Bagan Pinang by-election – a contest between Malaysia’s political past and the future

There was a collective shaking of heads in the country when it was formally announced that Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election in Negri Sembilan on 11th October 2009.

Both the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir and another Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh had spoken out publicly to warn of the adverse implications and larger repercussions of nominating a person who had been found guilty of money politics by his own political party, but these objections and warnings had been disregarded.

Having lost in all the previous seven by-elections in Peninsular Malaysia after the March 8 general elections last year, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Umno leadership are so desperate for a by-election victory that they are prepared to overlook the larger and adverse implications of Isa’s candidature so long they can be assured not only of a by-election victory in Bagan Pinang but a convincing one.

Isa’s candidature has put paid to Najib’s claims when he became Prime Minister that he will give top priority to eradicate corruption, citing it as one of the six top subjects for his KPI (key performance indicators) focus.

Najib’s credibility as an anti-corruption reformer had already suffered grievous blows with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) bogged down in an open war against Pakatan Rakyat as catspaw of Umno/Barisan Nasional to destabilize and topple Pakatan Rakyat state governments when its first and only task is to declare war on corruption.

The mysterious death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC Headquarters on July 16 stands as an indictment of MACC’s war against Pakatan Rakyat instead of a war against corruption.

Isa’s nomination as Barisan Nasional candidate in Bagan Pinang by-election is a clear affirmation that integrity and good governance do not rate high in the order of priorities of the Najib premiership.

The Bagan Pinang by-election is a contest between the country’s political past and future – between the politics of corruption, injustice and oppression prevalent before March 8, 2008 and the politics of integrity, justice and freedom struggling to be born after the March 8 political tsunami.

Malaysians shook their heads in dismay at Isa’s nomination. Can the voters of Bagan Pinang salvage the situation to make Malaysians nod their heads in relief and appreciation by ensuring the defeat of Isa and the victory of the Pakatan Rakyat candidate, Zulkefy Mohamad Omar in the by-election?

  1. #1 by siamo on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 1:37 pm

    So, it is now clear the BN government recognises that corruption, vote buying is part of their culture and is accepted. Isa, despite all the show (movie) of discipline action, is not deterrent to his nomination. Wow, way to go, PM Najib!

    As Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Wanita chief Alice Lee, tainted politicians should leave quietly. I fully agree, whether it is Chua Soi Lek or Isa or even Nazri for that matter. He was tainted with the issue of taxi licences many years ago and he is still in power. I am guessing that this has become an entrenched BN culture.

  2. #2 by SENGLANG on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 1:46 pm

    The nomination of Isa was no surprise in UMNO politic. In UMNO money is politic and politic is also money. That explain why it seem nothing wrong to nominated a person who has been perceived as CORRUPT and use money in his claim to the political ladder.

    The shouting of change was a mere slogan shouting and it never occur in their mind that what change is all about.

    While ISa may have good chance to win but his nomination has already defected the talk of changed that they all say so desperately.

    In the long term his ISA nomination will done more good than harm to PR.

    I wish ISA well for his service to PR.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 1:48 pm

    They just made the PR campaign easier. There is only one message to keep pounding. The whole world, including all Malays in this country, is looking to Bagan Pinang Malays including the postal voters to decide whether the Malays are a shameless race or they still have some honour left.. A vote for ISA is a vote for shamelessness. Kalau ISA menang, Melayu sudah hilang, bukan Islam lagi, hanya ada Setan di Bagan Pinang…

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 3:33 pm

    As the Chinese saying goes – it is easier to change a green mountain rather than to change the character of a person. This saying rightly applies to the people of UMNO.

  5. #5 by gofortruth on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 3:49 pm

    What UMNO has just done by fielding a convicted corrupted figure to stand for by election confirms the general public perception of UMNO in the affirmative that UMNO is run by nothing more than a bunch of powerful ( loaded with money)WARLORDS!
    Today we see UMNO gave in to a single warlord after being threaten of boycott if they do not field Isa. What will stop the other warlords from demanding “heaven & earth” tomorrow?
    I ask all my Malay friends, do you want a party that only serves the warlords or do you want a party that serves the public????????

  6. #6 by taiking on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 3:56 pm

    Prepare ourselves for a new begining.

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 4:02 pm

    I just realised there will be a bunch of warning about bringing up Isa’s corruption since officially nothing was revealed and he was just expelled… Its all bull of course but its an opportunity to get his side going bonkers – egged them all until they go drunk and it will just get out of control. All PR need is a sacrificial lamb who will go to jail to get these guys drunk on the euphoria…

  8. #8 by digard on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 4:05 pm

    For once, respected Kit Siang, you have lost the picture.
    Of course, “the Umno leadership are so desperate for a by-election victory …” is plain wrong. Remember, only last year Abdullah took the brunt for losing one by-election after the other. Million-Dollar-Question: Who will get the responsibilities shouldered after a loss with Najib as PM? Right. And, has BN won any such election in the last 6 months? No. And who was the election coordinator? Right, Muhyiddin. Sure, he failed. But he won all those elections on a longer time scale, for himself. Najib is a prisoner. He can’t go down to the ground, for fear of being presented with the hantu of some Mongolian translator. His man down there is Muhyiddin. Except, that Muhyiddin has not much of interest in delivering astounding successes for Najib.
    No wonder, Muhyiddin talked up another candidate only last week. Hoping to have PR constructing and inflicting another loss to UMNO (BN). Imagine, a ‘safe seat’ lost under Najib! Don’t you agree that some might have started to ask, ‘what can he actually win, ever?!’ in that case. And Muhyiddin only needs to wait before Najib is dismantled sufficiently to be in dire need of a successor.
    Therefore, “the Umno leadership” excludes Muhyiddin in this case. On the contrary, Muhyiddin couldn’t wait to see UMNO lose yet another time, but this time a safe seat.
    Mahathir, what is his interest in Isa Samad winning? None. If the UMNO candidate lost, he’d be – and we know him all too well – emptying scorns over the perceived loser, Najib. Because his mind is set on his son to take over, yet another case of nepotism. Therefore, Mahathir has zero interest in a win of the UMNO candidate.
    Razaleigh, for once his motivations are not so much different, to desire a loss of the UMNO candidate. It would weaken Najib, and get him a tad closer to where he wants to be: at the top.
    You think Najib is that stupid? He surely isn’t. He knows that he needs to buy time; and he knew he had to bite the bullet. Najib is actually about the only person in the
    UMNO leadership who can’t take any single further loss, moreoverof a safe constituency. Be it Samad or the devil himself, a win of the UMNO candidate is a ‘must’, because a loss is a ‘must be avoided at all cost’.
    So we see yet another tainted candidate. That’s really a shame, I agree. Though it would be wrong to construe an erroneous frame around it. It is clearing land for the successors of the current PM, at least, wannabe successors.

  9. #9 by ringthetill on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 7:03 pm

    Quote: “There’s good guilt and then there’s bad guilt, going by the argument Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein put forward today in defence of Tan Sri Isa Samad’s selection as Umno candidate in the Bagan Pinang by-election.” Unquote.

    Here we go again. Twisted thoughts,faltering morals, no steadfastness in differentiating the rights from the wrongs…

    No wonder our beloved country is in such predicament.

  10. #10 by tanjong8 on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 9:42 pm

    Isa is now the Umno’s candidate.

    So make ISA the issue. I mean Internal Security Act or if you like Isa the man !!! haha

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 - 11:41 pm

    Unfortunately ISA is the saviour of Umno Baru
    He seems to be The One to win the next buy erection for UmnoB
    What can NR, MMK do? Nothing

  12. #12 by Joshua on Thursday, 1 October 2009 - 4:37 am

    Taiking wrote “THE END
    Prepare ourselves for a new begining.”

    Isa or Jesus is the end of the rotten system as exposed and that is good news.

    So we need Isa or Jesus for a new beginning in Malaysia.

    Bagan Pinang is the platform for betel nuts [bn] to Be eNd.

    pw: Ralph grandy

  13. #13 by jamalmalikslumdog on Thursday, 1 October 2009 - 10:24 am

    Digard – you seems to have a broad understanding of the whole situation.

    You were right about Mahathir preparing the ground for his son. His hope is his heart do not give up on him too early.

    Re Tengku Razaleigh, the man positioned himself as a “righteous” person. Unfortunately, all he does is give good speeches. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comforts and convenience, but where he stands at time of challenges and controversies!. The man just hasn’t the balls to move out of the shadows of tainted UMNO.

  14. #14 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 1 October 2009 - 10:39 am

    It is not so much a judgement on Isa the candidate but on the corrupt system that the voters should decide upon.
    Let’s hope that the voters too believe that they need CHANGE to save Malaysia.

  15. #15 by jbozz on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 12:21 pm

    What is more desperate than a dying Adolf Hitler (Dictator – NAZA party)?

    If Adolf Hitler has a 2nd life what he will do is already happening in Malaysia.

  16. #16 by jbozz on Friday, 2 October 2009 - 12:25 pm

    Adolf Hitler lived to proof the impossible and no one against him till his last second.

    Or will Malaysia leader follow the path of Gadafi?

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