Friday, 30 April 2010

UMNO’s Long and Winding Road



 

I was reading an article in Malaysian Insider with the title of Long Road Ahead of UMNO. Immediately after the Hulu Selangor election, I posted an article UMNO and Nike. Not a few people wrote in saying I am a traitor to UMNO for disputing the victory. Now, this article came up with quotations from UMNO luminaries make me want to say- said that, written that.
UMNO people have a choice. They can accept my criticisms or they can just ignore them. Howsoever they chose, they must rebut my criticisms with cogent reasoning. I shall be happy to acknowledge the shortcomings and defects of my own reasoning.
My point of contention is that UMNO cannot sustain itself by the approach it took in Hulu Selangor. PM Najib came into the fray with a fire fighting mentality instead of preventive fire strategy. In that emergency situation, all political scruples are abandoned. Everything was done in the name of political expediency- we come to solve problems. Hence we spent a lot of money to secure a 1700 majority. We pay here. We pay there. We spoil the atmosphere.
Look closely at the results. We lost Chinese trust. The Chinese don't trust MCA any longer and therefore I wrote 2 articles about the role and relevancy of MCA. Because they know an MCA being led by a president who allows his dick does the thinking for him, isn't going to bring dignity to the Chinese. Chew Mei Fun couldn't stomach the prospects of MCA being led by "Dick' Chua. My thinking is that, we can do better by building direct trust with the Chinese community. I answer one commentator who challenged UMNO to do it alone. Hello, I am talking about the impotent MCA leadership not the Chinese community.
Look also at the shift in voting preference among the young. They support Anwar Ibrahim and PKR more than they do UMNO. You think UMNO can solve the p[problem of its future by paying its way through? So UMNO depends on the support from the graying population who has given us but a contingent support. Their support stays provided the balance of the money owed to them is paid. Will Azeez Rempit who is going to develop the Sungai Buaya Felda land be able to come up with the money? If the money comes from the government- we are back to square one- UMNO needs more money to secure allegiance.
It appears to me, that when I wrote that UMNO cannot sustain its longevity by paying its way though has irked many UMNO people and bloggers who may not even be UMNO members. I am speaking from the perspective of an UMNO member, a former ADUN and now an itinerant critic of my party. I have chosen the road less travelled i.e. by speaking about what I perceived is wrong with UMNO.
Wining the people over by spending money is one of them. UMNO simply can't sustain itself by this way. You will need more and more to win allegiance. You reduce your supporters and voters to payable supplicants. Your support base then is made up of mercenary voters. The essential character of mercenaries is that they vote according to the money. In order to retain their loyalty, the benefactor must continue paying.
History has shown that even great nations that have relied on mercenary services have ended in destruction. The mighty Roman Empire which in the days leading to its ultimate oblivion entrusted whole defences of the empire to mercenaries, in the end, capitulated because the defence of the empire was abandoned by adherents to Roman ideals. The adherents to ideals and principles were replaced by payable supporters whose loyalty, remained as long as the paymaster was capable of paying.
Allegiance and loyalty purchased are short-lived. This dependence on paid mercenaries became one contributing factor eating at the foundations of the Roman Empire. When money becomes the substitute of substance, the sustainability of greatness, the permanence of allegiance and loyalty are eroded. When ideals and principles become corrupted, the 'soul' that nourishes the physical fades away. UMNO becomes in the end a spent force and should it face a more resolute and determined adversary, it will have only blank bullets to fight with.
What does the party become then? It becomes essentially a big ATM dispensing 'cash' to mercenary voters.
What happens to the ideals that supported the formation of UMNO then? Such as the mission and vision contained in Article 3 of its constitution? They diminish in value and over time are trivialized as nothing more than just some articulation of ideals of some historical value only. In terms of current relevancy, they serve nothing because all UMNO apparatchiks think; all they need to do is Just DU-IT!
What makes the difference in a political party? The answer which readily comes to mind- is that it is leadership that makes the difference. UMNO then provides leadership to Malays. The basis of that leadership? Its commitment and resolute articulation of its goals, vision. It operates on ideals and values that elicit a sense of shared commitment between the party and the people it leads.
It's a long and winding road.

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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Further lessons from Hulu Selangor



 
I want to expand on some of the points raised in the last article. Hulu Selangor showed us many things. It was basically an UMNO affair. The Indian chap who has since become an MP was carried by UMNO. MIC effectively disowned him. He could have suffered the fate of Mugilan. Can you imagine, the MIC president in an attempt to stop Mugilan from being chosen as candidate, decided to expel him. The poor chap is not a member of any political party. He is a political persona non grata.
Why did Samy Velu and his gang of political gangsters do that? It was an expression of utter defiance to UMNO who had dared interfere in HIS fiefdom. It was also to serve as explicit signals to other MIC chaps, that, though no longer a minister, he, Samy Velu is still Sivaji.
What happened after that? Samy still couldn't get Palani in and was willing to accept or was forced to accept Kamalanathan as a sort of 2nd best solution. If he can't have Palani, UMNO can't have Mugilan. Samy wasn't about to concede in terms of brinkmanship and so on the eve of nominating the candidate, held an emergency meeting and probably presented an idea to even pull out of the BN.
We wish the threat had been carried out and that would give the PM the perfect excuse to rationalize the strange appointments of MIC MPs to government position. I mean, how can we explain a party which has only 3 seats in Parliament, which secured a mere 180,000 votes in the 2008 GE out of 7.9 votes be given 3 government appointments? And possibly, Palanivel who is allowed a reprieve to lick his wounded pride will also be given a government post. I can only speculate the decision to do so must be the delirious effect of rasem and tairu induced meal.
MCA under the leadership of CSL failed to mobilize Chinese support. The number of Chinese supporting BN during this by election was smaller than the number who voted in the 2008 General Election. That means, MCA is politically impotent. To cover up its own mistakes, it blamed Perkasa for spooking the Chinese into embracing DAP. The MCA has 15 seats in Parliament and in the 2008 GE took home 840,000 votes.
It is the 2nd biggest partner in the BN coalition but in the recent Hulu Selangor election its dangerously taking the route of a spent force. Maybe it is- having gone through internecine wars within its own turf. It has a senior ministerial position whose holder to office lost the presidency of MCA recently. The current MCA president is outside the cabinet. Being a leader of his party, he should be given a cabinet position.
The near impotency of MCA in the Hulu Selangor election has proven to us, that it is possible for UMNO/BN to bypass the MCA leadership and engage Chinese voters directly. Please note- I am not talking about sidelining the Chinese voters and community yes- I am saying we mustn't be unduly burdened with pleasing the MCA leadership.
We learnt this about the Chinese in Hulu Selangor. They are just being pragmatists, pursuing what they want actually. Knowing what they want benefits us because we can play their game. We know, the Chinese, as a whole, in their capacity as political actors have perfected the saying hunting with the hounds and running with hare, into an art form.
From the MCA they put pressure on the government to get as many concessions and benefits they want- citizenship, business opportunities, assurance about the future and so forth. But come elections, the vote for DAP- something they also want as insurance. So what they want- assurance and insurance, they get both by playing the art of running with hare and hunting with the hounds.
I am beginning to think- whichever way they move, in the end of the day they gain. They gain in the sense they can get to do as they want. MCA will pressure the BN to get as many benefits as possible for the Chinese community. They want that. Schools, roads, licenses, etc. When it comes to elections, they chose DAP. They get what they also want - to thump the nose of UMNO and BN and vote for a party they know is more disciplined than MCA and will be resolute with Chinese demands.
Here is an opportunity for the PM to play a new and different ball game. We can engage Malaysian Indians and Chinese directly without having to be buffered by their belligerent leadership. The PM doesn't have to be everything to everyone any longer. He can for instance review cabinet appointments for MIC and MCA leaders.

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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Some lessons from Hulu Selangor


Are development elements- roads, outstanding money owed, bridges, expressways contingent upon having by elections? They shouldn't be. These form part of being a government. A government in power does all these as part of governing. You carry out development in the name of progress.
But when they come as part of a political bargaining process, that's inherently wrong. It reduces the government to a party in a pork-barreling transaction. You do this for us, we give this to you. You vote for us, we give you money. Development and to use a more generic term- benefits to the rakyat, then becomes the outcome of endless pork-barreling exercise. Can a government function this way? The answer must be in the negative.
You cannot sustain governance in this manner. You need permanent elements- rule of law, principles, values , shared vision etc.
If UMNO decries money politics in its political conduct and political business, the same principle should be held true in governmental transactions.
When I wrote UMNO just Du-IT, this was what I had in mind. So, I am not going to answer all those comments saying if we don't have money, how can we function? That isn't the issue I am raising. Or at the end of the day, the one who benefits are the rakyat. Of course we need money to carry out the normal functions of everyday life. The people campaigning in Hulu Selangor, spending time away from families and loved ones need to money for expenses. That is understandable and we don't argue on that.
If the Pakatan Rakyat government does the same thing- dishing out election goodies, it is not our concern. We have set out to be NOT them. This was the pledge given by our PM. That was why he has embarked on some radical change process- new economic model, transformation of government, 1 Malaysia etc.
So what can we campaign on? I have stated the fasal 3 of the UMNO constitution. That's what we should campaign on. I have stated in my earlier essays on HUlu Selangor- we campaign on leadership issues- on the programs the PM wants to carry out. I have also written on the need to reach deep into the Malay emotional reservoir. Tell them the story of UMNO and what UMNO represents. UMNO provides that the emotional safety net. Knowing it's there, provides for emotional solace.
I have stated that Malays in Hulu Selangor were the crucial and determining group contributing to the outcome. This has been borne out correct. PKR failed to get beyond 50% and as a result, failed to win. The gains they got from Chinese voters (more than 66%) were not sufficient to offset the weakened inroad into the Malay psyche.
Let's move on to a few lessons we can get fom Hulu Selangor.
Malays will continue to be the backbone of UMNO's political relevance and legitimacy. It cannot abandon its Fasal 3 elements of its constitution. As long as UMNO stays relevant to Malays, heed their voices, attend to their needs, and strike up an emotional kinship with them, UMNO remains strong. UMNO's position as the premier voice of the average Malay becomes stronger of we avoid the excesses of the powerful. I have written about this in one of the earlier essays- image projection and all that.
MCA.
Let's talk about MCA. 
In HUlu Selangor, MCA was irrelevant. That's the way it was. It failed to garner Chinese votes. Chinese would rather listen to the PKR and align with DAP. Its insignificance cannot be attributed to the existence of Perkasa. On this point, I agree with Ibrahim Ali. Chinese antipathy towards MCA may be the result of the tainted image of its leadership and could also be caused by the Chinese public's revulsion at the protracted political blood-letting and in-fighting among the MCA leadership. The MCA is viewed as consisting of people more interested in keeping positions rather than doing what it should do- articulating and fighting for Malaysian Chinese interests.
Here is a sobering thought. What happened in Hulu Selangor showed than BN actually does not need the MCA leadership. BN can do better by going direct to the Chinese community. I hope the MCA leadership realizes this. If they don't buck up, the leader of UMNO can go direct to the Chinese community though their guilds, associations, NGOs, chambers of commerce, persatuan this and that. Earning their trust is more important and earning trust isn't the monopoly of the MCA leadership.
We know the Chinese. They are pragmatic and interest- oriented. They can accept the RM3 million for Chinese school and other financial windfall- but they will still vote for DAP. MCA can do the barking, they get what they want, yet they can still support not the MCA. What does this behavior tell you? It tells us, the Malaysian Chinese can strike deals with anyone as long as their interests are taken care of. UMNO can do this without the MCA leadership.
This possibility of direct interface was proven when BN did it with the MIC. At Hulu Selangor the role of MIC as a party and leader of the Indian community was at best ambivalent. Samy velu wasn't confident kamalanathan could win. MIC acted half-hearted. The BN and UMNO leadership brought their message direct to the Indians and managed to get Indian voters over to their side.
To put it crudely, Malaysian Indians can be a better team player than the MCA leadership.
PM Najib can craft out some new dynamics from the lessons at HUlu Selangor in the context of intra-party relationships. The other BN partners can overstate their contextual importance. They cant show anything of significance to BN and UMNO.

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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

UMNO and NIKE



 
Nike has JUST DO IT! UMNO has Just DU-IT.
On many occasions, I needed only a chance or casual remark to write an article. This article is one of them. it was a chance remark by that remarkable brain box, Walla.
After being on the ground at Hulu Selangor, I did write that I believed UMNO/BN will win this by election. I added however, this victory will leave a bitter and unpleasant aftertaste. Here is why I think so.
Who doesn't want to win? Victory is all the more important, more so, when the PM regarded this by election as a referendum to his leadership and his vision of creating 1 Malaysia. It is also a verdict on his resolve in implementing a new economic model and transformation of government and all that. UMNO/BN simply had to win this election at all costs.
All of us are familiar with the sports shoes- Nike (pronounced Naiki). The shoes are produced by Nike, the company founded by Phillip Knight and his coach Billy Bowerman. The trademark of the company with the swoosh logo, is Just Do It.
Just Do It represents the core spirit of Nike. It explains why the company isn't long on nebulous ideals and catchphrases- all they want is to get on with it, plough along and correct any mistakes while on the way.
UMNO, the present one, the one reformed by Dr Mahathir with his membership being at number 1, also has its trademark similar to Nike. It is Just Du-It. Just duit. This can't be the old UMNO. This UMNO doesn't list Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Jaafar Albar, Dato Harun Idris, Tun Dr Islmail as members. So, it can't be. This UMNO is Dr. Mahathir's UMNO.
It's the conduct of UMNO in winning elections. We are fast being normalized in seeing the PM, leader of this country and leader of UMNO gong around dishing out cash here and there; here RM3 million for a Chinese School, there a few million for some outstanding promises. The only way UMNO seems to be able to win is by using money. In this Hulu Selangor election, it spent more than RM100 million. Expressway, universities, roads, hard cash, development projects etc. It was a feeding frenzy.
We have the UMNO president, bowl in hand, appealing to FELDA settlers to give him a chance. Here- take this money, give me a chance and there will be plenty of this where it came from. What has it done to UMNO? 
Here we have our party president with money in hand persuading commercially opportunistic Chinese to vote for BN. There we have our president promising the world to Malaysian Indians. Everywhere, we have our president appealing help from Malaysian Malays who are expected to have a natural inclination to UMNO but who now have to be induced by cash.
It has reduced UMNO to a mechanical being devoid of its soul.
Where is UMNO's soul? May I remind UMNO members, that the soul of UMNO is expressed clearly in Fasal 3 of UMNO's Constitution:

  • Mempertahankan kemerdekaan dan kedaulatan negara.



  • Mendukung dan mempertahankan Perlembagaan Negara, Perlembagaan Negeri-negeri dan Raja Berperlembagaan.



  • Menegak, mempertahan dan mengembangkan Islam, agama rasmi negara serta menghormati prinsip kebangsaan beragama.




  • Mempertahankan kedaulatan rakyat dan keadilan sosial dengan mengamalkan Sistem Pemerintahan Demokrasi Berparlimen serta memajukan ekonomi rakyat Melayu dan Bumiputera khasnya dan rakyat Malaysia amnya.




  • Menjamin kedudukan Bahasa Kebangsaan (Bahasa Melayu) sebagai bahasa rasmi yang tunggal dan Kebudayaan Kebangsaan yang berteraskan Kebudayaan Melayu.





  • Mewujudkan kerjasama antara kaum bagi melahirkan satu bangsa Malaysia yang kuat dan bersatu berasaskan kepada hak-hak Asasi Manusia dan Hak-Hak Istimewa Orang Melayu dan Bumiputera.


    Did we win allegiance, respect and goodwill by leveraging on these principles? UMNO people hardly talked about these nowadays. They are focused on wining by the mechanical way- spending their way though.
    This is disturbing to me and all right thinking UMNO members. I hope the UMNO president, vice presidents, read this. If UMNO's victory is now predicated and dependent on the amount of largesse and money it can dish out to voters, then there is something terribly wrong with UMNO. 
    Instead of winning the hearts and minds of the people on its principles of struggles, mission and purpose for which UMNO was formed in 1946, it is now actually just a company doing business. Its relevance and legitimacy being is now measured by how much it captures market segment by spending to secure it. It's no longer appealing to the rakyat on the values that it preaches. The way UMNO wins an election is how it conducts its party elections. 
    Winners just buy their way through.

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    Monday, 26 April 2010

    Answering a vermin



     

    I don't normally answer comments or dispute other blogger's way of seeing and saying things. Sometimes, there is an exception.
    There is this pesky vermin who keeps coming into my blog chiding me for being KJ's puppet and other indescribables. The way he/she writes, suggest that this person is a cerebrally-challenged person or if he has a diploma/degree, it must be one of those purchased from some degree mill operators. You can get an MBA or PhD for RM30-50,000 now. But when you open your mouth, your shortcomings and deficiencies are readily evident.
    This joker who won't reveal his or her name is a testicle-less or if a female (don't know what term to use) anonymous who keeps saying that those who oppose his/their views are either KJ or Anwar's puppets. If these people are in UMNO, these are exactly the vermin that must be exterminated. It's a mark of intellectual maturity to hold on to your own and disagree with others in a civil manner.
    But since he has brought up KJ's name, who, until today, I have never met in person, allow me to say a few things about this new leader. I hope the PM will consider appointing him as full minister after the sterling work KJ and his boys did in Hulu Selangor. The Pentas Pemuda is a permanent fixture of every election and has become a part answer to the opposition's speech podium. At the forefront of these oratorical onslaughts is KJ, our Ketua Pemuda whom we may say, won his post not any different from how WE won Hulu Selangor. He and his boys have worked tirelessly over the entire duration of the by election.
    The manner, by which the pesky vermin pours out his feelings and thoughts, narrows the list of suspects. It's the telltale signs of a Mukhriz's bottom cleaner or soil-bucket changer. By the way, at Hulu Selangor, Mukhriz's performance was dismal as always.

     

     

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    Hulu Selangor- Congratulations to UMNO!


    It does not matter what the majority is. It is 1725 votes too many for PKR. UMNO won this election in HUlu Selangor for BN. I say that again- UMNO won this election. So my congratulations are for UMNO.
    The fact that Malay voters can support an MIC candidate reaffirms my belief that on the whole, Malays are for moderation. If Ibrahim Ali and his followers have some grey matter- they will make a note of this. Any brand of extremism is disagreeable.
    I received many e mails from friends pointing out, this time, for the first time, my predictions were wrong. I said, this won't be the first time. I am not going to lose sleep over my off-the –mark predictions. My heart says, I want BN to win and wrote some emotional stuff over this matter. Indeed I appealed to the heart of heart of the Malays to vote for UMNO. Even then, there were commentators who accused me of supporting a cheating party and accordingly by reverse reasoning, accused me of also being a cheat.
    This election reaffirms the commitment of Malays to a resurgent and rebranded UMNO.
    The first order of business for BN, UMNO, and Kamalanathan is to demand that Samy Velu retire from politics. That was his promise right? That he is willing to call it a day, if the MIC candidate wins. Now that Kamalanathan has won, Samy must oblige with his vow. The victory of Kamalanathan confirms that Samy Velu's style of politics, bordering on political gangsterism has been rejected.
    I am not interested in writing requiems, epitaphs or obituary for PKR- their resolved will be hardened after this. There isn't any musical stuff to celebrate a party that isn't dead by any long shot and there isn't any tombstone for a party that refuses to die. We can expect them to be more aggressive from now on. From now on, we can expect any by elections and general elections will be dirty as they can be.
    I have written in my previous essays that the determining factor in this election will be the Malay voters. This observation has turned out to be true. I have said that Chinese remained politically defiant. This has also turned out true. PM Najib had to offer a lot of money to induce the Chinese to vote for BN candidate.RM35 million for a Chinese school in return for a measly number of votes? Our jubilation over this victory, must be tempered with a closer look at the cost of this 1725 victory.
    Has Kamalanathan's victory in any way elevated the relevance of MIC as was quickly pointed out by many MIC second tier leaders? We are not going to be fooled by their bravado- if anything this election, fought and won hard by UMNO confirms the insignificance of MIC and therefore serves as a severe warning to an over demanding but paper tiger partner in BN.

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    Sunday, 25 April 2010

    Hulu Selangor- Sakmongkol’s final take.



     

    It's written in the stars. The outcome of today's election in Hulu Selangor. Nothing that I can say, do or hope can alter what is already fated. Today, the people of Hulu Selangor will come out to vote. The parliamentary seat of Hulu Selangor has some 64.500 voters. 53-54% of the voters are Malay. 26% are Chinese while Indians constitute about 19% of the voters. Usually in by elections, voter turnout is around 80% of eligible voters.
    Much as I want UMNO to win, objectively, my assessment is as follows.
    In early April, I wrote as follows:-
    Katalah yang keluar mengundi ialah sebanyak 80% atau lebih kurang 50,000 orang.
    Bagaimana rakyat mengundi? Rakyat akan undi mengikut citarasa perkauman.
    Daripada 50,000, pengundi Melayu sebanyak 26,500. Dari jumlah ini BN munkin hanya dapat 45% iaitu sebanyak 12,000.

    Dari 50,000 jumlah pengundi cina yang keluar mengundi ialah 13,000 orang. BN mungkin hanya dapat 10% undi orang cina atau sebanyak 1500.

    Daripada 50,000 tersebut, pengundi India hanya 19% atau 10,000.

    Berapa pengudni India yang MIC mampu serahkan kepada BN? Paling kuat saya rasa 40% atau hanya 4,000 orang.


     

    As I move around at the frontlines, incognito most of the time, my prediction will be as follows:-
    PR will get about 55% of the Malay voters. That's about 14,000 votes. How so?
    While we celebrate and make merry at the crossovers to BN- legislators here and there, former PKR women leaders and all that, those crossovers were good for morale boosters. Good hype medicine in isolation. Put in context, they mean nothing because they don't bring in votes.
    The one bringing votes to PR are the ground troops. These are done through the whisperers who move seamlessly among the voters, unnoticed most of the times. The ketua kampongs, the imams, the ahsos and nyonyas who have formed 'kutu groups' among themselves and hear this- the UMNO ketua cawangans who are practicing what PM Najib has declared- people first. They have translated it to mean, their interest first- land title, free water, good governance etc. the ones getting votes are the UMNO ketua cawangans who meet Zaid Ibrahim on the side pledging support in return for immediate self gratification. The ones getting votes are the Indian achis and ayyas whom are largely ignored by Samy Vely and his people. The Chinese? They have remained politically defiant, being anti establishment most of the times.
    It is against this background that the contenders go into the battleground today.
    Malay votes.
    In Hulu Bernam, UMNO ketua cawangans are moving around quietly to get votes for Zaid. One, because they have had enough of another Indian MP. They have had the services of an Indian MIC MP for the last 18 years- yet development in Bukit Sentosa, in Serendah is much wanting. Two, they want to get immediate gratification- titles and ownership to their land. So, they would rather work with Zaid who is from PR who can interface effortlessly with the PR government in Selangor. Three, being seasoned party men, they know, the big guns from outside are only birds of passage.
    Khalid Ibrahim may be a stammerer or something like that- but he's not that stupid. He changed all the ketua kampongs who are his immediate front liners. He changed the imams and mosque and surau office bearers who are sympathetic to his government. These people consolidate the state government's legitimacy. As before, voters know, they are better off working with the state government than against it.
    So, PR wins the majority of Malay votes. What about the RM5 million paid to FELDA people with more to come? Its 17 years too late and the money they received is theirs in any case not some unsolicited endowments from the government. These people bloody fought for their money.
    Chinese votes.

    Of the 13,000 Chinese voters, BN can hope to win maximum 30%. PR wins 70% or around 9,000 Chinese votes. Chinese womenfolk who form 'kutu groups' or financial self help groupings are conducting whispering campaigns to not vote for the Indian candidate. That doesn't mean they trust Zaid more- it's just that they don't want the Indian candidate.
    PR wins another 9,000 votes amounting to a subtotal of 23,000 votes. BN has so far won 16,000 votes.
    The real shocker will be the Indian votes.

    As I moved around, I was surprised to see many of the operations rooms run by MIC were not running. I have not seen pictures of the MIC candidate working his magic among Indians. So where is MIC in this election? Where have all the Indians gone to? Kamalanathan appears to be disowned by his own MIC ad his Indian community.
    Kamalanathan will be a pitiful sight after this. Even before the elections he is already disowned, after the elections he will be ghost of the past. He wasn't the MIC preferred choice. Mugilan was supposed to be backed and had the support of UMNO. The MIC wanted Palanivel, the man who served 18 years as MP but who accomplished nothing. He wasn't therefore UMNO's choice too. Kamalanathan is a 2nd best solution. You can't get the ivory, the horn will do.
    So how will the Indian voters behave? My own assessment is that 55% of the Indian votes numbering 10,000 will go to PR. PR gets about 5500 and BN gets 4500.
    With another 5500, the total votes going to PR are 28,500 and BN gets 20,500 to 21,000 votes.
    Sakmongkol predicts that PR will get around 28,000 votes to BN 21,000 votes. PR wins by a majority of around 7,000 votes.
    My own experience is to discount the numbers gained by the victor by 30%. This is necessary because the numbers for the victor may have been influenced by subjective assessments, in built biases and simple over optimism. If we discount the margin of the victory by 30% the majority is likely to be around 5,000 votes.
    The margin of the victor is also discounted on account of the capabilities of the challenger. PKR's opponent is UMNO which leads the federal government. The federal government has coercive powers and will undoubtedly use them to the fullest. UMNO has two technologies which its opponents do not have- they can cheat and use those pieces of paper bearing the face of Malaysia's first Agong. These factors will further depress PKR's margin.
    I shall say, this election will be won by PR with a majority of nearing 5000 votes. I believe PKR will win the HS seat with a majority of between 3000-5000 votes. That's the way the cookie crumbles. I am sure, in days to come; there will be much forensic post mortem on the part of UMNO.

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    Saturday, 24 April 2010

    Hulu Selangor-Impressions from the frontlines



     

    For the last two days I have been in Hulu Selangor. If you were to approach HS by way of Tanjung Malim, you will arrive at the village of Kalumpang. This is a Malay populated area within HS. The influence of PAS is unmistakably clear here. You come across the he banner bearing the serene face of Nik Aziz. The message on the banner is simple- berdoalah untuk kemenangan Dato Zaid.
    That is really, at the end of the day, what Zaid can count on to win- lots of prayers.
    I have been writing a few articles on this election in HS. The first few articles were mostly on the factors which I thought can contribute to BN's defeat. These include for example, the choice of candidate, the strategy of hurling personal insults and the inherited sins of the past.
    The last two articles, I wrote of the only approach that can appeal to Malay voters. I believed the Malay voters play of determining role in this election- not the Indians or the Chinese. The only way is to appeal to the Malay emotions.
    What does UMNO represent to the Malays? We in UMNO know and those against UMNO know- that there are so many defects and shortcomings to the UMNO first formed in 1946 and then reformed by Dr Mahathir. If Zaid finds it virtuous to own up, it is more pertinently virtuous for UMNO to acknowledge its shortcomings. It is mature and confident enough to allow it to be tried in the court of fair play.
    What UMNO really represents the end, is a reservoir of emotional solace to the Malays from which Malays can derive emotional sustenance. That they know there will always be behind them, a political party from which they can solicit comfort. Expressed as it were in terms of protection, in terms of affirmative action, in terms of having the structures of government controlled by Malays.
    Even if these were abused, the existence of UMNO will provide to Malays, a reservoir of comfort. Even if they have not been applied justly or rightfully, the forms of protection all of which constitute emotional comfort exist in
    potentia
    , or in posse- able to be drawn upon when needed. This assurance and a continuing belief that UMNO is there, provide the solace to Malays. Perhaps this was the missing link so inarticulately expressed by the neuro-surgeon who stammered nervously during his celebrated renunciation of his faith in PKR.
    UMNO represents a reservoir of emotional comfort that exists in posse that can easily be converted into in esse.
    It's almost impossible for me to talk about BN bringing development to HS. The reality and I hope this is acknowledged by BN and UMNO, that in Selangor, it is the Opposition. Here, it is the PKR government that can offer development.
    This emotional link up is a powerful tool I think that UMNO and BN can relate to the people in Hulu Selangor. It's also the same tool that can address the hopes and fears of the non Malays in Hulu Selangor.
    UMNO/BN can't underestimate the capabilities of the state government in addressing the immediate needs of the voters in Hulu Selangor. The DPM and other UMNO bigwigs may make a lot of noise about the crossovers of PKR legislators over to BN- those are only for psychological boosters but these people don't vote in Hulu Selangor.
    While we celebrate these crossovers, UMNO/BN must also be mindful of the number of UMNO ketua cawangans meeting Zaid Ibrahim almost daily asking Zaid to solve their land problems. In return they pledged support for their Malay brethren.
    This, election, will be too close to call. The BN can just come out with a win. It shall be a win that leaves a bitter after taste- a matter of which I shall write about latter.
     

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    Wednesday, 21 April 2010

    Pesanan untuk warga Hulu Selangor.(2)


     

    Saya mengajak pengundi Melayu di kawasan Hulu Selangor memikirkan perkara ini. Zaid Ibrahim secara peribadi adalah orang yang baik. Perkara yang serupa juga kita boleh katakan kepada kamalanathan.

    UMNO tidak pernah mengakui diri nya sebuah parti yang sempurna. Saya pun dalam tulisan yang lepas2 , kerap kali, ada membuat teguran yang pedas dan secara direct kepada UMNO dan pimpinan nya. Malah, PM Najib pun tidak terkecuali dari teguran saya. Kebetulan saya mempunyai kelebihan sedikit untuk bercakap mengenai Dato Najib dan kepimpinan nya memandangkan saya ahli UMNO Pekan, menjadi ketua penerangan bahagian ketika kedudukan DS Najib amat genting dan menjadi ADUN dalam kawasan parlimen Pekan selama satu penggal.

    Jika ikutkan hati, tentu tidak ada perkara yang baik untuk saya katakan kepada UMNO dan DS Najib. Tapi kita hanya mampu membawa perasaan sakit hati dalam hidup kita untuk masa yang terhad. Jika keseluruhan jiwa kita diwarnai dengan perasaan sesal, sakit hati, kita akan melayari hidup ini dengan malang dan murung. Orang Melayu jangan jadi begini. Kita ada hidup yang mesti didepani dengan jiwa yang optimis.

    Saya juga sedar bahawa pandangan dan perasaan peribadi saya tidak boleh jadi ukuran keatas UMNO keseluruhan nya. Cuba kita fikirkan- besar kemungkinan 90% amarah dan sakit hati kita adalah kepada sesuatu yang khusus- seperti pimpinan UMNO. Tapi, inti perjuangan UMNO itu jarang jarang menjadi bahan pertelingkahan. Kita hanya bertelingkah mengenai cara perjuangan itu dijalankan, dengan orang yang menjuarai perjuangan.

    Inti perjuangan UMNO ialah memperjuangkan kepentingan orang Melayu secara bermaruah. Maka orang Melayu harus membezakan inti perjuangan yang tidak berubah ini dengan datang dan pergi nya, orang orang UMNO. Sifat sifat picisan orang UMNO tidak menggugat inti perjuangan parti UMNO.

    While the external elements change, the core beliefs of UMNO remain intact and that is where our loyalty and allegiance gravitate.

    Sebelum kita tidur, kita hanya perlu berfikir- Manakah parti yang memberi kita ketenteraman? Kita mungkin tidak bersetuju dengan banyak perkara dan kaedah yang di pakai oleh pendukung UMNO- tapi kesemua itu tidak mengoncangkan inti perjuangan UMNO.

    Sehubungan dengan itu, saya ingin berkongsi dengan pembaca budiman luahan hati dan perasaan seorang pembaca blog saya. Saya yakin, inilah perasaan orang Melayu sebenarnya. Calun HS mungkin seorang India Malaysia, tapi yang sebenar benar bertarung ialah UMNO juga.

    Saya amat tertarik dengan ungkapan saudara bahawa Umno serasi dengan jiwa orang Melayu. Kita terasa tenteram dan terlindung.
    Tepat sekali. Pada saya hubungan saya dengan Umno seperti dengan keluarga sendiri.
    Kadang-kadang kelahi, kadang-kadang baik. Juga seperti perkahwinan lama. You feel comfortable though the blanket is frayed and no longer provides the warmth.
    Boleh di-ibaratkan seperti air dicincang, takkan putus.
    Carik-carik bulu ayam tercantum juga akhirnya.
    Saya teringat seorang bekas menteri pernah memberitahu saya Umno ni macam-macam ada (macam Astro pulak). Ada kaki judi, ada kaki botol, ada kaki betina, ada kaki masjid. That makes it interesting.
    Itulah keistimewaan orang Umno.
    Saya sentiasa berpegang kepada kata-kata; better the devil you know than the angel you don't know.
    Saya tidak berani memperjudikan nasib anak-anak dan keturunan saya untuk beralih kepada parti lain.
    Saya tidak mahu mengecewakan datuk nenek saya yang sejak turun-temurun menyokong Umno.
    I had a good life and I want my descendants to have a more better life. Who can provide it if not Umno?
    I am a fixed deposit of Umno. Proud to be one.
    I will take Umno anytime, warts and all.
    Betul saudara mengatakan kita sepatut melihat pilihanaraya kecil ini sebagai mengesahkan kepimpinan DS Najib.
    Pengundi Melayu HS mesti mengundi BN untuk mejayakan transformasi negara yang Najib ingin bawa.
    Memang Umno is not perfect. But with radical changes within, Umno will forever be the party of choice for Malays.
    Hidup Umno. Hidup Melayu.

    21 April 2010 10:15

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    Hulu Selangor- Ingatan dan Perhitungan(1)


    Hari ini saya baca Menteri Pertanian , Noh Omar berkata bahawa DS Najib adalah wind beneath Kamalanathan's wings. Ini adalah kenyataan yang paling sensible setakat ini. Pengundi Hulu Selangor mesti menghalakan fikiran dan ingatan mereka kepada kepimpinan Dato Sri Najib. Ini sebetulnya isiu asas. Kepimpinan politik DS Najib yang menjanjikan masa depan yang baik kepada rakyat negara ini- orang Melayu, India, Cina dan semua bangsa Melaysia.
    Kita mesti sedia menerima hakikat bahawa UMNO yang berusia 64 tahun hari ini,dipimpin oleh jenerasi ke2 dan ketiga orang UMNO. Seperti rakyat, pimpinan ini juga mempunyai nilai yang berbeza, tangkas dan bersedia mengobah diri mereka untuk menyesuaikan dengan kehendak zaman. Tidak masuk akal sekali untuk mengistiharkan bahawa UMNO tidak boleh berubah. Mengapa jika pada diri kita sendiri, kita menganugerahkan kemampuan untuk berubah tapi untuk UMNO kita menutup pintu perubahan?
    UMNO telah diajar pada PRU ke 12 dan pengajaran tersebut diinsafi dan DS Najib telah pun memulakan langkah langkah untuk berubah. Kesediaan dan kerelaan mendengar pengajaran dari rakyat dan kemudian nya melakukan sesuatu, sudah boleh dijadikan sebagai bayangan bahawa UMNO ini parti politik yang sensible dan bukan seteruk yang digambarkan oleh Anwar Ibrahim dan parti lawan. UMNO jadi parti yang degil jika sudah melakukan kesilapan, mengulangi kesilapan tersebut.
    Cuba pengundi fikirkan- UMNO mengisafi kesilapan dan bersdia untuk berubah dengan Anwar Ibrahim yang mengulangi keadaan yang membolehkan dia dituduh dengan perkara yang serupa? Siapa yang boleh berubah dan siapa yang degil?
    Saya tidak menaruh premium yang tinggi kepada kenyataan2 yang bersifat peribadi yang mengatakan UMNO tidak boleh berubah- UMNO sudah tidak boleh diselamatkan. Perubahan dan jalan selamat untuk UMNO hanya memerlukan sekumpulan kecil penggerak yang jujur. Dan UMNO masih ada ramai ahli jenis ini di cawangan, bahagian dan peringkat pusat. Yang menjahanamkan UMNO itu memang benar ujud, tapi mustahil lah mereka ini terus dikekalkan jika badan tubuh UMNO berkehendakkan perubahan.
    Tahun lalu, PM Najib sebagai presiden UMNO telah pun memulakan agenda merobah UMNO. Paling utama- dari membiarkan pimpinan UMNO di pilih oleh perwakilan di Perhimpunan Agung- DS Najib dan UMNO menyetujui supaya pimpinan UMNO di pilih dari akar umbi. Apa makna tindakan tersebut?
    Itu erti nya, pimpinan UMNO hari ini, bermula dari DS Najib bersedia untuk mendemokrasikan UMNO. Ketika itu barulah, ciri ciri kepimpinan pemimpin UMNO seperti yang diinginkan oleh rakyat dan seperti yang disuarakan oleh Dato Ishak Negeri Sembilan dapat diperlakukan. Profail pimpinan UMNO tidak lagi gambaran kehendak peribadi presiden atau ketua2 bahagian- tapi akan menjadi gambaran profail kepimpinan yang diinginkan oleh jutaan ahli UMNO.
    Apa ada kaitan nya apa yang dilakukan oleh ahli UMNO dengan rakyat? Kaitan nya ialah , tidak dapat tidak, pilihan yang dibuat oleh ahli UMNO yang ramai itu mencerminkan juga kehendak dan citarsaa rakyat. Dalam segi itu, apa yang dikehendaki oleh rakyat disalurkan melalui tindakan dan perbuatan jutaan ahli UMNO.
    Orang Melayu di Hulu Selangor mesti melihat kepada perkara ini. UMNO itu bukan lah sebuah parti yang jumud. Pertelingkahan idea dan pendapat yang ada dalam UMNO hari ini menunjukkan ialah ianya sebuah parti yang mengikut zaman dan cita rasa rakyat. Idea dan fikiran mengenai keadilan, demokrasi, keadilan ekonomi di perjuangkan juga oleh UMNO dan ianya bukan monopoli parti lawan seperti yang diakui mereka. Beza nya, kita boleh buat, sementara orang lain hanya mampu bercakap!
    UMNO yang berubah mengikut agenda presiden dan PM adalah parti yang akan menyempurnakan citarasa rakyat dan mencapai kehendak rakyat.
    Dia telah yang mengemudi negara ini. Saya memikirkan bahawa perkara yang sebenar yang perlu diambil kira ialah agenda politik PM, agenda ekonomi dia dan agenda social PM. Yang lain adalah perkara sampingan seperti pilihan calun PRK Hlu Selangor. Kalau kamal ini menang dalam PRK ianya hanya untuk tempoh 2 tahun sahaja sebelum PRU13. Rakyat boleh mengadili dia sama seperti mereka mengadili Palanivel.
    Apabila saya menulis mengenai perkara perkara yang boleh membawa kepada kekalahan UMNO dan BN, saya hanya memberikan beberapa pandangan tanpa menjadikan ianya perdebatan personal. Kita ini boleh mempromosi dan memperjuangkan agenda kita dengan hujjah yang siuman tanpa maki wa hamun. Juga kita boleh menjuarai agenda perjuangan tanpa menimbulkan rasa cemas dalam masyarakat.
    Saya sudah menyatakan bahawa saya tidak ada masaalah dan tidak akan menghentikan cara sesetangah blogger dan penulis UMNO mendekati PRK HUlu Selangor ini. Hanya, saya juga telah menyatakan bahawa secara peribadi, saya tidak melanggani cara yang demikian. Jika ada pihak yang merasakan cara mereka baik, silakan melakukan nya sehingga lembu pulang petang dan ayam berkokok subuh. Saya tak ada masaalah dengan hal yang demikian.
    Saya mahu UMNO/BN menang dalam PRK HUlu Selangor ini. Cara yang saya anggap lebih baik ialah dengan mendepankan hujjah yang siuman dan munasabah. Kepada orang Melayu misalnya, mereka perlu melihat komitmen PM terhadap menyusun semula UMNO.
    Tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa UMNO serasi dengan jiwa orang Melayu. Paling asas sekali, ujudnya UMNO melahirkan rasa tenteram dan terlindung. Bahawa ada sebuah parti yang jiwa nya Melayu yang secara potensi nya menjaga kepentingan bangsa Melayu. Saya sebut secara potensi kerana selagi ianya ujud dalam fikiran, agenda Melayu UMNO itu mesti di zahirkan dalam bentuk perbuatan dan perlaksanaan.
    Dalam bab ini lah, kita akui ada kelemahan. Pengakuan yang diinsafi adalah bukti bahawa secara asas nya UMNO itu adalah sebuah parti siasah Melayu yang jujur. Jika Zaid IBarhim misalnya menganggap PENGAKUAN nya melakukan perkara perkara yang dilemparkan kepada nya, suatu masa dahulu sebagai sesuatu yang terhormat, maka kesediaan UMNO MENGAKUI bahawa terdapat kepincangan dalam perbutan dan perlaksanaan, bertambah tambah lah ia mesti di anggap suatu tindakan yang bermaruah dan terhormat.
    Saya mahu pengundi Melayu di Hulu Selangor memikirkan perkara ini.

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    Tuesday, 20 April 2010

    Hulu Selangor- kempen orang UMNO



     
    Apa gambaran yang kita boleh bentuk apabila sebuah parti orang Melayu yang gagah seperti UMNO memerlukan bantuan Ibrahim Ali untuk menang? Apa pula anggapan orang kepada UMNO kalau cara kita nak menang ialah dengan mengumpat Zaid sebagai kaki minum dan kaki betina?
    Yang pertama menyatakan UMNO sudah berada dalam keadaan sangat genting. Kita ni dah begkrap pemimpin ke? Dan besek?
    Yang kedua, mendedahkan UMNO sebagai parti yang yang klas bawahan, tak ada isiu yang hendak di jual kepada rakyat. Jika pihak PKR buat perkara ini, ia tidak menjustifikasikan tindakan kita.
    Kedua dua cara bukan lah gaya sebuah parti yang hendak menang pilihanraya secara bermaruah.
    Saya telah menulis beberapa artikel memberi pandangan saya mengenai PRK HS. Setakat ini ramalan saya mengenai pilihanraya kecil semua betul walaupun ada pihak special branch yang menyatakan sebaliknya.
    Saya akan membuat ramalan saya dalam dua tiga hari lagi setelah saya meninjau sendiri dan secara lansung apa yang berlaku di barisan depan. Tapi saya tahu keadaan di KKB tidak memihak kepada BN. Keresahan peneroka Felda jika tidak di atasi, akan membawa padah kepada kita.
    Saya telah menyenaraikan beberapa perkara yang boleh menyebabkan kekalahan UMNO dan BN. Saya juga telah menulis mengenai bagaimana kita mendekati PRK Hulu Selangor ini dengan kaedah yang salah.
    Jika orang tidak keluar mengundi, itu pun satu lagi bencana kepada kita. Di kalangan orang Melayu, mereka mahukan calun yang boleh menyedekahkan fatihah bila mereka mati. UMNO sekarang berkerja keras untuk Kamalanathan supaya di terima oleh pengundi Melayu.
    Antara kaedah yang salah ialah berkempen menyerang peribadi lawan. Rata rata nya pemidato UMNO mengatakan Zaid kaki minum dan kaki betina. Ini tuduhan yang melantun semula kepada orang UMNO. Hampir semua pemimpin UMNO minum. Ada menteri yang saban malam berkelana di kelab malam hotel Shangrila. Yang kaki judi, bukan kepalang ramai nya. Sebab duit yang mereka dapat duit yang amat mudah di perolehi.
    Saya orang UMNO tapi yang tidak betul, kita mesti dedahkan. PM mahukan UMNO di susun semula- penyusunan semula bukan hanya melibatkan penstrukturan nya, tapi juga mesti melibatkan amalan, perbuatan dan nilai murni yang mesti di dukung oleh parti UMNO.
    Kita mesti menuntut standard yang sama keatas parti kita seperti yang kita mahukan dari pihak lawan. Barulah rakyat akan yakin kepada kata dan ucap kita.
    Saya amat gembira bila Dato Ishak dari Negeri Semilan kata- kita mesti tolak semua kaki minum. Tapi gesaan itu mesti lebih di perlakukan keatas UMNO sendiri agar dimasa hadapan, kita akan bersihkan UMNO dari kaki mimun, kaki judi dan kaki betina. Kalau boleh kita nak UMNO ini parti malaikat. Dato Ishak mesti menyatakan dengan lantang dan tegas mengenai syarat ini di dalam perhimpunan agung UMNO tahun ini.
    Orang UMNO pun lupa bahawa walaupun ada sifat sifat ini, Zaid pernah di pilih sebagai calun UMNO untuk kawasan parlimen KB dan pernah di angkat jadi menteri. Bererti ketika itu, UMNO tidak memandangkan sifat Zaid ini sebagai amat penting untuk tidak di pilih. Zaid di lantik menteri pada zaman Pak lah, seorang PM yang mempunyai ilmu agama yang tinggi dan bukan setakat melafazkan selawat untuk mukadimah ucapan.
    Kenapa boleh terjadi demikian?- yakni walaupun kita tahu Zaid kaki itu dan ini, dia masih di pilih sebagai calun dan jadi menteri pula? Sebab Zaid yang ada sifat sifat tersebut berada dalam kumpulan yang sama- kaki minum dan kaki betina dalam UMNO. Orang macam Zaid biasa dalam dunia orang UMNO- ia luar biasa jika Zaid berada dalam jemaaah PAS. Bukan sedikit pak menteri kaki minum dan kaik joli dalam UMNO. Amat mudah kita tengok perangai matlaon UMNO ini- iaitu ketika perhimpunan agung UMNO. Seminggu sebelum PAU , semua GRO di kelab kelab dangdut di sekitar PWTC- Jalan Raja Laut dan Sentul habis di tempah. Siapakah yang 'booking' mereka? Tidak lain dan tidak bukan perwakilan UMNO dan kadang kadang yang menjadi kepala dang booking GRO ini ialah ketua bahagian dan menteri.
    Maka nya, jika kita mendedahkan aib orang yang bersifat peribadi kepada khalayak umum, orang lain pun boleh mendedahkan aib pimpinan UMNO untuk pengadilan rakyat. Dan kita akan lihat bahawa kaedah yang kita bawa ini lebih banyak mendatangkan kerugian daripada keuntungan.
    Kedua, UMNO silap besar jika membenarkan Ibrahim Ali berkempen untuk UMNO. Dia bukan UMNO dan Melayunya Ibrahim mustahil lebih dari Melayunya Zaid Ibrahim atau Melayu nya kita. Perkara yang bersangkut paut dengan orang melayu, kepentingan bangsa Melayu- tidak memerlukan Ibrahim Ali sebagai juara dan jurubicara orang Melayu. Itu kerja2 UMNO. Jika pimpinan UMNO 'sub-contract' tugas mereka kepada Ibrahim Ali, ini bermakna, pimpinan yang melakukan demikian harus sama di singkirkan dari UMNO seperti kaki mabuk dan kaki betina.
    Kenapa kita mesti jemput Ibrahim Ali yang memperjuangkan sesuatu yang bertentangan dengan fikiran dan wawasan PM Najib? Ibrahim Ali juara dan juricukap kelas penindas dan kumpulan Melayu yang terbilang sedangkan PM Najib mahu merungkai semua amalan pilitik dan ekonomi yang di wakili oleh Ibrahim Ali.
    Agenda kepartian, ekonomi dan politik PM Najib yang mesti di terangkan kepada rakyat Hulu Selangor untuk meyakinkan mereka, mengapa UMNO adalah pilihan yang lebih baik dari parti Zaid Ibrahim.

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    Ibrahim Ali in Hulu Selangor?


    Now, what business does a political hydra have in Hulu Selangor?

    If I were the campaign director of UMNO in HS, I will refuse to associate  UMNO with the head of Perkasa, UMNO is not a Mafia organisation which treats an enemy of its enemy is its friend. Ibrahim Ali. Ibrahim Ali can't come into HS and say he is campaigning as an independent. Is Ibrahim Ali a political hydra with so many heads? Then there is only one option for UMNO- lob of his head!
    What is the philosophy of Perkasa? According to Ibrahim Ali and the organization's other leaders, the prime objective is to fight for all Malay interest. Everything first for the Malay. Ibrahim has said this so many times, he has even unsheathed a kris to reinforce this conviction. Now, unless Ibrahim Ali is a congenital liar, we will hold on to this pledge to uphold the Malay and Malay interest at all times.
    How do you then reconcile what Ibrahim Ali wants to do in HS with Perkasa's philosophy? Ibrahim Ali is abandoning a Malay in preference to a Malay uncle Amat? Ibrahim has disavowed the most fundamental principle of Perkasa's struggle.
    UMNO must reject Ibrahim Ali. It must do so because Ibrahim Ali actually supports a particular type of Malay. The Malay Ibrahim supports is the 30 percenterism-Malay, the Malay who regards privileges as their birthright, the Malay who thinks his deprivation is due to the rapaciousness of non Malays,. Ibrahim Ali represents the Malay free loaders. Ibrahim Ali represents privileged class.
    And what does PM Najib intend to do? He intends to revise the NEP hacking off the vestiges of patronage and privilege. He wants to bring competition as the driving force of advancement. He represents the interest of all Malays who want to advance in life through the meats and potatoes way- work hard and use the brain way. PM Najib fights for the Malay who regards the crutches which Ibrahim wants to offer as emblems of shame.Ibrahim Ali is the thorn in UMNO's flesh.

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    Monday, 19 April 2010

    Kagemushas- The Shadow warriors in Hulu Selangor


    Toshiro Mufune was the vagabond who acted out as the dead Shogun is Kurosawa's epic Kagemusha. He was the shadow warrior acting out as the real Shingen. A similar drama is presently being played out in Hulu Selangor. Anwar wants to reaffirm his and his party' legitimacy and PM Najib wants to establish the relevance of his new leadership.
    Yes, I know in an election, as in war and love, all is fair. That translates into anything goes. You dig up whatever dirt you have about your opponent hoping that will cast him in bad light with the voters. So we berate Zaid for his liberal lifestyle. He drinks like a fish. That's anathema to the Malays.
    UMNO ministers do too. The point is, if we are able to tolerate our own people doing that, it means, that point isn't an all important consideration to form the basis to choose a leader. Would it be comforting for us to know that almost all UMNO leaders of the past drink? But they didn't cross the line and compromised on political principles. They brought out the best in their opponents not the worse.
    I am not going to stop any of those UMNO paratroopers doing that thing. That is what they are most clever at. There are so many UMNO bloggers out there doing just that. Very good. Because they balance the PR propaganda machine.
    But I want to ask that we be consistent in our stand. If we reject a person who drinks as a possible MP, we have stronger grounds to reject those drinkers within our own party because we have taken position on the moral high ground. We should unreservedly condemn those associated with our party policies that have business interests in beer making factory and censor those who drink. When the model was given the caning punishment I was one of the earliest to support that decision because I wanted to have the ruling applied consistently and without fear or favor.
    We should reject all those who drink even if he is not a Muslim.
    On a personal level, I am saying we don't have to do that if we all aspire to raise our politics on a higher level. We talk about issues – economic, political agenda. What is the economic agenda which Zaid wants to champion? What is his political agenda? What does he plan to do about the 6000 FELDA settlers in Hulu Selangor who are up in arms with Felda Plantations Bhd? What are you going to do to prove that UMNO is for all Malaysians? How do you reconcile UMNO's current openness with its willingness to accommodate Ibrahim Ali in Hulu Selangor? Will Ibrahim Ali be a liability to UMNO? How do you make UMNO relevant to the people in these times?
    Zaid and Kamalanathan are two bit actors in a bigger drama- which is the political fight between the chief protagonists. Anwar Ibrahim representing the PR and DS Najib, the current PM of Malaysia and leader of UMNO.
    Let's compare the leadership of the two.
    I think Najib will be the first to disavow that he is saint. But it's not my mission to talk about this. His opponents will do so and their views will be challenged at every level. I am sure of that. Najib is not hypocritical to represent himself as what he is not. For example, it was never his trademark to represent himself as an ultra religious person. Because he knows that is a heavy responsibility to shoulder. If you make out yourself as an ultra religious person, your whole persona and action must also reflect the persona you have chosen to project out.
    Anwar Ibrahim since his student days has always made himself out to be a modern Muslim- adhering to Islamic fundamentals. He has graduated from wearing Kurta shirts and sold at Wisma Yakin Sandals to Zegna suits and LV shoes. He has chosen a particular bed that behooves him to lie on it. If he does anything that betrays the projected image, what has he done? He has made himself out as a hypocrite.
    I put it to readers that hypocritical ad hypocrite are two different things. Being hypocritical is an adopted behavior while a hypocrite goes to the root of character. It represents an inherent trait.
    So if we were to compare then I can say Najib is hypocritical but Anwar is a hypocrite. Two different things. One is salvageable. The other doomed.
    When he was called up by Dr Mahathir in the days leading to his expulsion from UMNO, the old man and Anwar talked about people womanizing in general. Anwar was reported to have questioned Mahathir whether being an UMNO leader means you have to be an ascetic and don't fool around? A womanizer can't be a PM? Mahathir answered some people do- but in Anwar's case it's different. He has projected himself to be a fundamentalist Muslim and therefore must at all times adhere to the code of conduct becoming of a seriously devout Muslim.
    So let's go to the basic issue of a person's integrity. Najib is no saint and he will readily admit but he doesn't make himself out to be another person other than his true self. Anwar on the other hand is a political Jekyll and Hyde. He hides his other personality behind a facade of religiosity and that makes him a schemer as well as being a hypocrite.
    I am asking the people of Hulu Selangor to think about this matter. When you meet Najib in person and when you meet Anwar in person what do you see? In Najib we will see a normal human being with human failings and who don't make a virtue out of that. But you see someone whom you can trust and decent enough to depend on. He is a person whom you can run to plead.
    This election in Hulu Selangor is not confined to the clash between Zaid Ibrahim and Kamalanathan. Zaid is Anwar's flag bearer while Kamal is Najib's. We should be discussing the agendas of the real protagonists.

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    Sunday, 18 April 2010

    Living in the Glass House



     
    I like it when people like Jocelyn Tan writes about politics. Proximity to politicians and their wives doesn't confer on anyone superior inside knowledge on the life of politicians. More so when such proximity is measured by how many times you run after politicians' wife like the bag carrier that you are, or the near orgasmic rupture you achieved when taken into the inside circle of politicians.
    As I have said the internet is a welcome development in the world of media. It has allowed us to break the myth of the omniscience of the written word written by journalists. The boundary between a career journalist and anyone who can write credibly is no longer inseparably demarcated. Many of those who write through their blogs can offer credible reasons which can make conventional journalist appear as charlatans or a shameless apple polisher. That of course isn't a description of Jocelyn Tan. She is accepted as an accomplished journalist (by other journalists).
    Unfortunately, the word of the journalist is not that. However extensive Miss J Tan writes on politics, she cannot really fathom the world of politics. Sorry, you have to be one to know how these creatures think. In this instance she wrote about how the PKR candidate has a less than sanguine personal life. Zaid he says has properties in Australia and London.
    She of course writes from the point of view of the establishment. This is not to immediately assume that what she writes is an honest description of Zaid. The accounts describing Zaid may be true but her rendition may not be honest in the sense that it's done in the pursuit of higher values. We know that it's done to inflict damage to our opponent. The other apt word for this approach is that it's done with malicious intent.
    Zahid is said to have other peculiar hobbies. He is nor partial for instance to intoxicating drinks. And maybe other things. Plus, the DPM when announcing the candidate Kamal, Alan or Nathan insinuated the colorful aspects of Zaid's lifestyle. See how we stretch things to incredulous levels.
    Zaid was right when he said; he isn't perturbed by all these personal vindictives. The very same things could be said of UMNO leaders. I was also thinking- this line of attack will only open UMNO leaders' cupboards which are full of similar and perhaps even more bizarre hobbies. People will tell the story and exploits of a braggart of a Malay Minister whose second home is the club at Shangrila. People will tell the story of UMNO ministers with houses in Gold Coast Australia, Perth, and Melbourne and of course in the favorite city of 'arrived' Malaysians- London.
    People will also tell the story of Muhyidin who cried at his mother's funeral not because he was expressing filial sadness- but because he was crying for realizing that the plot on the grave is the only land space he hasn't conducted business with. By the way, I am not the only person saying such things about our DPM. Musa Hitam was saying such things about Muhyidin a long time ago as part of cocktail jokes. People will also talk about the rumors of a senior Minsiter buying a male singer a Ferrari car. Seems to me, Anwar Ibrahim's alleged hobby is also practiced by UMNO ministers. Malays call this kind of character- belukang or a person who considers anything with gills, a fish.
    So you have the caveat of the old age adage- people living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. So Jocelyn Tan, don't go moral preaching on us. Spare us the agony. I am an UMNO guy- I am tired of this holier than thou teaching.
    Because that will expose that UMNO campaigners have no substance to work on other than getting personal. That's the way of the loser. They are going about this election on the wrong footing. People will want to talk about the economic agenda of the PM, his leadership. The 6000 Felda Settlers are not going to enthralled by Mawi any longer- they as much as I want to know of the corporate maneuvers of Felda Plantations Berhad. People are remotely interested in UMNO trying to APCO something out of nothing such as by disingenuously segmenting Kamalanthan's name into kamal( Malay) Alan( Caucasian) and Nathan( Indian). Is this the kind of rubbish we want to sell as an idea to the voters in Hulu Selangor?
    Then we have the strange lament by jilted Palanivel that this election in HUlu Selangor is UMNO matter. So what we have actually is a disowned MIC son in the person of Kamalanthan. Are we right to assume then, that MIC will not be pulling its full force behind this election and may even punish UMNO for its obstinacy by going over to the dark side? That seems to be the course of action preferred by some of the MIC operations room boys.
    All of which can affect the outcome of this election. You have an Indian ostracized by his own people. We have a candidate who now has to rely increasingly on being UMNOised which means he; the candidate, needs to have lots of money to keep the UMNO election machinery working enthusiastically. He needs to, because UMNO members have to face an electorate who prefers to have someone who could offer the Fatihah supplications when they move on.

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    Saturday, 17 April 2010

    Yang Mulia Tuan Muda Pahang


    While I wait for information and first hand inspection on the elections in HulU Selangor, I want write on something of a lighter note.
    Last week a youth was remanded by the Pahang police for impersonating as an adopted son of HRH the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang. Now, as many of you know, HRH is a most gentlemanly prince, cool and collected and a very pleasant person indeed. This one quality alone is sufficient to make any young person to feel a kinship affinity with HRH Tengku Mahkota.
    I have to say- this is a bright boy. He should be given a position as advisor to the youth exco for example. You have one decrepit politician in charge of youthful activities that added more confusion to the term belia.
    The whole charade- how this young chap fooled so many people reminded me of the young boy in an ancient tale involving the country of Temasek. The present day Singapore that was once part of the Malay Nation. That day will forever be remembered as a day of infamy which showed that leaders don't like to be surrounded by clever people.
    Singapore was attacked by millions of swordfish and many died as a result of being skewered alive by the marauding fish. The King and his usual retinue of advisors tried many ways to stop the fish attack. There was even an account of an advice asking the people of Temasek to let themselves be human shields and be impaled by the flying fishes. Of course in the name of King and Country.
    A very young boy who saw the whole spectacle approached the King and told him, why don't you use banana plants to serve as shields. The idea was soon taken up and the fishes hurled themselves at the banana stems, got stuck and were easily killed off by the people of Temasek.
    After the catastrophe was over, things got back to normal, the boy was honored by the King. The 'wisdom' of one so young struck fears among the old court advisers and they conspired to petition the king, that this boy being so bright as he is, will one day pose a threat to the king himself. In the end the king, fearful of his own position commanded the boy be killed.
    Sementara itu di istana, kebanyakkan pembesar tidak suka dengan Hang Nadim kerana apabila dah besar nanti dia akan merampas kuasa baginda dan akan memerintah Singapura pada suatu hari nanti. Raja Singapura telah mengarahkan pembesar supaya membatalkan istiadat penganugerahan dan diganti dengan perlaksanaan hukuman bunuh. Dengan mengucap salam ke atas ibunya, Hang Nadim mula pergi ke istana untuk menghadiri istiadat penganugerahan tetapi ada yang tidak kena apabila pengawal istana terus menangkap Hang Nadim. Keadaan menjadi tegang apabila dia bukannya ke balai penghadapan tetapi diseret ke tengah halaman. Tanpa berlengah masa lagi baginda mengarahkan petanda supaya melaksanakan hukuman bunuh ke atas budak itu. Anak kecil mula menjerit kesakitan apabila ditikam oleh sebilah keris lalu mati. Begitulah tadi cerita Singapura Dilanggar Todak.

     

    Remaja terbabit yang merupakan pelajar pintar, dipercayai memperdayakan seorang Exco kerajaan negeri Pahang dan Ketua Pengarah JLKN Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil dengan menggunakan gelaran "Yang Mulia Tuan Muda" dan mendakwa bahawa dia adalah anak angkat kepada Tengku Abdullah.
    What was the crime of the boy who claimed to be the adopted son of HRH Tengku Mahota? It certainly made HRH Tengku Puan, consort to Tengku Mahkoa laughed at the idea of a commoner wanting to be king.
    Ampun Tuanku,
    But the history of Malaysia is full of examples of people wanting to become king. In modern times, even among politicians, there are certain people who want to have the title prince affixed to their name. The one time carpet seller, "Tengku" Adnan Tengku Mansor succeeded in converting his commoner blood into princely haemoglobin. No blood transfusion was needed.
    So what was the crime of the boy who masqueraded as Tengku Mahota Pahang's adopted son? For claiming he is a yang Mulia Tuan Muda?
    I think his real crime was being able to fool a Pahang exco to the extent that particular Pahang exco accompanied this 'royalty' on 2 occasions and I was told, even kissed the hands of this yang Tuan Muda. If I were the Yang Mulia Tuan Muda, I would have smeared my hand with rat poison.
    That will certainly save Pahang from the imbecility of this exco.
    Cheers, YB. See ya!

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    Thursday, 15 April 2010

    A Tale of Two Cities.



    Here's a touching story told by my niece. She lives in Taman Tun Dr Ismail and goes to school at SMK TTDI. She is a 4th former.
    She tells the story of a very clever form 4 boy. This boy hails from Sungai Penchala. He comes from the underbelly of Sungai Penchala- far away from the palaces of one Pahamin Rejab and a son of a former PM, high on the hills and other mansions belonging to the 30 percenters a.k.a. the beneficiaries of the NEP.
    Today, the whole class to which the boy belongs was hauled up for punishment for some disciplinary breaches. Before punishment was meted, the boy asked permission from the form teacher to see his younger brother who is in form two.
    Why? Asked the teacher.
    So that I can pass him this RM1 to buy food at the canteen.
    The younger brother came over to the class and the following conversation took place.
    Adik- take this RM1 and buy food at the canteen.
    But this isn't enough- I didn't eat at the canteen yesterday.
    Ok, take my RM 1 too, and the younger brother took the RM1 from the older sibling.
    But abang, you have not eaten either.
    The older boy answered: its ok adik, I will drink lots of tap water so I won't feel hungry.
    The teacher who overheard the conversation was so moved that she gave the boys RM 5 to share.
    This will last us for a week cikgu. Thank you very much.
    It's a tale of two cities, this country of ours. A few hours car ride away at the command center at Bukit Sentosa in Hulu Selangor, everything was set for the announcement of the BN candidate.

    I was traveling from Hulu Bernam towards Kuala Lumpur when I called a journalist friend. I asked how; tell me how did the people come to cheer Muhyidin on?

    Well they came in their Porsche Cayennes, Hummers, Beemers and Mercs.

    Ah…I thought so, I said.

    Who will win this by election?

    UMNO will win this election for MIC and BN if this were a contest for:-

    Establishing who has the most numbers of hummers, Cayennes, beemers and Mercs. UMNO/BN will definitely win.

    If every one of these goons are huddled in a hall and were to be asked who will win- they will cheer on in unison, UMNO/BN will win.

    A win by Pakatan is unthinkable for that would mean life as they know it- 24/7 of merrymaking, shopping sprees, making more money through the time tested regime of political patronage and cronyism will end. How can they ever allow this lifestyle to end?

    So they came in the paraphernalia of the Nouveau riche, to lend support and assure themselves, BN has a candidate who will continue supporting the system which in turn sustains the decadence for which UMNO and BN has been responsible for. They came in their finest show-offish armory- hummers, beemers, Porcshe Cayennes, Mercs.

    So who cares about a form Four boy who scored 7As and 1B in last year's PMR if he has eaten or not? The boy is known to scavenge for food leftovers at the canteen and has become the butt of peer jokes in the school.

    Compare and contrast this deprivation with the excesses and pomposity with which UMNO and BN supporters debauch themselves at Hulu Selangor today. 

    Addition:
    So, Mr.Education Minister, Mr. Malay first and Malaysian second, here is a Malay boy and a Malaysian- will you tell your people to look out for him? 
    And those MP's from Pakatan mentioned by one commentator, dont just sit on your asses and foist everything on the BN government.

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    Wednesday, 14 April 2010

    Will MIC and Samy Vellu submit or quit?


    Will Samy Vellu submit to the realities of on the ground politics? Or will he threaten to quit BN solidarity?
    Tonight the old warhorse Samy Vellu will meet his MIC office bearers. They will discuss what they regard as UMNO's interference into MIC's prerogative of nominating a candidate of its choice. So, they defiantly say, UMNO mustn't intervene into its choice of candidate. Or else. Or else what?



    • Will Samy and Palani instruct the majority of MICs operations rooms be closed?



    • Will Samy ask his people to boycott this by election?



    • Will Samy threaten to bring MIC out of BN?
    This isn't a seat owned by MIC. Palani lost in the 2008 elections despite having served for 18 years and despite 'working very hard' attending to the rakyat in his place. He must be lying because if he has done so, then the rakyat wouldn't have rejected him. He can't even hold to that seat during General elections where the resources of all parties are spread thin. He must have been a useless fellow.
    Samy Vellu wants him to be the candidate. Palani is his deputy and Samy must show his unyielding solidarity with Palani.
    The problem is, Hulu Selangor isn't Samy's fiefdom that must concede and yield to his demands. The candidate, even if he is from MIC must be winnable. Judging from numbers alone, any candidate from MIC, Palani or not Palani or Mugilan will lose.
    How will Samy respond to the clear signals from the ground? That if he fields Palani, MIC and BN will lose. If he agrees fielding another MIC candidate, fresh faced and a novice, MIC and BN will lose. This isn't about finding a candidate with a hail fellow well met can-play-video-games or futsal candidate. We must find a winnable candidate. Samy must direct his rational self to this agenda.
    To find a winnable candidate, UMNO and BN must find a Malay candidate. Forget about agreeing this is traditionally an MIC constituency. This isn't theirs. They can field a candidate in the past because it was done at the pleasure of UMNO- yes UMNO. We have better face this reality rather than wailing by the roadside after consuming copious amounts of Thali Merah.
    Maybe tonight, Samy Velu will be playing his greatest poker game by giving an ultimatum that MIC will leave BN if his candidate is not accepted. UMNO/BN does not need to respond meekly to this threat. MIC with only 3 seats in Parliament is an insignificant extra. BN must listen to the ground and field a candidate which it thinks has the most chances of winning. Even if the candidate isn't at all from MIC, let it be. Let's throw out the niceties by recognizing that this is a by election that only lasts up to 2012. Why should there be a difference between chucking out Palani now and chucking him out at the 13th general elections? It makes no difference.
    Samy will play his poker game. But he will also find, there will be not many co players in this game tonight.
    Now, we move on to another story. What are we to make of MUkhriz's call for the people of Hulu Selangor to support BN as a show of support to his father Dr Mahathir? I like this slip of the tongue and relapse of the brain which clearly shows that MUkhriz is a non entity whose legitimacy and existence depends on keeping the memory of Mahathir alive. It confirms the general perception that Mukhriz is shallow. It would surprise many of his supporters to know that Mukhriz's name isn't even touted as a potential MB for Kedah.
    Thamby, this is about winning a by election promoting and defending the leadership of DS Najib. This isn't about defending or promoting TDM anymore. If PKR campaigns on TDM- they are stupid but we don't compound that stupidity by acting like a political imbecile.
    "It is good for us that PKR is fielding Zaid. It will be a pleasure to fight him here. Our chances of winning are better now since he has lots of baggage with him," said Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir. Gua caya sama lu lah riz.

    Well if he campaigns like he did at the Bukit Gantang by elections, the baggage that Zaid has will turn out to be within permissible limits.

    You have your priorities wrong. The issue here is not which particular MIC person is chosen. The issue here isn't about assessing TDM. The issue here that can win HS for BN is the leadership of DS Najib. So, exploit the Najib factor.

     

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    Al Fatihah in Hulu Selangor.

    I wrote a short article about Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Yesterday he turned 73. He is our longest serving MP. He is MP or Gua Musang since 1974.

    Generally speaking, people get good wishes and payers by others. There was one comment that finds it amusing that people should be praising TRH. According to this remark, there is only one thing that stopped TRH from becoming PM. HIMSELF. I agree.

    TRH is too gentleman and lacked the killer instinct. Like Dr Mahathir for example. He is Mahathir the Vanquisher just like Vlad was the impaler.

    So what is the thing that will prevent BN from winning Hulu Selangor? ITSELF. It didn't heed the voices of the people. The people want a Malay MP. No two ways about it. Not racist or anything. Malay people just got tired of compromises especially, as it appears that its always them who are making way.

    I have already written 2 articles on the prospects of the HS elections. I have outlined the causes that could lead to a BN loss. In my own estimate, BN has only about 17,000 secured votes. Call it BN's Fixed Deposit in Hulu Selangor. Assuming that only 80% of the 64k voters actually come out, BN needs another 10,000 votes to win this election.

    Later we shall discuss what factor/s BN has that could earn it a WIN. For the moment, I am interested in outlining the causes that could lead to defeat.

    I have mentioned candidate as one. BN is likely to field a candidate from MIC. It won't be Palanivel who certalnly would cause BN to earn a defeat. He has served 18 years as MP and still there are a lot of problems and grouses. What do those tell you? They tell us that Palanivel hasn't been working and they tell us, that people are tired of seeing Palanivel for the last 18 years.

    If Palanivel couldn't win HS despite having served for 18 years and despite being an incumbent during the last GE, how could he win in a by election?

    UMNO and BN isn't as strong as it wants the public to believe. If it's strong, they wouldn't be tripping over each other's legs rushing to Perlis to persuade that chinaman from MCA NOT to quit and therefore triggering off a by election. If its strong, it wouldn't mind going through a by elections. It will face the elections like an anak Jantan. In UMNO there is only one alpha male- Nazri Aziz. Others are faggots.

    I want to know the role of Perkasa in this. It has been going around the country pompously and noisily claiming that it looks after Malay interest. Now if UMNO agrees to a non UMNO candidate in Hulu Selangor which means sidelining a Malay interest would warrior Ibrahim Ali unleash the keris which appears to be taller than him in protest? Mengamuk lah Brahim wok, calun dalam kawasan Melayu, bukan Melayu!

    People will ask UMNO. What is your weltanschauung? What's your main agenda? UMNO will say it's looking out for the Malays. People will ask further, if that is the case, why aren't you fielding a Malay candidate? People will say if it is claimed that a non Malay can represent and fight for Malay interests, then a priori, a Malay can also do the same- fight for the interests of non Malays.

    I received a text message from an unknown person. He asked- please vote for someone who can offer us Al Fatihah supplications when we are dead. PILIH LAH ORANG YANG BOLEH SEDEKAHKAN AL FATIHAH BILA KITA MATI.

    That my friend is a powerful message that UMNO and BN have to face and maneuver around.

    I promise, in the next few articles, I will write what I think can win BN this by election.

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    Tuesday, 13 April 2010

    Happy Birthday, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.




     
    Today I joined many others in wishing YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah many good wishes and felicitations on his 73rd birthday. He was born in 1937, became an ADUN in 1969 and since 1974, was the MP for Gua MUsang.
    He was MP since the days of fixed line telephones (when we had to go though operators sometimes) and accessibility to places like Gua Musang was by boats. In those days, in less sanguine environment, TRH ever the gentleman that he is would never refuse to partake in eating food served to him even when its hygiene was suspect. He always carried a plentiful supply of antibiotics which would be eagerly consumed once back on the boats.
    He is our longest serving MP in parliament. Last year I wrote some articles after spending a few hours probing his thinking on many issues. He has proven to be most perceptive in many areas. To me personally, he is the PM we never had.
    Recently he displayed the usual characteristics that have become hallmarks to his great leadership. In a speech celebrating James Puthucheary, he stated:-
    On the prerequisite of economic advancement:-
    Our economic stagnation is clearly not something we can tackle or even discuss in isolation from the problem of a broken political system and a compromised set of public institutions.
    On NEP:-

    It was and remains the most low-cost way to portray oneself as a Malay champion.
    It had a national agenda to eradicate poverty and address structural inequalities between the races for the sake of equity and unity. The Malays were unfairly concentrated in low income sectors such as agriculture. The aim was to remove colonial era silos of economic roles in our economy. It has been trivialized into a concern with obtaining equity and contracts by racial quotas. The NEP was to diversify the Malay economy beyond certain stereotyped occupations.   It is now about feeding a class of party- linked people whose main economic function is to obtain and re-sell government contracts and concessions.
    Happy birthday, Tengku.

    Sakmongkol AK47.

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