Sunday, February 08, 2009

Karpal's Calling a Spade a Spade

There is one thing I like about DAP Chairman Karpal Singh - his bluntness. Here, Karpal is calling a spade a spade when he openly demanded that PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim quit as Pakatan Rakyat chief.

“He has created enough trouble and it is time for him to repent.”

Karpal said both parties had fallen sway to Anwar’s rhetoric, who had supported defections of elected lawmakers, even bringing in Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasharudin Hashim who later returned to Umno.

This is the same justification used by UMNO leaders to justify the fall of PR government in Perak. To jog back our memory, it wasn't Anwar who started the ball rolling on defections. It was UMNO leaders, both Dr Khir Toyo (Selangor) and Tajol Rosli (Perak), who started it first.

Even Gerakan Koh Tsu Koon is calling Anwar the "King of Frogs" and blamed him for starting the defection game. I was surprised that Koh, a Ph.D holder, was so childish to suggest that the defections were okay because Anwar started it first. Even if it was Anwar who started the game, it is still not okay to support defections. Just because someone you know starts to steal it does not mean that it is okay to steal.

Some sense and sensibility should be applied to evaluate the extent of damage these defections have done to our democracy and politics. General elections are about the people and not the politicians. When a mandate has been given, the politicians should respect it.

Yes, Anwar was calling a bluff for months and he broke all deadlines without much success. It was obvious that many analysts, like myself, have grown tired of Anwar's antics. I told him to strike a balance between governance and politics. Alas, he chose the later and did very little to help the former.

It was obvious that a number of PKR lawmakers and executives did not perform up to expectations. Yet, I heard a number of their state leaders were asking for more positions. Some wanted to be consulted on state appointments. Anwar should have worked harder to ensure that his people perform and fulfill their election pledges.

He should understand that it is not possible for the people to continue trusting non-performers. Some did not even set up their service centre until being criticized for failing to do so.

Anwar should not hope to continue riding on people's negative sentiments toward BN to keep on winning.

A number of PR leaders may not be comfortable with Karpal's outburst. No one will. Not even BN leaders when criticized. But Anwar wanted to show us a different kind of leadership. I was a victim too when I criticized UMNO leaders. I was reprimanded by my ex-employers.

PR leaders including Anwar should view Karpal's criticism constructively. Maybe it is a good idea for Anwar to adjust his leadership style. He should be thankful that it was BN which drew the first blood and it was ugly. The public is fuming mad about their democratic rights being robbed off. Civil rights organisations are critical of the BN. I think it is a distasteful action by the BN.

On the hindsight, these criticisms could be aimed at Anwar and BN could play victims. They would have inflicted worse damage on PR.

A less heroic and dominating Anwar would be good for his coalition. At present, nothing moves if Anwar does not. When Anwar sneezes, the whole coalition catches flu. He should consult more, communicate with his fellow comrades, get both DAP and PAS to iron out their differences and groom more leaders to take up important roles. It does not have to be a personality centric PR.

Anwar as a cohesive glue of the coalition has already played his role and it is time to move on to play a more important advisory role - to strengthen his fragile coalition.

Karpal's criticism is important for PR and it is up to its leaders to take heed or curse it to the dustbin. Remember, PR leaders can be quite arrogant too.


Bangsa Cina Malaysia said...

Mr Karpal Singh without Anwar do you seriously think PR can win 5 states ?.

Anwar is not perfect so are you.

please ..our aim now is to support MB nizar.( PR need to be united to be strong)

If you are tired please ask your son Gobind to assist you.

his Political skill is much better...

romerz said...

Agree with you that Karpal's comment is needed but untimely given the circumstances in Perak.

Too many fires with too little fire fighting capabilities!

A little more smart politics could have been exercised. Its a little difficult fending off enemies when there is dissent within the ranks.

What makes it doubly difficult for those 'nuetrals' to go on the offensive against UMNO/BN is that the ground is taken from under us by those we are trying to help.

I think RPK said it best in his article "What more to say?"

Anonymous said...

Did you just warn us a post ago "Beware of Political Diversion"?

Karpal is pissed because Anwar won't let him sue the Sultan, thus diverting the issue of Najib. A maimed (ego) lion will bite everyone around him.

linda said...

If it is as easy as you seem to spell out here, why don't you become a politician and taste the rhetorics about politics.

I guess, you would not even pass the first real test, if you ever face the wrath of critics.

It is easy to talk as you did on many occasions but the real hard thing is a total different ball game altogether. Arm chair critics do not understand real pressure. Try being on and taste the medicine. Straight talk is nonsense until you are tested in real situations.

Just look at those economic strategists, consultants or those who call themselves economists. They failed miserably in predicting the direction of the real economy and have to do re-adjustments to their ealier wrong predictions.

Mind you, most of them are young chicks as well who have yet to see the many 'real things' in life. Like the Chinese idiom says, "Experience people had eaten more salt than inexperienced people in consuming rice".

I hope this strikes a message in you, in resembling the real young inexperienced role that you are in politics. Karpal, Anwar, Kit Siang and many other seasoned politicians can be your father in politics. They have gone through the ups and downs about politics and are no nobody in this arena.

It is akin to "teaching the duck how to swim". To know if one knows how to teach others to swim, try swimming yourself. I would be glad to see it real. I bet you would drown swimming (not die standing). Babbling is without cost but it comes with consequences as in the case of you and Jeff Ooi.

Hope you realize not to make enemies out of your die-hard principle of straight-talk.


Anonymous said...

Power, popularity & position gets to ones head.
It doesn't matter who one is.
It's called megalomania.
So watch out on our leaders. Make sure they do not see themselves to be prima donnas but servants of the people. That's the original meaning of the word Ministers, people who serve other people.
When it gets to their heads, it's about time we trim them back to size.

ari said...

Not a good article at this time. Criticisms at wrong time and place can hurt. You should not try to exonerate Karpal for such misbehaviour. A loser's mentality.

Why don't Karpal change positions and feel what it is like to be lambasted and castigated in this manner in public and at a time when PR is down. A low blow, Karpal! Hssss..!

Anonymous said...

Is Mr. Koh and BN is suggesting that two wrongs can make one right ?

Bentoh said...

He is never known to say sweet things... I think he made an important wake up call, and did not expect Anwar will really "step down"... Malaysian Insider has a brilliant analysis on this...

Apart from his Anwar-should-repent comment, some other words are equally important and unfortunately all the news media (eg Malaysiakini) are trying to only interprete the comment on Anwar, and go as far as implying Karpal was playing a blame game...

“Party hopping can never be justified as it can be compared with one murdering the very parents who were responsible for one’s birth upon reaching adulthood,"
I think this comment by Karpal is very important, and those katak embracer (in DAP/PKR/PAS) should really really read and remember this...

Put the September 16th Kataks to the rest, and work and work hard now... for Sarawak state election is coming soon...

Jed Yoong said...

Hey Kay Peng,

Re Tajol + Khir "starting" defections, I believe on March 8 itself there was no Pakatan Rakyat and the parties were free to form coalitions among themselves. I understand in Selangor, Khir tried to get PAS to form the govt with UMNO. I am not sure if he tried to lure PKR fellas over to become independents.

The other question is under our system in which we vote for the individual and the party just indicates our affiliation, is it necessary for an elected rep from a certain party to form a government with his party or can he also freely associate while remaining party member?

For me, arguments that say party hopping, crossovers, etc are perfectly legit under our system, like by Edmund Bon as reported by The Star, may need to consider that if a calon stands under a party banner, he gains a lot of advantages, like support from other party supporters, a network, and of course, the hardcore votes that will support the party even if you put a bicycle...

Despite his weaknesses, Anwar has the talent of working with a range of ppl and I do thank him for bringing PAS + DAP together. However, I do feel that he has to negotiate with consistency. In this era of the internet and affordable high-quality recording devices, saying diff things to diff ppl will not work anymore.


Jefus said...

Karpal Singh is talking of higher moral ground to gutter politicians. It will not sink in.

And it will stay that way until a better breed of politicians comes along. I blame the voters for empowering third rate, non ethical, immoral politicians.

The mandate was given to the promises made during the campaign. The politicians must seek another mandate should they choose to hop. A law should be in place to prevent this from happening.

Don't screw the people's vote. That will be political suicide.

elizabeth said...

When I read the news report, I was feeling rather uneasy... In the article, Karpal alluded that his stance on this matter and earlier matters about defection, etc, was ignored by other DAP leaders, and that he may now resort to taking the matters into his own hand...

I agree that Anwar has caused some problems, and the PKR is the weak link due to the haste and quality of people there.. However, I ponder, besides Anwar, who else can become the main face of PR?

While I respect the PAS leaders a great deal, and my admiration of Kit and LGE is great, but to attract the masses sufficiently to beat BN, neither PAS nor DAP at the helm will do. Thats where anwar comes in.

Lets hope that the Pakatan and DAP can ride over this storm, and Anwar will be honest with himself and some change for better will happen.

Julian Chin said...

From here, the future of the coalition would very much depend on Anwar. He'd open another front and go to war with Karpal or, like you said, to accept the criticism constructively.

And depending on what happens next, it'd make or break the coalition. The people isn't happy with Perak but we wouldn't stand another break up in PR.

Sentinel said...

I do not quite agree that Karpal's criticisms are called for at this time and place. No, wrong timiing and wrong place. More like a stab-in-the-back at this point in time.

Wonder how you feel when you are aggrieved over the loss of a loved one and someone comes out brutally criticising you that the loss was due to your fault? A time when you were most vulnerable.

Pity, Asians aren't yet in the same league as Westerners where civilised behaviour is concerned. Compounded further by wrong thinking on the part of people like you. Heck!

Khoo Kay Peng said...

Dear Linda,

This blog would not have been called "Straight Talk" if it speaks on what pleases only one side of the fence.

Your generalisation about arm chair critics is way too shallow. If I were you, I would have try to measure my response to the issue. Not the person. Otherwise, like many other UMNO supporters (including those cybertroopers) you may ended up creating an impression that supporters from both sides of the extremes are pretty much the same.

Great leaders must be able to take criticism. I know Karpal is sincere with his recent outburst. So listen to his voice amidst the distortions.

The future is grim if we cannot encourage more thinking Malaysians to participate in the discourse.

I have no time for enemies. I do not find you one. It would have been a waste of my useful time to make enemies when it is obvious that there are more important things to worry about.


Suddenly, we are all reacting like BN leaders. Speak through internal channels etc. I am sure you have heard a lot about backroom discussion. Aren't you tired about this kind of politics? I am tired of it.

Don't you think its Karpal's right to criticize and Anwar has done something wrong regardless his past contributions? Even Obama is being criticized for his weak action to push through the stimulus package.

How come when faced with a challenge, these PR supporters are starting to behave like BN's?

PR should listen. We want them to listen because we want them to work. I want a two-party system to work, that's why I criticize.

romerz said...

Kay Peng,

No arguing with your point here. All I'm saying is that Karpal could choose another time and place to say what he said. What Karpal said is the truth and the truth will stand the test of time.

But you have to also realize that the manner he said it was not meant for Anwar's ears only but also playing to the crowd. If he wanted to tell Anwar off, I'm sure he could have just picked up a phone and called him.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with your posting somewhat. All I'm saying is that there are many out there not yet committed to an alternative away from UMNO/BN and Karpal's outburst does not make our job any easier convincing them to join the cause for a better Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

When Karpal fights to maintain and clarify the stance that malaysia is a secular state (and a secular state is one in which all races are looked upon as equals) as opposed to an Islamic state , he is labelled as a racist.

When he fights to defend the rights of citizens to take royalty to court on dispustable issues, he is accused of commiting treason.

When he voices his stance on party hopping, principles of which are supposed to have been imbeded in the DAP ideology he does not even get the support of some of those in his party which had condemnd such actions before the Pakatan was formed.

This is a man whom fights for the right reasons but because of his bluntness (a truly respectable quality) he is seen as an easy scape goat for both the PR and BN whenever they are important issues that nobody wants to face.

To those who think that his timing was not acceptable, would it have been anymore acceptable if he had come out with it in 6 months, or 6 years later? If anything i think his statements were mild and should have been alot harsher.

I am an opposition supporter but i will never support a leader that embraces party hoping one day and codemns it 10 days later when the hops happen against him. It may be constitutional to hop but it is in no way ethical.

To the first comment. Anwar being the leader of the PR is in no way a lone reason for the capture of the five states. Cause if it was PKR would have made a big difference in 2004 as opposed to just winning 1 seat. Also Gobind Singh is a great lawyer/politican because he had obtained his principles and skill from the best, his father.Not the other way around.

Every article ive read that is against him has always been based on opinion rather that fact which is sickening because people tend to believe what they read without looking for proof.

I dread to think of the day when malaysian politics looses this man cause when he goes, it looks like good principles would leave with him and we;d be left with BN vs BN (PR)

Anonymous said...

the only qualification of this nizar boy is to speak mandalin thats all.Nobody listen to this idiot

Anonymous said...

Nizar is worse than commies, supposedly a muslim but a commies sympathiser. and karpal is typically indian politician - a lot of hot air. Banish him to sri langka and their fellow kind will know what to do with this idiot

Anonymous said...

Dear Khoo,
Karpal is a straight talker. David Marshall too & Ong Eng Guan. If you bother to read history, you know what I mean.
However, being blunt and being foolish are 2 different things. I am scratching my heads to understand

What the heck is your objective?

Dear Khoo,
Well, however, such talents should not be wasted. Harness correctly you would see a General Patton or MacArthur in making.........Karpal is like them anyway........


doinkers said...

Though Karpal may just shoot from his mouth, people shouldn't forget his sacrifices.

When you're old & bound to a wheelchair, you still want to make yourself feel relevent & useful to the party you gave your life to.

I hope the younger PR leaders don't dismiss him because of his age or how intact his marbles are.

Only a PR govt can you openly screw your leaders. I doubt this could have happen if it was a BN led govt.

Great leaders are often forgotten as they get older... churchil, mcarthur, truman. I suppose karpal would like people to still listen to him.