Archive for May 21st, 2013

The de-racialisation of Barisan Nasional?

— Yang Razali Kassim
The Malaysian Insider
May 20, 2013

MAY 20 — On the 44th anniversary of the May 13, 1969, racial riots that gave birth to it, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) displayed signs of being in existential angst.

Though it won the 13th general election on May 5 by securing the most parliamentary seats, BN lost the popular vote and failed to wrest back its two-thirds parliamentary majority in the face of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) strong showing.

While BN was relieved to have been returned to power, the results were a body blow that sent it into deep introspection. A significant upshot has been a proposal to transform itself from the current model of a coalition of communal parties into a single, merged multi-racial entity.

Significantly, too, this idea came from no less than the secretary-general of Umno, the party that is the lynchpin of BN and the epitome of Malaysia’s communal politics. Given his key position, Datuk Tengku Adnan Mansor could well be reflecting an internal debate now spilling into the open.

Other Umno leaders who have begun to publicly float such “radical” views in the wake of the 2013 general election (GE13) are Datuk Nazri Aziz and Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, both members of the Umno supreme council and the previous Cabinet. While Tengku Adnan and Nazri successfully defended their parliamentary seats, Saifuddin lost his despite being known for his reformist views. Read the rest of this entry »


A tectonic shift

— Jamil Maidan Flores
The Malaysian Insider
May 20, 2013

MAY 20 — After the 13th general election in Malaysia recently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak grumbled about a “Chinese tsunami” that barged against his Barisan Nasional coalition, leaving it with only 47 per cent of the popular vote. Barisan Nasional has a Chinese component, the MCA, but the Chinese vote went heavily to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat, a three-party coalition led by former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Still, thanks to the gerrymandering of rural constituencies and to the huge perks of incumbency, Barisan Nasional won 133 of 222 parliamentary seats at stake and retained power. Najib remains prime minister.

So why is he grousing about a Chinese tsunami? I think it’s because he has felt a tectonic shift — in this case a tectonic shift in the political mood of Malaysia. It well may be that Malaysian politics will never be the same again. That doesn’t bode well for the Barisan Nasional, or for Najib himself.

Perhaps it’s a comeuppance. There were numerous reports of shenanigans attributed to the ruling coalition. Of flying voters. Of immigrants in Sabah who were given identity cards on condition they would vote for the ruling coalition. Of padded voters’ lists. Of people long dead who were able to vote. Of the Barisan Nasional campaign doling out a total of US$2.5 billion (RM7.5 billion) to poor voters, and resorting to other forms of subsidy schemes.

If these reports are true, and the evidence is piling up that they’re accurate, then there’s nothing that the local politicians of the Philippines, past masters of election fraud, can teach their Malaysian counterparts. However, to the credit of the Malaysian politicos, although there were some accounts of violence, there wasn’t a single shooting throughout the campaign. Read the rest of this entry »


Ambiga: Bersih’s ‘People’s Tribunal’ a ‘moral force’ to expose electoral fraud

The Malaysian Insider
May 21, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Bersih 2.0’s “People’s Tribunal” may not have any legal standing but will serve as a “moral force” to publicly expose electoral fraud, said Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan when defending the polls watchdog’s final attempt at proving wrongdoing in the May 5 polls.

The renowned civil rights activist told The Malaysian Insider that Bersih 2.0 will soldier on with its plan to set up the tribunal which, she said, should be announced in two or three weeks’ time, despite earning condemnation from polls regulator Election Commission (EC).

“It is true that it is not set up under any law or statute. That is why it is called the People’s Tribunal,” she said.

“It will be an evidence-gathering tribunal and what we have is the moral force to prove what we have said before about fraud. That is its main aim — to gather evidence,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »