Saturday, October 10, 2009
Take BN candidate Tan Sri Isa Samad's campaign trail. He piggybacks incessantly on government functions as part of his campaign platform.
For example, on 4 Oct 2009, he attended a function at Politeknik Port Dickson and delivered a campaign speech. The event was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry's entrepreneur funding body, Tekun.
The minister was there, as well as the Negeri Sembilan menteri besar. But when journalists asked Isa if his appearance at the function was an abuse of power and an election offence, he said no. "I am actually part of the agricultural development council for the Teluk Kemang parliamentary constituency, so I have a role to play here, too," he explained calmly.
PR banner "bringing up" Isa's history of corruption — "wo ai ni" translates as "I love you" in Mandarin
Does this explanation even hold water? Isn't it the point that election campaigns should never abuse government amenities and public funds? And Isa's dishonesty does not stop here. When the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) brings up his history of corruption and negligence as menteri besar, he throws up his favourite red herring. "Ask them to look at Kelantan first and say whether Kelantan is more developed than Negeri Sembilan," he says.
This is another non-answer, because never at any point is he actually being transparent about responding to allegations of negligence and corruption. Instead, he diverts attention away from himself by pointing fingers at and making fun of his political opponent.
[Source : The NutGraph]
Friday, October 9, 2009
Latest reports suggest that Umno is worried that the weak link in BN is the component parties. In particular, Umno is worried that parties like MIC and MCA cannot win any non-Malay votes, and these parties will win on Umno votes. If these reports are true, it will mark a major turning point in Malaysian politics.
One of the unspoken rules of BN politics is that a certain number of “safe seats”, i.e. Malay majority, are allocated to key leaders in MIC, Gerakan and MCA to ensure that there will always be “Chinese” and “Indian” leaders in government. That is the reason why DAP often challenges key leaders of MCA to stand in 90-plus per cent Chinese seats to show who really represents the Chinese voters. In other words, Umno provides the basic votes for these key leaders to get elected.
One could look at Umno’s strategy in two ways. The benign way is to see it as Umno showing its commitment to multi-racialism by allowing some safe Malay seats to go to non-Malays. The other way of looking at it is to see it as Umno guaranteeing a façade of a multi-racial government by claiming that it will always have minorities represented in the government.
This strategy worked as long as the component parties can get between 30 and 50 per cent of their ethnic vote. They do not need a majority since they can combine it with the Malay vote. However, this strategy fell apart in the 2008 general election as the component parties struggled to even get 20 per cent of the ethnic vote. It is almost certain that MCA and Gerakan cannot even get 20 per cent of the Chinese vote, while MIC cannot get more than 30 per cent of the Indian vote. This problem would not be serious if Umno thinks the political environment will change by the 13th GE.
Unfortunately there is every indication that things will get worse for MCA, Gerakan and MIC. One can imagine MCA getting 10-15 per cent of the Chinese vote while MIC will end up with less than 10 per cent of the Indian vote.
In such circumstances, Umno will be doing the right thing by taking back these “loan” seats from the MCA, Gerakan and MIC. There is no point in helping a dying party.
The question then is what are Umno’s options? The first thing to bear in mind is that the collapse of the vote for the component parties is largely due to Umno’s own doing. Its ideology and rhetoric before and after 2008 GE confirmed that the Malay Agenda is the only game in Umno. Voters know that under this scenario, there is no point in even voting for the component parties since they will be totally marginalised even if they win. The logical vote will go to the opposition who are in the midst of trying to create a fairer coalition. The second thing to bear in mind is that Umno holds all the cards. MCA, Gerakan and MIC do not hold any cards — in fact they are not even invited to play. You thus have a strange situation like a rat running around in a maze where there is no exit. The game goes like this:
Umno to MIC, MCA and Gerakan: You must work harder to win back the Chinese and Indian votes.
MIC, MCA and Gerakan to Umno: We can only win back the non-Malay votes if you genuinely share power with us and give the non-Malay a place in the Malaysian sun. We feel marginalised.
Umno to MIC, MCA and Gerakan: You already have a place in the Malaysian sun. You are just not doing a good job in explaining the situation to the non-Malay community. You are not marginalised since we appoint you ministers and even loan you some Malay seats. We have 1 Malaysia.
MIC, MCA and Gerakan to Umno: If 1 Malaysia is genuine, then drop the Malay Agenda, NEP and go for meritocracy.
Umno to MIC, MCA and Gerakan: The Malay Agenda is the national agenda. Period. If the Malays are unhappy, there will be political instability. Therefore the Malay Agenda promotes political stability. There is nothing wrong with the NEP, there are still more Chinese and Indian millionaires than Malay millionaires. You have to make the Chinese and Indian community understand and get them to be grateful for a peaceful environment created by BN.
In other words, as long as Umno thinks there is nothing wrong with the current set-up, the component parties will get weaker and weaker.
Since the component parties have no real input into the policy process, they are left with only one option to gain some political legitimacy and “save face”.
This option is to set up “service centres” to solve the day-to-day problems of the working class. They will do anything but make government policies. They will get involved in hawker licence issues, rubbish collection issues, runaways, dirty drains, cannot get Telekom phone lines, etc, you name it, they will do it. But if you ask them to change government policy, they will hide under the desk and pretend you are not there.
Thus the dilemma is simple; since they have no power they cannot bring about reforms and change in government. All they can do is talk about reforms and change. Real reforms and change can only take place if Umno takes the lead, and on Umno’s terms. They have to work within the parameters established by Umno. Umno knows this and all the BN component parties know this. That’s the bottom line.
[Source: The Malaysian Insider. The passage in brown are my comments. Geronimo]
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Whenever I read such news these days, I am really left bewildered at UMNO's antics. On one hand, they want the Indian votes (very badly I must say) and on their hand, they just go demolition crazy whenever they see a Hindu temple around, albeit it being illegally built. By almost doing what they did, the opposition just couldn't help but to add one more bullet to their arsenal in the Bagan Pinang by-election. All this talk about sincerely helping the Indians is nothing but a hogwash and I am wondering how many Indians still fall for this type of sandiwara come Sunday. Here is one incident I picked up from The Malaysian Insider.
Umno opposition to the relocation of another Hindu temple in Jenjarom, Selangor, which was scheduled to be demolished today, is already being exploited by PAS in the on-going Bagan Pinang by-election.
The move to demolish the 130-year-old Sri Maha Mariamman temple was aborted only after a meeting between the temple committee, the developer KLIA Holdings and Kuala Langat police.
Former Hindu Sangam president Datuk A. Vaithilingam said the attempt to demolish the temple by the federal government-linked company, eight days before Deepavali, was history repeating itself.
He pointed out that in 2007, former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khir Toyo issued a similar order for a temple to be demolished in Kampung Jaya, five days before Deepavali.
The demolition became the catalyst for Indian discontent against Barisan National (BN) and was among the factors which resulted in the March 8 political tsunami last year when the ruling coalition lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament for the first time.
The temple in Jenjarom was once part of the Lunderstand Estate but over the years the land had been sold and it is now owned by KLIA Holdings.
According to Vaithilingam, an alternative site in Taman Kota, about 1.5km from the present site, was earmarked by the previous BN state government to relocate the temple to in 2007.
However, he said local Umno politicians objected to the relocation and workers who were preparing the infrastructure for the site were “chased away” on Aug 23.
“The new site is in a multiracial town. Why must Umno object just because the state is now under Pakatan Rakyat.”
State executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar confirmed yesterday that local Umno chieftains had been standing in the way of the relocation and had held a demonstration at the proposed site.
He said although KLIA Holdings has obtained a court order to demolish the temple, the state government had been trying to prevent it.
According to him there was an agreement that no demolition would take place until an alternative site is found.
“I don’t understand why the company is in such a hurry.”
Dr Xavier said he had instructed the state legal advisor to contact lawyers representing KLIA Holdings to advise it against the demolition.
The Kuala Langat district officer has also been instructed to issue a stop work order on all development projects in the area until the issue is resolved.
Meanwhile, Sri Maha Mariamman temple secretary M. Thayalan told The Malaysian Insider yesterday it had lodged a police report after learning on Monday that the temple would be demolished today.
"The police called us for a meeting with the developer, and said they would not allow the demolition because it was too close to Deepavali," said Thayalan.
He said the police also told the developer to resolve the issue of relocation before the temple is demolished.
“We are grateful to the police.”
When contacted, an executive with KLIA Holdings who attended the meeting with the police and temple committee confirmed that the company had shelved its plan to demolish the temple for the time being.
Meanwhile, during campaigning in Bagan Pinang yesterday, PAS MP Khalid Samad raised the issue of the recent Umno-orchestrated cow-head protest against the Hindu temple relocation in Section 23 Shah Alam as well as the relocation of the temple in Jenjarom.
Geronimo's Take : And where is that fella Thanenthiran when he should be in front of a tractor to prevent the demolition instead of busily apple-polishing Jibby?
Then I asked him about contracts. How is the contract situation in Penang. He says that contracts are harder to get now because all contracts are subject to open tender. So, then I told him, the core of his hate towards DAP stems from DAP’s open tender policy. That, if DAP were to start awarding his company directly like during the UMNO days, he would turn into a staunch DAP supporter overnight?
He kept quiet. There was a dead silence for a few seconds. Then, I continued saying that Malays are always looking for easy out. I told him that the DAP open policy is to ensure that future generations of Malays in Penang will have the opportunity to bid for contracts rather than inheriting a bangkrupt and dilapidated State.
Direct Awards are expensive, costing the state millions unnecessarily and encouraging unproductive Malays to make easy money without creating a multiplying effect on the economy. With open tender, the start of the policy will be difficult but in time it will create a lot of productive Malay entrepreneur which in turn will create more economic opportunities for Malays in general. In the long run, more Malays benefit from the Open Tender policy of DAP.
And I summed up by saying UMNO should stop making stupid issues against the DAP and come clean with the fact that their rank and files (which are mostly contractors) HATES the Open Tender policy of DAP to the guts. All that they are bringing up against DAP Penang administration are just smoke screen to hide the fact that they hate the Open Tender policy to their guts.
And, UMNO contractors are suffering right now because they were never efficient and productive all this while and they survive and thrived by bleeding the Penang state dry with their direct awards contracts.
I told my friend that he should stop yapping and start looking for ways to improve his efficiency and productivity. That will be a better service to the Malays as compared to complaining about things which is unfounded and stupid. That is IF HE REALLY CARES ABOUT THE MALAYS, and not himself more.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
This is certainly great news if you are a fan of Cliff Richard and The Shadows. After more than 30 years, Cliff, Hank, Bruce and Brian are back again, this time to record a new studio album entitled "Reunited". If memory serves me right, the last time Cliff performed with The Shadows was at the London Palladium (or was it the Albert Hall) at a re-union concert in 1979. After that, Cliff continued with his solo career while The Shadows went dormant as a result of Hank's change of residence to Perth, Australia. However, they did get back once in a while to perform in the UK, including their last concert as a group in 2004. The new album consists of 22 tracks (cost me RM40) with the inclusion of three brand new tracks, all backed by The Shadows just like the good old days. Even listening to the album brings back that nostalgic feeling of the 60s when both Cliff and The Shads rode high on the charts. Anyway, welcome back, boys. We miss you.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Wah, so quick, Najib came to the defence of Isa, that his corruption case was one of a "technical matter". Hello, friend, technical or otherwise, corruption is still corruption. Similarly, one cannot ruled Kugan's case as one of "causing grievous hurt" when the charge should be premeditated murder. It is as simple as that because it resulted in the death of Kugan, you know like no longer breathing, lifeless. Now let's see what Uncle Lim has to say about the "technical matter" of Isa.
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s defence of Tan Sri Mohd Isa Ismail’s corruption offence as only a “technical matter” is a mega-tonne explosion demolishing one of the six National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) he announced on his Hundred Day as Prime Minister – “fighting corruption”.
Responding to the unabated criticisms of the choice of Isa as Umno/Barisan Nasional candidate for Bagan Pinang by-election, Najib told Malaysian students in Paris that Isa was chosen based on his capability and popularity, and that Isa’s offence was only a technical matter within UMNO and did not involve the judiciary of the country.
Najib said the question is whether Isa deserved a second chance or not, pointing out that in our system, even a criminal gets a second chance and can contest the post after serving his or her punishment.
Najib’s argument and logic are full of holes and do not stand up to scrutiny. They merely expose the hollowness and hypocrisy of the Najib administration in declaring “fighting corruption” as one of the six NKRA priority areas for constant assessment of “key performance indicators”.
Nobody would begrudge Isa being given a second chance if he had been fully punished for his offence of corruption, but this is not the case.
There can be no dispute by anyone that money politics whether in Umno or any other political party is pure corruption as has been publicly admitted by the former de facto Minister Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim and the current Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan.
There are two questions at issue:
• firstly why Isa had not been charged in court for the corruption offence for which he had been suspended for three years as Umno member; and
• secondly, why the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission continue to close their eyes to the corruption offence committed by Isa as there is no statute of limitation for corruption prosecution and whether a policy decision had been taken to grant immunity to Isa from any corruption prosecution to allow him to contest as a candidate in the Bagan Pinang by-election.
In these circumstances, Najib had been wrongly advised in claiming that Isa had been punished for his offence and had paid for his deeds – when Isa had not even been charged in the court of law for his corruption offence.
If this is not an issue that will have an impact on UMNO's chance of retaining the seat, then why are the Chinese papers issued with orders not to report on Isa's suspension? It was learned that only Nanyang Siang Pau carried the news. Maybe 20 years ago, UMNO could easily win hands down but today, they face the stark reality of being rejected once again in another by-election, and nobody in the UMNO camp likes that sinking feeling if it does happen again. For once, instead of resorting to such unethical methods of winning votes, why can't they just humble themselves by apologising for their past misdeeds, be fair to all races and stop all those religious bigotries, and maybe, just maybe, the people will start voting for you again.