? How would that be since the reply would be prepared by the A-G Chambers, or would she do a ‘copy and paste’ job and would the A-G let her do so? He might charge her for plagiarism. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let all Malaysians be inspired by the Deepavali message of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair

Happy Deepavali to Malaysian Indians in particular and Malaysians in general.

The Deepavali Festival of Lights celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.

Let all Malaysians be inspired by the Deepavali message to build a free, just, democratic, prosperous and competitive multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation which is a model of unity, harmony, moderation and tolerance to the world – instead of being a troubled and divided country.

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Nancy is right that Cabinet cannot decide prosecutions for AG but wrong when she implied Cabinet is impotent or must accept an AG guilty of selective or malicious prosecution

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri is right when she said today that the Cabinet could not make decisions on charges against Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali as this would be tantamount to meddling in the prosecutorial discretion of the Attorney-General stipulated in the Constitution.

But Nancy is wrong when she implied that the Cabinet is impotent or must accept an Attorney-General who is guilty of selective or malicious prosecution, like the failure to prosecute Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali despite his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible or the “white terror” regime of sedition blitzkrieg since the beginning of this year to investigate or prosecute some 40 Pakatan Rakyat leaders, social activists, academicians and members of the press under the Sedition Act and other laws for the most legitimate and inoffensive expression of views.

While the Cabinet cannot interfere with the Attorney-General’s prosecutorial discretion under Article 145(3) of the Constitution, Cabinet Ministers, in particular the Prime Minister and the Minister vested with the powers of de facto Law Minister, cannot be indifferent to prevalent public opinion that the Attorney General was responsible for grave miscarriage of justice, whether in the failure to prosecute Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible threatening the very fabric of Malaysia’s multi-racial and multi-religious society or had violated the larger policy objective of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to make Malaysia “the best democracy of the world” with the mass dragnet of sedition investigations and prosecutions.

Or is the Cabinet now claiming that the pledge to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy is the personal and individual promise of the Prime Minister, and that he had no mandate to make it on behalf of the Cabinet or Malaysian Government? Read the rest of this entry »

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Latest poll on rebound of public support for PR in Selangor confirmation that PR can restore political momentum provided it can learn the right lessons from the self-inflicted wounds in the eight-month-long Selangor MB crisis

The latest University Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel) polls on the rebound of public support for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in Selangor is confirmation that Pakatan Rakyat can restore political momentum provided it can learn the right lessons from the self-inflicted wounds in the eight-month-long Selangor Mentri Besar crisis.

The survey was conducted three days after Mohamed Azmin Ali was sworn in as the new Selangor Mentri Besar from Sept. 26 to 28, polling 1,165 respondents in all 22 Parliamentary constituencies in Selangor and covering all races.
It showed that PR’s support in Selangor had rebounded to 43%, after taking a beating five months ago when PR’s support in the state nosedived to 35% in a survey conducted from May 10 to 19 – a 15% fall from 50% recorded in September 2012 in an earlier UMcedel survey.

The rebound in public support for PR in Selangor to 43% would have been even more significant than just jumping eight percentage from 35% as public frustration and disillusionment with PR in Selangor would have plummeted to lower than the 35% registered in May, especially in the months from July to September which saw the greatest heights in public disenchantment with PR in Selangor until the resolution of the crisis.

Indisputably, the rebound in support for PR in Selangor would have gone through double-digit percentage points. Read the rest of this entry »

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