A change is gonna come

by Praba Ganesan
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 29, 2011

DEC 29 — An important time is arriving in Malaysia, and it does not matter if you are for it or not; that’s not material anymore. The growing fear is that the nation is about to enter this phase without a seat belt.

History students in the distant future will love 2011. When in doubt in a class history quiz, 2011 is, as they say in basketball, a high percentage shot (or guess in that situation). The world has plenty of discussion points from this year, with the death of Kim Jung-il tipping the year to epic proportion.

However for Malaysians, despite its share of watershed moments this year, 2012 will be the one that is monumental.

Two inevitable events in 2012 will dictate life in Malaysia for some time.

A general election and a court verdict.

He will go to jail

With his declaration from the defendant’s dock of his innocence and that Sodomy II is an elaborate political attack, Anwar Ibrahim has announced his disbelief in the country’s justice system under Barisan Nasional.

Legal minds are divided on the strategy, but still it did more than suggest that the leader of the opposition is readying himself for what seems like a predictable verdict. Few of those legal minds, outside the employ of the Malaysian government, disagree with Anwar.

On January 9 when the verdict comes out, there will be a reaction. Not rage, but a quiet shrug of the shoulder by millions of Malaysians. This disgust may translate to votes in the coming general election.

The column is mindful that there will be many other developments between that January week and the general election, but none will capture the collective imagination of Malaysians as much as this. The spectre of a grandfather going to jail six months after Prime Minister Najib Razak promising to reform the country’s arcane and oppressive laws removes any semblance of reform from the present administration.

The administration’s fear of a free Anwar in an election year may be its undoing.

General election

This column made the prognosis last year that there will be no general election this year. It has been vindicated on that score.

Six months ago it would be outright optimism bordering on blind faith to expect Pakatan Rakyat to exceed its Election 2008 results.

Today, there is talk in saner political corners of a possible election upset.

Najib has a large party, but most are in for what Umno can give them and are led by very few charismatic leaders. It is a party of money, not a party of ideas.

It can only rely on the following: a good economy, the buzz of 1 Malaysia, mainstream media and its election machinery.

The economy is strong, and the planned handouts leading to the election will affect votes. Still, decades of poor wealth distribution are starting to bite all over, the emerging scandals are only confirming allegations of an elitist system run to please one class, not any race, religion or state.

Mainstream media has been less dismissive of Pakatan Rakyat, even if they’d rather have dead air than say salutary things about the coalition. Some of the commentaries have given way to doubt.

The buzz of 1 Malaysia is the random factor. No poll can gauge it. Only a fair election will. It is conceivable that this administration is leaking support.

The BN machine is a money machine. It is less incisive in a general election than in a by-election. It is about pump-priming activities based on money. The question remains, how many Malaysians are keen on appearing to openly support the BN in the coming election, even if the money is good?

There is an air of change in the country, and an Anwar conviction will electrify the country more and convince them that if they let this moment slip, then a reversal will occur.

The electoral maths then…

The dwindled support for BN’s Chinese parties will start to tell. The Indian votes are divided at best, not in Najib’s bag necessarily. It is curious to note that Najib, not the MIC, holds sway with the community.

It is the young vote which will determine the result. Anwar does not poll that well with women, but that does not discount Pakatan’s overall appeal to women.

Penang is destined to stay with Pakatan. The parliamentary seats will be status quo.

Kedah will copy Penang, and Perlis is on a knife edge.

Pundits will not be surprised if the northwest turns into a Pakatan surge.

Kelantan is a safe seat, and the vagaries of Terengganu Umno politics does leave more questions than answers. Umno may keep the state, but only a two-seat majority in the parliamentary count.

Pahang will be Peninsular Malaysia’s battleground. There were urban wins for Pakatan, but it is the reach to Felda areas that will be telling. Umno to keep Pahang, but to lose more ground.

Perak and Selangor will go Pakatan, the first is a bigger call but a call has to be made.

With the expectation of a slim Pakatan win in Negri Sembilan, that leaves Malacca and Johor as solid Umno states.

All eyes will turn to Borneo. It is a mighty ask to expect a lion’s share of the parliamentary seats there, but Pakatan might broach the 20-seat mark, though it might end up being 15. That would reduce BN’s majority from Borneo (31 seats in Sarawak, 25 in Sabah) from 54 in 2008 to a manageable 26.

A national electoral win is possible, even if quite challenging, if the above inroad is achieved in Borneo.

Unlike Pakatan’s leadership conviction that the right candidates will win Putrajaya, this column is ready to call that it will be the national mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of Malaysians wanting a new Malaysia which will secure the change.

Side shows without Bob

Klang Valley residents will be in a “reign of fire” as MRT work goes warp speed in 2012. Prasarana’s failure to announce any adjustments, reroutes and realignments in bus transportation, and Selangor and KL traffic cops’ attitude of responding as necessary, together spells disaster.

There is no temporary transportation plan as the valley goes into construction mode.

Lynas starting Gebeng operation. The prime minister’s home state, Pahang, is fairly lackadaisical about the rare earth refinery, but Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh is thriving in the situation. Najib can only lose if things persist at the present rate.

Porn in the mail then. The election year will bring with it pornography. Since in Malaysia, there is no sex education in public schools, let alone educational videos, a nation has to rely on politicians to sate any need for graphical images. Trust more videos to emerge to tarnish the usual and not usual suspects.

Living with less. Not sexy, but quite pressing, the rising cost of living with no economic policy to stem it will bite more than the analysts in government think. Probably because over time it seems, they’ve actually started to believe their own spiel.

Brave new world

At the end of 2012, a different Malaysia might stand.

As tyrants around the world fall, die or assume a cheerful personality to the Western democracies they used to openly loathe, Malaysia will become a standout case if it remains in this political rut.

Even opposition politicians are puzzled by this column’s prediction, saying they don’t think they are worthy of the adulation.

Actually, the adulation is for the people of Malaysia long denied a government worthy of their aspiration and hope.

Time, technology, history and opportunity are actively conspiring to give, not to politicians but a larger Malaysian population, real voice for the first time.

It’s time they took it.

  1. #1 by Winston on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 8:13 pm

    Everything is possible.
    If Myanmar has changed drastically!
    So much so, that the US has sent its Secretary of State for a visit.
    And what Hillary found was encouraging, to say the least!
    In fact what’s happening there is completely unfathomable!!

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 8:40 pm

    Come GE13 the rakyat will witness one of the dirtiest GEs in the nation’s history. The will be plenty of vote-buying, vote-rigging, “money politics” and misuse of government properties (vehicles, planes, etc) for party purposes.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 8:43 pm


    “The will be” should be “THERE will be”.

  4. #4 by Loh on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 8:49 pm

    UMNO accepts election results because it still holds on to power. It has a record of causing riots when it lose 2/3 majority. Would UMNO respect the election results, especially now the president is the son of the president who seized power in 1969, when UMNO is relegated to the opposition? Is that why UMNO nurtures Perkasa and Perkida and other extremist organization?

  5. #5 by the reds on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 9:42 pm

    I look forward for the GE13 in 2012!

  6. #6 by monsterball on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 11:40 pm

    Everyone is looking forward to the 13th GE.
    Happy New Year to all and especially to kit and his family.
    I am sure 2012 will be a year most important to Lim Kit Siang’s political life…presuming 13th GE will be on in year 2012.
    LKS deserves all the good news he worked so hard for decades.
    No one is a better Freedom Fighter than him…fearless and truly live Malaysians ad Malaysia.

  7. #7 by bumiborn on Thursday, 29 December 2011 - 11:45 pm

    What has to come has to come.

  8. #8 by drngsc on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 12:42 am

    We all want change. We all remember GE 12, and is optimistic for GE 13. But, we must NOT be complacent. This is NOT the time for overconfidence.
    There is much work to be done, pre GE13, during GE 13, immediate post GE 13, and post GE 13. Change will not come easy. BN is not going to give you GE 13 on a plate. Keep working, keep walking, keep up the discipline, spirit and morale.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is our best chance. Failure is not an option. We must all work very very hard.

  9. #9 by Loh on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 12:56 am

    ///If Ramasamy is not in DAP’s line-up for GE13, other DAP candidates, including Karpal, are likely to lose substantial Indian votes and may end up as losers in GE13. It is therefore in the interest of both Karpal and Ramasamy, and certainly in the interest of DAP and Pakatan Rakyat, that these two politicians set aside their differences and cooperate for a strong DAP and Pakatan Rakyat win. ///–Ken

    Granted that Indians would vote for Ramasamy wherever he stands, but to claim that just because Ramasamy cannot make it a candidate of DAP would cause DAP to lose election would be the same as saying that DAP would lose the election if Ramasamy left DAP. Thus Ramasamy is indispensable to DAP winning; and it follows that whoever is in conflict with Ramasamy should leave DAP for DAP’s sake!

    I don’t buy the argument.

  10. #10 by monsterball on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 4:10 am

    Why is a political party like UMNO b who has governed for more than 54 years not behaving like a political party to accept a clear message from Malaysia….wanting a change of government like true gentlemen?
    It is because they have so many things to hide….and all secret documents no more secret to Malaysians when all secrets are exposed.
    It is because…all will be revealed that all so call rumors of stealing…killing..are all true.
    And that will mean many will not only lost an election and accept the outcome and respect the voters wishes…but jail sentence or hanging will be the outcome of loosing.
    From the horse mouth..Najib said he will defend with his life to stay in power.
    So did Mubarak of Egypt said that too…and yesterday was the beginning of his court case..for corruptions and murder.

  11. #11 by k1980 on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 8:10 am


    Is the above incident heralding the arrival of imalaysia?

  12. #12 by Bigjoe on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 8:59 am

    All UMNO/BN is doing is trying to kick their eventual demise down the road. But because of their overwhelming advantage, its possible for them to kick it pretty far down.

    The one favour Najib has done for Malaysian is expose UMNO/BN fundamental structural failure in measurable terms. The truth is Najib spend a great deal of time and effort to raise performance of UMNO/BN what with KPI, ETP and hiring of PR firms and consultants. The idea being that if he could just create enough wealth for a while longer than he can bring marginal reforms to UMNO/BN WITHOUT fundamental reforms. In other words, the idea was to execute better but not really changing their model of business.

    In theory, if you believe the less critical of UMNO/BN, Najib plan should work. BUT the lessor critics and proponents including Najib himself made the assumption without knowing the full extent of UMNO/BN structural failures i.e., they don’t really know the extent of corruption within their party. Only Mahathir postulated that corruption is total in UMNO/BN – there are no more real believer anymore. The closer truth is that those more liberal got it right – the remaining uncorrupted are a very small minority. The vast majority are corrupted.

    Because the vast majority are corrupted, its impossible to fundamentally change UMNO/BN. Najib’s plan NEVER had a chance to succeed. He did not understand it because he fundamentally is non-technical. Those in UMNO/BN still with sound decency and relatively uncorrupted are also non-technical and misguided.

    So change is inevitable, its a question of how long we let UMNO/BN keep kicking the problem down the road – problems we have to clean up sooner or later.

  13. #13 by dagen on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 9:20 am

    Change is coming? But didnt one professor in (i think it is) IIU predict that jib will win big in GE13? So what is going on?

    Of course change will come and the prof will be proven wrong. Tht is for sure and umno will be caught with its pants down because up until now umno still could not read the writings on all available walls – from the worsening economy to totally displeased undergrads and suppressed public assemblies, astronomical corruption, unsolved murders committed by some umno people, land grabs, etc etc. The list is simply too long. Suffice it to note that even orangutans are not spared by umno. The currency crisis struck HK and S’pore in 1998. The subprime crisis too struck HK and S’pore in 2008. These two places were affected severely and how come I dont see any abandoned projects (like plaza rakyat and at least a dozen others in KL alone) there in HK and S’pore? Even these abandoned projects stand as writings on the wall which umno is completely oblivious. These projects actually serve as a constant reminder to the people of umno’s corrupt and wasterful and abusive and excess ways.

    Umno ignored all of these and decided that the entire opposition movement in the country is only about saving anwar. Holy cow! But that is good news for us for umno is firing at the wrong target.

    So yeah change will come. That is for sure!


  14. #14 by boh-liao on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 9:21 am

    Cockadoodle doooooooo! DON’T count ur chickens too early
    Remember 2 ask: Y did d chicken cross d road?
    UmnoB/BN’s trump card: POSTAL VOTES dat can go who knows where
    Do RELA kaki cast postal votes too? Lots of RELA kaki these days

  15. #15 by dagen on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 9:24 am

    /// Orangutans ‘could video chat’ between zoos via iPads. /// read on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16354093

    So beware people. If umno remained in power for another term then even orangutans could catch up with us.

  16. #16 by Jong on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 9:44 am

    Change will come no doubt but, how much?
    First Pakatan Rakyat coalition must look inside, at themselves and embrace that ‘inclusiveness’ for success depends on their sincerity, maturity and some commonsense.

    Hussein Hamid of ‘Steadyaku47’ has this plea and asks “cakap cakap: what now PR” ?

  17. #17 by Jong on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 9:45 am

  18. #18 by Comrade on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 10:12 am

    A change is gonna come
    UmnoB/BN will be overcome
    If election is free, clean and fair
    The truth known to people everywhere

  19. #19 by Godfather on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 10:50 am

    Change has to come at the next GE, or it will be too late. The world is heading towards a recession, but thieves don’t stop stealing just because of a recession. They accelerate the stealing as the spoils become smaller and smaller.

  20. #20 by monsterball on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 2:16 pm

    Change to come …to chain chain chain the robbers and thieves…sweeping drains…longkangs…fill up pot holes.
    The nightmare for Najib is getting nearer and nearer to reality.
    Sons and daughters want change.
    Parents to follow or children will abandon them.
    Youth rules…not old folks.

  21. #21 by boh-liao on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 3:02 pm

    CHANGE coming!? Sure aaah? Q is WHAT KIND of change is gonna COME?
    MCA boasted Chinese gonna embrace MCA again, Gerakan trumpeted more supporters now, MIC gloated d return of Indians 2 their bosom, n of cos UmnoB/Perkosa jubilated d undying support of Malays, as always
    So, PR, where r your VOTES coming from? Phantom/dead voters?

  22. #22 by boh-liao on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 3:18 pm

    Ho, ho, ho, at least 1 CHANGE evident: SMK CBN got a new new Principal, Mystrical R F, after a chain of mysterious events

    Q: Will voters BOTHER 2 VOTE in 2012?
    Consider dat 21 Dec 2012 is d END of d WORLD, according 2 d Mayan calendars

  23. #23 by boh-liao on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 4:04 pm

    Mari, mari, ang pau kasi! Lots of ppl rushing 2 join MCA 2 qualify 4 马华感恩红包
    Dis is 1 CHANGE happening – so syiok 1, in M’sia, ang pau dropping fr d sky; lots of nonChinese also WANT 2 join MCA what, can aah?

    Meanwhile, dat dr HasA is KICKING UP a ruckus 2 CHANGE PAS n PR
    D question is WHO IS d big fat LIAR?

  24. #24 by hedgehog on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 4:51 pm

    Read this as this is a good article on what’s to come and why.


  25. #25 by monsterball on Friday, 30 December 2011 - 6:19 pm

    Change will come.
    Crooks putting on brave front and final show.
    What do you expect the to do….cry like babies?
    It’s like all robbers and thieves…fighting to the last..never admit stealing…hoping their lawyers can save them.
    But now…People Power is fighting the crooks..not PR politicians only.
    The power of voters will make crooks shiver..regardless how much they can bribe anyone to save them.

  26. #26 by raven77 on Sunday, 1 January 2012 - 11:43 pm

    Tough Year …..this the year Malaysians either stand up for their country or loose it forever…

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