Archive for January 31st, 2011

MET sees non-stop rain in Johor this week

By Boo Su-Lyn
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MET) has forecast continuous rain in major towns in Johor throughout the week.

Unrelenting rain in the southern state has forced thousands from their homes, cutting off Segamat and threatening other towns.

“Tomorrow morning, we expect isolated rain over coastal areas,” an official from MET’s Central Forecast Office told The Malaysian Insider today.

“We expect thunderstorms in the afternoon tomorrow throughout Johor,” she added.

Heavy rain is forecast in Segamat today and all of tomorrow, while thunderstorms are expected to occur in the afternoons for the rest of the week, according to the MET website.

Segamat’s first respite from the rain is expected to come only on Saturday afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »


In Tenang, Malay votes won the day for BN

By Shannon Teoh
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — More than half of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 1,200-vote gain over PAS in Tenang was due to increased Malay support in the constituency, DAP statistics have shown.

Malays who had in 2008 voted against Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s stewardship of BN or abstained from the general election, came out to signal its support for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration.

The Malays make up about 49 per cent of the 14,753 voters in Tenang. Chinese account for over 38 per cent and Indians, 12 per cent.

Umno’s Azahar Ibrahim received 83.3 per cent of Malay votes, up four percentage points from Election 2008, said DAP publicity chief Tony Pua on Twitter earlier today.

A Malay turnout of 81 per cent yesterday, up two points from 2008, translated to a 700-vote increase.

BN’s 3,707-vote majority was also due to Chinese voters skipping yesterday’s by-election.

Although Normala Sudirman managed to hold on to PAS’s 64 per cent Chinese support from the 2008 general election, an 18-point fall in turnout resulted in another 300-vote gain for BN’s majority. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muddy waters: Post-Tenang reflections

Bridget Welsh | Jan 31, 11 4:58pm


Malaysia’s 14th by-election since March 2008 scored another victory in the BN column, as they held onto their seat. This was expected, as it was home ground for Umno and the contest was purely about the winning majority.

Even with the lower voter turnout, Umno did well with a comfortable and higher majority of 3,707. Rather than provide a numerical assessment of the voting results, let me share some broader observations and tensions that arise from the Tenang campaign.

Despite the centrality of machinery and money, this election highlights the increasing challenges of engaging the diverse electorate in Malaysia. Arguably, the dynamics of the by-election in Johor muddy the waters, making the decisions about national electoral strategies and tactics even more complex.

Decision to proceed irresponsible

The most defining feature of this election was the weather. It was dreadful, and it negatively affected the polling. Watching voters drench themselves to vote, despite umbrellas, and wade in up to knee-high water to the polling station, made me question whether the by-election was worth the risks involved.

I remain deeply puzzled why this by-election was not postponed. I woke up the morning of the poll thinking that it might already be time for Noah’s Ark as the overnight downpour had already affected roads and submerged parts of the constituency. Read the rest of this entry »


With 10% increase of Chinese voter support for Pas/PR candidate in Tenang, will Chua Soi Lek have the political courage to tell UMNO the truth?

I had said at the close of the Tenang by-election campaign that Pakatan Rakyat would have cause to celebrate if it could achieve three of four aims – firstly, to debunk Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s boast of winning 5,000 majority in Tenang which he had described as a Barisan Nasional “fortress”; secondly, to slash the BN’s 2,492 majority won in the 2008 general election; and thirdly, to secure the votes of more than 55% of the Chinese electorate who voted for the PAS candidate in the 2008 general election.

The fourth aim is to win the Tenang by-election, which I had not considered as likely.

In the event, only two of three aims – debunking Muhyiddin’s boast of 5,000-vote majority and increasing Chinese voter support for the Pas/PR candidate from the previous 55% – were achieved in the by-election yesterday.

I have no doubt that all the three goals would have be achieved if not for the climatic disaster, resulting in incessant rain and heavy flooding aggravated by selective and discriminatory assistance given by various government agencies ferrying only Barisan Nasional voters to the polling stations. All this caused unprecedented low voter turnouts, especially in Chinese and Indian areas.
Read the rest of this entry »


Thousands leave homes as Johor braces for more rain

by Shannon Teoh | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Unrelenting rain in Johor has forced thousands from their homes, cutting off Segamat and threatening other towns, raising fears of a repeat of floods six years which claimed six lives and inflicted more than RM1 billion in economic losses.

Nearly 30,000 people have been evacuated so far, with 16 villages in Segamat inundated by as much as one metre of water. Two deaths have been reported so far.

According to locals in the Segamat area, the situation appears worse than the floods that hit Johor in December 2006 and January 2007.

The Meteorological Department is predicting more rain for the rest of the week.

Motorists had to leave their vehicles as three rivers in Johor burst their banks and five more are being monitored by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage.

Rescue workers are only able to access Segamat by boat as all three main roads out of the town have been closed off by police.
Read the rest of this entry »


Imperative that the public lock horns over ‘Interlok’

By K Pragalath
Introduction by CPI
28 January 2011

The Star today frontpaged ‘Interlok stays’ as its main story and reporting Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as saying the contentious novel is to remain a Form 5 exam text but with amendments to several aspects “deemed sensitive by the Indian community???.

A section of the Indian community suspects that the selection of this more than 40-year-old book – only reprinted as recently as last year – was impelled by an ulterior motive. The novel Interlok not only portrays the Indian community as the ‘pariah’ class that emigrated to the peninsula but has as its running theme a recurrent allusion to the Indian and Chinese races as ‘pendatang’ as well as many negative, racial stereotypes.

Muhyiddin was quoted by The Star (source: Bernama) as saying that his ministry’s decision to retain ‘Interlok’ was made “after taking into consideration the views of all parties, which acknowledged that the book was good in nurturing and strengthening unity among the multi-racial and multi-religious society in Malaysia???.

The Minister’s rationale and claim of “nurturing unity??? fail to withstand scrutiny when there have been nationwide protests against the book, countless police reports as well as threats of civil suits. These very acts in themselves are already indicative of the deep cleavages and ill-will that the book has engendered.

Are we to trust Malay Literature teachers, predominantly belonging to one race, to exercise an adequate wisdom and tact over such an emotion-rousing novel when the racist utterances of the Bukit Selambau (Kedah) and Kulaijaya (Johor) school principals still leave a sour taste in the mouth? Read the rest of this entry »