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People or party? Wooing civil servants

by Bridget Welsh
2:08PM Apr 25, 2013

GE13 SPECIAL In caretaker Premier Najib Abdul Razak’s political targeting, one group has received special attention – civil servants. Why would those in the heart of government garner such special focus for an election? The reality is that in Malaysia’s close electoral races, civil servants can be decisive in shaping the final tallies. This is one of the groups that I will be highlighting as decisive in this campaign.

Over the past few years Najib’s administration has worked to stem the erosion of support from his traditional base of government employees with mixed results.

A decisive constituency

Civil servants make up 1.4 million voters, or 10.5 percent of the electorate. The civil service is made up of senior appointments, the police, army personnel, teachers, and a variety of industrial and manual (IMG) groups. There are also an estimated 657,000 government pensioners. Read the rest of this entry »


GE 13: Vote with anger, wipe away corruptions, racism, religious intolerance and FEAR

by Richard Loh

Are they trying to share their FEAR of losing power by orchestrating the many violence we are seeing lately?

Umno perkasa bn have been telling people that CHANGE will lead to chaos and violence and only by staying with them will we see peace and stability.

But what are we observing today, daily reports of violence going on and they are still the caretaker government yet they are not doing anything to curb nor condemn the ongoing violence.

Have you heard the caretaker PM ordering the violence to stop or the police to take drastic action against whomever are perpetuating these violence? NO and WHY? Read the rest of this entry »


Opinions: The Odds, they are a-Changin’

by Kee Thuan Chye
MSN Malaysia

As it looks, a few days past nomination day, the odds are changing to favour Pakatan, although at the time of the dissolution of Parliament, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) seemed to have the upper hand: Kee Thuan Chye reports.

The Opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat must be very careful between now and polling day not to make any colossal mistakes that could deny it victory at the 13th general election. I’m thinking of something about the same magnitude as or greater than the faux pas made by Tengku Razaleigh in wearing the Kadazan headgear with a cross on it on the eve of the 1990 general election.

As it looks, a few days past nomination day, the odds are changing to favour Pakatan, although at the time of the dissolution of Parliament, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) seemed to have the upper hand. Read the rest of this entry »


Why I’m Flying Back to Malaysia to Vote

Foreign Policy

I’m a Malaysian citizen who’s been living in Switzerland since I married my German husband two and a half years ago. Ever since I made the move to Europe, though, I’ve been keeping an eye on the political situation back in my native country. Earlier this year, when it became apparent that a general election was imminent, I flew back to Malaysia — 6,200 miles away — just so that I could vote.

Unfortunately, after my arrival, the government decided to hold off on calling the new election, so when I couldn’t wait any longer I flew back to Zurich — only to hear the news that Prime Minister Najib Razak had dissolved parliament. Soon after that the date of the new election was set: May 5.

So I turned around and flew back to Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


Uncle Kit, you never walk alone

by George Lee
The Malaysian Insider

APRIL 24 – Recently there was a snapshot posted on Facebook of DAP senior leader Lim Kit Siang taking a late flight out to Johor Bahru. Cutting a lone figure and waiting for his flight like any ordinary folk, one must be wondering whether Uncle Kit should have taken on lighter things in life since his children especially the dynamic Lim Guan Eng is continuing his legacy in politics.

Undoubtedly a well known fatherly figure with Malaysians from all walks of life. I do not know Uncle Kit personally but I did have glimpses of him in close proximity on a number of occasions.

Often, the places that we ‘met’ were the five foot way coffee shop or restaurant. Beside his distinctive (comb from front to back) hairstyle and short-sleeve shirt, Uncle Kit is a well-read person. Read the rest of this entry »


On Malaysia’s debts and ‘growth at all cost’

by Pak Sako
Centre for Policy Initiatives

I refer to the article in The Malaysian Insider/New Mandala on reducing Malaysia’s debt burden by Nurhisham Hussein, an economist with Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad and former employee of Permodalan Nasional Berhad.

It is encouraging to have him participate in this national conversation on Malaysian debt.

Close to 20 prominent Malaysian academics, comprising economists and political scientists, had earlier urged the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to state the steps for remedying the worrying situation of Malaysia’s finances (see ‘Academics call upon Barisan and Pakatan to declare policy positions on national finance and debt‘, Centre for Policy Initiatives, 8 April 2013). Read the rest of this entry »


A question for MCA

by Ravinder Singh
The Malaysian Insider

APRIL 21 — PM Najib has firmly stated that BN members who are contesting as independents will receive their walking certificates on Monday. I suppose any party would do the same for insubordination or betraying the party. Nothing wrong with this line of action for maintaining party discipline.

But why is he mum and dumb as to what action will be taken against a BN candidate approved by him who deliberately did not file his nomination papers although he was at the nomination centre? This candidate stood by and watched Ibrahim Ali file his. Isn’t this another act of insubordination? Or was some drama being acted out? This was a history making incident as never has such a thing happened before — the BN withdrawing so an independent can have a straight fight with an opposition candidate. The independent must be a very powerful person for this to happen, for him to intimidate the ruling party to surrender to him. Read the rest of this entry »


Deciding Who To Vote For In the Next Election

by M. Bakri Musa

Downstream Analysis: Pakatan Victory Best Outcome
(Third of Four Parts)

The best outcome would be a decisive Pakatan victory. This is the only way to effect much-needed change, specifically to end the current culture of corruption, cronyism and rent-seeking that is enmeshed and fast becoming the fabric of our – specifically Malay – society. Again addressing those under the sway of Perkasa and Ketuanan Melayu, Malays will never advance until we get rid of this destructive culture, of which UMNO is the prime enabler.

I am heartened that more than half of PKR’s candidates are new, with a substantial number of young faces. We can only bring about change with new personnel. Najib considers recycled and rethreads as fresh. How can he ever hope to transform the country with the same tired, tainted, and tattered team? It is significant that he has resurrected Isa Samad, the character suspended from UMNO a few years ago for “money politics!” Truly scraping the very bottom of the barrel! Rest assured that tainted characters like him will be in Najib’s cabinet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why we must vote for change: An open letter

by Dr Ariffin Omar

In an open letter, Ariffin Omar lists down the numerous problems plaguing the country and urges Malaysians to vote for change.

We are now at the crossroads of our destiny. The 13th General Elections that is slated to be held on 5 May will decide once and for all what future we are going to bequeath to our children and grandchildren.

We have lived for more than half a century under a regime which practices the politics of ethnic discrimination. In its wake this politics of apartheid has brought about corruption, mismanagement, cronyism and nepotism on a scale not seen in many countries. I have been told that as many as 3m Malaysians have left this nation for other countries in despair. Can we afford such a loss?

The Barisan Nasional, which had its origins as the Alliance Party, which then comprised of the United Malays National Organization, the Malayan Chinese Association and the Malayan Indian Congress, has brought this country to the brink of disaster. Read the rest of this entry »


Who is the Leader, Who the Follower?

by Kee Thuan Chye
MSN Malaysia

If voters fall for the promise of more BR1M, it will show they are willing bribe-takers, that they are people who are prone to being dependent.

To woo Indian voters, BN pledges RM500 million in seed funding towards raising the equity of the Indian community to at least 3 per cent. Pakatan, however, does not pander to any ethnic community, preferring to take a broad multi-racial approach in its plans for the country’s future without favouring any particular race. This augurs well for a better Malaysia and shows up once again BN’s attempt at blatant vote-buying.

On the whole, the BN manifesto is nothing new. As a veteran economist who has served in the civil service notes, it is structurally the same BN manifesto that has been used in past general elections for decades. It is superficial and short-term, particularly in its focus on cash handouts. He would have wanted BN to tackle the key issues of improving education, for instance, and removing the fixation on the NEP and the accompanying idea of Ketuanan Melayu. Both of these are comprehensively addressed in the Pakatan manifesto. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib’s zombie apocalypse

by Mariam Mokhtar
11:51AM Apr 15, 2013

In keeping with the unhealthy obsession with cerita hantu (ghost stories) and the supernatural, which is displayed by the rakyat – especially the Malays – caretaker Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak should be applauded for converting some Malaysians into zombies.

The living dead are characterised by their lack of self-awareness and the inability to think for themselves. Najib’s zombies may not crave human flesh, but they do feast on cash handouts and freebies. In the zombie culture, human brains are considered a delicacy. Perhaps Umno has seized on the rakyat’s minds as a means to spread their evil. They have mentally enslaved us and used this exploitation to satisfy their greed for material goods, and hunger for power.

Six decades ago, Malayans had to decide – either continue to be ruled by the British, or accept change and take charge of running the country. The operative word was change. Read the rest of this entry »


Shame on you, EPF!

by P Gunasegaram
6:16PM Apr 12, 2013

Whatever possessed the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to throw in the towel way before the fight had finished, leaving other minority shareholders aghast at its surrender even before the battle had started in earnest? Shame on you, EPF!

We are referring of course to the national provident fund’s meek capitulation by accepting national oil company Petronas’ revised offer of RM5.50 per MISC Bhd share yesterday, eight days before the offer was due to close.

By accepting the offer it has made it that much easier for Petronas to reach its target of acquiring 90 percent of MISC shares, a condition for Petronas’ takeover offer for MISC, and the level at which the oil company can delist MISC from Bursa Malaysia. Petronas has just under 80 percent of the shares now after EPF’s acceptance, 10 percent short of the offer becoming unconditional. Read the rest of this entry »


A very ‘American’ election

by Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider

APRIL 15 — So far it has been, as a friend remarked the other day, “a very American election”.

With its mobilising and symbolic focus on PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the GE13 “pre-campaign” has been nothing if not “presidential”.

“Presidential” campaigning: PM Najib and BR1M

If Umno/BN is now a brand, Najib is its face. Its trademark.

Not unlike a certain avuncular colonel and his own certain brand of fried chicken.

And if Umno/Bn now has a strategic approach, it is Najib’s own iconic BR1M.

Umno/Bn now relies upon communicating an irresistible sense of party and government largesse that, in a very personal way, the prime minister distributes and also symbolises. Read the rest of this entry »


Stealing the elections: Act One

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
Centre for Policy Initiatives

Even before the dust has set on the fixing of the polling date, the Barisan Nasional (BN) had already begun the hijacking of the elections. With the apparent connivance of the Election Commission (EC) – the pit bull ensuring BN’s electoral victory for the past 12 general elections – they have imposed a 10-minute slot for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties to explain their polls manifesto over the official media.

According to Rais Yatim, the Information, Communications and Culture caretaker minister, the short time offered to PR will be more than enough to showcase their pledges. Although an attempt has been made by the EC at damage control over the government’s ludicrous but at the same time deadly serious intent – it has explained that the opposition had misunderstood the offer which was intended to be serial and not one-time – the objective of the government is clear.

This is to use its monopoly of the official (and much of the unofficial print) media to ensure a BN election victory by seeing to it that the public – especially rural and Malay voters – will hear only the good side and promises of the BN and to downplay, ignore or demonize the PR side. Read the rest of this entry »


BN woos Indian votes but indifferent to Hindus

by Aliran
11 April 2013

It is appalling that the higher-ups in the civil service are totally not bothered about Hindu sensitivities, observes P Ramakrishnan citing his experience with medication supplied at a general hospital.

The Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional have been very busy going after the Indian Malaysian votes. They seem to be addressing some issues to pacify the Indians in their attempt to win them. The Indian vote is very crucial to the BN and they are desperately trying to woo them.

But it would appear that they are not bothered about the sensitivities of the Hindus. It is appalling that the higher ups in the civil service are totally not bothered about Hindu sensitivities. They are indifferent and insensitive to the Hindus.

One good example is the medication that is provided by the General Hospital.

Those suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) have been put on the medication ‘Duspatalin’. I am one of those taking this medicine for a number of years. Read the rest of this entry »


Open Letter to Tengku Razaleigh: Time to Take a Bold Stand

by Koon Yew Yin

As the election date draws nearer, it is important that all politicians wishing to take part should make known to the public what they stand for.

Among our political leaders, there are few that have earned the respect of Malaysians in the same way that Tengku Razaleigh has. Through his actions he has struck many as a man of honour, decency, good sense and ability. These qualities – not superhuman virtues – are the ones needed at the helm of the nation to guide us through this difficult time of racial and religious extremism, and unquenched opportunism and power craze.

On what Tengku Razaleigh stands for, there is little or no doubt. However, given his marginalization in the mainstream media, many Malaysians may not be aware of his political philosophy. This philosophy which I heard him elaborate on in Ipoh in 2012 could serve as the template for the nation’s political development. It has served as the template for my book, Malaysia: Road Map for Achieving Vision 2020. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s debt: the misleading debt-to-GDP ratio

by Pak Sako
CPI Asia

This is the third part of a three-part CPI series on Malaysian debt. The first part, entitled, ‘Investigate Malaysia’s debts now‘ , surveyed the overall debt situation. The second part, entitled, ‘Malaysian government debt to approach RM1 trillion by 2020‘, looked at the trend in government debt.

This part critiques the debt-to-GDP ratio and questions Malaysia’s official debt figures.

An over-optimistic and misleading impression of debt results when the government puts its faith in one number, the debt-to-GDP ratio.

The current government-debt-to-GDP ratio for Malaysia of 53% is assumed as being within safe limits, below the 55% ceiling set by Malaysian policy.

Here it is argued that judging the nation’s debt condition primarily on account of this one indicator is wrong. A critical look at debt is required to understand the real situation and health of the economy. Read the rest of this entry »


Will MCA regain the 25 seats it lost in Election 2008?

by Lee Hwa Beng
The Malaysian Insider
MARCH 27, 2013

MARCH 27 ― In the last general election, MCA contested 40 Parliament seats yet it won only 15. Out of the 40 seats, MCA was able to win only 7 (out of 23 contested seats) from DAP, six (out of 15 contested seats) from PKR and two (out of two contested seats) from PAS.

This shows MCA won mainly in mixed seats where there are fewer Chinese voters while it lost heavily in the Chinese majority seats.

One can deduce, therefore, that MCA won with the support of Malay rather than Chinese votes.

Another major contributing factor in MCA’s drastic loss was the significant reduction of support from Indian voters who were traditionally Barisan Nasional/MCA supporters (more than 80 per cent) but have since deserted the ruling coalition with less than 40 per cent of them voting for the ruling coalition in GE12.

As in my earlier articles, “Who will win the 13th General Election?” and “How will MCA fare in the 25 seats they won in the last election?”, I will provide the reader with background information and factors to consider for my latest question: “Will MCA be able to wrest any of the 25 seats they lost in the last elections?” Read the rest of this entry »


Pakatan and Kit Siang Take the Offensive

by Kee Thuan Chye
from Yahoo! Malaysia

It looks like Pakatan Rakyat is driving the 13th general election. As this most crucial of Malaysian elections draws near, the Opposition coalition is the more gung-ho in leading the way into battle. It is initiating the charge, taking the offensive, scoring the psychological points.

While the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is led by a leader who has been tardy in calling for the general election partly because he has been humming and hawing about wanting the rakyat to feel the effects of his transformation programmes first, Pakatan has already shown its preparedness by coming out with its manifesto a few weeks ago, way ahead of BN.

In football terms, this is like the away team, despite its disadvantageous position, taking the play to the home team and attacking its goalmouth. Sometimes, this can end in a victory for the outsiders.

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang’s decision to stand in Gelang Patah – in BN’s impregnable state, Johor – is another courageous offensive. It is a risky move by the DAP veteran who has never fought shy of engaging in difficult battles.

In the most famous of his encounters, he took on Lim Chong Eu, the Chief Minister of Penang then, at Padang Kota in 1990 and won. Nonetheless, it was a huge gamble for Kit Siang, who has not always been victorious. He lost when he came out of his comfortable position as Kubu state assemblyman in 1982 to try and capture Bandar Hilir, and again when he took on the risky seat of Tanjung Bungah in 1995 against yet another chief minister, Koh Tsu Koon. In fact, throughout his political career, Kit Siang has lost five times. Read the rest of this entry »


Kesetiaan PAS dan DAP terbukti

Oleh Aspan Alias
March 24, 2013 |The Malaysian Insider

Tidak pernah terfikir oleh orang ramai sebelum ini PAS dan DAP menjadi parti-parti yang di terima oleh semua kaum dan inilah yang membuatkan BN menjadi gering sementara menunggu pilihanraya yang akan datang ini.

PAS telah berjaya membawa bukti bahawa Islam itu merupakan agama yang “universal” dan juga agama yang boleh memimpin semua kaum dan kelompok dalam dunia ini. Kekuatan sokongan PAS ini juga telah mewujudkan “ulamak songsang” yang datang dari kumpulan Umno yang tertekan sambil memfatwakan PAS sebagai PAS sesat dan haram di sokong.

Berbagai kumpulan upahan telah di bawa ke depan kaca TV3 untuk menyiarkan fatwa songsang ini semata-mata untuk menyesuaikan dengan kehendak politik mereka. Mereka mahukan agama di sesuaikan dengan keperluan mereka dan bukannya menyesuaikan kehendak Islam terhadap semua perjuangan mereka.

Semalam Lim Kit Siang telah menyatakan yang beliau mungkin bertanding menggunakan lambang PAS dalam pilihanraya ini. Ini di sebabkan ROS mungkin mengambil tindakan membatalkan pendaftaran DAP berikutan dengan kesilapan dalam pemilihan CEC DAP di Pulau Pinang 15 Disember yang lalu.

Sebagai parti pembangkang dan memahami tindak laku BN yang sedang ketandusan sokongan menggunakan RoS untuk membatalkan pendaftaran DAP itu tidak boleh di anggap ringan. Dalam keadaan terdesak BN akan melakukan apa sahaja untuk mengekalkan kelazatan kuasa yang ada kepada mereka (Umno). Read the rest of this entry »