Thursday, November 04, 2010

Implications of Galas & Batu Sapi By-Elections - Another Sad Story For Malaysia

I have called the two by-elections a let-down and a political trap for Malaysia. Key themes continued to emerge and took centre stage at the by-elections e.g. developmental politics, race, religion and personal attack.

There are a few implications for the people:

1) The continuation of master-servant mentality. Voters especially in rural/semi rural constituencies continue to accept a false reality that their future and well-being are dependent on the political masters. There is little awareness of the role of politicians, the relationship between politicians and voters and the election process as a democratic instrument for them to measure the effectiveness of politicians. Elections and their votes are taken as something they must give politicians in exchange for services and assistance.

2) Voters continue to believe that politicians especially in the ruling regime own the nation's resources. As a result, these voters feel obligated to vote for politicians who can deliver them the economic goods e.g. grants and development.

3) Politicians continue to manipulate national resources for their own political expediency. Some politicians actually believe that their party owns the national resources and as political masters they are eligible to use these resources to extend and expand their political interests.

4) Those who are aware and wanted a political reform will continue to stare at the symptoms of systemic decay in our democratic system. There is no indication that the ruling regime is interested to reform the system and accept more responsibility. They would prefer a distorted system in order to preserve power. There is zero indication too that the alternative coalition is ready to take a risk in a new system. It would not mind to compete with the ruling coalition on developmental politics if it has enough resources to match e.g. Galas (PAS government giving out land titles and zakat to Orang Asli). Without a political renewal there is hardly any possibility for this country to find enough political will to correct our internal weaknesses. All parties know that our economic competitiveness is slipping, our education system is decaying, our brains are moving out and our competitors are zipping pass us. But none can come out with a solid solution to rectify the crisis.

For Pakatan:

1) The defeats in Galas and Batu Sapi are indicative of the coalition weaknesses. It cannot continue to ride on the opposition weaknesses to win elections. Politics cannot be always about style but zero substance. Apart from pompous and entertaining speeches, the coalition should start to think how it can convince Malaysians of a new dawn which is better than what the current coalition can offer. How can it win in rural areas?

2) The coalition must be less superficial about its promise of 'change'. Rural folks would not be able to digest an abstract promise of 'change'. So far, the only change which Pakatan has promised is rather speculative - something it can only do after it has won power. How can this promise attracts voters to trust them? How can an abstract change be more powerful than developmental politics? At least the latter can be quantified e.g. money, low cost houses, rice, sarongs, etc.

3) If Galas and Batu Sapi defeats cannot keep Pakatan's leaders arrogance and ego in check then the future is bleak for a two-party system in Malaysia. The ruin of Pakatan will be filled by other forces. The coalition has at most 2 general elections to make a difference. This is the golden era of opposition politics in Malaysia. The combination of Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Nik Aziz is an attractive force. However, these leaders are nearing their decline and are aging. Nik Aziz is probably serving his last term as a chief minister and an iconic leader of PAS. What will PAS become post Nik Aziz? Kit is a giant amongst parliamentarians. Kit is DAP and DAP is Kit. Can DAP command the same respect and support from the Chinese community and urban professionals after the era of Kit Siang? What is PKR without Anwar? These are key issues which must be thoroughly explored by the parties.

For BN:

1) The victories in Galas and Batu Sapi cannot be seen as a yardstick to measure its political comeback nationally. BN must not allow the victories to cloud the need to commit to real political, social and economic reforms. BN may become another Thairak Thai Party if it does not pursue these reforms - only supported by rural/semi rural folks.

2) On political reform, the Umno led BN cannot continue to perpetuate race politics and neglect the 40% population in the country. Umno is leading the coalition in a semi-feudal mode. Mahathir is right that a democratic leadership cannot function in the BN model. Moderate leaders cannot survive within the political structure of Umno. That is why Abdullah Badawi was rattled and knocked out when he lost his balance after his failed attempts at reforms. Mahathir is calling for dictatorship ala China. Sadly, Mahathir does not understand the political and economic systems of mainland China. In China, provinces are given wide autonomy to compete economically and for investments. Provinces have their freedom to pass legislations and enforce them. Most of them get to keep more than 20 percent of their revenues. There is a greater focus on less developed regions compared to Malaysia (where 60% of total budget is allocated to Greater KL). China has a law to safeguard the interests of minorities in education, civil service and cultural preservation. Malaysia focuses on the majority and continues to taunt and blame the minorities for the lack of success of the majority.

3) BN needs to take up a clearer direction for the country. During Mahathir, he was trying to Arabrized the Malay community. He told the nation to look East at the economic and industrial prowess of Japan. He was immersed with the superiority of Western culture and horse riding. Now, he asked the administration to adopt the Beijing Consensus. Malaysia needs its own direction by understanding its unique strengths and social and natural values. Malaysia's strength is in its social diversity. Yes, Malaysia is truly Asia. Unfortunately, apart from appearing as a jingle in tourism advertisement the government has failed to incorporate and promote our diversity in governance and national policy formulation. Non-Umno political parties in BN should shoot themselves in the head if they missed this opportunity to persuade or even force Umno to move BN to the centre and become more accommodative. Their failure to push BN to adopt real multiracialism is partly due to the nexus between politics and business. Most political parties wanted to keep their rice bowl and dare not offend Umno which they are dependent on for contracts, grants, positions in government and agencies etc. Without a political reform, the victories at Galas and Batu Sapi cannot help BN to win the urban votes. Only the mentally shallow would think that 1Malaysia is so magical. It is but just an empty slogan and directionless. Why can't Najib on CNN admit that this government just need to care for the poor and bottom 40% regardless of race in the new affirmative action? NEP benefits the capitalists and elites more than the poor.

4) Galas & Batu Sapi victories would not help to free us from the economic trap. Malaysia problem is a lack of competitiveness. We do not have the required brains, manpower and skills to attract significant and meaningful investment such as Microsoft, Apple, Oracle etc. Most of the investments are oil & gas related, property development, infrastructure development etc. Most critical components (design, R&D & engineering) are not provided by locals but foreign expertise and companies. There is little indication of technology transfer. Imagine Proton is still living on old designs from Mitshubishi. Umno fixation with race supremacy, Bumiputera rights over privileges, false conviction that Malays cannot compete without handicap and Malaysia is the centre of the universe is going to ensure that we stay in the same economic dump for a long time. Wonder why some of the mega projects implemented here fell short of global standards? Wonder why the LRT trains run like a KTM classic train? LRT cannot be compared to MRT or MTR? It is because Umno has never initiate something for the goodness of the people but merely to allow its cronies to make a bundle from these projects. Like any profit driven companies, who would not want to maximize profits at the expense of gullible and unenlightened consumers?

5) There is also a social trap which is holding up the rest of the nation. Mahathir had admitted that Chinese Malaysians were more superior. When a government holds back its best citizens, the country is moving at snail pace. It should allow its best people to compete freely and focus on helping the less privilege ones to catch up. Wonder why the government has never had a grand plan to help the SMEs the way they did for regional corridors? Most of these SMEs are not owned by Bumiputeras but yet they are the most important component of an economy. Most of them are entrepreneurial, energetic, nimble and can be energized to move the economy quickly. Instead of engineering an animosity between Malays and Chinese in the private sector, the government should help the two communities to work together and share their experience. Without any concrete and conscious step to eliminate this trap, Malaysia will continue to lose brains. Talent Corp will die a premature death together with our RM500 million allocated to it. Brains need a good intellectual and innovative environment to come back to and not free visa for foreign spouse or tax free cars.

Galas & Batu Sapi did not alter any part of our sad story. With the social, economic and political traps, the elections will only serve as venues for politicians to satisfy their ego and lust for power and fame. Whoever wins would not help to change the fate of this country.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Politic is about resources.
PAKATAN control states better start thinking about it.
Nothing can be done without the resources.
Or else forget about Putra Jaya. Lim G.E, Khalid Ibrahim, TGNA and MB Kedah and rest of PAKATAN leadership, don't tell us you do not know about this!
The abused of nation resources by the power that is the single factor that allow them to remain in power. Nothing else! So lets not be a pretender and wake up! or else stop fighting another day. Who has the power in the PAKATAN ruling state.
Poor thy UMNO neighbour-the clock is ticking and very soon we will be in NAJIB's basket. Rest my case.

Anonymous said...

I agreed 100% with you.. especially point no. 1 and no. 2 for Pakatan - imam

Anonymous said...

Khoo, it's now clear to us all that you do have the vision and the passion to build a better nation Malaysia by your deep thoughts in writing up the 2 by-elections.The sad fact is that many of our countrymen are not intelligent enough to see the bigger picture,they are enslaved by pretentiuos intentions and sweet talks.No wonder BN can go on warlording the nation after 50 years.PR is NOT aggressive enough to push for changes as every issue is half-chased only,and they are merely reacting towards BN's weaknesses all the time as rightly pointed out by you.PR should START acting to lead the country by initiating tangible reforms for betterment of nation even if it means loss of jobs/titles for some MPs.Keeping quiet keeping the job is surely losing the pakatan.So far only 10% of PR MPs have been actively engaging with BN,90% are either on autopilot or asleep.How do expect the rakyat to be charmed by your inaction,indifference,inavailability?I'm surprised Khoo you need to tell PR what to do.

Anonymous said...

PR is all talk & no actions while BN is all wrong actions & no talk with the citizens!

Edmund Lau said...

Very good analysis. The strength and effectiveness of a democracy is only as good as the intelligence of the electorate. It'll be some time before we see a little more intelligence and maturity among the rural voters.

However, this may be a much-needed wake-up call to PR to get their houses in order. After all, with these two wins, BN will almost definitely be moving its entire machinery to prepare for the GE.

Anonymous said...

Datuk Dr.Khoo,

Your nominal fetting of dr.Evil has me concerned as to where you stand, though it is clear you do not appreciate APARTHEID as well. It is best that you unambiguously explore dr.Evil's effect on Malaysia sometime and not mention him in such neutral tones as you do here.

He has continued apartheid and set up continuation of apartheid via his UMNO racists and BN party lapdogs, has been nepotistic, written abusive and predatory laws that have yet been overturned or mentioned even by Pakatan itself.

This duplicity will be tolerated by less discerning readers as your personal ethos and intelligence mean something to all of us who value civilisation, however the logos of what you propagate here will see the less aware Rakyat in no better a state or near to the end of apartheid or inclination towards action.

Merely preying off and confounding our citizens' seeking of leadership while content to keep mid level readers enthralled with this directionless sophistry and stagnation. Displays your This ambivalence and own shifting loyalties to the current trend, sets a *bad example* of WHAT and HOW TO THINK.

Your articles thus are dangerously veering towards meaningless spin and wastage of the mental energies of citizens, which could better put themselves to their own citizen actions than being used for the normalization of dr.Evil.

Kit is NOT DAP and DAP is NOT Kit. DAP commands the same derision and non-support from the Chinese community and urban professionals due to NEPOTISM and OLIGARCHY. You cannot be blind to that or put a spin on it.

By the company one keeps, one states what one's intentions towards others are. This is not 'Straight Talk' you have been giving us, but a rather questionable agenda playing all sides.

"Whoever wins did nothing to change to the fate of this country."

Then make that change yourself! Arm chair politicans and bloggers are a dime a dozen, and most of us lack the ethos to carry off a proper 3rd Force. When will you act and organize? Will you be open to free discussion and a non-cadre based party format if you even intend to set up a formal '3 Force Green Party'?

Ending on a fatalistic note does not help, but let us say for now it is your wisdom and age that speaks. Some straighter talk and more positivity towards the end of APARTHEID sometime please, even as you have yet formalized a party?

Your Third Force facebook group is a very slow rolling snowball that will not bring an avalanche of votes, could you please take charge of what you created rather than be content to 'collect members'? Participate in some of the discussions?

Your concerned citizen,

AgreeToDisagree

Try endorsing the below 3 items in your next article as well, perhaps use the 3 as the party 'Mission Statement' :

1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.

URBAN VOTER said...

The fact is majority of the voting constituencies are rural and knowing very well what the rural folks want,BN has applied the right strategies(promise of grants,development projects,monetary handouts).So PR must think seriously about such facts.
But then again what can PR do(due to the fact that they are disadvantaged financially).Can the PR MP & ADUN make sacrifise part of their emolutions towards a fund set-up for running campaigns in the rural areas to make awareness of the need for reforms? If not,if you just depend on the urban votes,it is not going to put you in Putrajaya in the coming GE.
For those states currently under PR administration,more of the state income should be spent on rural areas to convince the folks that the PR govt can also bring them development for their benefits.

Anonymous said...

The loss of the two by-elections by Pakatan is an eye-opener. They should learn from their mistakes and try harder. To begin with, they should not be too optimistic. Focus on GE13. Your aim to capture Parliamen is not easy. Remember the ruling party have a huge 'war chest' and they can use them as a 'secret' weapon against any oponent.

Khoo Kay Peng said...

Anon 9.50am,

I am not THE Tan Sri Dato' Dr Khoo Kay Peng. Please take note.

Anonymous said...

Malaysia does not even have competent bus drivers.

Mahatir thought he knew China by what he knew about his own understanding of communism.

How I wish communism has succeeded had it been more pragmatic. It would be more humanistic than our present day capitalism.

Anonymous said...

Khoo,
The results of the by-elections shows that
1)The majority of people in Malaysia is still gullible to money politics (cash or promised developments.BN knows and thats why they always splash millions in cash or promised developments! PR have no answers and fail miserably here.
2)PR did not study the 'ground' in Sabah well enough and went in blindly.What type of electorate they are facing.If the odds are against them,step aside instead of a humiliating defeat of more than 5000 votes!
My friend, who will be migrating with his family soon have this to say.
"Sorry mate,good luck to you"

Anonymous said...

It makes no difference whoever won the by election a little here and a little there.
You need a total victory to see the changes.

What can opposition do if the FORCES is not with them ? Who is looking at your complaints and where is the report ? DUSTBIN.

Are not we too familiar with all cases closed due to not enough evidence ( what eveidence they are talking about ?).

Day aftre day , we hear someone demands apology , million dollar defamation legal case , royal commission , disclosure of misappropriate funds and in the end Abuk pun Tak ada.

Even porn leader hailed as the race saviour So it does not excite us anymore who is who winning the buy-election , all we need is the total OVERHAUL OF THE SYSTEM.

If the results of the 13th GE still favour the Undesirable then
God Bless and it's better stay home listening to oldies like All I Have to do is Dream , Do you know where you going to ( Grave ?) , Silly Jokes , Let me go and the list goes on if you have anything to add....

Just As I am.

Anonymous said...

Opposition can forget about Putra Jaya cos if any result to come by there is NO SWEET SURRRENDER.

The only thing they can serve is to become strong opposition to Delay the Bankcrupcy of the nation's resources and further corrosion of the justice..

I saw the sign..

Anonymous said...

Good take on the issue. Just want to say that the two opposing candidates are tainted with a lot of dirt especially Yong Teck Lee. Good choice of candidates is vital.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like hypocrite. If BN wins you blame this on the stupidity of voters. If PR wins, you see this as the hope of Malaysia. Please don't insult the voters. This the the product of democracy. Democracy mean choice of majority even though it may not be your choice. If you want them to pick your choice, convince them by reasoning, explaining, campaigning or though some said bribing. Whatever the way, the voter is the boss, if they think bribing is alright, you still cannot insult them but to educate them.

arbee said...

There's a book called Creativity in Business. Try to read it. Inside you will find some facts which are uncommon amongst common people. This book is good for politicians as well. The key word to become high Achievers is "SURRENDER" but not by putting up your hands and say "I give up". Here surrender means like this: if you have a project to do, don't strive to a specific target. Just focus on the project needs and let the Higher Power decide where it will end. Keep focused, that's the KEY to success; not the other way round - work to achieve a specific objective. That is wrong. Pakatan should not have a target to win Putra Jaya but to do what you are supposed to do (as politicians-wakil rakyat), i.e. work for the people and be focused on that - you will soon find the route to PJ I am sure of that.

Anonymous said...

I wish the Malaysians all the best. I just don't know when they will wake up. Its a sad day for malaysia. I don't even feel like celebrating Deepavali. what the point calling it a day of light. When it is darkness have covered Galas and Batu sapi. For Tok Guru Nik Aziz Allah power works no more, it is money is more power than Allah. Sorry Tok Guru.

Anonymous said...

Khoo,
Dun be so sad losing the 2 by-elections.It was expected becoz these are semi-rural seats like Ulu Selangor.BN have a very big advantage over PR like money, money and more money.

The only level playing field are the urban areas where voters make informed intelligent choices based on national issues and not be sway by developmental issues.

Dun get stressed becoz the voters in these locations deserve the representatives they have chosen.One a housewife who bearly can speak proper BM or English and the other with only a Form 5 qualification.These places dun need lawyers and doctors to be their ADUN or MP.They are overqualified.

These are small battles and not the whole war. Defeat in small battles are common and acceptable, as long as they dun suffer great losses and the Generals learn from their mistakes.

Remember the overall score now is 8-5 in favour of PR. Keep the chin up and there's a brighter and righter tomorrow. BN have not change a single bit from 2008 and will have many cock-ups in the future to make the rakyat hate them. They are programmed to self-explode. Be positive.

Anonymous said...

These 2 by-elections is like placing garlands stringed from 100 ringgit bills on the neck of a dying dinosaur.
It smiles what what good does it do to its life.

BN can only garner votes from the poor, ill-informed, illiterate, gullible, fearful and stupid voters.

But what happens to the country?

Demokrat said...

People choice maaa... they have thier right.. they already did... who want to denied? Sad? its on your side... but nor to the others. Demokrasi maa...

Anonymous said...

Malaysia is going to the dumps, no two ways about it.

Anonymous said...

Ok allow me to say a few things,

A few years ago, back in 2001 I packed up my family and headed to Auckland, NZ. It was tough at first, relocating to a new place. My son who was 8 then had to re-adjust and make new friends at a new school in a new environment. I had to get to know my new work mates at work etc etc. It was tough settling in as we had to do everything at once finding a new apartment, new school, etc etc etc.

But today, after 9 years I must say I made the right decision to leave. My wife and son loves the place. They have made new friends and have nicely settled in the community. Work wise, life has been good to me.

Last year, we finally bought our own place, a house 20 minutes drive from Auckland. The scenery is amazing and coupled with the land size, 11,000 sq ft we are very happily settled.

We will be giving up our Malaysian citizenship next year as I dont see the point of maintaining it. Plus giving it up means we can withdraw all our balances in our EPF accounts. may as well take it out now than wait for it to go bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

Just recieved from buddy:-
Johari Ghani, head of Titiwangsa UMNO said "we don't need Chinese and Indian to win the election."
And to all the Chinese and Indian who are not needed, please do not let this type of racist bastard getoff freely from labeling us as unimportant and not needed.
He is the Managing Director of C.I Holdings Bhd (Pemanis) who distribute drinks like
Pepsi,

Twister,

Revive,

Kickapoo,

Chill,

7-up and boss coffee among others.

Lets boycott these products. Let’s show him that we CHINESE AND INDIAN are very important and
much needed here in Malaysia, our Malaysia.

Watch this arsehole shoots his shit:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMND_59OkKU

Anonymous said...

2 swallows do not a summer make
After 12 bye elections,
BN is finally smiling
from ear to ear;
Even the PM jumps off from the hospital bed

Foreign Indian actor and American actress came to help
in this attempt to pull wool over the people's eyes
But only the local Pahlawan, Ku Li stands out as the most outstanding actor on a stage so shaky, sully, and sullen.

Good luck to the winners and even better luck to the winners of the coming 13GE.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:47, this again prove that non Malay are like parasite which show no loyalty. They cannot share the hardship together and willing to jump ship whenever possible.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5.38pm,

You can call me parasite or anything. The truth of the matter is that you are a racist and live in a 3rd world country. Soon, when Malaysia goes bankrupt, you will must likely be working as a contract worker in Vietnam.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:28, you are indeed the true parasite. Why not give up your citizenship in 2001? Why only give up when you think you have settle down? This is because if things doesn't turn out well on you, you will come back to Malaysia as you have no where else to go. This is the mentality for non Malay generally.

uno said...

Your article is very interesting. I can make reference to the article which I will write