Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MCA's 'White' Chinese New Year

MCA arranged and Perkasa nailed it! Compulsive attention seeker, Ibrahim Ali, and his gang of senseless and at times comical Perkasa members had caused another ruckus. This time, they had forked out almost RM10k only to court another controversy because the money was distributed in white envelopes. Netizens had criticized the act as an insult to the Chinese because the only time a white envelope is used is during bereavement.

MCA Seputeh division committee member Collin Tiew, who had arranged for more than 50 people to attend the Perkasa's CNY open house, claimed that he was victimized after he was criticized for playing a part in the Perkasa's event.

Tiew claimed that he did not know Ibrahim Ali before the event was surprisingly asked to help translate Ibrahim's speech during the event. Tiew said he was upset with the white packet but did nothing to advice or stop Ibrahim Ali from distributing them during the event.

Yes, unbelievable! My experience of working with so many politicians told me that a lack of integrity is common.

This incident is another proof that MCA has lost the plot. The party has been on the offensive against Dap for working with Pas to install an Islamic nation but the party has no qualm working with the racist and ultra Perkasa.

Perkasa's stand on a number of issues which included wild and baseless allegations against the Chinese community and Christians has angered many people, especially the Chinese community but MCA which has been vocal against Pas and the latter's ambition to install the Hudud law did not find anything wrong working with Perkasa.

The party has been critical against Dap working with Pas in Pakatan but has largely kept very quiet when sections of UMNO and Pas have been mooting a unification of the Malay political forces. If MCA is wary of Pas, it should have reacted with the same contempt against UMNO's intention to work with Pas. Can MCA assure us that the UMNO-Pas partnership does not have an Islamic state ambition and Hudud will not be implemented?

What MCA needed is consistency and a political backbone if the party is serious of rebounding as a political force to be reckoned with. Playing with the fear of the community against the Hudud law is ill conceived and poorly executed.

Hudud does not hurt the innocents. We are being badly affected by immense corruption, racist and ultra politicians, journalists and academics which have no qualm or respect for Malaysia's multiracial society and fabric.

If MCA truly represents the Chinese community, it should have gone down to the ground to listen to the community grouses, fear and needs and not trying to play with communal and religious fire. It should be brave enough to tell those unscrupulous politicians in its coalition to stop abuse of power, corruption and poor governance.

An MCA trying to instill fear to push the community to vote them may eventually face the full brunt for its own lack of political acumen. Who cares if MCA ended up with no representation in the government if the party is good for nothing? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Star Has Caught The Mahathir Bug?

Just when we thought that it was ridiculous enough to read Mahathir's illogical suggestion about Muslims should take up 'swearing' instead of suing on The Malaysian Insider, another mainstream newspaper The Star is trying to outdo the ex-premier with another piece of trash reporting.

The newspaper suggested that Penang CM Lim Guan Eng's new hairdo was bad fengshui. Star reported "Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng attracted attention last October when he sported a lighter brown hairdo with bangs but the new-look seemed to coincide with a spate of bad luck for the DAP secretary-general."

It went on to suggest that "Lim went back to his trademark Brylcreem-look and things seem to have improved for him."

Its journalist Joceline Tan was the first columnist to have commented on Lim's new hairdo. It is not clear if the article was contributed by her. What is certain is this is a piece of poor journalism which degrades the level of professional and ethical journalism which we would like to see being upheld by mainstream newspapers in the country.

In a situation where most of the mainstream newspapers are being ridiculed as mouth pieces of their politically linked bosses, The Star should show a good example by dedicating its editorial space to important and serious public discourse on multifarious economic, social and political issues griping this country. 

It should lead the way to promote healthy and intellectual debate and analysis on solutions, policies and good governance which will eventually benefit the country.

I am not defending the Dap leader but I am taking a stand against an abuse of editorial rights of editors and journalists who misuse their position to write and publish useless and sensational articles when many more serious contributors could only dream of being given similar access and space to share their views and opinions on a national newspaper. 

This article is not going to help our plea to get politicians, commentators and observers to stay away from personal attacks, sensationalism and false accusations.

Now, do you still wonder why there are so much crap on the mainstream media? Can we get on to some serious business, please? 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When Can MCA Stop Flogging a Dead Horse?

MCA must have conducted and organized more than a dozen talks, media interviews and dinners on the Hudud issue.

Recently, its president Dr Chua Soi Lek warned the Chinese against supporting Pakatan Rakyat because "It is obvious that PAS is going to be the dominant party" which is committed to implement Islamic and hudud law in this country.

Dr Chua said the two-party system propagated by DAP would turn into a “two-race system”. He added "iIf all the Chinese support the Opposition, there would be a loss in their representation in the Govern­ment.” 

I have a few last reminders and questions for Dr Chua:
  1. When can his party stop flogging a dead horse? Ex-MCA strongman, Lee Hwa Beng, was right to note in his Twitter post that why would anyone fear PAS' Islamic ambition or Hudud when the party has expelled the recalcitrant Dr Hasan Ali. The only ones defending him now are UMNO leaders. PAS has demonstrated its commitment towards democracy and the middle path. Its welfare state agenda should be welcomed as a noble initiative to narrow the gap between the haves and haves-not in the country.
  2. Chua's continuously using the Hudud issue to threaten and to scare the Chinese into voting for the Barisan Nasional and his party is not going work. Chinese voters know how to do the math. They know that they are the king makers within the competitive Malay political contestation. Can MCA win back voters' confidence by invoking and stroking fear instead of promoting confidence and hope? 
  3. If all Chinese voters supported the Opposition, the latter will become the next government with adequate Chinese representation. It appears that the MCA president is now worried about his wager with the community. He has promised not to take up any ministerial positions if MCA losses badly or perform worse than 2008. This has become a possible reality since the party is still lost in transition.
  4. Does Chua realize that his flirting with the Hudud and Islamic state issue may eventually backfire on his own party? Since the party has lost the support of more than 70% Chinese voters, it has to defend and secure its Malay support (thanks to the patronage of UMNO) in order to retain most the seats it won in 2008. To the Malay Muslim, Islam is revered and embraced. Hudud is part of the Islamic syariah law and is embraced a part of Muslim life and code of conduct. 
Chua should not pour cold water on the nascent two-coalition system. It is viable and good for the country. MCA should focus on its troubling relationship within the race based Barisan Nasional coalition. Despite a lack of action, the discourse and political language within Pakatan Rakyat gives voters and Malaysians a better hope of true unity and mutual respect for all creed and race. 

As a proponent of two-party system, I sincerely hope MCA find its way and lead a real reform within Barisan Nasional. To do so, it has to be able to moderate, cajole and persuade UMNO to accept certain terms which are beneficial to the nation such as embracing meritocracy, respect all citizens as equals and formulate policies according to needs and not race.

Mind Your Language & Mindef

The Star has done a fabulous job for highlighting amusing English translation on several government websites. Mindef has responded by blaming it on the Google Translate rather than the ineptness and sloppiness of its own web administrators and content writers.

The ministry's website had published translations such as “clothes that poke eye”, a literal translation of pakaian yang menjolok mata, which in actual fact means revealing clothes in Bahasa Malaysia.

Others included “collared shirts and tight Malay civet berbutang three”, which, in Malay, is berkolar baju Melayu cekak musang berbutang tiga.

Another was the brief summary of the ministry's history on the website, which read: “After the withdrawal of British army, the Malaysian Government take drastic measures to increase the level of any national security threat”.

Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should learn quickly that not everything can be 'automated'. Language is not one of them. The minister should review his ministry's recruitment process and employ those who are really proficient in the English language or the very least employ those who can show some initiative to do any task right.

Yes, this is very embarrassing not only to Mindef but also to the government. 

Monday, January 09, 2012

Anwar Ibrahim's Acquittal and Politics in Malaysia

This is my first blog post since my year end holiday break. I was interviewed by both our local media and the Australian radio network on the Anwar's case and acquittal. It was a pleasant surprise for all of us. I had expected him to be found guilty but released on bail pending an appeal.

However, I did maintain in my radio interview (an hour before the verdict) that Anwar should be acquitted if the case is purely judged on the content and reliability of evidence tendered by the complainant and the prosecution.

As a Malaysian, we should take cognizance of this sodomy saga as a lesson for the nation. I was asked if the ruling regime is set to restore its image as pro-reform with the acquittal. I said there are better ways to strengthen its reform agenda and credentials rather than doing it this way.

Anwar's sodomy trail II was marred with too many political conspiracy and interference from the start. The trial process was tainted by possible political manipulation and interference. The 'victim's' choice of action was too suspicious. If it was a matter of personal honour, the alleged victim would have gone straight to the police and not running to the Prime Minister!

I hope that the ruling regime, Barisan Nasional, has learned a painful lesson too for being too eager to cast a destruction on Anwar Ibrahim. It is obvious that the verdict did nothing to benefit the coalition. It is not overboard to say that Barisan's image has been further tarnished and soiled by Saiful, the complainant.

As a voter, I sincerely hope the two coalitions shall now focus their competition on pure policy issues and good governance. I know this is a tall order and a miracle if it happens. But miracle can happen and it was proven today at the Anwar's sodomy trial.

It is time for whoever aspire to govern and lead the country to focus on what they can do for the people and not washing dirty linen in the public.

However, I expect personal attacks to continue because there are still a number of cases which have not found any viable closure yet and they are as hot and lucid as this one.

God help Malaysians!