I Love You Penang!


As I write this, I’m trembling with the anticipation and nervousness that I only remember happening to me during the World Cup Finals.

I had gone back to my hometown to vote today, full of hope that the voting population of Malaysia will wake up.

In Penang they certainly did. For the very first time in Malaysian electoral history, this Island state decides to give its mandate to the Opposition.

 The victory belongs to the people! Bravo My fellow Penangites!

To the DAP/PKR/PAS Alliance….the ball is now in your court.

Another temple demolished?


So says an SMS that is going around. Did some checking with some burung kecik and found that….

This time around it is in Rantau, Negri Sembilan. Word has it that some clueless estate manager in Ladang Linsum, Rantau had the Hindu temple torn down.

I’m sure it was perfectly within their legal right to do so. Linsum Estate, if I’m not mistaken, belongs to Golden Hope Plantations. But such a demolition coming just a few days before general elections in an area where 24% of the voters are Indians is not a very smart move.

This fact was probably realised by the incumbent state assemblyman Datuk Mohamad Hassan, who is defending his seat. Mohamad, who is also the NS Mentri Besar, apparently went down for some damage control, and promised that the temple would be rebuilt.

He must be aware of the repercussions of this incident at a time when Hindraf is beating the Makkal Sakthi (People Power) drum.

Interestingly, DUN N25 Rantau is one of the four state constituencies to come under the Rembau parliamentary seat (P131). Rembau as we all know, is indeed one of the most watched contests as Malaysia votes in General Elections 2008.

This could mean less votes for Mohamad Hassan and Khairy Jamaluddin and a gain for blogger Chegubard who is challenging him under the PKR ticket.

Details of the Rembau constituency makeup is here, thanks to Utusan Online.

Change Your Lifestyle…


The fact that the younger voters (21-30) are more politically aware these days in Malaysia is a fact to be applauded.

The internet generation brings a certain youthfulness to the whole political landscape and also adds a techno dimension to politics that is long dominated by stale rhetorics.

Check out these cool videos.

Ubah Gaya Hidup

RomPakLah

YB and Stamps

YB vs Blogger

Hats off to Youth 4 Change

Power Maneuvers


This is interesting. The Star says that at least seven Federal Ministers will exit the stage this coming polls season. Several of those names have a surface reason and a set of rumours surrounding the underlying reasons.

Chan Kong Choy to leave? I think the Team A-Team B dynamics is still very much alive in MCA despite protestations to the contrary. Ong Ka Ting pledges this as his last term while Chan is quietly moved out.

Shahidan Kassim to lose Perlis MB-ship? Looks almost certain, but hey what can I say? Remember the Sanusi Junid/Osman Aroff tussle in the late 90s?

Rais Yatim to retire due to age? Hahahah. The guy at 66 is fitter than a lot of other younger Cabinet fellas I know of.  The Umno posse in ascendance  tried to shelve him quietly by nominating him to the Commonwealth Sec Gen job, but he didn’t play ball.

Rais is often considered a loose cannon for his inconvenient way of not echoing the party/government line if it doesn’t agree with his views. Pretty much an outsider even though he rejoined the Umno establishment after two terms in the cold in 1999.

To lump him and Azmi Khalid together just because of age is to insult Rais, certainly. Btw, the political rumour mill has it that Azmi is slated for MB”ship” in Perlis. Rais is of course being shown the door.

Also, the tussle for seats are turning ugly not only among Barisan Nasional component parties but also the Opposition parties.

Talk is rife that DAP Sec Gen Lim Guan Eng might contest both at Parliament level and for the state assembly (the state seat to be in Penang). Why macha? Thoughts of a chance at Chief Ministership no doubt appeals to him.

Johor State MIC chairman finally had to confront the raging rumours of his involvement in Tenggaroh Assemblyman S.Krishnasamy’s brutal murder with this statement. Telling though, don’t you think?

And of course the former deputy MB of Selangor who used to flirt with all the “pious Muslim” electorate, who was sidelined in 2004 elections, is keen to make a comeback on a Parti Keadilan Rakyat ticket. Umno bridges have been permanently burned eh? I do take exception to some of the riff-raff that PKR uses to its advantage. Sheesh!

Read this excerpt from The Star.

Meanwhile, former Selangor deputy mentri besar Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad is tipped to contest the Hulu Langat parliamentary seat on the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) ticket.

The incumbent for the seat is Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Markiman Kobiran, who is also the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board chairman.

Dr Zainal, who had previously served as Dusun Tua assemblyman, from 1990 to 2004 declined to comment, saying that he would issue a statement on nomination day on Feb 24.

This election will also see a lot more of the NGO types to contest, which in my opinion can be a good thing. You know….people running (on whatever ticket) for a certain cause. Toni Kassim is one and Charles Santiago is another. This is by no means the first time for Toni Kassim however. She has been blooded before.

I guess it is time Malaysians take a good look at their candidates and what they stand for, and decide if it is aligned to their own (voters’) interests, before  voting these guys in. Instead of voting along partisan lines. This is pretty much lawyer/blogger/civil rights activist Harris Ibrahim has been advocating publicly.

Ultimately though, the Barisan Nasional government will prevail, probably with a reduced majority somewhat, because of the eroding public confidence. The Opposition may just be menang sorak, if that, because already they can’t see eye to eye on so many things. Resentment over outstation candidates, and greedy tussle for perceived safe seats may just scuttle their already haphazard efforts to ride on the wave of public outrage.

And MIC candidates will certainly feel the wrath of the Indian voters who have been vocal since Hindraf’s awakening. The police’s manner of handling the Feb 16 Rose March is another way to ensure that the Indian voters are further enraged.

Who gains? PPP perhaps, for the short term. Kayveas says that he had 3,000 former MIC members join PPP in the Port Dickson constituency alone. I don’t know the veracity of this, but the point is, parties like these are just exploiting the anger of the people.

Ultimately, the Dacing will prevail.

But don’t believe me. Don’t take my word as gospel.  I’m the greatest pessimist in my neighbourhood.

Umno going after RPK?


Update: 

Raja Petra Kamarudin or RPK has issued a sizzling salvo against the ex-Menteri Besar of Selangor who lodged a police report against him early this week.

The vituperative comeback by the usually placid RPK gets me thinking, this man must be really riled at the cheek of this ex-MB who has been in cold storage for sometime even in the Mahathir administration, because of his disgraceful antics in Australia.

My brother called me this morning half hysterical with laughter, with an urgent injunction that I should read RPK’s comeback. I’m glad I did. The facts in his statement I’m familiar with. But the way he wrote them, vintage.

Moral(s) of the story.

1. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others, not even when the election is near.

2. Do not mess with Bugis people…. : )

Way to go RPK!

——————————————————————————– 

A police report has apparently been lodged against Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia Today by…of all people Mat Taib, on behalf of Umno. Reason, for publishing articles insulting Islam.

For quite a few years I have been following the oft-sensational, always entertaining blog/website of Raja Petra Kamarudin. Finally this year I got to meet this obviously intelligent and eloquent writer and speaker.

I asked him, “You know, many of your stories are entertaining and have an unbelievable level of detail. Cool, but how much of them are true?”

He had a compelling answer to that question. I can’t print that here unfortunately, cos I do not reprint other people’s conversation without permission(call it ethics, respect wotever) , but I must say I left the place with the thought, now that’s a thinking man. Deliciously Macchiavelian coversationalist I must say, but I think the likes of Raja Petra does more good for independent writing and thought in Malaysia than harm.

I’ve a feeling I know what article(s) are being referred to, but then the timing of this is rather questionable. Doesn’t people in Umno read? Don’t they surf anything other than Machai.net?  This whole police report thing smacks of another round of intimidation series aimed at subduing bloggers and vocal Malaysian Netizens.

Sheih and Mat Salo said this before. Dekat dekat nak Election ni mulalah…

Intimidation of any individuals and organisations who are contrarians….rife these days. Nathaniel Tan is still on police bail people. Now RPK. I’m sure he will not cower. Here’s a man who’s not a stranger to either controversy or imprisonment.

But the bigger question is, are we Malaysians going to sit by and just accept the words of TPTB (the powers that be), without examining it critically? Are we all gonna sit by while one by one, critical Malaysians are leaned on, intimidated, jailed and otherwise shut up?

If we do, this 50 years of Merdeka is just bull. What the hell is Merdeka if there is no independence of thought and expression in Malaysia?

What now Malaysia?


Nathaniel Tan was released on police bail, on Tuesday Jul 17. Those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, read the previous posting.

He had a long posting on his four-day ordeal, and I must say the articulate young man had plenty to say and said it vividly. Read more here. I’d like to reproduce some choice bits here, very disturbing bits.

Throughout my detention, the police employed various questioning strategies in what struck me strongly as a concerted attempt to make me admit to things that I had not done.

The police also subjected me to various rounds of questioning between about 5.30pm and 9pm by different police officers who all kept asking me the same questions. I later learnt that questioning at such late hours was in fact illegal.

One of the officers questioning me that evening who refused to identify himself threatened to slap me and throw me across the room.

Nice, people. Very nice. Welcome to Malaysia, where the police make headlines for all the wrong reasons. More choice stuff below.

The situation worsened on Saturday, the 14th of July.

Despite my repeated appeals to the police officers accompanying me to court to be produced before the magistrate for the remand hearing, they absolutely refused to notify my family or, more importantly, my lawyers that I was to be produced in court.

The instrument of law and order in Malaysia is very good at doing everything opposite. Whack people (I mean this in the American sense), intimidate people, basically being thugs in uniform.

Sometimes they are creative too. They can make you disappear for good. You know, erase immigration records….blow you to smithereens.

Sorry about what happened to you Nat. Shouldn’t have. Not on such flimsy evidence. And that picking you up on a Friday evening and THEN only going for a remand order the next day, that’s just fucked up.

The Ballot Has Spoken


It is no joke. The by-election results in the Selangor State Constituency of Ijok shows that campaign rhetorics may be all fine, but the people will vote the candidate they believe in.

BN’s gambit in retaining an MIC candidate to run under the ruling party’s banner has not dented it in anyway. “Cikgu” Parthiban won with an increased majority.

According to Bernama,

BN’s K. Parthiban polled 5,884 votes while Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) received 4,034 votes in the straight fight. There were 134 spoilt votes. Returning Officer Haris Kassim announced the results at 8.42pm.

I found this interesting report interesting as well.

In today’s by-election, which recorded the highest ever voter turnout in the the country’s election history, a total of 10,049 or 81.88 per cent of the 12,272 electorate cast their ballots.

That’s a record!. People turning out in droves to vote probably pushed the majority up for BN to improve upon Datuk K. Sivalingam’s 2004 showing where he polled 1,649 majority over his rival then.

At the end of the day, the people of Ijok showed that election rhetorics, no matter how much flash and pyrotechnics thrown in, doesn’t wash. Forget corruption, forget Altantuya; it is a local guy they knew and identified with that they chose. As for the rest, they know many would not even have heard of Ijok if not for the by-election. 

I also see that that PUNDAK managed to garner only 134 votes this time aroun despite its president’s calamitous visit to Ijok that resulted in bottles flying and God knows what else. Here’s to a better showing next time Pres Pazuzu : ) !

The voting majority of Malaysia will continue to vote the ruling coalition in the times to come, until and unless there is some demonstration of seriousness  on the part of the Opposition parties about ruling. Better the devil you know I guess.

A neighbour of mine said over a mamak stall dinner last week, “You know, my hometown people voted Opposition once. After all that bising-bising and promises during campaign, we hardly saw him! So tell me, how are they any different?”  

Hardly encouraging feedback for the Opposition.