Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Have a Request for 'Obama' Ganesan

BN candidate for Bukit Selambau, S. Ganesan said "I want to be Malaysia's Obama to safeguard the welfare of all the races and become an idol for the community, because despite being born in a very poor family, I have managed to succeed in life through education."

Later, he handed over RM210,000 for the SJK Tamil School in Sungai Getah, provided for under the second stimulus package.

I applaud Ganesan's personal dream. However, I hope he is not another naive and star strucked politician trying to become the world's most popular politician, President Barack Obama.

Can Ganesan fulfill my request?

1) Can Ganesan abandon racial politics? Become an idol of all Malaysians and not just his own community. The real Obama did not run for the presidency as an African-American candidate. He had broad appeal.

2) Can Ganesan stand up for justice, transparency and accountability? Is Ganesan willing to stand up against his party boss and correct some of his misgivings?

3) Is Ganesan willing to stand up against the excesses and abuses of UMNO? During his campaign, Obama had spoken up against the old politics of Washington.

If Ganesan wants to become a Malaysian Obama, he should be able to respond to my request quite easily.

SAY NO TO RACISM!

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

The answer to your three questions is a definite an obvious "NO".
Why ?? for the simple reason that he is not on the right platform.

donplaypuks® said...

He hasn't even won a by-election in the boondocks but already he's comparing himself to a man with an international stature!

Can he even 'speak the England the proper?'

With such comical figures, BN hopes to win back voter-confidence and conquer the world? Muahaha!!
http://donplaypuks.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

hard to do ganesan have to check with tai ko samy vellu so don't compare with obama ok be your self

Bangsa Cina Malaysia said...

Asalamualaikum,(may peace be upon you)

manikumar a graduate from UUM.

InsyaAllah this is the kind of educated and model state assemblyman we want to represent us.

and also PR represent everyone regardless of race.

no more indian represent indian, chinese represent chinese, malay represent malay.

say no to race based party.

say no to MIC-MCA-UMNO.

Ameen.

Sam Yap said...

Hi Mr Khoo,

Why did you bother to give credence to this Ganesan chap who had the temerity to compare himself to Obama? Never mind about whether Ganesan's politics even comes close to Obama, but could he even write a good speech, much less speak like a real statesman?

Hitherto, in this new millenium, we have only seen one politician who has such oratorical skill, and thats Obama.

And we have this Ganesan chap who is trying to market himself vainly on the tail streamer of the President of USA? I suddenly feel sick.

wandererAUS said...

High hopes! Most MIC leaders speak with a fork tongue. When the by-election is over, they are back to their old ways...political beggars...this bloke is no exception!
Instant noodle won't do the job anymore, Ganesan. You cannot even smell the fart of Obama. Do yourself a favor, remove the mask from your face and learn to speak with a straight tongue.

Anonymous said...

Ganesan is a cunning politician. He is single minded, he is full of self-praise..and worse of all he will bend all rules, and claim that everybody is like him - friendly likeable and self serving.

Anonymous said...

Even before he is elected, he is evolving himself in corruption by giving out a cheque amounting to RM 210,000 during by election time. This is clear cut case of corruption. How can people trust such a man to be an elected people's representative. Where is the MACC? Is MACC blind? To those who will vote, please don't vote for those who are only interested to get involued in corrupt practices.

Anonymous said...

Can Ganesan admit "I screwed up" and get working correcting his mistakes? There are many things about what is not right in this country. One thing that we are all certain is " Ganesan is no Obama."

Anonymous said...

Those politicians who use the name of President Obama, do not understand that he won the election not from Afro-American votes only but from all races as there is racial politics or race boundaries in his presidential campaign. As such the BN candidate should not compare himself with Obama.

Nation said...

Brother,

I fully agreed and support your statement.
We are not easy to be cheated by this kind of human.

Ta,
MalaysiaNation

Anonymous said...

Mr Khoo to win in this election this guys willing will sell their grandmother.Why is it avery time there is election only..., tamil school gets aid.This guy is another stooges of the party prisedent.

amoker said...

That is a huge joke.

K L said...

Please do not equate Ganesan with Obama ! Malaysian politicians are still hundreds of years behind others! What a shame ! We still talk about racism after 50 years of JOINT independence !

Kenny Gan said...

Ganesan cannot be Malaysia's Obama but he can be a stand-up comedian.

Malaysian said...

Bukit Selambau: An Urgent Call for Calm & Understanding, and Suggestions for a Way Forward

I’m writing this with deep concern over the Pakatan Rakyat’s prospects in the Selambau Election as well as for the future of the alternatif movement as well. Just over a month ago we were quite united, and so confident that BN could never win, even against goats & cows. Today the situation has changed dramatically, as the conflict that is apparently brewing within the AM over the choice of candidate for the Bukit Selambau by election threatens our chances there as well the achievement of our aspirations for Malaysia. I say apparently, because my only sources of information are news reports & blogs postings, some from the MSM, some from bloggers & journalists whose agendas I don’t know about. I have no way of verifying what is the real situation, & given the Standard Operating Procedures of our opponents in the past, I cannot stress enough the importance of getting to the TRUTH.

What I find especially distressing is the tone of the anger that has been directed at Hindraf & the PKR dissenters, in the comments & reports in our blogosphere. On page after page they have had so many insults, threats & stereotypes hurled at them, it is as if BN’s propaganda in the MSM & blogs designed to demonize, demoralize & discredit them has done its job. I don‘t doubt that most of our comments have been made with good intentions & end in mind, i.e. victory for PR, and were sparked by that sense of urgency & alarm that we all feel as the elections approach. Nevertheless, I cannot but feel that such a tone is unworthy of anyone who shares in the values that I believe PR stands for.

Have we forgotten the role that Hindraf played in making 8/3/08 possible? These are the people who, in their pain & desperation could do nothing else but put their bodies & their lives in the path of the FRU & their chemical cannons. True, dissatisfaction with BN had been growing for a long time, but for me, seeing the blood that they shed when they stood their ground & embraced the truncheon’s blows over & over again, deeply changed the way that I thought & felt about my country & myself. They led the way, they electrified us, even shamed us into action; but sadly, to this very day, they and their families still bleed for it. Some are locked away & forgotten; some prosecuted & persecuted. Many know now what it is to be without Father, Husband or Family. Some, ill, uncared for and forsaken, deteriorate day by day; and one, in exile, may never get to return home, not even to die. Then, there’s that deepest & most painful of wounds that they all bear: the subtle racism, overt ostracism & slur; a wound to which we can now safely say, we have rubbed in our own little “contribution” of salt. Whatever you or I may think about Hindraf or their apparent position on Bukit Selambau, let us agree that at the very least, we owe them our respect & gratitude.

I’ve organised the rest of my thoughts under 4 headings:
A. Our Current Situation
B. What’s really at stake here
C. Suggested Way Forward
D. Final Thoughts

A. Our Current Situation

On the face of it we have Hindraf & PKR grassroots leaders are unhappy with PKR leaders’ decision to nominate S. Manikumar as PKR candidate for Bukit Selambau. Both (Hindraf & PKR) had prepared shortlists of their preferred candidates but none were chosen. Their main reasons for this unhappiness seem to be:
 Disappointment at not being chosen themselves, as a “reward” for past hard work
 Manikumar’s youth, inexperience, lack of record and not being a local, being a “crony”
 Not being involved in the selection process
 Lack of transparency in the process
 Disagreement with process & selection criteria itself
 Perceived double standards in selection
 Possible issues with Manikumar’s allegedly fraudulent business dealings
 Perception of there having been backroom deals with V. Arumugam with the involvement of DSAI’s friends (one Datuk Ravi?)

Other longer standing grouses with PR may be:
 Lack of democracy in PKR & PKR Kedah, who have not held state-level elections since he joined in 2004
 Perception of having been deceived by false promises and lack of progress on various development issues e.g. land for schools, citizenship documents, social issues, business opportunities & training
 Perception of a lack of respect and appreciation

One thing I want to note here is these reasons, with the exception of the one regarding personal disappointment, are not racist (ala ketuanan UMNO/MCA/MIC) but actually speak to root issues of common concern.

As a result of this dissatisfaction:
 3 ex PKR members are standing in Bukit Selambau as independents
 Hindraf is not supporting PKR’s campaign in Bukit Selambau
 PKR’s Jerai division has disbanded itself & Kalaivanar has thrown his support for BN
 Various commentators have condemned Hindraf & the PKR Kedah dissidents, with growing perception of Hindraf as an unworthy organisation with a agenda driven by racist or personal concerns

This conflict must be seen in the context of of PR’s growing list of problems & challenges (partly self inflicted, partly BN’s doing):
 Abortive takeover of Parliament & our perceived loss of the moral high ground
 Fall of Perak and PR’s subsequent tactical errors resulting in emotionally sensitive charges of derhaka and the attendant publicity
 Perception amongst rakyat (not just Hindraf) that PR has not been effective & efficient, that PRU 12 promises have not been kept
 Various scandals (real or engineered) surrounding PR personalities, accompanied by doubt’s about integrity of PR reps
 Lack of a coherent common vision accompanied by bouts of discord between & within PR component parties

Add to all that a perceived BN “resurgence” due to Mahathir’s return to a “united” UMNO, Samy Vellu’s “new mandate” at MIC, Najib’s repressive countermeasures and we may just be seeing the beginnings of a “perfect storm”.


B. What’s really at stake here

Superficially, at stake is the victory in Bukit Selambau as well as in Bukit Gantang & Batang Ai. However we must go below the surface, and acknowledge that even if we win all three, given the current situation as outlined above, this conflict within us will slow down the momentum of our movement, perhaps even allow BN to begin rolling back the clock to pre-PRU 12. To regain forward momentum, as well as to help build a strong foundation for our struggle, a careful consideration of the deeper root issues raised by this conflict is needed within PR. What’s really at stake here is our movement’s identity, vision, direction & indeed future viability. These issues, all which overlap with real Hindraf/PKR grouses identiified above, are:

 Vision & leadership
• What is our vision for all Malaysians?
• Is this vision a shared one? How do we create this consensus?
• What are our strategies & policies to achieve this vision?

 Values, Principles & Political Culture
• What are our values & principles?
• Are these values & principles practiced by our current leaders at all levels?
o Do we want feudal “warlords” as leaders who know everything & cannot be questioned & seem to seek personal interests? Are there old BN habits & paradigms that still infect us?
• Are we open, consultative, empowering, engaging & transparent?
• Do we play the politics of race, patronage, feudalism, cronyism & nepotism, backroom dealmaking, numbers, rewards for loyalty? In other words business as usual BN style?
• What is the true nature of the relationship between PR & rakyat?

 Delivery & execution
• How do we select & develop a truly representative cadre of leaders in such a way that no group feels left out?
• Do we select leaders by ability, or as a reward for loyalty? Do we place unfair standards of class, formal education or wealth?
• Is our leader selection process transparent, fair, where all have had a say in it and agreed the rules? Are there double standards?
• How have we delivered on our promises since 8/3/08? A lot was promised.
• Have we been fair & equitable or have we been busy fighting fires, living from crisis to crisis (some of our own making), & neglected to lead in the truest sense of the word?
• How do we work with marginalized groups who bear the brunt of BN’s failed policies? Takeovers of Parliament & long term political goals are all well & good but what do we do to ease their suffering here & now?

 Communication (most of the misunderstanding is really attributable to poor communication & engagement)
• How do we inform & educate stakeholders, understand & manage expectations, & get our message across?
• How do we work with multiple stakeholders, with common broad goals but diverse cultures & perspectives?
• How do we raise the level of political discourse beyond race & patronage?
• How do we work with the various groups who are at different levels of political maturity, thanks to our political monoculture of the last 50 years?
C. One Way Forward

The thing to do is to sit down together & share one’s thoughts & feelings openly. The main purpose of this meeting should be to find & develop a common vision, set of values, principles and goals that we truly share. When that is done, consider & address the dissatisfaction & disagreements that have been the cause.

I suggest that Tuan Guru Nik Aziz (probably the most respected leader in Malaysia) be the host or convenor. The leadership of both sides must come with open minds & most importantly open hearts. There can be no place for personal egos, posturing & rhetoric or trying to gain concessions ala BN’s old politics. All talks must be firmly based on mutual respect and objective truth that can be verified. If we only plaster over cracks by merely soothing tensions while ignoring the real issues, we are setting ourselves up for future disaster.

There will not be enough time to cover every detail, but there is enough to begin to repair the relationship. It may be too late to undo some mistakes if mistakes have been made. If both sides decide that we can work together, come out of that room together & share with all of Malaysia what you have just achieved. Make it crystal clear that no effort will be spared to achieve victory, make it plain that errors have acknowledged, bonds have been mended, wrongs have been set right and changes have been committed to. Then let us each do what we do best.


D. Final Thoughts

To PR: Most of Hindraf’s & PKR’s grouses seem to be real & most are based on one or more of the common issues stated above. Granted, 1 or 2 personalities seem to be pushing for personal gain & “reward”, but once the underlying grouses are addressed, those with personal interests in mind will be clearly identifiable & obvious to all. I disagree with Neil Khor & others who say that Hindraf has a “radical race based agenda” and I do not believe that there is any fundamental unbridgeable ideological difference between PR & Hindraf. With their leaders behind bars & the perception that we have forsaken them, what we are seeing is not a racial agenda ala UMNO/MCA/MIC but frustration over the issues raised, coupled with the vestiges of BN thinking & political paradigm. As I said before, old habits die hard. The right question to ask is how do we engage them? Let us start by acknowledging that some of us have been treating Hindraf as the Greeks treated Philoctetes, good enough to fight for us but not good enough to be in our company & to engage with fully. The day we start ignoring constitutents we will start becoming BN hoping to win based on a not BN USP. PR same as BN. However, under no circumstances must you compromise your non-sectarian agenda”.

To Hindraf & PKR dissidents: I won’t pretend that I understand the depth of your pain. But I will say this: the Chinese have a saying: “tong zhou gong ji” which means “when people are in the same boat, they should help each other”. Right now, except for the BNputras & their cronies, we are all in the same boat, and our boat is now leaking. If we do not help each other now, we will all sink together. So in this emergency with 8 days left it’s time to get our boat safely across. True, your community has been marginalized by BN and I won’t try to lessen or underestimate your suffering, but you must acknowledge that you are not the only one in pain. Poor Malays & orang asli still face conditions just as bad. I’m not asking you to sacrifice your principles or tolerate unfair dealing from anyone, PR included. Ask the tough questions and hold PR accountable for whatever they have promised. But at the same time be prepared to honestly reexamine Hindraf’s struggle. Do not be chained to old BN ways of thinking, and do not be afraid to think out of the box. Please take the opportunity to make your voice heard. The overwhelming perception out there is that some amongst you are seeking personal position or that you are only fighting for a narrow racist agenda. This is a golden opportunity to set the record straight. Supporting BN now will only harden & solidify the this negative perception.

Make no mistake, a vote for any of the independents or a even spoilt vote will be a vote for BN. It would be a real loss for all if people who have the same overall goals fail to work tohgether & hand victory to those who have been oppresing all of us these many years. And while you are considering your next course of action, do be aware of those in your midst whose may not have your best interests at heart.

May I also humbly remind you of Waythamoorthy’s words, that I believe ring so true today: “Many see Hindraf as an opportunity to gain leverage and dictate their own benefits. This is totally against our principles. Hindraf is you and me who are battling a war for better policies and governance for the Malaysian Indian as a society with equal and fair treatment as opposed to individual glamour and glory."

To both PR & Hindraf: Don’t let BN exploit this division by spreading more lies & confusion. Their MSM & blogs have already begun. We only help BN more when the tone of our discourse deteriorate to the level of provocations, threats & insults. To see that happen will be BN’s ultimate victory.

Let me be very clear - I voted for PR not to see 1 BN replaced by another. I did not vote for PR for special treatment for myself, my family or my race. I did not vote for PR to be their crony. I voted for PR for an end to corruption, cronyism, imbalanced development, mismanagement of national resources, authoritarianism, intitutionalised & societal racism. But I want a government that is more than just a mere negation of BN or “the lesser of 2 evils”. I want a government that is responsive, tolerant, respects the rakyat, transparent, fair & equitable, that promotes individual freedom & human rights. I strongly believe that these are the common bonds that unite us. Let us show that we can overcome conflicts, rediscover what really holds us together & emerge victorious together.

Lest we lose hope in our struggle, let us remember that in politics, conflict among partners is common, due to the political culture that is dominant. We need a new political culture & after 50 years, old habits die hard. Ever since 8/3/08 we have had to undergo a steep learning curve, and we cannot expect too much in 1 year & must not delude ourselves that all our leaders are all angels who will know instinctively what we the rakyat want. It is up to all of us to ensure that our leaders know what we want & to keep them on the straight path.

Now, what can we do as individuals about this. Consider carefully what is right, then communicate it to your family, friends, leaders. Get involved, for our future, the future of our country is too important to be left to chance, to in the hands of politicians.

Kenny Gan said...

Dear Malaysian,

You repeat all the lies and bad press about Manikumar's candidacy as if they are the gospel truth including his being a "crony" and involved in shady deals but why didn't you mention that Kalaivanar has 2 charges of swindling hanging over him which is a FACT?

Tell me what "reward" Hindraf leaders want for past work? Are they thinking of themselves or the Indian community?

Compare and contrast Hindraf's attitude and the likes of Kalaivanar with Nicholas Bawin of Batang Ai who is working hard for PKR's victory despite not being chosen as candidate. Now, that is a selfless individual who REALLY cares for his community instead of personal gain.

As an ethnocentic movement with a one race agenda, I'm not sure Hindraf has any role in PR's vision for a new Malaysia where multi-racialism is the way forward. Hindraf sees everything through an Indian lens and will hinder Malaysians breaking out of the racial prison that BN has created for Malaysia.

We can replace BN with racial parties each fighting for their own race and is that an improvement? Very soon, we'll end up with the same socio-economic problems that BN has created.

The way forward is to rid PR of self-serving leaders. Even if PR loses an election, being cleansed of such individuals who compromise the coalition's future is more important.

Anonymous said...

This guy must be the joker for the 1st quarter 2009. Vote for this joker, and become a joke yourself too.

Anonymous said...

Bravo!

This Ganesan is no Obama. he is a celup orang india.

Malaysian said...

Dear Kenny,

The lies & bad press about Manikumar are already out there. I wish they weren’t but they are. Whether or not we discuss it, others will. I believe it is better for us to expose them to the light of truth, debunk them & come out all the stronger from it.

I did not refer directly to Kalaivanar’s cheating charges & his & the others’ selfish interests directly, but did allude to them in my letter. By the way, I also did refer to the practice of “rewards” for loyal workers in a negative light.

My intention was (& is) to bring about engagement & dialogue between PR & Hindraf. Bringing up these charges up front gets people all defensive would have made real dialogue less likely. The process of dialogue then will address the real issues that Hindraf have brought up (let’s not delude ourselves that there are no real issues here) while exposing the cheats & selfish leaders. The reason for this “double standard” is that I believe that PR should be the adult & the “bigger person” here, being able to work with diverse stakeholders of various levels of political maturity, while never sacrificing our principles.

My hats off to Nicholas Bawin, & I wish all our leaders could be like that. But in a war, we have to work with all the allies that we can get, again without sacrificing our principles.

My main points are still that:
1) Hindraf is not necessarily a racist or ethnocentric organization. True, they fight for Malaysian Indian rights but do not insist on denying the rights of others ala BN. In other words, there is no fundamental ideological difference between us, therefore with the right engagement & development, they can add to our strength

2) Hindraf have been marginalized & oppressed all this while, and like all oppressed people, they have picked up the bad habits of their oppressors. They have been in a cave all this while, & now their eyes hurt when they suddenly see the bright light of truth. Their pain is such that some of them would rather go back into the cave of racial & ethnocentric politics. PR would be true to our principles & values by helping them develop to gradually see the light of our new multiracial politics. We can only do this by engagement, not by further isolating them.

I also believe that on our part, sound principled leadership early on could have prevented this conflict.

Hope I have made my thoughts clearer, & thanks for your comments.

Malaysian Heart

Anonymous said...

Sa 'NO!' to anti-Malay racist like this blog

Malaysia-Economic said...

Need to be clear in what area you are master in before you speak your DREAM to the public.

Don't let people laungh! If you cannot achieve what you promise.