Barisan National’s early elections plan in disarray

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
27 December 2011


During the last few months, Prime Minister Najib Razak has been pulling out one pre-election carrot after another from his inexhaustible supply of goodies aimed at persuading the electorate to vote BN’s way in the coming general election (GE).

These range from indefinite postponement of the long delayed goods and services tax to financial grants and other handouts to Chinese, Tamil and Islamic religious schools as well as politically strategic groups including Felda settlers, Indian small entrepreneurs, low income communities, and imams and Kafa (religious) teachers.

Najib’s backroom boys must have been supremely confident that this mass saturation of money and handouts – so effective in past elections – would pave the way for a resounding victory as they plotted the timing of the next GE.

Unexpected road blocks

Two recent developments appear to have now derailed the BN’s plans for an early election to take advantage of the ‘feel good’ sentiments generated by the deluge of monetary incentives disbursed under the glare of fawning media coverage.

One is the spreading cloud of corruption and political irresponsibility associated with the National Feedlot Corporation’s (NFC) scandal-ridden project.

This is not only likely to result in Minister Sharizat Jalil’s resignation very soon but is also causing consternation and reverberations among Umno’s grassroots members and supporters in the Malay heartland. The arrogance and contempt displayed by Shahrizat, who received loud applause from Wanita Umno delegates for her bellicose speech, will not be easily forgotten.

If the elections are called during the next several months when the cattle-gate case reaches its expected climax, Malaysians going to the polling booths will not only have indelible ink on their fingers; they will also go in with the overpowering and indelible stench of the NFC fiasco influencing their choice of parties.

The other development is one which the Prime Minister’s think tanks and cronies high up in the civil service must be kicking themselves over. The introduction of a new improved salary scheme for the country’s 1.4 million civil servants was to be the main ‘game changer’ in the 13th GE.

With a majority of the country’s voters coming from civil servant or ex-civil servant households – perhaps 60% or more of the electorate – it is easy to understand why the roll-out of the new scheme was timed to take place just before the election. Its successful implementation would reinforce the BN’s image as a government with the best interests of the civil service constituency at heart.

It is possible that if given the thumbs-up by the majority of civil servants, the new salary scheme could have affected the outcome in many marginal constituencies where the civil service vote is critical to tilt in favour of the BN candidates.

It is no exaggeration to say that civil service voters comprise the kingmakers in the country and that any aspiring government has to pay special attention to courting and winning this massive block of votes.

Devil in the SBPA details

The new public service remuneration scheme (SBPA) is to take effect in January 2012. The Public Services Commission rushed its introduction without providing full details of the SBPA key components and without adequate consultation with stakeholders.

It was not surprising that the civil service trade union Cuepecs initially refused to be bulldozed into accepting what is now clearly emerging as “a half baked cake” with the icing of 7-13 percent salary increases prominently displayed but resting on a soggy base.

Among the scheme’s shortcomings is the lopsided salary increase that favours the top echelon.

One civil servant compared the impact of the new scheme on lower and higher rank staff. According to him:

“I am a civil servant at Grade E48, and reached my ceiling 5 years ago. Under the proposed new scheme (SBPA), I am told I will get 7 % increase. Overall, the quantum of increase is from 7-13 %. Now, the question I want to ask is: why do those in the Jusa [Jawatan Utama Sektor Awam] category get up to 100 % increase? They are already enjoying super-high salaries plus very generous allowances. Under the existing scheme, they are getting no less than RM13,000 (salary + allowances) and the move to increase their basic salary by 100 % (or even more in some of the Jusa grades) will mean their take-home pay + allowances will exceed RM20,000. And most of the time, these super-duper civil servants only act as ‘postmen’ in passing all the hard work and report-writing to their juniors. It is not fair at all. The Jusa people at PSD are rewarding themselves and throwing crumbs to the rest of the lower echelons of the civil service.”

Other concerns relate to the lack of consistency in grade improvement under the new scheme; lack of transparency in promotion exercises; and risks to civil service tenure arising from the implementation of KPIs.

In the latest development, the government has agreed to a two-week postponement in the implementation of the new scheme. Following the prime minister’s intervention, the Public Services Department and Cuepacs met on Dec 23.

Cuepacs president Omar Osman has since gone on record that all outstanding concerns involving SBPA have been resolved.

Earlier, according to Bernama, the Cuepacs president had stated that some civil servants were unhappy with the upgrading and the salary increase because they claimed that the hike was too small. Omar was also reported to have queried: “The grade improvement under the SBPA scheme is not consistent. There are improvements in some grades but not in others. Why is there an increase for some but not for others?”

Further details of how the contentious issues have been resolved are still to be unveiled. It is surprising that the Cuepacs leadership has been able – in the course of a single meeting – to resolve all concerns.

This, however, will not quell the resentment amongst the lower level staff on their small quantum of salary increment and the growing income inequalities between themselves and higher level officers. Such discontent is bound to simmer and may boil over during the coming GE.

Both Cowgate and the salaries issue are likely to send Najib’s political strategists back to the drawing board in terms of picking a date for the polls.

We can expect a barrage of political corrective actions to pacify the electorate, and a delay in the elections. With an increasingly sophisticated electorate that is cynical of political spin and dirty tricks, whether this delay will make any difference to the voting outcome is the burning question.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 2:11 pm

    It is sad that the government has to rely on “money politics” to lure the electorate.

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 2:26 pm

    Not many excited with d new public service remuneration scheme; there r EASIER ways 2 make INSTANT big fat $$$

    An ex-senior vice-president of an Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) subsidiary pleaded guilty today 2 a corruption charge
    He was fined RM20,000, in default two months’ jail, n he apid d fine (kacang only lah)

    A 52-year-old man, married 2 a former IIB official, was charged with receiving RM1.6mil fr a construction company as an inducement 2 get a boarding school project

    Like d COWgate female minister said: “Tell me, which UMNO leader does not have problem?

    LOTS of tainted ppl around, just DON’T get caught or exposed saja

  3. #3 by dagen on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 3:10 pm

    Pre-mature ejaculation.
    Sheeet man.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 4:05 pm

    Every stunts tricks…threats surveyed by their specialists show more and more voters…including thousands UMNO b members.. are sick of his lies and deceits and will vote for PR.
    Declaring the 13th GE date ….is like declaring his own death sentence.
    How to do it?
    So live as long as appointed PM and wish for as miracle.
    Now catching small fishes all over the country…sending a message to the People..he is listening and acting according to our wishes.
    Cowgirl under investigation.
    What more do votes want?
    We want him in jail….and all the billions deposited overseas by Malaysians..freezed….like Philippines doing that to Marcos….and only way…change the government.

  5. #5 by monsterball on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 4:23 pm

    It’s non stop… buying loyalty time.
    It is also performing wayang kulit time.
    It is the same old tricks and tactics…blaming others for what they are.
    It is feeling the heat is too strong…must fan fan to cool off angry Malaysians.
    Sit back and ask yourself…why is Najib delaying the 13th GE?
    Patriots against traitors…like a small boy..playing cops and robbers…insulting millions of Malaysians with his interpretations….then insults Malaysians with his bribes.
    All not working….get angry and threats to arrest Malaysians going against him.
    All not working…how to declare 13th GE?
    His last option is to create fights in the streets..with few deaths…car and house burning..and declare Emergency Rule.
    Najib is not elected by voters.
    He was appointed by his party….thus his power over people…including the majority laws enforcements personals are split to the middle.

  6. #6 by jus legitimum on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 5:31 pm

    The civil servants beside getting payhike,some especially those in the higher echelons may earn as much as 20k a month and even enjoy the opportunity to get sidekicks and receive bribes.Among them,many are just ‘gaji buta’ because they are like ‘postmen’ only need to pass work to their juniors to do while they just sit back and relax.This type of work culture in the civil service is symtomatic of the parasitic and corrupted evil power that has ruined the country for 54 years.

  7. #7 by Loh on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 5:38 pm

    by Loh on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 – 5:55 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    ///(The Malaysian Insider) SHAH ALAM, Dec 27 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin denied today that any community had been bullied as a result of Article 153 of the Constitution as claimed by a senior Christian leader last weekend.
    The deputy prime minister told reporters that the clause, which charges the Agong with protecting the position of Bumiputeras, was “enshrined in the Constitution (because) there is history, there is a rationale”.///

    Muhyiddin now says that there is history and there is a rationale for Article 153 to be included in the constitution. Let us look at the rationale and the history how article 153 was born.

    The rationale was that there were some people who were poor, and so they were placed in the special position to receive special assistance. The position was subject to review after 15 years. It was considered that after 15 years of special assistance, sufficient number of the persons who were placed in the special position would be able uplift the overall position of the community they belong. From thence, the country would be rid of the distinction of people by race.

    Article 153 was amended in 1971 to read as it is read today. The provision for a review after 15 years was removed. Does Muhyiddin accept the history of Article 153 to mean the genesis of article 153, or just the selected interpretation based on the wording as it appears in the constitution, which has been mutilated.

    The government has instituted racial discrimination using part of Article 153, and the government did not observe the requirement that the interests of other races are to be protected. The selected use of the provision of Article 153 is equivalent to misusing Article 153. When Article 153 had been misused to bully other communities, it is thus a correct expression that Article 153 bullies other community, in the hand of the ruling government.

    What Muhyiddin had in mind was that the government did not invoke Article 153 to bully other communities, it used only NEP which is not a law. So the government had the power to do what it pleases, and NEP goes against the constitution of Malaysia. Muhyiddin would also say that NEP had a history and a rationale. The history was Razak, having taken power after May 13 did not want to have a RCI on May 13, decided that it was easy to claim that Malays ran amok out of jealousy. NEP was to ameliorate their anger.

    UMNO leaders is hooked to opium of racism, and they had changed the society to live is distorted logic. Malaysia has no cure if UMNO remains in power.

  8. #8 by Loh on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 5:39 pm

    by Loh on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 – 6:55 am
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    ///Speaking to reporters here, Muhyiddin said: “There is a reason, a rationale, behind the article. There is a history behind it.” He did not elaborate, but referred to the so-called unwritten social contract that Barisan Nasional politicians are fond of citing when confronted with questions about preferential treatment of the Malays.

    He said the Barisan Nasional government had “done much to help everyone” and that this obligation was “sealed in the social contract”.

    “I hope that there will be no debate on this matter as it could incite racial tension. What is already enshrined in the Constitution should not be questioned.”///–
    In a democracy, the parliament has the right to amend laws including the constitution. UMNO-led government amended the constitution 600 times in the past 54 years. Muhyiddin declared that what is in the constitution cannot be questioned. Why then UMNO was allowed not only to question the constitution but to change it 600 times?
    Najib preached in the United Nations General Assembly the virtue of moderation but in his country the people are warned against discussing the laws of the country. Isn’t it a democratic norm to allow the citizens to discuss government policies and the implementation thereof, particularly with regards to their adherence to the constitution of the country? Would Najib tell the world body that in Malaysia, though the ballot boxes decide which party governs but the people are not allowed to discuss what the government policy should be and what the laws in the country should contain.

    How credible could Najib claims that he practices moderation when after 54 years of independence Malaysians cannot freely discuss issues which could affect how the people choose the government. If racial sensitivity is the excuse that some issues are sensitive then clearly Malaysia is not a mature democracy. It also means that sweeping the issue concerning race under the carpet would not desensitize the topic about race. It is worse when the question of how the government implement its policies could incur racial tension. That only proves that the government allows a section of the population to have vested interest in government policies, and that they appear to be above the law by virtue of the fact that they want the government to continue with its actions which are being questioned. That proves that the government practices extremism and worse institutionalized racism.

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 - 5:47 pm

    NOT much TIME left b4 d next GE! UmnoB/BN kaki MUST jiak jiak jiak BIG b4 GE13
    ANY $$ they WILL STEAL! Zakat $, $ 4 hardcore poor, rakyat $ – SEMUA sapu

  10. #10 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 7:52 am

    Najib’s plan is falling apart for sure BUT throughout his career Najib has always been able to cheat and squirm his way through troubles. Now, with the power of the PM office, its even easier for him to do so.

    Its not destroying Najib’s strategic plan PR has to worry about. It was going to happen one way or other. THAT is the easy part. Its the over-whelming advantages of UMNO/BN PR still has to contend with and the depth of depravity they are willing to go. Its not just the gloves are off, its utter mayhem that PR has to take charge of.

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 9:19 am

    UmnoB Malays NO KNOW 孝、悌、忠、信、礼、义、廉、耻, understandable lah
    But 现在的马华领导层,不忠、不义、不信、不德与不仁 (declared by a Pg MCA chief who just left MCA), WOW! Por NO actor has 2 come out with some statements lor

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 9:58 am

    HOW 2 hv an early GE when many UmnoB/BN CORRUPTION cases surfaced lately?

    1 of Moo’s aides was accused of bribery n Moo’s reply: “Anything that is linked to me, or my department, I will look into it
    So GOOD 1, Moo 2 investigate his own aide (who may b acting 4 d boss), got logic aah?
    Does Moo know CAT governance or not huh? He wants 2 b d judge, jury n executioner!

  13. #13 by Loh on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 6:20 pm

    The country has laws to deal with corruptions, and an agency established to investigate corruptions. Corruption is not a family affair where the head of household can forgive wrongdoers. What good is Muhyiddin’s looking into the matter? Would he report to MACC when there was corruption, and why should he be the person vested with the authority to decide? What if he chose to deny when there was genuine wrong doings? MACC clearly would not anything out of either design or fear. Are we to trust Muhyiddin? Who would?

    Muhyiddin said that he would investigate shows that he did not want the case handled by MACC. That hinders the work of the relevant government agencies, and it is preventing rule of law in the country.

  14. #14 by ktteokt on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 6:51 pm

    The recent announcement of the increase in rate of EPF contribution is another indication that the BN government is BROKE! EPF and Petronas are the only two CASH COWS in Malaysia where the BN government can utilize! And this is definitely an indication that GE13 is VERY NEAR!!!!

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