Najib, you are wrong

by Richard Teo

Yes the tide is turning in Kelantan but certainly not in favour of BN but for PAS. As a kelantanese I can safely tell Najib the true current political situation in Kelantan. How could Zubaidah Abu Bakar speculate in the 6th Jan.2008 NST that “there are many in Kelantan who want to see a change of government”?

This is farthest from the truth. The Malay psyche in Kelantan is vastly different from the psyche of Malays from the other states. The Malays in Kelantan are astute when it comes to politics. That explains why it is the only Malay state where the opposition party other than UMNO has ruled for a substantial period since Merdeka.

During BN’s tenure, pork sellers in the Chinese market were harrassed daily. They were confined to a small inconspicous space where pork could be sold hidden from public view. There was conditional and restricted time when pork could be sold. When PAS took over the government in 1990, they improved the Chinese market and pork was sold without any restrictions. In
short they were not harrassed.

Again, during BN’s tenure, Chinese could not buy houses built on Malay reservation land. Since most of the land come under the purview of Malay reservation, most Kelantanese Chinese could not own a home. But all these changed when PAS came to power.

Under the able DUN of Kota Bharu, Dato Annuar Tan, 30% of houses built on Malay reservation land were allocated for sale to the Kelantan Chinese.

Any doubts where the Chinese loyalty lies can easily be dispelled by visiting the Chinese enclave in Jalan Kebun Sultan. Ask any Chinese business community there and they will brazenly tell you that they will vote for PAS. Yes the Chinese votes in Kelantan are solidly behind PAS.

It is also a fact that the Chinese miniority’s vote in Kelantan are insignificant and confined to only few seats where their votes are crucial for victory or loss. But in a state where a lot of seats are won and lost by a handful of votes this becomes immensely important where in the final analysis the fate of the government could merely depend on the margin of one or two seats.

The Malays in Kelantan were generous in giving Pak Lah a resounding victory in 2004. But this was partly due to PAS over-zealous Islamic reforms which persuaded the Malays to vote for Pak Lah’s Islam Hadhari. Further they were captivated by Pak Lah’s assurance of tackling corruption which was beginning to be rampant in all branches of the government. But alas, Pak Lah was a disappointment. Instead he took it as an opportunity for his relatives and family to plunder the nation’s wealth by giving contracts to his son and son-in law.

There is a saying among the Malays in Kelantan that UMNO can fool the Malays in the other states with their rhetoric of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ but they cannot fool the Malays in Kelantan. They are aware that BN has introduced many programmes and development projects.

According to Datuk Annuar Musa “RM2 billion worth of projects are flowing into the state”. But the local malays will ask you who are the beneficiaries of these projects? Yes, its the UMNO cronies and the UMNO connected politicians who will secure all the major contracts.

Of late, the sprinkling of Indians are also behind PAS not due to Hindraf’s effort but because of the awareness that it was under PAS rule that a prominent land in Jalan Hamzah was approved for the Hindus to build a temple when the same approval was rejected by BN four times before.

Because of centuries of close proximity of Kelantan to Thailand and the close rapport between the Chinese and the Kelantanese Malays, the local Malays are not only intelligent and well-versed in commerce but they are very conversant with local and federal politics. This perhaps explain why UMNO with their brand of politics can never fool the Kelantan Malays.

In the coming general election BN will not only lose in Kelantan it will lose as badly as in 1990. This is not only a fact, it is a promise.

  1. #1 by ktteokt on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 6:53 am

    I think BN should learn from PAS in cultivating its political ethics to become a “more tolerant” government. Pulling out krises and proclaiming “Ketuanan Melayu” are simply open threats to the other races who are rakyat at par.

  2. #2 by lakshy on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 7:20 am

    I hope Trengganu also falls back into PAS’ hands in the coming elections!

  3. #3 by lakshy on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 7:22 am

    If Kelantan, Trengganu, Penang, and Sabah can be won by the opposition, it should be the worst showing by bn yet! And they will still not get the message.

    They will beat their chests and claim that they ahve been voted back into power. And the rape will continue!

  4. #4 by Count Dracula on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 7:39 am

    “This is not only a fact, it is a promise.” Richard Teo

    How could something be a promise when it is a fact?? How could something be a fact if it is a promise?

  5. #5 by dawsheng on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 8:04 am

    “How could something be a promise when it is a fact?? How could something be a fact if it is a promise?”

    Is that why it is called twist and turn?

  6. #6 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 8:09 am

    Bravo to our Kelantanese brethren and our Kelantanese Chinese.

    Encore! Encore!

    This time, 2008, give BN a decisive boot and show all the East coast states how it can be done. Shove the whole of BN all the way into the South China Sea.

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 8:09 am

    There is a lot of truth about Kelantan politics here. But to simply say that Pak Lah’s projects even if they benefit the cronies most which is a reality everywhere, has no effect Vs. PAS lack of development is too summary. I would agree that Islam Hadhari has been a dissapointment to Kelantanese but its not a big minus for UMNO.

    The real reason why there is a focus on Kelantan is because UMNO is going to have setbacks in some other states especially in Sabah and Selangor. Badawi’s (really famous SIL’s) strategy going into this election is to get strong Malay votes particularly the right wing. If he does not proof that, he loses standing within UMNO itself and set his BN partners questioning him strategically. The fact of the matter is going into this election, so long as Kelantan and Terengganu can be won big, nothing else really matter even if they lose Sabah which is may still not happen.

    I believe Kelantan is still for PAS to lose if their internal issues get in the way (issue of succession in particular). If that is not an issue, UMNO will not win big for sure. On the other hand Terengganu may see strong gains as BN has spent a lot of money there although it won’t be complete route.

    So in the end, PM strategy of concentrating on the right-wing vote is not going to work well. Expect a lot of post-election spinning to appear otherwise to mitigate loses with non-bumis. I won’t be surprise if Samy Vellu comes out looking pretty good with all the mess around post election. They will say, inspite of Hindraf, Samy Vellu still did OK even if he gets 40% of the Indian vote vs. traditionally 80%.

  8. #8 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 8:34 am

    Can Kelantan promise us a piece of land so that all the marginalised Chinese and Indians shall migrate to Kelantan for a better life?

  9. #9 by k1980 on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 9:50 am

    Scomi has repeatedly denied allegations of nepotism and insists that the contracts were awarded in open tender. Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister, has charged publicly that Scomi has received RM1 billion worth of government contracts since Abdullah Badawi became prime minister.

  10. #10 by grace on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 9:55 am

    Let us hope that Chinese in Penang can be as clever as Malays in Kelantan. The Malys in Kelantan are not easily fooled by BN promises which are empty.
    But on the other hand the chinese in Penang are easily hoodwinked by promises of a new market or roads. Yes, the Chinese votes in Penang are dirt cheap. Well done, Keantanese Chinese and Malays!

  11. #11 by lakshy on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 11:12 am

    Grace, well said. It should be noted that the Indian votes are a small factor in the overall picture. The chinese votes can and do play a major role in many areas. So if the chinese do decide to give bn the boot, there are many areas which could fall.

    Another thing that is always done is to vote bn for state while voting for opposition for parliamentary seats. This has to change too! It’s only by giving the opposition states like Perak , Melaka and Penang to run, that the opposition can be given a chance to prove their administration/leadership capabilities. Ok, yes, its also the to give them the necessary experience so that we can in future vote for them to run the nation too! If not now, when will they ever be given a chance? It’s for the rakyat’s good to have a credible alternative government that can be voted into power. That will be the needed check and balance that we all crave for. Thats when the rakyat become powerful again. If not now, then when?

    Sure, there will be shortfalls and shortcomings, but nothing can be worse than the way bn is mis-managing this nation now.

  12. #12 by k1980 on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 11:36 am

    Keep this in mind when casting your precious vote:–
    Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.

  13. #13 by cheng on soo on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 12:10 pm

    fence sitter voters, be they chinese or indian or malay, can only say vote for PAS is definitely better than vote for BN,
    Go to Kelantan n see for yrself, who is more tolerant, PAS or UMNO on other religion or culture or customs. PAS is surely the more tolerant one!

  14. #14 by budak on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 1:30 pm

    yes, PAS is much better than UMNO…
    so far no PAS leader found long handed…
    but UMNO + MCA + MIC + DLL, rob Malaysia under the sun…

  15. #15 by sotong on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 2:45 pm

    Narrow and short sighted politics of religion is damaging enough.

    Race is not an issue in Islam.

    BN mix of politics race and religion is most divisive and damaging to a multi racial and religious country, let alone the rampant corruption, widening gap between rich and poor, gross excesses and abuses, GLCs losses and etc.

  16. #16 by hiro on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 2:47 pm

    No doubt, there’s going to be a tough contest in Kelantan, but don’t let this force PAS to adopt a hollier-than-thou and exclusive Islamic approach to secure electoral wins.

    The article points to some good things that PAS did, but certainly, PAS has to do more to convince non-Malay-Muslims that it is becoming a more open, progressive party and far-seeing party.

    Malaysia should be a place for all to live in. It should be a land where every sort of character (bar the corrupt) happily lives in, be it someone who wants to stay living an idyllic lifestyle, or those who want to climb the global corporate ladder. A good political party must be one that is able to cater for all.

    It would be interesting to see how PAS scores against DAP or Keadilan in terms of its economic, energy, human resource or democratisation agenda. Or if it thinks that the other opposition parties are having good ideas, please say so too so that the rakyat knows where you stand.

    Given the political reality of this country and the good grass roots support that PAS enjoys in certain states, only PAS can lead the alternative government (even if Anwar makes PM, PAS will have a big say in the new coalition).

    As such, all said and done, it all boils down to what PAS is willing to compromise in order to turn itself into an effective, widely acceptable national party.

  17. #17 by grace on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 2:54 pm

    My Chinese friends living in Kelantan have no complains against PAS. PAS are more tolerant to their places of worship and more accomodating than UMNO. Maybe it is due to Nik Aziz who is an exemplary Muslim. I wonder the one who succeed him will be as good as he.
    But those in Penang should not vote the way as described by lakshy: State for BN and Parliament for opposition DAP.
    This is the very reson, I say that Chinese in Penang are balless! They still want to cling onto a Chinese CM who does not have much power

  18. #18 by xpainxgain on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 4:19 pm

    Yes, i agree with you!! In Alor Setar(under BN), pork sellers were harrassed. Don’t believe ?? please go to Big Market in Jalan Lencong Barat, you can buy many thing except pork.

  19. #19 by disapointed86 on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 5:55 pm

    Now i see what is happening in Kelantan..Kelantan was one of the PAS stronghold for ages..i hope it will goes on till all the Corrupted BN monkeys face exit from the government..TO ALL THE MUSLIM out there…learn from the mistake…Vote for a what happen in KELANTAN…i hope Terrenganu will also follow the footsteps of the people in Kelantan..someday hopefully my hometown Sarawak will be the same..YB Sarawak..almost all of the major city won by DAP(mostly is Chinese area) there any idea to improve and wake up the people in rural area? I dont blame them for voting for BN..they are too NAIVE to make such decision..when election is coming..the BN MP will come up with many projects to help them (only during election).. haiz…this is obvious as we can see the majority won by DAP in the last election is greater and some of the so called “BN STRONGMAN” also fail to retain the seat..i think you know what i’m saying..anyway i hope you guys can come up with ideas to wake up those sleeping rural folks..because i’ve been following ur blog for quite some time..and matter in Sarawak seldom been raised..thank you

  20. #20 by Anok Kelate on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 9:41 pm

    Gomo Kelate Gomo.
    Being a proud non malay Kelantanese and one who ONLY speaks kelantanese wherever i am, i am often told by other non malays around the country that they would like to vote the opposition but in their constituency its always a fight between UMNO and PAS, so they vote those monkeys in umno out of fear that PAS wil turn them into muslims. Please dont do that mistake again. Go ahead and vote PAS. Our Sikh temples have their domes still on them and the most beautiful buddhist temples are right here in Kelantan.
    In KL where i live now im never acknowledge by race but “oghe khito” meaning “our people” even though im non malay.
    Learn from us. To me its the only state in Malaysia thats Truly Merdeka.”Klate medeko hok lain dijajoh UMNO”
    What ever the opposition,give them the vote and kick those BN donkeys out.

  21. #21 by toyolbuster on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 9:42 pm

    Not only BN will lose their pants in Kelantan in the next GE, Trenggannu, Kedah, Sabah and quite likely, Penang, may see a change in their government. I think the new government should reopen Pulau Jerejak in anticipation of the large number of new residents it may receive from among those BN crooks.

  22. #22 by ktteokt on Monday, 7 January 2008 - 10:46 pm

    I thought I heard someone from BN say that they do not need Chinese votes in the coming elections! If that is so, then BN can definitely close shop.

    With the Hindraf incident, BN has lost 10% in Indian votes and losing another 30% in Chinese votes would mean only 60% votes for BN to share with the bumiputras in Sabah and Sarawak, PKR, PAS and other opposition parties. How big a slice of cake can BN expect from this??

  23. #23 by limkamput on Tuesday, 8 January 2008 - 12:08 am

    A well written piece, Richard. So if BN can’t win, may be another alternative is not to hold election. They can do it, can’t they? Have the opposition thought about it?

  24. #24 by KS R on Tuesday, 8 January 2008 - 2:05 am

    Hi Uncle

    Malay, Chinese and Indian should know by now and to support DAP / PKR and PAS they should seriously think of changing the Goverment and bring all BN ruling corruption leaders to be charged and recover all the billions of dollars, if not BANKRUPT AND BANKRUPT and oneday the oil price per litre RM 10.00 dollars and so on Wake up all races

  25. #25 by teluyalam on Thursday, 10 January 2008 - 4:45 pm

    the many issues swept under the carpet not only by current BN leaders but also those in the past, should convince any thinking person that it is time to vote in the opposition. I m waiting for the opposition parties to show more substance. currently i feel that BN is just overwhelming them. issues are not being raised and when done volume is too soft.. no one can hear the issues.

    ethnic cleansing is a reality under the BN. NEP is the weapon. it is time for all GOD’s children to make a stand and a commitment to be fair to all n for all to be equally Malaysian.

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