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Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Bagan Pinang: cynical realism sets in

The outcome of the Bagan Pinang by election may have actually been decided a few days earlier. The decision announced on the 11th October was just a formality. As far back as 5 days ago, the voters of Bagan Pinang had already made up their minds. Undisturbed in their homes, far from the maddening crowd, they were able to think through their choices. The intensive campaigns that were taking place in PD and Bagan Pinang were entertaining distractions up to a point. Yes, they went out occasionally to listen to blistering speeches and perhaps shared a few drinks with uncharacteristically friendly out- of-towners. The people milling around, busy-bodying around in PD were mostly outsiders. Locals were amused at first but later became disappointed with the antics of outsiders. They are unaccustomed to the charged atmosphere. The factor of outside help would probably register a low regression value if calculated.

Murugiah can say that he camped for 10 days in Indian hamlets in PD and claimed that he had worked very hard to regain the Indian votes. He is from PPP for which support from the Indian community is insignificant. He is doing all he can to stay on as deputy minister whereas his own party had disowned him. He is thinking of his interests which may be at odds with that of the BN's or UMNO's. Was his role better than the 1000 MIC members Samy Velu sent into the PD estates?

As to interests and vision making, thinking about these- long term objectives, strategies, vision making are regarded as the tasks of leaders. The decision making mind-frame of ordinary rakyats is more practical and down to earth. They think in short term mind spans. They think about bread and butter issues. Housing, amenities, schools, getting children's fees paid, places for study. They think of jobs and all those things that are of closer and of immediate concerns. We may come with fanciful and esoteric notions of two party systems, tenets of democracy and all that, in the end, these things which are admittedly important, are placed at the bottom of the totem pole of priorities. Unless these issues are sufficiently made part of their daily lives, they will remain detached issues.

Getting food on the table, having a house over their heads, improvements in their society, immediate gratification- these are placed higher in terms of priorities. The people in Sua Betong, Atherton or Bradwall estates find greater resonance with what the Makkal Sakthi movement is doing. Seeking an immediate relief to their wretched lives. Like Frantz Fanon wrote of the wretched, their participation in the universal and greater democratic movements in the world, takes place in the form of limped shouts of 'cracy..cracy'. What they needed most and matter most immediately are 'kasi, kasi. That's what Isa Samad had been doing the last 15-20 years when he was MB.

As much as we like to disavow racist politics, it's there and will always be around. The Malays in Bagan PIang, in kampongs like Sirusa, Telok Kemang, think of the security of Malay interests. It's a simple decision making process. If the entire population of this country is Malay, Isa Samad would probably be rejected if his opponent is also Malay. In that situation, Malay voters will evaluate the qualities of the candidates- his cleanliness, integrity, educational levels, etc. But here Isa Samad is facing a Malay opponent whom they see will be a stooge to an overbearing DAP and a very pliable PKR, they choose Isa Samad because by doing so, their interests are seen more secure and won't be compromised. With whom are the interests of Malays more secured? UMNO cant and wont compromise those.

They just want to know whether Malay interests (even if they are not clearly spelt out) will continue to be protected. By choosing Isa, the people of Bagan Pinang are not showing they are insensitive to the higher values, only that, in their minds, they are assigned lower weights. It would be premature to categorize this kind of thinking as racist- because the Malays generally recognize the constitutional rights of non Malay Malaysians. They just want an assurance, that their own interests are not eroded or sacrificed for the sake of proving to the world at large, that Malays are very tolerant. They just want the government to know and understand, that we don't have to apologize being Malay or that we have to redeem our guilt by pandering to the wishes of extreme do-gooders as a form of collective atonement.

In the end, Isa won the seat. It is a reflection of what he has done right for the people of PD and Bagan Pinang. He gave them what they needed immediately- roads, schools, development, welfare, homes. These are things that satisfy them immediately. They don't get their hunger satisfied by a diet of philosophical teachings.

His detractors in the party and outside the party concentrated on his most contentious shortcoming. That he was guilty of money politics when he contested a top post in UMNO. That guilty verdict will continue to be debated endlessly within UMNO. It will not likely affect the people at large. They won't be not because they object to notions of political decency, integrity, honesty and all that, but because they view the incident as being largely an UMNO political infighting event. In other words, what happened to Isa failed to be identified as a general problem of universal import in society.

UMNO people and members saw the punishment on Isa as being a whitewash to conceal the greater and more extensive corruption. What they have done by accepting Isa, is simply to reject the notion that the cleansing of UMNO should begin with Isa Samad in the first place. The message to the government is, if you want to uphold good governance, get rid of corruption- start with the bigger cases. Tackle corporate corruption for example rather than making Isa Samad as an example to showcase your intention to atone for your greater excesses.

Why the opposition lost?

I don't buy as reason for their loss, their disorganization and disarray. The differences are over minor things not differences over the fundamental idea of kicking out Barisan. The opposition that contested in Bagan Pinang has always been the same disparate band that contested and won the previous 7 outings. But it's ok, if you feel happier consoling yourself that you lost because you are in disarray. If that is a permanent attribute, then the 13th general election will be your burial ground.

Let us be frank here. The opposition lost because cynical realism has set in. People are cynical about the intentions of the opposition. People are not confident that the PR will be any different from BN if they ever become a national government. The PR people are likely to commit the same evils committed by the people they despised. It's the victim becoming the aggressor syndrome. Because what the opposition has done thus far is to articulate their intentions which are not followed up by conduct.

The PR government in Selangor for example has shown that it's also incapable and unwilling to enforce clean house rules upon itself. A closer look at Ronie Liew's expense claims will expose the cheating that's going on. Khalid Ibrahim knows this and has probably rationalized the deceit as being insignificant compared to the sins committed by BN lawmakers.

Look at the hearings before SELCAT. This committee for transparency and good governance has succeeded in creating a perception that it's only a committee set up for inquisitorial and witch-hunting purposes. More specifically, it was set up to look into the abuses of the previous BN government. In doing so, they will alienate the Malays who form the majority of civil servants in the state. If they do not check their exuberance, SELCAT will be accused of being a Chinese dominated committee going after Malay officers- just as the unfortunate deaths of an Indian and a Chinese are the handiwork of Malay officers and police. You are just doing the same thing as your accusers. You may want to argue about this till you are blue in the face, but that's what SELCAT has degenerated into. Khalid Ibrahim has shown that he is a bungling and stuttering fool allowing himself to be led into the very kind of racist politics which the opposition has piously denounced.


wong 13 October 2009 at 11:52  

well said .we are born and breed at bagan pinang,most of us, the 2nd generation work and live in selangor.we come back often to our roots quite often.the last election the whole family , 24 votes went to pas , for one very obvious reason we think pas should be given a chance likewise, umno and b n was not up to our expectations..those arrogance and corruptions we hear we read .
we thought perhaps pas would be different.after many encounters with these pas, esp hassan ali and those pas youth.something must have gone wrong..either we were too ignorant , maybe we split umno too early.
we diecided to go back to isa n umno this time.we see a new spirit of vitality, some real hard working reform.
bwt the devil and deep blue sea, it safer at least we know the for pas, it is send fear in our spine...i doubt they think as a wholesome human being.just bigots.unless hassan ali is put for dinner plate,,we aint giving pas any chance.

vinnan,  13 October 2009 at 12:14  

"10. An open Government keen to be transparent should do this. That it was never done before is no reason it cannot be done now. Previously no one promised to be transparent. But now we all hear about transparency.

11. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is not coming in as much as before. We cannot compete with China or Vietnam, not even with Thailand and Indonesia. While we should continue to promote FDI, we should also help the local investors. We should remember that their earnings stay in the country, much more than the earnings of foreign owned industries."

Guess where I got that from? You racist bastard, it is the local investments by people whom you racist shit call 'pendatangs' which have provided the jobs in this country for the security of the Malays AND other Malaysians.

mn 13 October 2009 at 13:10  

Salam Datuk,

1. Adakah anda semua telah baca 'Buku UMNO(wajah sebenar UMNO) tulisan Tan Sri Mohd Rahmat?

2. Jika belum, datanglah baca di Blog saya secara percuma. Tak perlu beli, membazirkan wang jer.

3. Blog saya:

Peter,  13 October 2009 at 15:06  

Well you must admit... once one is given so much goodies who cares about the others which had none?

This is mass thinking. BP is a local small place and why should they care about national issues?

So those who had none start seeing on TVs they are ABOUT to get some... can easily change their minds. It is all too natural.

But then ask yourself.. which direction has Malaysia as a nation been heading (if not because of oil) under the current system so endeared by the majority Malays?

So who cares about corruption? How does it affect the average non Muslims? None as far as their simple minds are concerned. But when guys like Hassan Alis start their agendas... aha .. that will surely affect them. That's is a no no.

Why do you think this time Non Muslims swing so greatly to BN? Which is of more evil as far as their local situations are concerned? Corruption? Well in corruption maybe someone do get the benefits ...too!

The choice is obvious. You are right who cares about national issues.

So this is a lesson for PAS and I do agree a very good one less they be carried away thinking the nation is ready for them .. .it never will.

Anonymous,  13 October 2009 at 16:23  

BN's victory in BP only reinforced the fact that the general populace is still very much under the shackles of corruption. Let's face it. How many times have we decried corrupt practices but paid off the policemen when we are stopped for offences. It wasn't really the fear of PAS or anything that lost BP but the fear of losing out on the good corrupted lives that we are now so used to. Until we become less reliant on "greasing" to get our lives going, we will forever be slaves to a bunch of politicians that have understood & perfected the art of corruption.

Anonymous,  13 October 2009 at 19:02  

Hmmm, majority comment that PAS extremist. I believe a lot of malays rather be moderate than extreme. Good example in cases with regards to beer and caning.
Check out "Outsyed the Box" take on the matter

Anonymous,  13 October 2009 at 22:14  

Dato Sak

We won.We have to make sure that we will again.We must get back 2/3 majority in parliment.Hate to see how arrogant LKS,karpal, Gobind,,

Geli melihat perangai Melayu PKR,,macam salah kulit aje.Baru dapat kuasa satu negeri,,aduh,,bisingnye macam apa2..

Pas sudah jauh menyimpang dari perjuangannye,,semua boleh,,kafir baca quran,aksi bogel pun takpe,orang yang dahulu dia kecam kerana rasuah,minum arak,jika masuk kem dia, dia kata ok,wahai tok guru,pencen je la,,ngajar quran kat kampung dah,,kang kubur tak terima pulak,,cakap macam2, pening kita orang islam,,

Anonymous,  13 October 2009 at 22:38  

"People are cynical about the intentions of the opposition...Look at the hearings before SELCAT....creating a perception that it's only a committee set up for inquisitorial and witch-hunting purposes."

Well said Sak. As a Malay and an ex-govt guy now working in private sector, I FELT for those poor govt servants, even tho' I have no sympathy for the Umno corrupters. Similarly, during the Bukit Antarabangsa dialogue with govt servants, some residents, lawyers presumably, asked questions in a manner like they used in interrogating witnesses in court. This simply created bad blood.

Add to this, comments on web sites like M2day reveal the chauvinistic tendencies of those who champion democracy, equality, bla, bla. When the Pakcik in Bagan Pinang mentioned about the weeks of terror post-Japanese defeat, it brought painful memories to me. A young rubber trader in my kampung drove his truck brandishing a gun during those two weeks, to show his power. And he was my father's friend.

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 00:06  

"Guess where I got that from? You racist bastard, it is the local investments by people whom you racist shit call 'pendatangs' which have provided the jobs in this country for the security of the Malays AND other Malaysians."

13 October 2009 12:14


The term 'pendatang' is nothing but a mere political jargon used by a small and insignificant number of politicians as a form of verbal reaction towards their political's opponent.

In fact, those who believes they are really PENDATANG just because their opponent says so, must also admit that they are stupid when their opponent said that they are stupid. Would you?

Investment is synonymous with profit. The primary intention is not to provide jobs. However, in whatever sectors the investment are made, it will not grow unless peoples are being employed to manage its operation. On top of that you need peoples to become the end-user.

Pious Chinglot

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 00:14  

i think the handling of kampung buah pala by moron lge ,was one of the factors why the indians do not trust pakatan rakyat, i mean Dap , the negative write up about indians before the election by the pakatan bloggers could be taken as a factor(based on the young residents of bagan pinang).

Unknown 14 October 2009 at 08:00  


1. I agree with your analysis on why Isa Samad won and why the currently nameless coalition of PAS-PKR-DAP lost.

2. I also appreciate it very much that you bring up the issue of which we tend to be "afraid to talk" because of the notion of political correctness.

3. I sincerely believe that there is nothing wrong for anyone to defend the welfare of one's race as long as it does not have severe repercussion on other races.

4. People around the world are starting to think that their government are being too political correct that sometimes it unintentionally damage the rights of the other races.

5. I wrote the same thing in my blog on this issue.


Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 08:47  

tok sak,

dah jadi kelaziman pihak pembangkang bila lepas dia org menang dia kutuk bn sebut rakyat dah tak suka dia org. tapi bila kalah kutuk pulak pengundi pasal terima rasuahlah, tak pandai pilih pemimpinlah, kemenangan tak bermorallah,, apa ni semua. dulu semua org selain puak dia org ni kafir. kami org tempatan bagan pinang pertama kali tgk org2 ni yg kononnya islam tulen berkempen kat bagan pinang. saya rasa yg menuduh kami kafir dulu nampak lagi teruklah.. terpekik terlolong, maki hamun, caci cerca peribadi org mcm dia org la yg maksum. so, biarlah kami di kutuk sebagai tak bermoral sebab undi isa dari jadi hipokrit mcm dia org ni,.

lina pd

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 08:47  

anonymously Dokter Lap here.

now the first question that draws upon an about to vote in Bagan Pinang and elsewhere is :

"if both BN and PR are equally corrupt, will a vote for PR be better than voting BN? whilst BN has shown, via Tun Mahathir that they can develop the nation - PR so far has no proof to show that they can perform better albeit PAS track record in governing Kelantan and the havoc running thru Penang, Perak and Selangor"

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 08:58  


Sejak undi Bagan Pinang ni saya dah tak nak pakai kopiah puteh dah. Tengok jer ler kat bgn pinang ni, pakai seluar koyak, baju tulis cobak cabik, rambut panjang tak terurus tapi pakai kopiah putih. Lagak ala gangster. Tak boleh nak kata dah pakai kopiah putih ni kaki warak. Buat orang agama lain takut jer kat orang pakai kopiah putih ni. Biarlah pakai kopiah bangla yg jual kat mydin tu atau songkok jer tapi berhemah.

Nordin Sunggala

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 22:16  

pious chinglot,,

kenapa tak boleh panggil orang Cina dan india pendatang.dalam bahasa melayu pendatang maknanye orang2 yang hijrah dari satu tempat ketempat yang lain.

apabila ade bloggers yang panggil bumiputra,,babiputra,apa pula komen you.

masaalah nye sekarang kaum you dan india sudah naik tocang,sudah bongkak,sudah megah,sudah rasa kuat sangat dan you boleh buat apa saje.orang melayu akan kata tak pe.apabila orang2 you mula memsoalkan hak2 yang memang dah termaktub hak orang melayu,,

apakah salah orang melayu memanggil you pendatang.jangan lupa dalam setiap tubuh orang melayu mengalir darah hang tuah,hang jebat,hang lekiu,hang lekir,pahlawan mat kilau, dan ramai lagi penjuang kebebasan melayu zaman lampau..selak buku sejarah you akan jumpa semua ini.

apa you all cuba buat adalah to rewrite history,putar belit fakta,sebab you ingat kami semua bodoh dan lemah.

mungkin you orang kuat dari segi ekonomi.tapi tanpa sokongan orang melayu sebagai pembeli semua kedai you tutup.sebab orang cina memang kedekut dan berkira.setiap kali raya kedai cina tutup lama tapi raya cina kekadang orang cina tak tutup kedai pun.sbb apa you fikir..

walaubagaimana bodoh pun orang melayu,mereka adalh beribu kali lebih baik dari oranh you,,sebab orang cina lagi la korup,putar belit,underworld,secret service,clan protectionist,kaki minum,kaki perempuan, and so on,on,on..will they make a better leader.Put a china man in GLC, will be like putting head of mafia.contoh terbaik,perwaja pernah ade tapi lingkup di buatnye.

Anonymous,  16 October 2009 at 02:14  

Anon, 14 October 2009 22:16

Apa yang jumud Melayu melalut tak tentu pasal? Komentar saya adalah terhadap artikel yang ditulis oleh Vinnan. Saya sudah memberikan pandangan jujur saya terhadap kenyataan Vinnan.

Bolehkah sekiranya anda pula memberikan komentar saudara mengenai frasa Vinnan seperti di bawah ini?

"Guess where I got that from? You racist bastard, it is the local investments by people whom you racist shit call 'pendatangs' which have provided the jobs in this country for the security of the Malays AND other Malaysians."

Pious Chinglot

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