GE14 : As The Dust Settles

 

malaysia-img

The Malaysian Coat-of-Arms, The Jalur Gemilang (National Flag), and the Bunga Raya (or Hibiscus, The National Flower) (source : malaysia.gov.my)

The general elections GE14 has come and gone, and as the dust begins to settle, it is obvious that this edition of the general elections is not a typical general election, as like what Malaysians were used to in the past.

The 14th General Elections (GE14) pitted two coalitions, Barisan Nasional (BN) headed by a sitting Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak, the 6th  Prime Minister of Malaysia, with the other coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) headed by an ex-Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia.

mahathir (malaymailonline)

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (photo credit : malaymailonline.com.my)

Some may consider that as not something new nor strange but throw in the fact that the sitting Dato’ Sri Najib is 64 years of age and the ex-Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, is 93 years of age, then it does set you back a bit.

It gets even weirder when it emerges that the 4th Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, was the head of the coalition that the 6th Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib, is now heading.

The weird stuff does not end there.

The father of the 6th Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib, was the 2nd Prime Minister of Malaysia ie Tun Abdul Razak, and it was Tun Abdul Razak, that brought the 4th Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, into the party ie United Malays National Organization (UMNO) AFTER the 1st Prime Minister of Malaysia ie Tunku Abdul Rahman had Dr Mahathir (as he was known then) expelled from UMNO.

najib wikipedia

Dato’ Sri Mohamad Najib Tun Abdul Razak (photo credit : wikipedia)

Back to the present, for one reason or another, the two ie Tun Mahathir and Dato’ Sri Najib, had a major falling out (over issues that have been speculated many a times in the public domain) and Tun Mahathir quit UMNO, as he had done when he had a falling out with his successor, the 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (over the same issues, it has been speculated).

May 9th was the date chosen as the day when 14,806,185 registered Malaysian voters would take to the polls to decide on who will steer the Federal government for the next five (5) years and by 5 pm on the same day, 82.32% of the electorate had casted their votes.

As the counting of the votes casted went into the night, it became apparent that a change of government at both state and Federal levels became more of a possibility rather than a probability.

20150418_165229 (1)

The Prime Minister’s Office, Putrajaya. (photo credit : Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved)

By the time the Election Commission announced the complete official results of the polls the following day, it was more of a confirmation rather than an announcement as by then, it was a given that the coalition headed by Tun Mahathir had won a majority and with it, the right to form the Federal government for the next five (5) years (2018-2023).

At 92 years of age, Tun Mahathir, who was the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia having held high office for 22 years from 1981 til 2003, is also the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia, after being sworn in before His Majesty The King, on Thursday, the 10th of May 2018 at 9.30pm at the Istana Negara.

And with the signing of the instrument of office as Prime Minister, a new chapter in the political history of Malaysia began.

Revisiting the polls that had just taken place, a glance of the results showed that the coalition led by Tun Mahathir, Pakatan Harapan, won 113 seats out of 222 seats in the 14th Malaysian parliament, with BN having won only 79 seats, the Islamist party PAS 18 seats, the Sabah-based state-centric party Warisan with 8 seats complemented by Independents.

The numbers could change even further as some newly minted MPs may decide to switch camps and join the victors of GE14. After all, everybody loves a winner, they say.

It is also apparent that GE14 was not about electing a government but rather, it turned out to be a referendum on Dato’ Sri Najib himself.

As polling went on, BN candidates discovered that their service track records in their respective constituencies as well as their performance as elected representatives count for nought as the voters went for the Pakatan Harapan candidates in droves, irrespective whether they are ‘nomad’ candidates, ‘parachute’ candidates, ‘new and inexperienced’ candidates, etc etc.

Reading into the election results, it is clear that Dato’ Sri Najib had been given the thumbs down by the electorate.

Dato’ Sri Najib may have retained his parliamentary seat but the fact of the matter is that, he, as the chairman of BN, had lost the elections and to make it worse, it cannot be denied that the accusatory fingers are pointing his way as the main cause of Barisan Nasional’s defeat.

umno flag

The UMNO Flag

The defeat of BN and UMNO at the 14th general elections have several repercussions, some more severe than others, amongst otheres :-

  • Dato’ Sri Najib, as the president of UMNO, has to shoulder the responsibility of defeat and therefore, honourably step aside from the mantle of president of UMNO, and in effect, from the chairmanship of Barisan Nasional (BN) as well. They say it never nice to hit a man when he is down but by stepping aside, Dato’ Sri Najib will do the only thing that he can do under the circumstances and in so doing, does it with honour.
  • UMNO can expect large numbers of its members having a change of heart and subsequently, in their allegiance vis-a-vis UMNO, as UMNO is no more in position to offer anything to its members. Especially those from the business-minded community. However, this expected development will be to UMNO’s advantage as it can then trim itself of fair-weathered members and as such, have a more committed party as compared to before.
  • The next five years til the next general elections GE15, will provide UMNO with the opportunity to re-invent itself. A return to the basics, as it were, where the idealism behind the formation of UMNO ie the philosophy of UMNO – what it means and what it entails, can take centre stage again. With the party elections due any time soon, it provides a very opportune moment for the party to regroup and transform itself.

In the meantime, it will be very interesting to look forward to the next few months and developments with respect to institutions and agencies like MARA, the Royal Malaysian Police, the Armed Forces, the Royal Malay Regiments, Tabung Haji, Permodalan Nasional, Khazanah Nasional, Telekom Malaysia, Petronas, PUNB, MACC, AG Chambers as well as to the different government organs eg the Finance, Trade, Home, Defence ministries, amongst others.

The dust may have settled on GE14 but how the future unfolds is still anyone’s guess.

 

 

Advertisements

GE14 : Destiny & Expectations

 

31306914_10156437392025555_7283242013971972096_n (bernama.com)

photo credit : bernama.com

 

April 28th 2018 is the date fixed by the Elections Commission (EC) as Nomination Day for GE14.

It is the day when some would describe themselves as being the ‘lucky’ ones as they take the next step in what can be described as their political destiny and contest the elections at GE14.

It is also the day tinged with sadness for some, as they make way, either voluntarily or otherwise, happily or unhappily, to new faces who shall then face the electorate and be adjudged of their worthiness to be called ‘YB’ or ‘Yang Berhormat’.

 

PH07_270418_PRU14

Preparations underway at the Pekan parliamentary constituency nomination centre. (photo credit : bernama.com)

 

It is also the day when some bridges are burnt when, disappointed at being dropped or not nominated as candidates by their respective parties, submit their nomination papers for candidacy as Independents, for both parliamentary and state seats. Some may even go further and be nominated for their rival party.

They say Hell knows no fury like a woman scorned. Well, in the case of politics, Hell knows no fury as a politician ignored. Regardless of gender I might add.

It sometimes makes one wonder to the state of mind of some of these personalities and ask the rationale behind their candidacy. After all, being an elected representative to the respective legislative assemblies, be it at state or Federal level, or in short, be called YB, is not a piece of cake.

Five years of hard work, of dedicated service to your constituents, of interrupted sleep and so much more, lies ahead and all of this in addition to your other responsibilities as family man, a husband etc.

After five years as a YB, you will then be judged, again, as to your suitability to continue as you were, either by your political masters OR the people whose vote shall decide your fate.

 

20180407MZ001(malaymail.com)

Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah, Chairman of the Elections Commission (EC). (photo credit : malaymail.com)

 

And that may not even the worst part. It is, when your continued service as an elected representative, may not at all be related to the level of services nor performance of yourself as a YB but rather to the rhetoric of the day, perceptions of you as a YB (justified or otherwise), and the pronouncements of social media (who may not even live in your constituency).

And there has been a lot of that going around nowadays in Malaysia. Anybody and everybody in Malaysia can tell you that.

But then again, we are talking about politics, and though we have to admit that some, their destiny is in the service to the body politics, to the community and the country, there are some who makes you wonder to the levels of ‘mischief’ and ‘dis-service’ these elected representatives can get up to.

And over the years, Malaysia has had its fair share.

 

AZA_7331 (thestar.com.my)

The party flags do lend a bit of gaiety to the whole election process. (photo credit : thestar.com.my)

 

The past week, Barisan Nasional (BN) has been announcing the approved list of candidates for both parliamentary and state seats. Note the key word ie ‘approved’.

To say that the vetting of all potential candidates of BN is exhaustive is an understatement, especially in this day and age where social media’s impact cannot at all be underestimated.

Top amongst the list of criteria, in addition to their individual level of performance as an elected representative, has been the individual qualities of the potential candidates, their experiences and whether these potential candidates has the ‘Likeable, Acceptable and Winnable’ factor about them (not only to the BN leadership but also to the BN machinery on the ground, the all-important electorate), as well as ‘OTHER ASPECTS’ of these potential candidates (which is open to interpretation, I might add).

 

IMG_20180429_110749 (1)

Party flags lining the road in a residential area. (photo credit : Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved)

 

As expected, there have been some ‘reactions’ to the announcements, some more indignant than others. Not so different compared to what has happened during the run-in in past general elections, to say the least, with some so indignant to being overlooked that they willingly and openly side with their political opponents and thus inviting disciplinary action to be taken against them by their own party.

To say that the reactions were unexpected is akin to saying that we don’t like cheesecakes. Nothing can be further from the truth as we do love cheesecakes. Most types, if not all that is.

But I digress.

Politics being politics, it should not come as surprise that these ‘Independent’ candidates would make a re-appearance in the next general elections, GE15.  Due to be held latest in 2023, this time re-appearing not as Independents but representatives of their new political masters.

Whoever that may be.

Nomination Day did spring a surprise here and there, totally unexpected and from left field. Top of the list is eg politician A from Party X filing candidacy papers to stand as candidate for Party Y, especially when there has not been any indication of such a thing happening.

 

IMG_20180429_110732 (1)

Party flags placed at strategic locations at a residential area. (photo credit : Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved)

 

Such ‘surprises’ can only result in disciplinary action being prescribed, which, most often than not, means expulsion from the party. It’s a given as it is not the first time it has happened and it definitely won’t be the last.

Once the process of filing nomination papers is done and dusted, the campaigning period kicks in. But mind you, that’s the official campaigning period for GE14, as it has been mentioned in earlier posts on GE14 that campaigning for GE14 began the day after GE13 was done and dusted, in one form or another.

And it safe to say, everybody and anybody can attest to that.

 

fakenews.transformed(nst.com.my)

photo credit : nst.com.my

 

Prior to the dissolution of the 13th Malaysian parliament, the Barisan Nasional-led Federal government tabled and got the Anti Fake News legislation approved by both the Houses of Parliament ie Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, presented for consent by His Majesty The King (or DYMM SPB Yang Di Pertuan Agung) and thereafter, gazetted into law.

Like any other country in the world, fake news have fast become an issue of very serious concern. Unsubstantiated allegations, character assassinations, slander and defamation, most of which done via online portals and social media eg Whatsapp, Telegramm, Facebook, Wechat et al has made the rounds and along the way, has undermined the very essence of society with provocations leading to anarchy, mistrust between communities of different religions and races, and distrust of official and legislated institutions of the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.

Faith and trust in the institutions of government and in the ties that bind the very fabric of society that is uniquely Malaysia’s were not built in a day but rather centuries. It is a commodity that is priceless, for it affords Malaysia the luxury of a peaceful existence with the freedom to practice one’s religious beliefs and honour one’s cultural heritage.

Unfortunately, in the pursuit of ‘freedom of the press’ and in the practice of ‘freedom of speech and expression’, the enactment of the Anti Fake News laws is being questioned and even ridiculed, so much so that it begs the question, should chaos and anarchy be the order of the day before good and common sense prevail? If so, at what cost?

 

20150418_171953 (1)

The Prime Minister’s Office Complex. (photo credit : Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved

 

So, as the official campaigning for GE14 kicks in officially, lets hope good and common sense prevails (hopefully, it’s not too late), and the electorate able to distinguish between whats real and whats fake.

Otherwise, Malaysia will really be in trouble. Serious trouble.

 

 

GE14 : And So It Begins

And so it begins.

Saturday April 7th will be the date the 13th Malaysian parliament is dissolved, with the mandate to govern the nation returned to the Rakyat, to elect representatives to 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat.

 

WhatsApp_Image_2018-04-06_at_12.23.09_PM.jpeg_1523007319 (1)

Live telecast by YAB The Prime Minister announcing the dissolution of the 13th Malaysian Parliament on the 7th April 2018, paving the way for the 14th general elections, GE14. (Photo credit : NST)

 

The Prime Minister’s announcement is expected to be reciprocated by announcements from the respective states’ Menteri Besar and Ketua Menteri, likewise pronouncing the dissolution of the respective state legislative assemblies bar Sarawak, who already had their state elections in 2016.

Protocol dictates that before the respective states’ Menteri Besar and Ketua Menteri can make similar pronouncements, consent has to be given by the respective states’ Sultans or Governors to the dissolution of the august houses.

 

31.Dewan_rakyat_seat_states_ONLINE.jpg_1522990810

The breakdown of seats up for grabs for GE14. (Photo credit : NST)

 

From the current political landscape, it would be a safe bet to say that the Barisan Nasional-administered states of Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah, Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka would have their respective state legislative assemblies dissolved in time to enable the abovementioned states to hold their state elections to coincide with the parliamentary elections.

The PAS-led state government of Kelantan has indicated that they too would follow suit, to time their state elections to coincide with the parliamentary elections.

At this moment in time, it remains to be seen whether the DAP-lead government of Penang and the PKR-led government of Selangor would follow suit.

However, should the state governments of Penang and Selangor not follow suit, it would then mean that the electorates of Selangor and Penang would effectively face two election processes within a space of a month or two, as the mandates of these states’ respective state legislative assemblies are due to expire on or about the same time as the 13th Malaysian Parliament.

And all this on top of the political fatigue that has already set in amongst the electorate.

All politics and no work make the electorate extremely tired, totally fed up and possibly, very, very angry and disillusioned.

Case in point, remember the British electorate? Two general elections and a (Brexit) referendum DID NOT sit down well at all with them, did it? Never mind, the local council elections and elections to the Euro Parliament due in 2019 (if the elections still applies to the United Kingdom by then).

Add talk of another referendum on the initial referendum (which led to Brexit), the powers that be will feel extremely lucky if the electorate deem the elections (and referendum) to be of any interest and worthy enough of their votes.

But back to sunny Malaysia.

 

The Dewan Rakyat

The Dewan Rakyat (Photo credit : malaysia.gov.my)

 

The battle lines for the 14th Malaysian Parliament have long been drawn, theatres of war clearly identified, and strategies and gameplans formulated, debated and refined many times EVERSINCE the conclusion of GE13.

From the moment the last votes from GE13 were counted and tabulated up to the moment the impending dissolution of the 13th Parliament was announced, making way for the election of the 14th Malaysian Parliament, many events had unfolded before our very eyes, which will, in all probability, give us all a preview of what the electorate can expect during the run up to GE14.

 

PMO

The prize – The Prime Minister’s Office, Putrajaya. (Photo credit : nachmeinemeinung , all rights reserved)

 

An event of high significance has to be the demise of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or as they like to be known as The Peoples’ Coalition. In plain language, Pakatan Rakyat is no more.

Well, if you are not a Selangorian that is. A bit confusing state of affairs in Selangor that, but generally speaking, Pakatan Rakyat is no more.

That coalition of strange bedfellows of DAP, PAS and PKR had come to their natural (and expected?) conclusion, bearing in mind the stark differences in  their political ideologies.

Ironically, the demise of Pakatan Rakyat can be attributed to the party that had worked so hard(?) to set up the coalition, namely PKR. Remember the farce of a telenovela, the ‘Kajang Move’?

Events unfolding thereafter saw a ‘bloodbath’ within PAS during the annual Muktamar (Annual General Meeting) when the so-called ‘moderates’(?) or was it the ‘progressives’(??) or was it the ‘professionals’ (???) were all left bloodied, by the wayside once results of PAS party elections were announced.

The party elections saw most, if not all, PAS MPs, State Assembymen and women, and members who identify more with the so-called ‘progressive leadership’ of PKR rather than the leadership of the President of PAS, relieved of their party positions.

This in turn led to the formation of Parti Amanah Nasional (PAN), more commonly known as AMANAH.  A bit ironic as AMANAH means TRUST, and trust is a commodity that does not come easy in politics, especially when you have been seen as a traitor to the party’s cause.

The demise of Pakatan Rakyat saw the birth of Pakatan Harapan (PH) or as the parties making up PH ie PKR, DAP and PAN (replacing PAS) would like to tell the electorate, The Coalition of Hope.

 

pakatan harapan logo (pakatanharapan.com.my)

The four-party coalition, Pakatan Harapan (Photo credit : pakatanharapan.com)

 

However, many would naughtily dub it as a Coalition of Hopefuls and even more naughtily, a Hopeful Coalition.

Completing the makeup of PH is Pribumi, a party primarily made up of ex UMNO members, which included a former Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir), a former Deputy Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin) and vocally supported by several former Ministers who served during Tun Dr Mahathir’s premiership (1981-2003), as well as his son, the former Kedah Chief Minister, Dato’ Seri Mukhriz, around whom many of the theories with regards to Tun Dr Mahathir’s animosity towards the Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib, have been focussed on.

PH would be focussed on upsetting Barisan Nasional, led by the Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Najib.

A coalition of thirteen (13) parties representing the many ethnic groups found in Malaysia, from Perlis up north to Johor in the south of the Peninsular to Sabah and Sarawak to the east, it comprises of UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan, myPPP, PBB, SUPP, LDP, UPKO, PBRS, PBS, PDP, and PRS, it was formed in 1973, replacing Perikatan, a coalition of UMNO, MCA and MIC.

 

bn (facebook)

Barisan Nasional – a coalition of 13 parties. (photo credit : Barisan Nasional Facebook)

 

Formed by Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, Barisan Nasional is an open book and its track record in administering the country, eversince winning the first ever national elections in 1955 during its Perikatan days and every single general election since then, is there for all to see, warts and all.

The exit of PAS from Pakatan Rakyat has enable PAS to regroup and re-focussed on what PAS is all about. PAS’ statements, when reaffirming their political struggles since its exit from Pakatan Rakyat has indicated as such.

 

pas logo

PAS (photo credit : wikipedia)

 

During GE13, PAS’ rank and file were instrumental in delivering votes to candidates broadly representing Pakatan Rakyat, regardless whether the candidate was from PAS or PKR or even DAP (loathed to, some may be). But they delivered.

But now with PAS out of Pakatan Rakyat, it remains to be seen whether the new coalition of hopefuls will garner the same number of seats as they did when PAS was with them. For one thing is certain, PAS never had any no shortage of candidates and will contest the elections for the maximum number of seats that they can.

In so saying, the elections will most likely see a minimum three-way contest in most seats, with the ones in Sabah and probably Sarawak seeing their fair share of multiple contested seats, making a one-v-one contest a rarity this time round.

All this will be affirmed on Nomination Day once the Election Commission has received the dissolution notices from the respective legislative assemblies, Parliament and State, and thereafter confirm the timelines for GE14.

Its going to be a tough battle, on all fronts, especially on social media. Fake news will definitely rear its ugly head, despite the recent passage and passing of new laws on fake and unfounded news.

How GE14 will play out, is anyone’s guess. But what is for certain, it will not be a dull one. Just hope that it will be a relatively fair one too.

But then again, maybe I am being naïve and my idealism misplaced. But one can hope, can one not?

 

Date : 6 April 2018

 

 

GE14 : Of Bets Placed and Illegal Betting Syndicates

Its December 2017 and within two weeks, we will all be singing Auld Lang Syne and wishing everybody Happy New Year.

New Year KL (youtube)

Happy New Year (image sourced from youtube.com)

Amidst the merry-making and the revelry, there will be parents busy making last-minute preparations to ready their school-going children for the start of the new school calendar and at the same time, getting into the groove at their respective jobs, be it in the private sector or the public sector.

Busy also are the elected representatives, be it at state level or federal level, with finding ways and means to help out their not-so-well-off constituents in making preparations for their children’s new school calendar.

After all, school uniforms don’t come cheap. And so are school bags. New writing materials and exercise books need also be bought. It would not be surprising that expenses per child can easily amount to a few hundred Ringgits.

Multiply that by the number of school-going children in the household, and there goes a big chunk of their parents’ combined monthly salaries.

School (thestaronline)

School going children of Malaysia (image sourced from thestar.com.my)

Luckily the purchase of school text books has been taken off the menu, with the Federal government relieving parents of the burden by making school books, from Primary 1 to Secondary 5, available to all school going students free of charge, regardless of their respective parents’ financial standing.

Nevertheless, all these financial issues do prey on the minds of families who struggle to put food on the table, pay for household bills, pay for the roof on top of their heads and the clothes on their backs.

Programs have been put in place by the Federal government, despite opposition from the Opposition, to alleviate these concerns, either through one-off financial grants called BR1M (either for families, the young as well as they who are pursuing tertiary education), or exemption of Goods and Services tax (GST, 6% as is currently) imposed for products and services that are considered basic needs for the lower-income, as a matter of example.

But no matter what is being put in place or done,  the fact remains that these issues will be amongst the many issues, real or imaginary, that will be played up during the next general elections, GE14, despite the Federal government not being a manufacturer, retailer, a trader or transporter of goods and products.

It is, by now, common knowledge that the 14th Malaysian General Elections and the respective state elections must be held by August 2018. In accordance with the Federal Constitution, no less, with the sole exception of the state of Sarawak who already had their state elections.

The Dewan Rakyat

Dewan Rakyat (image sourced from malaysia.gov.my)

Thus far, no announcements have been made as to when the Malaysian registered voters will be going to the polls to exercise their rights.

That being the case, and for so long the date of the elections remain unannounced, it will remain high on the list of things to be speculated.

And when there is speculation, there is probability and when there is probability, there is chance. And when there is chance, there is, ultimately, betting.

The trouble is, in Malaysia, betting and gambling, although allowed in deference to the wishes of non-Muslims, do not cover important landmarks like the dates of general elections or even the results of football games.

So it goes to reason, when one wants to place a wager on, say results of the English Premier League games or World Cup games or even when the general elections are called, punters will always go where odds are given, and the best odds are always given by the illegal betting syndicates.

Prime Minister's Department, Putrajaya

The Prize – The Prime Minister’s Office, Putrajaya (image sourced from wikipedia.org)

Illegal betting syndicates are not unknown throughout the world but it seems that in this part of the world, it is almost as if they are part of the furniture. And where betting is legal, they, the illegal betting syndicates, add to their attraction by offering better odds.

It is not uncommon to hear of betting syndicates, from this part of the world, influencing or trying to influence football games, be it the World Cup, European Championship, European Champions League and the English Premier League, never mind the Malaysian Super League and the Singapore S-League.

In the good ole days before satellite TV became the rage, I use to watch telecasts of football matches at the local watering hole (whereas but the local Mamak restaurant, but of course).

There, it never ceases to amaze and at the same time, sicken me when the guy at the next table tells you, during the halftime break, with the confidence of a person in the know, which team will win and by what score.

It makes you wonder, just what the hell is going on, especially when the final whistle goes, the scoreline is exactly as what was mentioned.

KTGE NOMINATION 10

Scenes like this are typical on nomination day of the Malaysian general elections (image sourced from thestar.com.my)

You do wonder. After all, these players are supposed to be professionals and are themselves financially well-off in their own right, with some recognized as millionaires with their smiling images plastered all over billboards or seen on the telly, endorsing and extolling the virtues of this or that or this and that product.

Professional pride and the desire to win, that’s what drives these players, we were told. And we believed it. After all, this is not WWF.

But sometimes you do wonder and that’s when you start to feel physically sick in the stomach especially when the gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach tells you that it just might actually be true.

Sickening as the thought that football matches might actually be fixed, it is even more sickening when you learn that illegal gambling does not only cover football matches, but also ‘other things’ like general elections, which party will win the election, who the candidates are, who is going to win in which seat etc etc, then that is when you know that the problem is a very serious problem. A really really serious problem.

It is not unknown to overhear conversations at coffee shops about who-is-going-to-win-what during election time, but what’s more unnerving is when they even take bets on the voting spread.

ge13 campaign trail

After the nomination comes the official campaign period. Campaigning from GE13. (image sourced from thestar.com.my)

Seriously, is nothing sacred any more? Is nothing taken seriously any more?

The very thought that the fate of the country can be seriously influenced or even decided by punters and illegal betting syndicates, who are more concerned in profits rather than anything else, makes you sick and angry at the same time.

If that is the case, with the general elections GE14 just around the corner, the ugly head of the illegal betting syndicates will and can be expected to make an appearance again.

To the layman, it seems highly improbable that intel pertaining to the activities of illegal betting syndicates with respect to the placement of bets on outcomes affecting the general elections is not known to the enforcement agencies eg the Royal Malaysian Police or even the Election Commission. Especially, when the effectiveness of the organs of the enforcement agencies were never in question.

ge13 party workers

The Battle of The Flags (image sourced from thestar.com.my)

It goes without saying that the hope of all concerned citizens that law enforcement agencies take steps to stop the spread of this disease before it becomes cancerous, not only to our national institutions but more importantly, the people’s faith in the validity and the legality of our national institutions. And they don’t come any higher nor nobler than the federal and state assemblies.

It is when we begin to have doubts on the validities and the legalities of our august houses, then the peace that we are experiencing now will be in endangered.

That coupled with the veracity of fake news and unwarranted provocations making their rounds with impunity before, during and after the general elections, through the misuse and abuse of social media, it will definitely impose a heavy toll on the patience of concerned citizens everywhere.

And patience is fast becoming an expensive commodity.

 

Date : 17 December 2017

 

 

Tun M – The Unravelling of A Legacy?

Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad (Tun M), the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, held the highest executive office in Malaysia from 1981 til 2003.

mahathir (independent.co.uk)

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the 4th and longest serving Prime Minister (images sourced from independent.co.uk)

Born in Alor Star, the capital of the northern Malaysian state of Kedah, to Mohamad bin Iskandar (the first Malay headmaster of an English school now known as Maktab Sultan Abdul Samad) and Wan Tempawan binti Wan Hanafi (who comes from a long line of Kedah royal household courtiers and is herself a distant relative of the Kedah royal family), his official date of birth is recorded as 20 December 1925, although it has been stated oft-times that his actual birth of date falls on the 10th of July 1925.

siti hasmah mahathir (wikipedia)

The Young Couple – Tun M and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah (image sourced from Wikipedia).

He is a medical graduate from King Edward VII College (now part of the National University of Singapore (NUS)) and it was during his time at King Edward VII College was when he met (Tun) Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, whom he later married in 1956.

Tun M was then in service of the government, and in 1958 he left the service to return to Alor Star to start his own practice.

Upon his return to Alor Star, he was elected to the Kedah UMNO Committee where he headed the political sub-committee.

Siti_Hasmah (Wikipedia)

Tun Dr Siti Hasmah (image sourced from Wikipedia)

It is said that he would have stood for the General Elections in 1959 had he not been in disagreement with Tunku Abdul Rahman, the then president of UMNO as well as the then Prime Minister of Malaya (Malaysia was only formed in 1963).

It is believed that due to the disagreement with the Tunku, Tun M had declined the offer to stand for election for a parliamentary seat.

Fast forward to 2003, Tun has contested 9 elections, winning eight and losing once, with the last five seeing him victorious as President of UMNO as well as Chairman of the ruling Barisan Nasional.

tunku abdul rahman (pmo.gov.my)

Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj (image sourced from pmo.gov.my)

In football parlance, the scorecard would have read P9 W8 L1 D0.

His love affair with UMNO had seen him sacked from the party in 1969, brought back to the party by Tun Abdul Razak (the father of the current Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib) in 1974,  appointed to the Dewan Negara before later getting elected as a member of the Dewan Rakyat.

Tun M was then appointed by Tun Hussein Onn (the father to Dato’ Sri Hishamuddin, the current Defence Minister) as Deputy Prime Minister, before ascending the heights of Malaysian politics as Prime Minister in 1981, to finally retire from active politics in 2003.

tun razak (pmo.gov.my)

Tun Abdul Razak (image sourced from pmo.gov.my)

His retirement had the blessings and heartfelt gratitude of all, especially for the way he and his team handled the Malaysian theater of the Asian Financial Crisis (1997-1998), regardless of the political divide and reasons thereto.

His twenty-year plus tenure as Prime Minister coincided with the country’s rise to heights never thought possible, complemented with a renewed self-confidence.

It was never in doubt that this can be attributed to Tun M’s stewardship of the government, as it can also be attributed to the many who had also contributed, from the private sector as well as the government sector.

His long tenure as Prime Minister was the longest in Malaysian history that a generation of Malaysians never knew of any other Prime Minister but Tun M.

Due to the length of his stewardship, it is a given that Tun M had his fair shares of controversies. Some political, some economic, and some international.

Afterall, that comes with the territory, one would say.

One of the controversies, though it was long in the making, was the issue of his successor. From 1981 (when he ascended Mount Malaysian Politics) til 2003 (when Tun M finally retired), he had four (4) Deputies namely Tun Musa Hitam, Tun Ghaffar Baba, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and finally Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as his Deputy.

Of the four, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the one who finally succeeded Tun M and took over the hot seat of the Prime Minister whilst the rest of the cast either resigned, got deposed as No 2 in UMNO and therefore by extension, in Government as well, or was summarily fired.

Tun_Hussein_Onn (wikipedia)

Tun Hussein Onn (image sourced from wikipedia)

With Tun M having passed the baton to the then Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (now Tun), one would have thought, that’s one chapter closed with a new chapter, with Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister, ready to be written.

But for whatever reason beknown only to Tun M himself, he returned to the fray and, for all sense and purpose, became the main driving force in ‘forcing’ Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign from the office of Prime Minister and replaced by Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, the then Deputy Prime Minister.

pak lah (wikipedia)

Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (image sourced from wikipedia)

Why Tun Abdullah resigned when he could have stayed on and fight for his right to stay, remains a mystery.

Maybe the thought of a fight that would split the party, again, did not appeal to Tun Abdullah.

Afterall, Tun Abdullah had always been known to be soft-spoken, well liked by all, and, above all, a gentleman.

For those who remembered it still, 1987 and the lessons that it brings, was never that long ago, especially in politics. Hard lessons were learnt from that episode, and should have remained learnt.

Again, one would expect that would be that. But it was not long before Tun M came to the fore, again, this time to put pressure on the sitting Prime Minister ie Dato’ Sri Najib, to resign.

Again, the exact reasons are beknown only to him although the most common of public statements made have been mostly laid at 1MDB’s doorstep.

There have been widespread speculations to the actual reasons, other than 1MDB, with some voiced in the public domain and some not.

najib (wikipedia.org)

The 6th and current Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak (sourced from wikipedia.org)

However, this time round, the sitting Prime Minister did not succumb to pressure and resign.

Instead, the reverse happened and it should not have been a surprise.

Afterall, no incumbent Prime Minister would submit, could submit and should submit to outside pressure to withdraw, even from one so experienced and who has publicly and officially declared his retirement from active politics.

For all intents and purposes, there can only be one Prime Minister at any one particular time. Like a 4×100 or 4×400 relay run, you run, you pass the baton and then you step aside and let the new guy run.

Likewise, leadership is a relay, and not a one-man race. New ideas and new energy are required to address new challenges. Nothing stays the same for long, as all are in a state of flux.

In addition, it should not be made into a political habit, that one resigns because an ex-premier demands for it. Directly or indirectly, via proxy or otherwise, openly or in private. It’s just not on.

umno logo

UMNO

By then, Tun M had already publicly resigned from UMNO (during the tenure of Tun Abdullah as party president), and re-joined the party after Tun Abdullah had passed the baton as party president to Dato’ Sri Najib.

When Dato’ Sri Najib did not resign despite the intense pressure applied on him to step down, Tun M finally quit UMNO, the party that had placed him at the apex of Malaysian politics from 1981 to 2003.

Pakatan Harapan (says.com)

Pakatan Harapan – PKR, AMANAH, DAP and PRIBUMI, replacing Pakatan Rakyat. (image sourced from says.com)

Not long therafter, Tun M formed his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PRIBUMI) in 2016, with himself as chairman.

As chairman of PRIBUMI, he reserved the power to nullify any decision made the president of PRIBUMI, if it did not meet his agreement.

PRIBUMI, with Tun M as its chairman, is now part of the opposition pact called the “Pakatan Harapan” (loosely translated as Coalition for Hope whilst some have naughtily translated it as a Hopeful Coalition or a Coalition of Hopefuls), a grouping consisting of PKR, DAP, AMANAH (a PAS offshoot) and PRIBUMI, formed to replace the earlier pact of “Pakatan Rakyat” (loosely translated as The People’s Coalition).

pakatan rakyat (tubepanas.blogspot.com)

Pakatan Rakyat – PAS, DAP & PKR (image sourced from tubepanas.blogspot.com)

True to form, Tun M managed to be appointed chairman of the coalition, although whether that means Tun M calls the shots is another thing altogether.

Afterall, with a coalition that has Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Dato’ Sri Azmin Ali of PKR, the father-son Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng of DAP, as members of the Presidential Council in addition to Tun M, requires skilful handling of a minefield of egos to contend with, no matter how you phrase it.

It must be said that Tun M has always been known to speak his mind, regardless. So it would be very interesting to be a fly on the wall of a Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting, grant you that.

Anwar (wikipedia)

Dato Sri Anwar Ibrahim (image sourced from wikipedia)

With all that has happened since and with all that has been said since, there is a clear and grave danger that Tun M’s legacy, a legacy that has been honoured and accorded with the utmost of respect by Malaysians, especially by the Malays and members of UMNO, the party that had played a major role in getting him to the pinnacle of Malaysian politics, is unravelling.

The irony is that most of the unravelling can be placed directly at Tun M’s doorstep, so to speak.

Issues related to Memali, the forex debacle by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the national car company PROTON, the national steelmaker PERWAJA, and other issues has been brought to the fore these last few years, never mind statements relating to UMNO when Tun M was president.

Statements made when reminding UMNO members of their duties to UMNO and to hold steadfast to the continuing struggles of the party, are now coming back to haunt him. ‘Melayu mudah lupa’ (the Malays forget easily), ‘grouses to be channelled within party channels’, ‘loyalty to the party’, ‘party first, never the individual’ are but a few of them.

ghafar baba (wikipedia)

Tun Ghafar Baba (image sourced from wikipedia)

In many ways, it is a sad state of affairs as Tun M, in his advanced years (he is 92 now), should be enjoying the loving company of his family instead of having to go through the rough and tumble of politics, again, basked in the respect and love of Malaysians especially the Malays and UMNO.

A STATESMAN.  Above it all.

An apt way to be remembered for all that he has done and contributed to the country.

Instead, we are at a juncture where all that Tun M has done for Malaysia, for UMNO and for Barisan Nasional risk lying in ruins.

When that happens, it will be a sad and sorry state of affairs for one of Malaysia’s and Kedah’s most distinguished sons.

Tun M has never been one to be taken advantage of. That said, surely the chauvinistic statement from the no-less chauvinistic Superman Hew, ‘Use Melayu to screw Melayu’, rankles Tun M as much as it rankles Malays and UMNO themselves. Surely. But based on the happenings of the last few years, one can only hope that that is the case.

Hopefully, it will not be too presumptious to suggest that maybe, it’s time for Tun M to step back from the precipice and away from the people who welcome him because of what they think he could bring, only to discard him unceremoniously when it does not go according to script.

Before his legacy unravels even further.

For all intents and purposes, that would be a very, very sad day. It has happened before and there is no guarantee that it will not happen again. Remember 1993?

It will be a very sad day when it happens. For all of us. Regardless.

 

Date : 20 October 2017

 

 

GE14 : A Case of Political Fatigue ?

Anyone familiar with the current intensity levels of Malaysian politics will surely scoff whenever somebody asks the question ‘has the campaign for the general elections begun?’. A scoff that says either ‘where have you been?’ or better still, ‘seriously???’.

anwar (penangmalays.com)

Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister during Tun Mahathir’s Administration (image sourced from penangmalays.com)

The state of Malaysian politics has always been at a fever high even before the turn of the new millennium when the sacking of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim (DSAI) from both the Federal Government as well as the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) saw the political landscape experiencing a major earthquake on the political Richter scale.

Before the Anwar Ibrahim Sacking Saga, it has not been unknown to witness political parties campaigning for the next general elections even as the newly elected representatives from the just finished general elections barely got sworn in for the new Parliament.

Disguised in the form of dinners, talks (or more commonly known as ceramah), briefings on the findings of the individual parties’ post mortems etc etc etc, it has become something of a routine for the political parties especially those from the Federal Opposition.

Having acknowledged the above, the Anwar Ibrahim Sacking Saga only notched up the intensity higher with the saga signalling the beginning of the so-called REFORMASI (or REFORM) movement. Depending on with whom you talk to, many involved in the REFORMASI movement would like to say that the movement is still relevant today as it was then.

pkr logo

The Logo of PKR (source : keadilanrakyat.org)

It is the norm that when you have a political-based movement that generates more than enough ground swell to overcome that initial stage of being dangerously labelled as a fad (and hence, not to be taken seriously), it will more likely than not morph into a political party, offering members of the movement a platform to realise and put their political agenda into action.

As of today, it is more than a footnote in the history of Malaysian politics that the REFORMASI movement of the late 90s led to the formation of PARTI KEADILAN RAKYAT (PKR).

It is also noteworthy that the aim of the REFORMASI movement has been, since its inception, consistent which can be described as none other than the vindication of DSAI, securing his release from incarceration and to make DSAI the next Prime Minister of Malaysia.

It has to be noted that DSAI has seen the insides of many a High Court, the Court of Appeals and the Federal Court more often than he would have liked, and has been himself incarcerated several times.

His supporters may argue that DSAI is a victim of political jealousy and intrigue and that his detentions and his run-ins with the Judiciary have all been politically motivated.

wanazizah(keadilandaily.com)

Dato’ Seri Wan Azizah (sourced from keadilandaily.com)

However it is to be noted that whether his detentions were legal or otherwise and politically motivated or otherwise, it has, without fail, always been made to be political. It is also to be noted , from the layman’s point of view, that from the many cases involving DSAI, we have witnessed the different workings and interpretation of the law from many a legal beagle, from all points of the spectrum, from the Bench and the Bar.

In all this ‘controversy’, the Judiciary has always been at the centre of it all, brickbats and bouquets et al. Whenever the decisions reached by the many and different learned judges goes against DSAI, the Judiciary’s ‘objectivity and neutrality’ will be criticised, never mind questioned, by the Opposition.

Of course, this also means that if a decision is in DSAI’s favour, the Judiciary’s ‘objectivity and neutrality’ is ‘reaffirmed’ and applauded.

limkitsiang

DAP’s Lim Kit Siang.

Following the Anwar Ibrahim Sacking Saga, the re-emergence of the Democratic Action Party (or the DAP) as a political force in the 2008 and the 2013 General Elections has been met with as much opposition as well as support, depending on not only one’s political affiliation or leanings but also the religious beliefs that one identifies with as well as one’s ethnic origins.

The DAP may vehemently deny and reject all the above allegations, pointing out the multiracial and multi religious composition in their party ranks as evidence. However, as many would say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

The DAP’s cohabitation with PKR and PAS in the PAKATAN RAKYAT ended when the Islamic-based party PAS opposed the infamous KAJANG MOVE which saw the seat and position of Menteri Besar (or Chief Minister) of the state of Selangor changing from the then incumbent Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to the current incumbent Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali (DSAA, incumbent PKR No. 2 or No. 3, depending on how you look at it), with DSAI (definitely PKR’s No.1) and Dato’ Seri Wan Azizah (DSWA, wife of DSAI and current PKR President) all being in the mix before DYMM The Sultan of Selangor made a decision, it must be added, to put a full stop to the KAJANG MOVE.

khalidibrahim(keadilandaily.com)

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (sourced from keadilandaily.com)

In the whole saga of the KAJANG MOVE, the manoeuverings and the intrigues associated to the KAJANG MOVE can be perceived as a power play between the opposing forces within PAKATAN RAKYAT and within PKR, with the husband and wife team of DSAI and DSWA being ‘manipulated’ by having their names being bandied about as potential successors to the popular then-incumbent Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Who the losers and winners were, in this instance, need not be mentioned as it has been mentioned elsewhere (see Telenovela of the Year : The Never Ending Saga of the Kajang Move).

But what can be said is that the KAJANG MOVE plus the weird composition of the PAKATAN RAKYAT ( see The Strange Bedfellows : DAP, PKR and PAS)   as well as the proposed introduction of Hudud, the utterings, the comings and the goings of SUPERMAN and added to that, other issues that arose along the way, it has been a hectic 20 years or so.

More than the usual, one might say.

PKR, DAP and PAS

The Strange Bedfellows of PKR, DAP and PAS

Today, the PAKATAN RAKYAT is no more. Or so they say. (Please see A House Divided….Collapsing Soon?)

PC Harapan

The press conference announcing the formation of Pakatan Harapan. (source : nst.com.my)

It is now PAKATAN HARAPAN. The same faces of PKR and DAP plus the new faces of PAN (the platform for PAS members who identify more with DSAI instead of their own party president, Dato’ Seri Hadi Awang) and PRIBUMI, with PAS out on their own.

PAN’s birth can be traced back to the KAJANG MOVE, when things came to a boil within the ranks of PAS with the party elections held after the KAJANG MOVE witness a political blood-letting secular-based political parties would have been proud of.

umno logo

UMNO

Since the formation of UMNO since 1946, the party has seen splinter groups breaking away to form their own political parties. PAS, Parti Negara, SEMANGAT 46, and PKR were the most notable ones. Now, we can add PRIBUMI to the list. Whether it will be notable or otherwise remains to be seen.

PRIBUMI’s president is currently former Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO No.2, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (TSMY) with the old man himself, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed (Tun M), as the party’s advisor. However, it remains to be seen as to who has the most say in the running of PRIBUMI ie the party president or the party advisor?

It is pretty much obvious, at the moment, that PRIBUMI is Tun M and Tun M is PRIBUMI, with TSMY and PRIBUMI’s No.2, Tun M’s son, Dato’ Seri Mukriz Mahathir, all playing supporting roles. If it can be called that.

It is a given that members of a party’s hierarchy do not always see eye-to-eye on all issues, but in general would have more in common than differences on most issues. If we can agree on that premise, then the coming together of PAKATAN HARAPAN must come as an exercise in extreme political juggling and is in itself quite mind-boggling.

mahathir (independent.co.uk)

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the 4th and longest serving Prime Minister (images sourced from independent.co.uk)

It is fair to say that Tun M is seen by most political observers, professional and amateurs, as the source of ALL, if not most, of the troubles experienced by DSAI and destroying his political career in the process. What effect that has on DSAI’s family, one can only imagine.

Then you have that other old man, this one of the DAP, Lim Kit Siang (LKS), who, if going by the exchanges between LKS, DSAI and Tun M, inside and outside of Parliament, must have left observers wondering just what on earth is going on.

Add the supporting cast of PKR’s, DAP’s, PAN’s and PRIBUMI’s respective political hierarchies, the chances of drama with the mix of personalities on show are high, inter and intra parties. A rather volatile mix, it seems.

The Dewan Rakyat

The Dewan Rakyat (source : malaysia.gov.my)

The next general elections will be held in 2018, at the latest. Til then, it is fair to say that one can expect lots of drama, plot, plot changes, shenanigans and intrigues.

It has been said that political fatigue has already set in. Wonder how it will be by the time the general elections come a calling?

 

Date : 2 September 2017

 

GE14 : Battle for The 14th Malaysian Parliament

Barring any announcements to the contrary, the 13th Malaysian parliament will automatically be dissolved on 24th June 2018.

Jalur Gemilang ..flying high and proud (source : Wikipedia)

With the dissolution of the 13th Parliament, as provided for by the Constitution, it paves the way for new elections to be held to elect members for the 14th Malaysian Parliament, which must be held no later than August 24th, 2018.

And despite whatever claims there may be with regards to the concentration of the popular vote or the idealism behind the concept of proportional presentation, the manner by which the 14th general elections is to be conducted shall be no different to when general elections was first held in 1955 and that is by the ‘First Past the Post’.

As it was for the 13th general elections, what is at stake at the 14th general elections are not only the 222 parliamentary seats (which are up for grabs), but also the direction and fate of the nation, the position and the rights of the stakeholders, the fate of the spirit of the social contract signed by the founding founders of the country, the position and the rights of the nine royal households of Malaysia, the position of Islam as the national religion of the nation, the state of civil society and the state of the body politics.

So many issues and so little actual constructive debate.

The 14th general elections is, by all means and purposes, the latest in the continuing saga of general elections that has rocked the nation since the 1990s : intense in its rhetoric, reckless and callous in its accusations, and where the law seemed only to apply for the ruling but for they who see themselves as the ‘saviours of the nation’, exemption is the name of the game.

Any attempt to apply the law evenly, regardless of their political leanings, is seen as an effort to impose the police state and is therefore decried by parties whose interests are none but their own.

It is also a line popularly parroted by they who are not of this nation but yet, wanting to give their two cents worth to influence whatever it is they want to influence in this country. For their own interests, of course.

(I mean, if you cannot actually influence ‘democracy’ at your own doorstep, please keep your so-called advice for the home audience and not hide behind the names of any one of our Malaysian states.)

When the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed put into place the framework by which Malaysia’s advent into the Age of Information Technology was based on, it was cautioned even back then, of the pitfalls that the newly launched Malaysian Super Corridor (MSC) can bring. It was foresaw even back then that if checks were not put in place, the new-found freedom brought by the Age of Information Technology will be sorely abused, much to the detriment of the nation.

Ever the maverick, Tun M dismissed such notions out of hand and to add salt to wound, introduced a Bill of Guarantees in support of the newly launched MSC, a bill that included a ‘no internet censorship’ clause, relying very much on civil society being civil enough, responsible enough and bright enough to be able to differentiate between truth and falsehood.

Noble it may sound but that is all there is to it. And yes, it still sounds noble and yes, that’s about it.

All roads to Putrajaya. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Putrajaya. (@ all rights reserved)

Society today, as almost everybody will admit, is so wired especially in the urban areas, each with their quota of FB, Twitter, IG to complement their instant messaging apps, that it is difficult to find anybody who can be described as being uninformed.

Whether the information so readily available at the fingertips of these urban dwellers are verified, or mis-information or dis-information is no more of utmost importance, never mind a consideration.

The civil (?) society of today, it seems, seem to base the truth factor on the ‘shock’ and the ‘awe’ and the ‘scandal’ that these ‘information’ communicates.

The more scandalous the information, the higher the truth factor. Whether it is logical or utterly ludicrous, that’s for the back burner.

No topic is considered sacred. Any topic or issue is fair game. Whether it is on the right side of decency and accords the respect to one’s privacy, that, it seems, is immaterial.

So immaterial that lesser known legislation or legislation that seldom see the light of day is now on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

This state of affairs can be judged by the number of people seem to be quite well versed with the Sedition Act, and with terms as ‘Fair Comment’, ‘Whistleblower’, and what have you, as they dominate reportings on the official media.

Respect for the position of Islam itself has gone out of the window. If its bad enough when non-Believers can quote the Believer passages from the Believer’s Holy Book, and in the Believer’s place of worship at that, but when fellow Believers themselves start to criticise and question the practices and belief system of the Believers, the question that arises is ‘Just what is your agenda?’.

Granted that the theologians themselves, whether they are part of the civil service or otherwise, are also partly to be blamed for these state of affairs.

The many proclamations as well as actions decrying or denouncing of what used to be OK, have left many confused, to say the least.

And we all know what confusion sows.

To make things worse, the increase in numbers of the wannabe but highly ignorant ‘theologians’ (to use the local terms ie the ustazs and the ustazahs) who proselytize from the safety of their keyboards behind hidden and hijacked FB identities (amongst others) is also to blamed.

Again, information, mis-insformation and dis-information.

In short, mis-information, dis-information and its ilk eg fake news, photoshopped images are now the order of the day, affecting everything that we, the average Malaysian holds dear or even take for granted.

The respect for our institutions, be they political or governmental, security or law enforcement, royalty or civilian, the respect for the sanctity of religious beliefs including on the position of Islam, the rights of the Bumiputera are all, as I mentioned earlier, ‘fair comment’ today.

If we are not careful, this ‘fair comment’ thing may be the cause of a severe and serious breakdown in race relation and religious tolerance in this country.

The Dewan Rakyat
(source : malaysia.gov.my)

Having had an experience of that in my childhood, I do not think we would wish for a repeat performance, even though there are some who instigates for one.

If it happens, will the instigators, with their ‘fair comment’ on the position of Islam, rights of the Bumiputera, position of the Malay royal households, assume responsibility for the damage they have done?

Personally, I doubt it. I seriously doubt it.

But whats surprising is that these instigators are the ones who will lose the most should such an event occurs. But yet, they persist with their instigations. Or do they know something that we do not.

Malaysia, with its rich diversity in its people, religions and culture, can be likened to a glass house. It is not unknown that stones have been thrown by hands that brazenly hides behind catchy slogans like ‘free speech’, ‘human rights’, ‘democracy’, ‘voice of the people’, ‘ people’s court’ and what else have you.

Before the cracks starts to widen beyond any sort of repair, either civil society starts showing some civic mindedness and a return to common sense OR a more concerted effort to enforce the laws of the land with more authority be made.

Before it’s too late.

 

Date : 26 July 2017