Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Sarawak State Election - a post-mortem comment by Tony Pua

Perhaps the Sarawak results it isn't the end of the world, but it came quite close. The DAP didn't lose all our seats, but we lost all our battleground.

Our campaign had its weaknesses, which we will in time rectify. But this was our most expansive and best prepared campaign in the history of Sarawak elections, despite the obvious limitations arising from a drastically uneven playing field.

Our messages were clear and consistent. They were twin-pronged - "national issues" affecting Sarawakians such as GST and BN's corruption (Najib's 'donation'), and "local issues" such as roads, water, electricity and other basic infrastructural issues.

Both anecdotal and formal surveys told us these were the issues which are the issues which the people were most concerned about. Our campaign videos, leaflets and ceramah speakers focused almost exclusively on these issues.

But they didn't matter. We had hoped they did, right to the very end, but they didn't.
In rural districts, our campaign teams were peppered with cash requests on a daily basis. "Supporters" turning up for nomination will follow up by camping at our campaign office awaiting their "allowance". You want work done? Pay up. You want PACA? Pay up. You want to campaign at a longhouse? Pay up. You want people to attend ceramah? Pay up. And of course, on the final day, voters were asking how much were we paying for their votes.

Some of our campaign teams were literally torn apart because of the question of "paying up". When is it acceptable to pay an allowance and when is it not?

I'm proud to say that our teams did not hand out outright cash for votes. But in the heat of the campaign, you cannot believe the sheer will power needed to stay sane and how one's principles gets stretched and questioned to a breaking point.

But we paid the price.

This is best exemplified by our campaigns in Pakan, Ngemah and Simanggang. It was independents who were nobodies of particularly significance, other than the fact that they were backed by rich and powerful forces who gave BN the run of their money. The DAP, despite having worked the ground for many years, especially in Simanggang, lost our deposits. And where PKR entered the fray in Ngemah and Simanggang, they lost their deposits too.

These " independents" had no leaflets, no videos, no message and barely any campaign presence, managed to lose to BN by a whisker.

It might even be more comforting to blame the inexcusable 3-corner fights with PKR for the losses we suffered. At least that would appear to be easier to remedy.

But no, the 3-corner fights in these rural interior constituencies were details of little or no significance to the voters. Money unfortunately in this case, makes the world go round.

There were glimmers of hope and encouragement in 1-2 Dayak seats where we definitely gained ground, like Tasik Biru or even Mambong (despite being beset by a 3-corner fight). But they were too far and few in-between to offer any semblance of consolation.

On the other hand, in our incumbent urban seats, the size of BN's majority in the 5 seats we lost showed that the battle was lost before it even began. We knew that the Adenan juggernaut will be BN's single biggest weapon. We just didn't expect the juggernaut to be near-invincible. Try as we did, and we threw the whole kitchen sink, we were unable to create a chink in BN's armour.

In addition to the pressing issues surrounding GST and Najib's scandal, we emphasized repeatedly on the need for check and balance via a strong opposition to ensure that Adenan didn't become the next "pek moh".

Despite the seeming strength of the message, it obviously did not have sufficient traction even among the urban voters. People were sufficiently happy with the few apparent concessions Adenan gave.
They were more than happy to overlook the continued corruption in the BN regime and the implications on the people via higher taxes. The rampant and blatant abuse of power by Adenan, such as banning Members of Parliament from entering the state also didn't matter too much to them.
However, perhaps, had we not campaigned that hard, we might have lost even more seats. Therefore we must thank those tens of thousands of supporters who continued to stick to us under such trying circumstances.

Hence on hindsight, our Sarawak battle was one of limiting the damage rather than one of consolidating our hold on these seats won in the last elections, or making gains in the rural districts.
The election is undoubtedly a sobering experience. It makes you question your ideals, your principles and the worth of your fight. It shakes your faith in people and your beliefs that the better good will ultimately win at the end of the day.

These are the sort of times when you need inspiration to continue the fight, to pick ourselves up and to continue the journey. And the inspiration comes from heroes like the 75 year old Lim Kit Siang - for I now finally appreciate his sheer strength in spirit and character to keep up the fight, despite repeated demoralising election losses and personal sacrifices he must have gone through in past elections for the decades before 2008.

We will go lick our wounds. But in the interest of the millions of Malaysians, whether they appreciate it or otherwise, we will get up and fight again another day.

For it is when good men do nothing, that evil men succeeds.

Tomorrow, will be a brand new day.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Rara seeing for herself, the progress of the MRT project along the Cheras highway

Talking with officials of MMA-Gamuda.  Second from right is Dato Ravi Shanker, the President of the Taman Fern Grove RA.

Group photo with MMC Gamuda officials and RA leaders of Cheras Zone 2

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ex-Major Zaidi joins DAP.

DAP on the way to becoming a truly Malaysian party with multiracial compositions. The huge challenges facing the party are acceptance of non Chinese members, especially of leadership potential, by the grassroots leaders and ordinary members, impatience of non Chinese entrants in ascending the leadership hierarchy and demanding key positions and the dilution of the Chinese influence and dominance of the party. More importantly to fight the public perception that DAP is and always will be a chauvinistic Chinese party which UMNO spared no efforts to use it to frighten away Malay support.

The LKS and LGE team must be willing to change their approach to garner more non Chinese supports, in the process giving up absolute Chinese control of the party, for the sake of fighting UMNO and BN. It may take 2 terms to see a different DAP emerging. The squabble between DAP with PAS and recently with PKR shows the failure of the Pakatan coalition. In a democratic environment that Pakatan tries to grow, inter party feuds will mess up the larger goals to defeat BN. The only way is for a strong multiracial party to rule the nation away from the coalition model which is not workable as shown by BN. Budding leaders must not be self serving but work towards the larger good of the country and society.

Read new report here.

This is what Zaid Ibrahim has to say about the current Opposition pact.

In the run-up to the 13th General Elections (GE14) in 2013, Lim Kit Siang apologised for the failure of the opposition pact to remain united and again when it failed to retain PAS within its fold.
Now he has apologised yet again for the failure of PKR and DAP to ensure a straight fight between the Opposition and Barisan Nasional in the Sarawak state election.

The opposition has always been fractious but to show its penchant for disunity in the way it has in the Sarawak election is unforgivable.

To see my friend Kit Siang having to grovel before Sarawakians because PKR would not do a deal with DAP is quite sad, so I have decided to invite Kit to a special dinner of Brittany oysters, Boston clam chowder and charcoal-roasted young lamb from Spain after the election.

During the dinner I will suggest the following:
1. Forget about electoral pact altogether. It did not work in GE13 and it has not worked in the Sarawak election. The best hope for a truly believable opposition pact is between DAP and Amanah. The two parties have a close affinity and should constitute the core Opposition. Any discussion on seat allocation will thus be more meaningful and the chances of both parties honouring the arrangement are better.
2. A DAP-Amanah pact can also have a loose arrangement with PKR (like ASEAN+2) for the purposes of organising joint-ceramah and to agree on some key areas for reform. Having a larger crowd can be morale-boosting for the Opposition and its followers but to have an electoral pact where seats are agreed beforehand between DAP-Amanah and PKR will be a waste of time and can lead to worse acrimony, much to the delight of the Barisan Nasional.
3. PKR is a party that believes one of its leaders will be the next Prime Minister after UMNO’s downfall. Some believe that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be Prime Minister. If that happens, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Mohd Rafizi Ramli and Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail will have important key positions. On the other hand, we have Datuk Seri Mohd Azmin Ali and friends who believe that PKR today is not the same as PKR in 2004 and that the party is already under their control, so they will make sure key decisions will be decided by them. PKR under Azmin will be flexible and it is not inconceivable that PKR+PAS or PKR+UMNO deserters will be on the menu for the consideration of voters.

Politicians must start offering Malaysians a credible political platform that has regard for the interests of the people. They need only form alliances with a view towards forming a government after they have obtained the mandate of the people when the General Election results are known.

There is no need to follow the Barisan-Nasional formula of ganging up to win as many seats as possible regardless of party manifesto. Horse-trading should be done only when the results are known.

Of course Kit Siang is a shrewd and wily politician of many years’ standing and it is possible that he will dismiss my arguments as out of hand. However, all I ask is that he should just listen to me for an hour or so over a nice dinner.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Instant KARMA working at its best in Malaysia ……??

1998 – Sri Raja Raja Madurai Veeran Temple in Kg Rawa, Anuar Ibrahim threatened the Hindus there to accept whatever he said, otherwise he said no temple bells will be sounded in Penang. Anuar Ibrahim was sacked as the Deputy Prime Minister in 1998 itself.

2007 – Datuk Seri Dr. Mohamad Khir Toyo gave green light to demolish the Padang Jawa Sri Maha Mariamman Temple that had sparked widespread anger and led to the 2007 Hindraf protests. Barisan Nasional lost Selangor in 2008 General Elections. Khir Toyo has lost everything since and now serving jail sentence.

2009 – The Cow head protests were held in front of the Selangor state government headquarters at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Building, Shah Alam, Malaysia on 28 August 2009. The protest was called so because the act of a few participants who brought along a cow head, which they later desecrated. The cow is considered a sacred animal to Hindus. Barisan Nasional again lost Selangor in 2013 General Elections

2016 - The Terengganu Menteri Besar offered an island for controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik to consider founding the local branch or the South-East Asia regional research centre for the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) which he helms. Zakir's lectures were greeted with animosity by local Indian and Hindu NGOs who accused him of misinterpreting the Hindu religion. Within weeks Terengganu's Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin has stripped state Menteri Besar Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman of all state titles effective April 22.

2016 – The 29-year-old man had smashed nine idols at The Sri Muneswaran Temple in Ipoh. Then he drove away from the temple but met with an accident in Fair Park a few kilometres away from the temple.
HINDU GODS don’t take revenge but you have to pay for your KARMA!!!  In Kali Yuga it’s instant.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rara on her rounds in MPKj Zone 2

On Rara's right is Dato' Ravi Shanker, head of the Taman Fern Grove RA

Listening to the problems in the community