Archive for May 14th, 2013

A Budding Sprightly Spring

by Kee Thuan Chye
Malaysian Digest

THE young are not happy with the result of the 13th general election (GE13) held on May 5. I saw that for myself at the ‘Black 505’ rally in Penang on May 11, at which most of the participants were young people – of all races.

They came by the tens of thousands, carrying Pakatan Rakyat and Malaysian flags, blowing vuvuzuelas … and sporting banners that spoke of the unity they profess: “We are Malaysian – Malay, Chinese, Indian.” For them, the race-based politics of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) is anathema.

In that sense, the ‘Black 505’ rallies, which have since been held in Selangor, Penang and Perak to tremendous responses have become more than just demonstrations of disgust at the alleged electoral fraud of GE13; they are also manifestations of a real sense of unity among like-minded Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »


Rallies replace riots in Malaysia

By Chin Huat Wong
Asia Times

KUALA LUMPUR – On May 13, 1969, the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur was a living hell with vehicles, houses and the national consciousness set ablaze. Clashes between ethnic Malays and Chinese claimed 196 lives according to official police estimates. Independent foreign observers estimated the death toll as ten times higher.

Triggered by the outcome of the 1969 elections, that riot paved way for two years of emergency rule and a fundamental change in politics and society. The then ruling Alliance Party – a coalition of three communal parties representing Malays, Chinese and Indians and their regional allies in Sabah and Sarawak – found itself squeezed by Malay and non-Malay opposition from both flanks. Read the rest of this entry »


Ordinary Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese or Indians, are more Malaysian-minded and patriotic than MCA/UMNO/BN leaders who have been trying to racialise the 13GE results for the past nine days

Ordinary Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese or Indians, have shown that they are more Malaysian-minded and patriotic than MCA/UMNO/BN leaders who have been trying their utmost in the past nine days to racialise the 13th general election results so as to divert attention from the new-found unity among Malaysians, particularly the young generation of Malaysians of all races, for a new Malaysian politics to end racial politics, corruption, cronyism, abuses of power and all forms of exploitation and injustices in the country.

The first and most irresponsible and anti-1Malaysia blow was struck by none other than the advocate of 1Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who kicked off the racialisation of the 13GE results with his shocking but baseless statement that the 13GE results was a “Chinese tsunami” when it was a Malaysian and urban tsunami!

Najib and UMNO leaders found justification in the racialisation of the 13GE results, calling it a “Chinese tsunami”, from the campaign of the MCA President, Datuk Chua Soi Lek, during the entire 13GE period, warning that if MCA candidates are defeated, the country will be landed with a “two-racial rather than a two-party system”.

Chua Soi Lek was clearly looking for an excuse to explain an anticipated dismal MCA electoral performance in the 13GE, claiming that defeated MCA candidates are victims of a Chinese tsunami and uprising of the Chinese versus the Malays, and that under the circumstances he and the MCA leaders cannot be blamed if they do not do well in the 13GE.
Read the rest of this entry »


A new way out of racial politics

Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
May 14, 2013

I wish to echo the honest sentiment of Azmin Hassan, director of the National Unity and Integritation Department, in urging a cessation of racist statements by the media and politicians of ethnic-based parties and NGOs. As an academic, a father of five children and as a member of the rakyat in this beloved country of ours we must seek a surer solution that such racial riots in 1969 shall not repeat in our future.

We, the rakyat, and I, the civil servant, as well as Azmin must intervene amidst such irresponsible statements by our so-called national leaders as well as a once-respected national daily.

My call is slightly different than others in resolving this racial stalemate. I am now a grandfather at the age of 51 and may still harbour a chance of my witnessing my grandson voting in a fair election hopefully by a more professional and multi-racial based Election Commission without leaders that seem to favour one group above another.

What I would like him to do is to choose a party, any party that no longer carries any race-based ideology or for that matter any ‘religious’ ideology, whether Islam, Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism. That is our Malaysian Dream. No more race-based or religious-based political parties.

NGOs who wish to cater to Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayaks, Islam, Christianity and other religions are welcome to participate in the democratic process within the rules of ‘adab’ or courteous discourse, far from the venom of those spouted by one Zulkifli Noordin. Read the rest of this entry »

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Keep Alive The Fight

By Allan CF Goh

We may shed silent tears,
But keep faith through the years.
Let’s keep alive our hope,
With disappointments cope.
Though cheated of our dream,
Let’s not frustration scream.
Let’s keep alive the fight,
Till tyranny takes flight.
Fraud cannot defeat truth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t give up on Chinese voters, Umno told

May 13, 2013

Umno supreme council member Saifuddin Abdullah has warned that his party would be committing political suicide if it chooses to shift further to the right after losing the support of Chinese Malaysians in the May 5 general election.

Saifuddin said Umno should continue its moderate ideology and stay away from extremism and racism.

The former deputy minister said in an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily that there was no sign of Umno moving further towards racial politics after the 13th general election.

However, the final outcome would largely depend on the party leadership election slated for the end of this year.

“The future direction of Umno will rely on the composition of the supreme council after the party election this year,” he is quoted as saying.

Saifuddin, who is seen as a liberal young Umno leader, failed to defend his Temerloh parliamentary constituency against PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan, who is known for his hardline Islamic stance. Read the rest of this entry »


The journey of 900km

— R. Yang
The Malaysian Insider
May 13, 2013

MAY 13 — On the night of May 5, the outcome of the election was somewhat predictable — the slow release of the electoral results coupled with huge contradiction between the official and unofficial results. We were filled with disbelief, disappointment and anger towards to failure of the caretaker government and the affiliated public institutions to ensure a clean and fair election.

On May 6 evening, there was news that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) calling for a mass rally at the Kelana Jaya stadium. Upon arriving back in Singapore on May 7, my friends IV and BF informed me of their intention of participating in what would be a maiden rally for them. With little hesitation, we took the decision to be part of the historical moment in Malaysia. I informed my manager on my decision to take urgent leave and, delightfully, he wished me all the best for the trip.

On May 8 afternoon, BF and I rented a car in Johor Baru and started the journey of 400km at 3pm. In general, everything was smooth. We were stopped by policemen at Seremban who asked us where we were heading to. “Shah Alam,” I said and we were released. Some wrong exits were made but fortunately we managed to pick IV and continued our journey to the stadium.

At 7.30pm traffic was crawling along the North-South Expressway at the Subang exit. It took us more than 45 minutes to travel the final 2km and the cars weren’t moving at all after the toll. It was 8.15pm. Some drivers abandoned their cars and walked. We were lucky to locate a spot to park the car and headed to the stadium. Read the rest of this entry »

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BN’s reduced wins put spotlight on ‘war room’ strategists

By Jahabar Sadiq
The Malaysian Insider
May 14, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Questions are being asked about Barisan Nasional’s (BN) “war room” strategists whose plans with a substantial budget did not appear to stop the ruling coalition from losing more federal and state seats in the May 5 general election.

The BN war room was tasked with selecting the candidates and advising various strategies to win the polls. It counts Rompin MP Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis, PWTC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Alies Anor Abdul, Petronas director Omar Mustapha Ong, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, party information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan and former minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as among its members.

“It was just a crapshoot. Their ideas didn’t work and their white list predictions were wrong,” a senior Umno divisional leader told The Malaysian Insider on condition of anonymity.

The war room had stuck to its prediction of BN winning between 145 and 150 federal seats and also getting back Selangor in Election 2013 although some senior BN leaders were privately doubtful of the figures.

And by noon on Polling Day, the war room had issued its “white list” of 118 federal seats it was sure to win, but some like Pasir Mas, Shah Alam and Lembah Pantai were lost, which some Umno divisional leaders said reflected the disconnect between the leadership and the ground. Read the rest of this entry »


10 things Najib must do

by P Gunasegaram
May 10, 2013

QUESTION TIME The dust from the 13th general elections has not quite settled and there is some chance it may be kicked up again as Pakatan Rakyat could challenge some of the results in court. For Barisan Nasional and Najib Abdul Razak, they rule with a minority of the votes, a morally illegitimate government that reflects a flawed and fraudulent election system.

If BN wants to pick up and regain the people’s trust and recover some lost ground from Pakatan, it simply cannot continue as before. There’s no point pointing fingers at the Chinese community when there has been an urban swing to Pakatan by all communities living in major towns, cities and suburbs.

Even if the swing of the Chinese community to Pakatan is greater than that of other communities, they are entitled. The Chinese, like any other community, can vote for any party they want without having to face racist, seditious, provocative and loaded questions from Utusan Malaysia such as ‘Apa lagi China mahu?’ Utusan is not and never will be the distributor of the largesse of the country which is owned by everyone.

There are a number of substantive issues with BN as government, top of which is corruption. Next comes a steadily deteriorating education system totally out of whack with our requirements as a people and a nation. Then there is systematic racial and religious polarisation as an instrument of control and to appeal to the Malay vote. Also, there is this issue with Najib’s wife.

Below are a list of 10 things that Najib must do if he and BN are to regain credibility in the eyes of the people and do better. If he chooses to do otherwise and makes hay while the sun shines, future governments can still hold him accountable. The change requires an about turn from the way things have been done for the past three or so decades but in a sense, he has no choice – do or perish at the polls. Do, and you may be forgiven your past transgressions and faults. Read the rest of this entry »


After Malaysia Election, Political Attacks Continue as Opposition Calls for Protests

New York Times
May 10, 2013

JAKARTA, Indonesia — If there was a moment after the nail-biting national election on Sunday when Malaysians could envision a respite from five years of political turmoil, it did not last long.

Within hours of the election commission’s announcement early Monday that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s governing National Front coalition had won a majority in Parliament, Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader, declared that the voting was rigged, said he would contest the results and called for nationwide protests.

The prime minister’s office countered that Mr. Anwar was a poor loser stirring up unrest, while the police warned that the opposition leader and dozens of other people who spoke at a protest rally in a packed soccer stadium just outside the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Wednesday night could be charged with sedition.

Such tit-for-tat exchanges between the government and the opposition were commonplace after the 2008 election and in the campaign for the vote last Sunday. But analysts say that the continuing political attacks and threats of protest this time are raising the specter of a potentially explosive showdown fueled by ethnic tensions laid bare again in the vote and longstanding animosity between Mr. Najib and Mr. Anwar.

“In a way, it’s escalated things,” said Simon Tay, the chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. “And with an escalation, you’re not sure of what the results will be.” Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia edges toward change but comes up short

Peter Drysdale
Bangkok Post
10 May 2013

On Sunday, after a hotly contested general election, a record electoral turnout and over half a century of essentially one-party rule, the Malaysian people edged toward change _ but chose not to make the leap.

The campaign saw the ruling Barisan National (BN or National Front) emphasise stability, continuity and economic growth, and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR or People’s Alliance) urge the end of corruption, the institution of minority rights and dealing with issues over the cost of living. In a contest that always seemed too close to call, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has held on to power, taking the prize from the indefatigable Anwar Ibrahim and his PR.

The election confronted Malaysia with big choices. While the Najib government led a tactical retreat on some elements of the old order, Mr Anwar called for its sweeping rejection.

Malaysia struggles with breaking through the “middle-income trap”. Wages have climbed to the point where the country can no longer compete internationally in labour-intensive manufacturing yet skills and systems haven’t improved so that Malaysia can compete effectively in the same product lines as more advanced countries.

Without further reforms, it is difficult to see how Malaysia can escape from this middle-income trap. Much of the struggle to find a way through has to do with escaping the legacy from the old order _ a “New Economic Policy” framed over 40 years ago that entrenched discrimination against minorities (including the significant entrepreneurial classes) and affirmative action through government-linked corporations (and systemic entrenchment of political patronage and corruption). Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia elections: Next battle: Staying on as party president

Reme Ahmad in Alor Setar
The Straits Times
Thu, May 09, 2013

PM Najib Razak has to convince warlords in his own party to keep him on as chief.

MALAYSIA – Even as the dust settles from his victorious battle against Malaysia’s galvanised opposition, Prime Minister Najib Razak might be heading for another fight – convincing warlords in his own party to keep him on as chief.

Umno is scheduled to hold its internal elections, held every three years, before the end of this year.

Some expect the Umno president to face a challenge from his deputy then.

Datuk Seri Najib’s performance in the general election will be the main yardstick used by Umno leaders to decide whether to let the 59-year-old continue as president, or to allow Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, 66, to mount a challenge.

The Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition won 133 parliamentary seats on Sunday, with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) getting 89. In the previous general election, BN had won 140 seats.

So yes, under Mr Najib, the 13-party ruling coalition had won back Kedah and kept Perak. The latter was taken from PR a year after the 2008 election as a result of defections by several assemblymen; Mr Najib has now secured a mandate to keep it.

But were Sunday’s results good enough? Analysts have mixed views. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s election – A dangerous result

The Economist
May 11th 2013 |From the print edition

After a tainted election victory, Najib Razak needs to show his reformist mettle

AT FIRST sight, the general election in Malaysia on May 5th, the closest-fought since independence in 1957, looks encouraging. A lively campaign inspired a remarkable turnout of 85% of the country’s 13.3m voters. The government’s victory seems recognition of Malaysia’s solid economic performance and of the progressive reforms introduced by Najib Razak, the prime minister. He has repealed some oppressive, colonial-era laws. He has even begun to dismantle the affirmative-action policies favouring the ethnic-Malay majority over Chinese Malaysians (about a quarter of the population) and Indians (8%). Those policies are at the root of the corruption and cronyism poisoning Malaysian society.

Look again, however, and Malaysian politics seems near breakdown. The opposition coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim alleges electoral fraud and has refused to accept the result. Whether that is true or not, it is certain that the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, has huge inbuilt advantages. Gerrymandered constituencies meant that with less than 47% of the popular vote, its worst-ever electoral performance, it still won 60% of the 222 parliamentary seats. The state has dispensed cash handouts and other goodies, while much of the civil service works as a party-political tool, and the election commission has long brushed aside allegations of malfeasance. Add in an obsequious mainstream media, and it is rather remarkable that so many Barisan Nasional campaigners still felt the need to resort to blatant vote-buying. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s general election – Tawdry victory

The Economist
May 11th 2013 | KUALA LUMPUR |From the print edition

The government scrapes home—allegedly aided by vote rigging

ON MAY 5th Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional coalition, led by the prime minister, Najib Razak, was re-elected for the 13th time in a row. Barisan won a majority of seats in parliament, 133 out of 222, against 89 for the opposition, a three-party coalition called Pakatan Rakyat and led by Anwar Ibrahim. The turnout was a record 85%. And so the same government which has ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957 is set for another five years in office.

Within Barisan, the overriding sense is of relief. It did slightly better in terms of seats than some had predicted. Scratch the surface, however, and in almost every respect this was a lamentable result for the ruling coalition, its worst ever. Not only did it lose a further seven seats to Pakatan, but it won with only 47% of the popular vote. It is further evidence of how the electoral system is skewed in Barisan’s favour, allowing it to stack up seats in the rural Malay heartlands with far fewer voters than Pakatan needs to win seats in more urban areas. In many places the opposition increased large majorities. For instance, in Penang in the north of the country the Barisan defeat was so humiliating that its candidate for governor, Teng Chang Yeow, resigned from all his party posts. Several government ministers lost their seats.

Most striking was that ethnic Chinese (about a quarter of the population) shifted their votes away from Barisan towards the opposition. The Chinese party of the Barisan coalition, the Malaysian Chinese Association, won just seven seats, down from 15, whereas the opposition’s mainly Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP) picked up ten seats, for a final tally of 38. Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis of the Malaysian Indian votes at GE13

— Satees Muniandy
The Malaysian Insider
May 13, 2013

MAY 13 — In the recently concluded GE13, we have witnessed quite an obvious trend of the chinese predominantly voting for the federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat. The malays on the other hand had been generally supportive of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), barring a few states like Selangor, Kelantan and Terengganu. There has been very little mentioned about the indian voting trend. Therefore this article is intended to shed some light into how the Indians voted, taking into account the local demographics of the various constituencies.

During the build up towards GE13, there had been a lot of chest thumping by Barisan Nasional, particularly by the MIC leadership, that the indian support had returned to pre-2008 levels. It had been speculated that the community anger towards the BN government following the Hindraf instigated 2007 protest and the subsequent ISA crackdown of its key leaders, had subsided following the overtures made by prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The community had also felt letdown by some Pakatan Rakyat state governments – particularly noted was the disillusionment towards the PAS led Kedah state government for failing to honor its promise to declare Thaipusam a state holiday, along with the failure of its state executive councilor Manikumar in managing a lot of issues concerning the indian community residing mainly in the southern tip of the rice bowl state. The community was however noted to be generally very pleased with the performance of the DAP led Penang and PKR led Selangor state governments – particularly in relation to the land issues plaguing the temples & tamil schools, and state employment opportunities for the Indians.

In the days approaching GE13, Najib Tun Razak appeared to have pulled off a coup when Waythamoorthy, leader of one of the many fractions of the fractured 2007 Hindraf movement signed a memorandum of understanding with his government and subsequently urged the indian community to return BN to the parliament with a 2/3 majority. Read the rest of this entry »

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Losers discover too late Mahathir no more an asset

Daily Express
Friday, May 10, 2013

Kuala Lumpur: Election 2013 has laid bare the declining influence of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a political force, an analysis of where and how he campaigned showed.

The former Prime Minister campaigned incessantly but Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates whom he backed or shared his ideals – such as the controversial Zulkifli Noordin and Ibrahim Ali – all lost.

In Kedah – where his son Mukhriz is now Mentri Besar on the back of a BN victory – local politicians and observers have pointed out that voters gave PAS the boot because of poor governance by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) party.

Brand Mahathir did not win Kedah for BN, but it was rather a case of PAS losing the state, one senior Umno politician in Kedah said.

Dr Mahathir’s attempt at painting the battle for Gelang Patah in Johor as a Malay versus Chinese battle also failed miserably.

Many analysts and BN politicians have said that his incessant playing of the race card for the Election 2013 campaign saw support for him deplete.

“He still has his niche group of supporters in the Malays, they wouldn’t simply demonise leaders whom they feel have been there for them long enough.

“But yes… at times, it may be true that his time is over.

What he says, how he says it, may not have traction among the younger generation, in the urban areas. But let us not forget – he is not the PM of the day,” Sabah Umno secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said. Read the rest of this entry »