Robert Frost:Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Men and Women of the Fifties Generation,

I dedicate this poem by Robert Frost to you, Malaysians of my generation. We all have miles to go before we sleep. It is a dim last 2007 evening in our homeland. Soon it will be 2008.

We have begun the next 50 years with our country lagging behind. Our education system is in a sorry state with our universities in shambles compared to those in our region, let alone those of the Western world, in terms of research and teaching; our economy is performing well below its potential; the income disparity between the urban and rural sectors is widening; corruption is rampant; the government no longer listens to people; it acts with impunity; the Judiciary is corrupt; our once proud civil service where there are still very able and qualified people is completely demoralised; our Police and its specialized agencies are being used to “spy on citizens” in order to protect politicians who have failed us miserably; no one wants to invest here; the media is not free; legitimate dissent is not tolerated; and fear has taken over our land and voices are being silenced.

After 50 years of independence, the state of Malaysia, says Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, quoting Shakespeare’s Prince of Denmark, is rotten. The time is now for us to come out of the woodworks and be counted. Mea culpa, we have allowed our country to deteriorate intellectually,morally and economically. Politically too, we may revert to being a third rate nation.

Please get out of your comfort zone. Join me and let us go change Malaysia for the future of our grandchildren, great grandchildren, and our future generations. Let us make democracy work so that people who we vote into office truly serve the country, not themsleves, their families and relatives, and their cronies. Make integrity matter and restore our dignity.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it’s queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there’s some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Din Merican
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

No Glitter To Merdeka’s Golden Anniversary Year

By Bakri Musa


By right Malaysians should still be relishing the afterglow of their 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations.  Alas, the much-anticipated euphoria was short lived; the grim realities of Malaysian life quickly intruded.

Even the mainstream media carry daily headlines of gory crimes.  If those were not scary enough, residents now live in fear that their basic freedom is being threatened, not by some external enemy rather by their very own government.  Malaysian leaders mistook their electoral mandate for a license to trample on citizens’ basic rights, as in the rights to free assembly and the freedom of conscience.

Those breaches of course did not grab the headlines in the mainstream media; you have to read the alternative media or international publications to get the real news.  The mainstream media instead highlighted Prime Minister Abdullah’s “small” wedding to his “downstairs lady.”

The images of Malaysia projected onto the world stage towards the end of the year were not of a modern nation poised for Vision 2020, rather the typical backward Third World state with a stubbornly bumbling warden as its leader.

The scenes on Al Jazeera and CNN were of the police wildly tear-gassing and firing water cannons upon thousands of peaceful citizens who dared exercise their basic rights to a free assembly.  If those images were not ugly enough, there was Minister of Information Zam in a fit of latah in front of the television cameras for the whole world to see.

Zam is a poor imitation of Saddam Hussein’s Information Minister “Comical Ali.”  At least Ali entertained us with his outlandish bravadoes; Zam nauseated us with his blabber.

Just as we thougt it could not get worse seeing that it was already November when Zam was blabbering in front of an international audience, there was Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum declaring that only Muslims are entitled to use the word “Allah” (God).  He threatened banning the Malay version of the Catholic Church publication that dared use the word “Allah.”

The startling observation was that this moron of a minister could get way with such idiocies.  By his silence, Abdullah reveals that he is equally moronic.

How did a nation that was so full of bubbly confidence as encapsulated in its “Malaysia boleh!” spirit only a few years ago descended so fast and so far, and with so few of the elite class protesting?

To be sure, Malaysia is still far ahead of Pakistan or Zimbabwe.  Unfortunately, far too many, especially the leaders, take comfort in this.

Annus Horribilis

Malaysians had premonitions for this long Annus Horribilis.  It began ominously with the southern part of the peninsula being flooded, with hundreds of thousands displaced.  It was the worst flooding in decades.

Where was Prime Minister Abdullah in the hour of need?  Off to Australia for his scheduled sailing vacation and the opening his brother’s nasi kandar restaurant!

His “bright” young advisors did not see fit to advise their man to cancel his vacation in the face of a national emergency.  The old man was of course clueless.

The floods soon receded and the residents went back to their daily grind, helped by many generous fellow citizens and non-governmental bodies.  When you see your fellow Malaysians in need, you pitched in.  That comes way ahead of your holidays.  Unfortunately you cannot really teach these things, not even at Oxford.  You either have the sense of human decency or you do not.  Fortunately many Malaysians do have it; we just do not see it in the leaders.

Allah (if I am permitted to use that word here) must have known that our leaders are slow learners, for a few months later there was yet another massive flood, this time in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, paralyzing it.

As for that grease spot whose opening was graced by the Prime Minister, it closed soon after.

Horrible In Between

Between the terrible beginning and the horrible ending to the year, there were plenty of hideous fillers in between.

The tenures of the Director of the Anti Corruption Agency Zulkipli and the Chief Justice Ahmad Feiruz were not renewed.  Both left under a cloud.  That should be a feather in Abdullah’s cap, except that Abdullah was intent on keeping them both!  Unrelenting public pressures forced him to back off.  Abdullah may not have wanted the people to challenge him, but they did anyway.

Ahmad Feiruz was again the “off stage” star attraction later in the year in the infamous “Lingam tape.”  Again you would not find that in the headlines of the mainstream media.  Thanks to former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, we had a sniff of the filth that is the Malaysian judiciary.

Weakened by his endless displays of ineptitude, Abdullah was in no position to brave public opposition.  A few weeks after the Johore floods, Raja Petra Kamarudin’s Malaysia-Today carried a detailed expose of the Prime Minister acquiring a luxurious corporate jet, at public expense of course.  Raja Petra had the details nailed down; right to the jet’s tail number.

Malaysia-Today’s phenomenal success is the one rare bright spot.  No wonder World Business named Raja Petra, together with Bank Negara’s Governor Zeti Aziz and former Prime Minister Mahathir among Asia’s Top 20 Progressives.  Meanwhile Tokoh Wartawan Negara Zam remains a jagoh kampong (village champion).  He and those who honor him belong there.

Raja Petra made other headlines.  The police questioned him and his wife Marina separately over some activities purported to be harmful to the state.  Presumably one of those could be his release of the sordid details of the messy divorce settlement of one double Muhammad, a senior UMNO operative.  Raja Petra went further; he challenged this double Muhammad to a public debate to expose this discredited politician, but the latter chickened out.

The police interrogations went nowhere; the police were flummoxed.  Marina in particular refused to answer questions claiming that as a Muslim she is entitled to have her husband present beside her.  Isn’t it great to be a Muslim!

Lina Joy however, did not think so.  Her celebrated case, a simple and routine administrative matter of changing the religious designation on her identity card, attracted worldwide attention when Malaysia’s top court ruled that, the norms of civilized society notwithstanding, there is no freedom of conscience in the country.  Malaysians cannot change their religion on a whim, according to the wisdom of Chief Justice Ahmad Feiruz.

Pursuing this theme, the religious authorities in Perak charged a young Malay mother for “encouraging immoral activities” while singing in her sleeveless blouse in a nightclub.

And pursuing the moronic theme again, some well-meaning supporters (“arse lickers” would be the more appropriate though crude term) of Abdullah nominated his late wife Endon as Anak Gemilang Malaysia (Illustrious Malaysians).  Mercifully, they withdrew her name, but not before some very unkind jabs by bloggers.  I do not blame them; instead rap the knuckles of the idiots who set her up.

I am uncertain which was more idiotic, that or the hysterical reactions among the leaders to a student’s sophomoric rap rendition of Negara Ku.  Or that character Mat Zakaria Derus and his mansion amidst the slums of Klang.

The annual Auditor General’s Report too made headlines, again!  There was the RM 4.2 billion Port Klang Free Zone development project debacle, and the Sports Ministry’s spending sprees.  The list goes on.

I am certain that the theme will be repeated next year; only the players, projects, and price tags would vary.  Well at least we can be comforted by the fact that those boondoggles still make the headlines.  The day may come when they won’t.  With Abdullah in charge, that will not be too far off.

The Road Not Taken

Robert Lee Frost was one of America’s leading 20th-century poets and a four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. An essentially pastoral poet often associated with rural New England, Frost wrote poems whose philosophical dimensions transcend any region. Although his verse forms are traditional, he was a pioneer in the interplay of rhythm and meter and in the poetic use of the vocabulary and inflections of everyday speech. His poetry is thus both traditional and experimental, regional and universal.

Frost read a poem at John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration (1961) and is one of my favorite American poets (and I have quite a few). Here is one of his more popular poems to remind ourselves that in our journey of life we have to make choices. Some of us take the familiar and others traverse the unfamiliar. Which one will it be for you?

It is good to think about the choices you will be making in 2008 and reflect on your future as 2007 recedes into the pages of human history. 2007 was a dismal year with floods at home, and calamities and tragedies abroad. Will 2008 be any better for Malaysia as we face the real prospect of further economic slowdown, and a fresh round of price increases? Are we not worried that we have to spend more ringgits to buy the same quantity of goods and services? But this evening as we usher in the New Year, be of good cheer.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Knowledge and Action: The Twin Pincers of Progress

By Din Merican

God, The Most Merciful and Most Compassionate, said “READ” (Surah Al ‘Alaq, 96:1).

The Qur’an is the only Holy Book with a command to read. God has conferred a great honour on knowledge and the learned that before ordaining prayers and fasting, before giving details of the Islamic creed and the law to be revealed. See Surah Ali Imran 3:18; Surah Ta Ha 20:114; Surah Al ‘Ankabut 29:20; Surah Al Zumar 39: 11; Surah Al Mujadilah 58:11,and Surah Al Qalam 68:1. The Arab word for knowledge (ilm) and its derivatives appear 850 times in the Qu’ran. Knowledge is not just theoretical as all knowledge must lead to action (Surah Al Tawbah 9:105). This is Islam (and not Islam Hadhari).

Ignorance and idleness engulfs the Muslim world today. This shows that we do not believe in the essential teachings of the Qur’an. In Malaysia, we are subject to “political islam” which is propagated by the state which seeks to monopolise and control discourse on all matters relating to Islam, and exercise power over the Malays and Muslims in our country. As a result, I think, there is less interest in learning, working, continuous creativity and intellectual activity among us Muslims in this country.

Even our universities are subject to rigid control and academics who dare to think and act independently are shanted aside in favour of those who toe the “official line”. There is also no intellectual/cendiakawan community to speak of. Public intellectuals are seen as “trouble makers’ who deserve no better than a sojourn in Kamunting under the Internal Security Act. A massive cloud of fear overhangs the national landscape and the mother of all evils, mediocrity and kiasu take over.

Courage and truthfulness, defense of the right, fight against injustice and exploitation, and championing the rights of the weak and meek are mere slogans by the UMNO-led government when, in fact, these are qualities and deeds of a true Muslim.

But before we can take action, we must have knowledge. Read first; we must be able differentiate right from wrong, know the laws of the real world in which we live, and then and only then we can take action. Action is not just talk. The Qur’an establishes a method. It enjoins Muslim to move, marshal observations, record data and then examine all available facts. It was, unfortunately, Francis Bacon who introduced the method of induction a 1,000 years after the revelation of the Qur’an. If only we had made an effort to understand our Holy Book and acted according to its commands, the Islamic world would have been well ahead of the West.

How many of us remember Jabir Ibn Hayyan (chemistry), Ibn Arabi (mysticism), Ibn Haytham (in mathematics and geometry), the great Andalusian philosophers, poets and musicians, and the Arab astronomers who contributed to human knowledge when Europe was in the Dark Ages. Our ancestors combined their knowledge with work (action) and this combination of knowledge and work contributed to the advance of civilization. They were inspired by the word, Read, the first word revealed, that the Holy Prophet Muhammad pbuh was directed to convey to his followers.

A true Muslim is both a man (and woman) of knowledge and of action. In fact, the Qur’an says it best:
Those who have faith
And do righteous deeds-
They are the best of creatures.”
(Surah Al Bayyinah 98:7).

The Holy Prophet pbuh, our role model, was not just a man who was the Messenger of God or a reciter of the Qur’an. He was a hard worker and a very successful business man. He was the first to lead in times of war; he led from the front and shared the life of his soldiers, their hunger and thirst, and their fears. He was a prophet who conveyed a message of hope and salvation, a soldier who fought his battles valiantly, a field commander who planned both strategy and tactics, and a politician who administered the affairs of state with justice for all and with prudence. He was also a devout Muslim, truthful and honest, never sullying his tongue or his hand. He never shirked a burden in the service of that cause for which he fought and for which he would have died. He was a kind father, a good husband and a loyal friend.

Our Prophet Muhammad pbuh is the epitome of transformational leadership and of incessant hard work. If you seek to reach the right destination, you cannot get there without knowledge and action. Talk is cheap; promises must not be taken lightly and commitments must be honoured. Our leaders must do good deeds and serve the people and not themselves, their families and cronies. Otherwise, they are not fit to govern.

That is why as Malaysians, we must hold our leaders to high standards of ethics and public accountability. We must not be scared to change our leaders when they fail to perform. We should do that by democratic and constitutional means, of course. We must put to an end to this prevailing culture of impunity. We must no longer allow corrupt and incompetent leaders to remain in power. Otherwise, Malaysia will degenerate into a third rate nation, no longer respected by the community of nations.

It takes hard work to be great again. Greatness is not a stroll in Taman Tasik Perdana, or an excursion to National Park in Pahang.

Goenawan Mohamed: HIJAU

Di dunia yang letih, orang sering mengutip sebaris sajak Federico Garcia Lorca: Verde que te quiero verde…

Hijau, kumau engkau hijau:
Bintang agung beku dingin
Tiba dengan bayang ikan
Yang merintis fajar

Puisi Lorca mempesona karena loncatan-loncatannya – warna hijau, bintang agung, bayang ikan, hari fajar — yang tak pernah bisa dipertalikan rapi dalam satu tafsir, tapi memperkaya kita dengan imaji-imaji yang mengejutkan, baru, segar, tak terulangi, seperti dalam mimpi.

Maka di dunia yang mulai lelah, puisi, atau imaji yang menari, segar, meloncat-loncat, dan tak disangka-sangka — ya, juga warna hijau – jadi alternatif (yang tak diakui) bagi sebuah kehidupan yang mengabaikan itu semua. Modal, mesin dan birokrasi telah membuat sistem yang meringkus tarian seperti itu, sistem yang hanya kenal persisnya lajur laporan keuangan dan bagan eksak di buku-buku teknik. Baik kapitalisme (digerakkan orang Eropa dan Amerika) maupun sosialisme (dimulai di Uni Soviet dan Cina) sama-sama membentuk dunia dalam garis lurus itu — garis “modernitas” dan “kemajuan”, garis nalar yang menghitung, mencapai, dan menghasilkan. Itulah garis penaklukan dunia. Puisi yang menari, sebaliknya, tak hendak menaklukkan. Ia tak hendak memaksa apa yang di luar dirinya, elemen hidup yang tak terduga. “Le poète ne force pas le réel,” kata René Char.

Sudah lama sebenarnya masalah ini dikemukakan. Tapi sebagaimana Lorca hanya mengutarakan hasratnya di antara lanskap yang memukau tapi tragis di Andalusia, puisi — dan pelbagai suara yang gundah menyaksikan “modernitas” dan “kemajuan” — hanya bisa bicara secara terbatas.

Memang suara yang menghendaki “hijau” itu terkadang membingungkan. Ia tak menawarkan cara bagaimana menghentikan keniscayaan pertumbuhan ekonomi dan perlunya kemajuan teknologi. Sesekali bahkan ia mengandung racun kecurigaan dan kebencian: di tahun 1930-an, di Jerman, pemujaan akan Blut und Boden (“darah dan tanah”) dikobarkan para penganjur Naziisme, yang ingin menjaga kemurnian Jerman dengan tradisi dan alamnya yang perawan, agar Volk, bangsa atau ras, tak tercemar oleh persentuhan dengan “yang-asing” dan “yang- borjuis” di kota besar.

Memang ada yang indah, tapi kuno, juga konyol, atau reaksioner dalam seruan “hijau” di masa lampau.

Tapi abad ke-21 mengubah semua itu. Sambutan kepada film dokumenter An Incovenient Truth adalah indikasinya: film dokumenter yang dibuat dengan ongkos satu juta dollar in begitu laris di mana-mana; ia dapat menghjimpun dana 49 juta dollar lebih. Al Gore, tokoh di pusat film yang memperingatkan perubahan iklim global itu, mendapatkan Hadiah Nobel Perdamaian tahun 2007. Berjuta-juta penonton akan selalu ingat suaranya:

“Anda pandang sungai yang lembut mengalir melintasi itu. Anda perhatikan daun berkerisik pada angin. Anda dengar suara burung; anda dengar katak pohon. Di kejauhan ada lenguh seekor lembu. Anda rasakan rerumputan itu….Hening; damai. Dan tiba-tiba, ada yang bergerak berubah dalam diri anda. Rasanya seperti menarik nafas dalam-dalam dan berbisik, “Ah, ya, aku telah lupa semua ini.”

Kata-kata itu tak istimewa, sebenarnya. Tapi mau tak mau, bersama itulah hasrat Lorca, “kumau engkau hijau,” menemukan makna dan wibawa lain. “Hijau” telah jadi hasrat untuk menggapai sesuatu yang terasa begitu menggerakkan hati tapi tak hadir: bumi yang tak rusak oleh polusi dan keserakahan.

“Hijau”, melalui proses percakapan dan pergulatan kepentingan, berangsur-angsur telah jadi kepentingan umum. Ia jadi pesan yang universal.

Dalam arti tertentu, di sini telah berlangsung “globalisasi” yang berbeda dengan globalisasi kapital, justru ketika bangunan global satu-satunya ini terancam musnah. Kini yang diserukan Barbara Ward dan René Dubos dalam buku mereka yang terkenal, Only One Earth (dalam bahasa Indonesia, Hanya Satu Bumi), yang ditulis buat Konferensi PBB di Stockholm di tahun 1972, mendapatkan pendengar. Pelbagai identitas yang berbeda-beda – yang ditandai nama negara, bangsa, kelompok etnis, kelas sosial, gender — berada dalam posisi setara, di bulatan bumi yang satu, di sebutir planet yang genting.

Di saat seperti ini, identitas makin tak bisa berlaku seperti benteng tertutup. Dalam diri tiap negara, atau bangsa, atau kelompok etnis, atau kelas, atau gender, ada anasir yang akan membuka diri ke luar, memahami nasib “hanya satu bumi” ini. Tapi ada juga yang justru akan melihat “hanya satu bumi” hanyalah ilusi; mereka akan kembali menutup pintu, bersiaga. Dengan kata lain, “globalisasi” kecemasan ini tak berarti akan menghasilkan sebuah dunia yang tanpa konflik – tak peduli betapa bersemangat, tulus, dan sopannya para kepala negara berbicara di Bali.

Tapi tak bisakah kita berharap? Saya kira bisa. Justru kini harapan lebih punya sandaran ketimbang di masa lampau.

Dulu pesan yang universal itu datang secara menakutkan dan mencurigakan, seperti ketika Eropa mengkristenkan orang Amerika Selatan atau ketika “Pencerahan”-nya mengubah muka bumi dengan kolonialisme dan “kemajuan” — yang sebenarnya satu ekspansi “peradaban” sekelompok manusia ke kelompok-kelompok manusia lain.

Kini, apa yang universal adalah sebuah utopia hijau melawan kematian – yakni kematian yang akan mengenai siapa saja. Juga melawan ketidak-adilan, karena mereka yang kaya adalah yang paling merusak bumi, sementara yang miskin akan jadi korban pertama kali. Walhasil, pesan yang universal kali ini datang bukan dari si kuasa, tapi praktis dari siapa saja yang hidup di bawah lapisan ozon yang berlubang, cemas kehilangan.

Kini aku bukan diriku
Rumahku bukan rumahku
Biarkan aku sebentar naik ke beranda tinggi
Biarkan aku pergi! Biarkan aku naik
Ke beranda hijau
Tempat air bergema pelan
Di balustrada bulan

~(Edisi revisi dari) Majalah Tempo Edisi. 41/XXXVI/03 – 9 Desember 2007~

“Politik Berjiwa Rakyat”: Anwar Ibrahim’s Visit to the Rural Heartland, Negri Sembilan

By Din Merican

I joined Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim on his visit to the rural heartland of Negri Sembilan on December 28, 2007. The journey took my colleagues (Sdr. Azmin Ali, Dato Kamarul Bahrin who is the KeADILan Chief for Negri Sembilan, Dr Xavier Jayakumar, Sdr. Saifuddin Nasution, and others) and I to Felda Pasoh 4 in Jelebu, Felda Palong 10 in Jempol, Pekan Rompin, Pekan Kuala Pilah and Pekan Linggi (near Port Dickson), Negri Sembilan. We criss-crossed the state,meeting interesting Malays, Indians and Chinese, who showed genuine concern about the economy, and the state of our national and local politics.

It was my first extensive trip to Negri Sembilan since 1967 when, as a central bank officer, I was exchanging old Currency Board notes for the new Ringgits issued by Bank Negara Malaysia. At that time, I was living in Seremban Rest House (from June-September, 1967). I was surprised that I could still recognise the places I visited and operated in some 40 years ago. This means that the much touted progress or development, corridors and what not, has not come to the people in the places we visited, and their lives and economic status have not changed very much. In stead, they have been burdened by rising cost of basic foods and services. That much for UMNO-BN propaganda!!

In his speeches during his various “politik berjiwa rakyat” sessions, the de facto KeADILan leader was candid and open. He brought a message of national unity, racial harmony and hope. His voice was one of moderation and temperance. He appealed to his audiences to vote for change and to make a difference. He then urged them to restore the honour and dignity to our country.

Let us move forward, he said, rather than dwell on the past. There is no time for bitterness (referring to years he spent under the ISA in 1974 in Kamunting and 6 years in Sungei Buloh) and revenge. He wanted to focus on the future and actions that should be taken to make Malaysia a truly great nation.

He explained, like he did in Penang and Kedah, to them that he was a target of a vicious UMNO campaign which sought to tell the Malays that he had become an Indian leader and a traitor to his own people. He was not worried about this, because as a Malay and a Muslim he sought justice for all. The rights of all Malaysians as guaranteed by the Constitution, he said, would be respected. He was for Malay rights (as embodied in Article 153 of the Constitution), Bahasa Malaysia, and Islam (not Islam Hadhari); he would support Indian rights for a better life, for respect of their place of worship, culture, and language, for better housing and schools ; and he would ensure that the Chinese community rights are equally respected. Under his leadership, the economy will be strong and vibrant. His government will be committed to maintaining high standards of good public governance with fiscal discipline.

Corruption, nepotism, and the blatant abuse of power must no longer be tolerated. These social ills have resulted in our loss of competitiveness with countries like Taiwan, South Korea and Taiwan, and our moral degeneration. The politics of ethnic division and animosity under UMNO-BN must cease as it would only lead to political instability and racial discord. It is now the time to vote for a government “yang berjiwa rakyat”, he told the enthusiastic and cheering Malays, Chinese and Indians who turned up in signficant numbers (in Linggi, he spoke to some 5,000 Malaysians) to listen to his speeches.

In Linggi, he praised the members of the Civil Service, the Police and the Military for their stellar service to our country over the last 50 years. He was sure that these services would again rise above petty politics.With ethical and competent leadership, they would be able to better serve the people. He looked forward to their support so that together and with the Blessings of Allah we can begin to rebuild the country.

The marathon sessions which began at Felda Pasoh 4 after immediately Friday prayers on December 28 and finished in Linggi at 12.15 am on December 29, 2007. It was a fitting end to this eventful year. The message from the people of Negri Sembilan is unequivocal. They want change now.

Credit must go to Dato Kamarul Bahrin and his team for an excellent and useful programme. Everything went according to schedule and the people of Negri Sembilan are ready to, and will vote for change in the coming elections.