Pakatan Rakyat get your act together

November 30, 2013

MY COMMENT: Pakatan Rakyat(PR) has done well in thedato-din-merican last elections, although it lost Kedah and was unable to take back Perak, and win in Negri Sembilan and Terengganu. To its credit, PR has shown in Penang and Selangor that it can govern prudently, but admittedly much more work needs to be done if PR is to take Putrajaya in GE-14. It is not going to be easy since UMNO-BN is equally determined to remain in power.

Anwar Ibrahim was the glue that brought PKR, DAP and PAS together in 2008. GE-12 is now history but for the first time since Independence the country had a strong opposition capable of taking reins of power from UMNO-BN in Putrajaya. Credit is due to Anwar.

Unfortunately, after 5 years of Pakatan Rakyat, it would appear that the de facto PKR leader has apparently lost his influence with PAS and DAP as a result of his own political fumbles, the most famous being the “September 16″(2008) episode which diminished Anwar’s credibility .

Internal PKR politics got the better of him, especially his close partnership with Azmin Ali. Anwar’s open criticism of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is counter-productive. The Menteri Besar of Selangor is a very competent and outstanding administrator. Criticisms against him are, therefore, politically motivated. He is now being made to appear as a liability to PKR. The reality is that Khalid Ibrahim is an asset since he has managed the affairs of his state well. 

Anwar has also mishandled Sabah and the consequences are obvious to all of us. PKR Sabah is in shambles and if PR is to take Putrajaya, something drastic must happen. It is tough to revive PKR but given the UMNO-BN’s control  over Sabah and Sarawak, thanks to both Musa Aman and Taib Mahmud, PR may have to depend on DAP. Frankly, I am not sure if DAP can do it on its own.

Murray’s comment that “PKR has shown itself to be opportunistic, with little in the way of its own thought-out ideological-based policies” is valid. Some commentators told me recently that PKR has become a twin sister of UMNO culture-wise. I agree that PKR has no ideology to speak of today. It, in fact, lost its ideological verve with the retirement of Dr. Syed Hussin Ali who I admire a lot.  PKR today, as I see it, is no longer driven ideals of democracy, justice, and good governance.

PR must refocus and work towards being a true multidimensional coalition speaking with one voice on issues and policies, no longer one that is driven by one man’s ambition to become Prime Minister. –Din Merican

Pakatan Rakyat get your act together

by Murray Hunter@

PR urgently needs good strategists whose opinions are listened to. PR must advance from being a one-man crusade to becoming a true multidimensional coalition with a wide and varied intellectual input and consistent message.–Murray Hunter

The general election is almost six months behind us where the narratives of Malaysian politics have been defined.

pr3The Pakatan Trio

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) may have won the popular vote in the last election, leading some to believe that the opposition coalition is owed a moral mandate. However, under a first-past-the-post electoral system, the game is about winning seats, not aggregate votes.

PAS has ruled Kelantan for many years in the social and cultural contexts of the state and has shown it understands the aspirations of the Kelantanese.

Khalid Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng–Success Story in Selangor and Penang

Khalid IbrahimSelangor has been prudently run as a corporation by Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, and Penang’s finances have been restructured with great fiscal skill, where industrial investment has been revived through relentless promotion by DAP’s Lim Guan Eng.

However, even with these achievements, Pakatan does not have the pedigree needed to form a federal government.Many inconsistencies and weaknesses within Pakatan exist. As a multidimensional party, PAS does not speak with a unified voice.

DAP has shown its failure to provide ideologically sound and loyallim-guan-eng candidates for political office, causing the downfall of one state government. The coming DAP party elections in Penang show the mad scramble for positions of influence among party stalwarts.

To date, PKR has shown itself to be opportunistic, with little in the way of its own thought-out ideological-based policies. In fact, some of its views, like the one on salary hikes for politicians, are even contradictory.

The culmination of these problems, the failure to take tactical initiatives and electoral blunders have cost Pakatan Rakyat the grand prize of Malaysian politics –the Federal Government.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been grossly unappreciated for his job of holding the line for UMNO in the recent election. He was written off before the election by many pundits, who expected great losses.

Many felt there was a real possibility of Terengganu and Negri Sembilan falling to PR. Perak was expected to be won back by PR. However, Najib held these states and wrested back Kedah as well.

GE-13: Najib’s strategic brilliance or Anwar’s blunders?

We will never be sure whether it was Najib’s strategic brilliance or Anwar’s blunders that resulted in the final result.

The defeat for PAS in Terengganu in 2004 and the recent return of Kedah to Barisan Nasional (BN) indicate that voters won’t accept incompetence by any PR government, although they may not apply the same standard to BN. The Kedah win, led by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, will be difficult to reverse in the next election.

Sabah Politics badly handled by PKR

PR, particularly PKR, has made a major blunder in Sabah. PKR wants to run candidates under its own banner rather than work with the existing opposition forces in the state, leading to a number of three-cornered fights.

cm-musa-amanAs a result, the opposition is divided into a number of groups, which played straight into the hands of UMNO strong man and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, allowing UMNO to dominate the state’s political landscape.

This cost the opposition forces four federal and eight state assembly seats. In addition, PKR itself seems to be disintegrating in the state where between eight and 12 leaders have quit the party over the last few days.

Sarawak: Taib Mahmud’s Bastion

Although DAP has made inroads into the towns of Sarawak, the rural regions of the state remain the bastion of Tan Sri Taib Mahmud’s Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Besatu (PBB)-dominated government. PR appears to have grossly underestimated the political mastery and respect Taib carries in the rural heartlands of Sarawak.

Taib has the qualities of a leader, rather than the administrativeTaib Mahmud mould of many other national leaders, making him a strong adversary. It’s not the work of PR that has made small inroads into PBB support, but rather the work of Radio Free Sarawak and other independent local activists.

In Sabah and Sarawak, it is difficult to see where PR can make future gains unless it can change its understanding of the political dynamics of both states. From the people’s perspective, this maybe even more difficult as PAS, PKR and DAP are considered by many as “peninsula-centric”, as DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang said in a recent blog posting.

Sabah and Sarawak are mathematically critical in deciding which side of politics forms the federal government.In the last election campaign, PR focused on preaching to the converted. This didn’t win new voters. The inroads into Johor were good for PR, but city campaigns with perhaps the exception of Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar in Lembah Pantai where she was challenged by the then UMNO Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin were wasted efforts.

If the Pakatan leaders had not run the mass rallies in Johor, conveying a syok sendiri or chauvinist manner, the UMNO rhetoric after the election may have been much more conciliatory and inclusive than the current divisive narrative coming out of the party.

PKR –A Dynasty

Many perceive PKR to be a dynasty with husband, wife and daughter holding high-profile positions. This is one reason the Azmin Ali influence is so strong within the party, to the point of being bitterly divisive. His recent comments over the pay increase announced for Selangor lawmakers make Azmin look more like an opposition leader in Selangor than a member of the government.

There is more to Azmin’s antics than just naked ambition. He has a point that many in the party agree with. One Sabah PKR leader Jelani Hamden upon his resignation from the party a couple of days ago said that there was too much central control. This is a rift that could paralyse the party, particularly when the rank-and-file members are needed on the ground during elections.

The current disagreement about how funds in Selangor should be utilised shows the policy malaise of PKR. There is also a wider dimension to policy issues where PR has not been able to deal with the issue of hudud and an Islamic state. The concept of an Islamic state is ill-explained. The issue could have been easily resolved through adopting the concept of governance through Islamic principles rather than going all out for an Islamic state.

The best advantage for UMNO is for PAS to continue focusing on hudud. For as long as PAS promotes hudud, UMNO will stay in power.

It’s time for the PR to eradicate “ego” from the coalition leadership and make a serious attempt to regroup under a new guard for the next election.

To do that would shed the usual suspects of PR to allow a new vanguard of politicians to emerge, who are younger and more energetic than BN. This doesn’t mean that the old guard of Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh withdraw totally but rather, give others “room to move” in the generational transition.

Anwar should stand aside

The best thing for PKR might be Anwar declaring that he had no more ambition to become PM and stand aside. This would go a long way in winning over voters who mistrust his intentions. As long as Anwar clings to the hope of one day becoming PM, PR is doomed to remain in opposition. The myth that Anwar is a vote winner must be overturned. His immense international popularity doesn’t equate to winning new voters here.

When looking closely at PAS, there is an almost perpetual struggle going on between the ulama and the professionals, technocrats,  Anwaristas and other progressives within the party. Occasionally, members of the ulama in PAS will make pronouncements, which lead to many voters developing a fear of the party because of its interpretation of Islam. This costs PAS votes as Malays tend to be moderate relative to many other Islamic societies.

This, however, has generally been kept in check by leaders like Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Mat Sabu over the last few years.

According to PAS Research Director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, PAS needs to woo the Malay youth and women voters. The youth vote is growing massively and changing the dynamics of elections and PAS currently only holds around 40% of the Malay vote, being only 35% among women. UMNO’s powerhouse during elections is UMNO Wanita. If PAS is going to grow its electoral support, it must connect with women and the younger generation.

PAS losing grip in the Rural Heartland

At present, PAS is good at preaching to the converted. However, its electoral support in the Malay heartland is on the decline. This electoral decline lost Kedah and failed in enabling PR to retake Perak. Even in the stronghold of Kelantan, PAS lost six seats although it continues to govern the state. Ironically, PAS won in multi-ethnic areas as a beneficiary of the PR coalition. PAS needs to make up this deficit if PR is to have any chance of taking over the federal government.

PAS also needs to inspire the multiethnic electorate to maintain its support. Hudud is not going to help with any of these demographics.

Many mistake hudud for Islam because of PAS insistence on the issue. Sometimes, PAS mistakes being Arabic for being Islamic, which frightens many voters, particularly the urban Malay youth. People don’t vote for PAS because of Islam, but rather their dislike for BN. A vote for PAS is not necessarily a vote for the ideals of the party.

The PAS philosophy that has been so successful in Kelantan cannot be translated nationally. The long rule of Nik Aziz can be considered an extraordinary example of a leader who had special qualities and was able to appeal to the emotions and aspirations of the Kelantan people. PAS’s success in Kelantan has little national correlation.

With the Terengganu and Kedah losses, PAS still has to prove that it can govern.

NajiboThe rumours of PAS-UMNO talks, fuelled by a recent meeting between Kelantan MB Datuk Ahmad Yakob and Najib, continue to undermine and bring insecurity to PR, especially when at the closing of the recent PAS general assembly, President Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang did not rule out the possibility of discussions.

As we have seen, policy has little to do with who governs. It’s about emotion and sentiment. It’s not about exposing corruption and incompetence, but rather making people in rural Malaysia understand the differences between political parties and government.

Otherwise, BN will always be the government and PR the opposition. It’s also about realising that those who will decide who will form the next government in Putrajaya are not the middle-class professionals in the cities but pakcik and makcik in the rural areas. PR lost rural votes in Perak, much of Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Negri Sembilan, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak and Kedah in the last election.

Many political analysts in Westminster systems would argue that governments lose elections rather than oppositions winning them. However, the Malaysian context may be different where the opposition needs to win the confidence and trust of the rural electorate.

The Rural Factor in Malaysian Politics

The major problem here is that most rural people don’t know any other type of government. Issues such as the separation of party and state are difficult for many to understand. One of the beliefs that many Malays hold is that opposing UMNO is opposing the government. Many rural people have been brought up with the belief that only UMNO can protect their religion, way of life and against Chinese economic domination.

The Hudud Issue–Advantage UMNO

As mentioned, PAS hasn’t sold Islam well in a multicultural society with the hudud issue. Part of the reason UMNO has returned to the ultra-Malay narrative and taken a strong “Islamic” stance is its feeling that it must compete with PAS to show it is the party with the best credentials to look after “Malay interests”.

Consequently, the current hudud law project has isolated Islam from the wider concept of Tawhid. Islamic proclamations and the strong stances we are witnessing are not benefitting the progression of Islam within Malaysia. If PAS presented a more balanced Islamic world view, Umno would have much greater room to move into the middle ground.

The PR agenda has a massive influence on the behaviour of the government. If PR was truly concerned about the consequences of its own political rhetoric, the leadership may consider changing approach, which no doubt would also benefit them electorally.

Anwar’s “September 16” and Twitter message on election night that “PR has won the election” are not constructive. Many perceive Anwar to be driven by ambition, hate and a sense of revenge. His pledge to retire if PR didn’t win the election has lost him credibility.

There is a segment of the population who have become disillusioned with PR over a number of issues. Anwar’s antics, internal struggles, a potential political dynasty, lack of policy direction, and basic mistrust are keeping PR from winning the federal election. If PR wants to win, they must take a hard inward look, rather than blame their loss on phantom voters.

Blaming others is just too easy, rather than recognising one’s own shortcomings. If DAP state assemblyman Hee Yit Foong didn’t defect, the PR Perak government may have run its full term. If the former Kedah Chief Minister did things differently, the last election result may have been different. If PKR left Sabah politics to the Sabahans and admitted Sabah parties into the coalition, great inroads would have been made.

Within the current stance, victory for PR at the next election looks bleak. PR members need to go back to the drawing board and return to the electorate with consistent and united policies and most of all learn how to engage rural communities.

It is, therefore, not the alternative media that will be most important but the rural village committees, which is still the proven secret weapon of BN.

In politics, it doesn’t matter what foreigners think of the present Malaysian Government or Anwar for that matter. It doesn’t matter whether there is electoral fraud or not. Elections are not about the moral high grounds or even what the majority wants. What matters is knowing the land you are playing on and wining the competition by the existing rules. Otherwise, a tired and scandal-laden government would have long been tossed out of office.

No Shadow Cabinet

In Malaysia the winner takes all. Without any shadow cabinet, PR is not an opposition, but rather a bunch of non-government members of parliament. BN representatives in the Senate are asking better questions than PR are asking in the lower house.

Unlike the post-2008 election period, the Malaysian electorate appears to be “burnt out” and has given up expectation and yearning for change. It’s now suppressed. This is where BN is likely to make up lost ground next election as the wave of change has reached the peak and will gently subside.

PR urgently needs good strategists whose opinions are listened to. PR must advance from being a one-man crusade to becoming a true multidimensional coalition with a wide and varied intellectual input and consistent message. – November 30, 2013.

33 thoughts on “Pakatan Rakyat get your act together

  1. I respectfully disagree with the author about Anwar Ibrahim.
    Anwar is one of the people holding the coalition together.

    If you want to know who the kleptocrats of UMNO Baru-BN fear most, just see who they are attacking the most e.g. Anwar Ibrahim, Nurul Izzah, Lim Guan Eng and so on.

  2. Asians in general, when coming together find it difficult to unite and face the foe. Each are generally keen on making stands that need not be stood upon. Being Asians it is life threatening that “I must make my point ” and be heard loud and clear. It matters little if the point being made is not critical or back breaking. Very shallow (face is so important)
    What is the alternative, notwithstanding the above the grouping is still better than the UMNO (yes, UMNO not BN, as other component parties are only wallpaper) Come GE 14 I will still vote opposition

  3. i can agree fully agree with this article for three main reasons: (1) 916 ; (2) “PR has won the election”; and (3) Where is the PR logo?

  4. “The best advantage for UMNO is for PAS to continue focusing on hudud. For as long as PAS promotes hudud, UMNO will stay in power.”—Murray Hunter

    I hope Mr. Hunter is wrong on this point and that it’s really not true, as hudud will be the perfect panacea to cure the CORRUPTION sickness which many say UMNO suffers the most at the moment. Karpal Singh & his like-minded have so far not been able to understand this aspect. But Mr. Hunter is correct to say that “…PAS hasn’t sold Islam well in a multicultural society with the hudud issue” which needs to be packaged better to present a good corporate marketing image.

  5. Alie the cat,
    Why do I feek that your proposal reek of conspiracy of maintaining UMNO in the power?

    Lets ask ROS. Why?

    Sure or not?

    My matey ktemoc says that anwar should drop dead and let his daugher take over. Hahahaha! Me hah, so long that cat catches the mouce…..That cat is a good cat.

  6. PKR and Pakatan Rakyat has a cancerous growth by the name of Azmin Ali. Anwar and PKR should take immediate action to get rid of that deadly growth, so that there’s enough time to heal before GE14. As long as Azmin remains in PR, they will never take Putrajaya.

  7. It’s an interesting but superficial write-up from a successful Aussie businessman. Superficial because Anwar is the binding for the loose PR, even though he could be overstaying. Superficial because a former EC chair has declared that his organisation had engineered ‘a win for Malay power. Superficial because Hubter knows little about how elections have always been stolen since the federal government tamed the non-Muslim leaders there. Superficial because the author had not taken in account of the result of the recent PAS polls. And of course I am not surprise Hunter has praise for Najib. Whatever it is any criticism for a loose coalition like PR is good if it can adapt itself to the changing environment.

  8. Yup, it’s about time to take a step back and survey the scenery and smell the the dung.
    Besides, it’s good to have self flagellation and mortification – er.., once in a long while. Self Criticism is for Discipline, not to be misconstrued as ‘Fasting’.

    I would agree that Anwar has lost the Plot – whatever, it was – and should stand down.
    PKR is going nowhere with it’s internal bickering and backstabbing; PAS is in extremis with it’s hudud-ing without a shred of inclusiveness but pandering to ‘branded’ religious exclusivity and supremacy; DAP is as usual pointing fingers and blustering at everybody else – except themselves and their lack of intellectual ingenuity and harmony.

    I think the only really good strategist out there is Uncle Kit. The rest are lil’ goat-herders who react, rather than proact. Even shepherds have good dogs to corral their sheep – these fellas have wolves.., or are wolves themselves – or else, like the sheep they tend. And running a state is totally different from running a nation – since the Feds over here control everything including access to your own mother!

    Witness soon, the dickhead scale back of subsidies and persistent use of ‘national’ jets.. Reactionary politics, these guys practice, is in a word Absurd. Everybody wants to hide, whenever the Word ‘Allah’ descends. Woe betide..

    As for the irredeemable suckers in deforested hinterlands of Sarawak and Sabah – there ain’t no hope, this side of Reality – since they persist to gather around carcasses of sacrificial goats. They don’t seem to understand what’s good for themselves. Ditto, the Tuan Melayus of nothing except BR1M and Hubris.

    I think i might as well join my buddy dingoes in Arnhem Land. No eye see, no nose smell.. Wake me up, when we go on to something more ‘substantial’.

  9. MT Lau,
    Lets bring another expert from down under who was a Penang Lang called kaytee. He will give you a fantastic view that Anwar must be mampus for the sake of PKR. We also must ask CLF too

  10. This article reeks of outright smear then an iota of convincing insight. Is the Elctions conducted in a playing field that is fair? Is the EC truly independent and impartial?. If you truly know how the system works, you would not makie sweeping opinions. First of all data from all polling stations at the end of the voting hour is counted in front of the polling agents. The agents then feed this results to the respective constituenciy command centres. After taking into account the postal ballots counted, the winner is easily deciphered. So how is it that the tremendous delay of the EC in announcing the results can provide a win for the loser? Figure this out for yourselves before accusing Anwar of falsely claiming victory. I know Anwar has no avenue to prove his case because his opponents convenient hide behind the law which is flexed and abused for their shameless cheating. The Election Commiossion and the security arrangement has been highly suspect. In which nation do you have foreignors coming out in speciially chartered buses to vote at a single voting centre? Have you not read or watched incidences of ballot boxes being smuggled into counting centres? To toe the official view does not mean your article is of facts. O)n the contrary you are peddling propaganda.

  11. It seems like PKR politicians is the only pakatan party that’s against the raise where PAS and DAP supported it. I cannot help to think certain leaders such as Anwar and Azmin want to destroy our MB. Also, i agree PKR is a mirror image of UMNO.

  12. Uncle Din,
    I cannot but fully agree to what “Muthu November 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm ” wrote. My haunch is that Azmin is nothing but an UMNO Baru’s trojan horse.

  13. That’s not fair, CLF. You must have pakat with my matey, ktemoc. Oh come on, don’t be like Jon Stewart. Last check Kit is de facto of DAP. Anyway, when you are in the Outback, make sure you stay away from Singapore arty or F16 bombing grounds

  14. We should be aware of agents provocateur planted in the various
    Pakatan Rakyat component parties by the kleptocratic regime to destabilise them.

    Some of them are easy to spot i.e. those who urge extreme or provocative actions.

  15. From Wikipedia:

    “An agent provocateur (French for “inciting agent”) is an undercover agent who acts to entice another person to commit an illegal or rash act or falsely implicate them in partaking in an illegal act. An agent provocateur may be employed by the police or other entity to discredit or harm another group (e.g., peaceful protest or demonstration) by provoking them to commit an act – thus, undermining the protest or demonstration as whole”.

    My additional comment: Agent provocateur can include those who attempt to stir up internal strife and infighting (including writing articles or posting blog comments that attempt to do so, while pretending to support Pakatan Rakyat).

  16. Phua,
    What sort of agent provacateurs? Like Gerald the Gorilla. I guess CLF should get some mates such as Gerald instead of his feral dingos

  17. My dear Dr Phua, hatred is one thing – going overboard with blinkered eye-pads is another. The only agent provocation is when ‘anything is better than this’ – which reminds me of a bitter, disappointed, jilted lover who’s in the process of a breakup – whether with or without sexual innuendo. Grow up!

    In the rush to get rid of the kleptocrats, it is good to stop, look and listen. Love is always ‘conditional’ – unless you are God:

  18. The lines between what makes a leader and a manager are sometimes clear and sometime frail as seen in Sgor and Pg. Do we see the two MB as both leaders and managers or what element is more than the other? I wish there is a survey on this but before that, much of the public might not even understand what defines a good leader or a good manager.

    But one thing stands out in a leader; charisma. For that LGE and AKI both none. Charisma belongs to DSAI, Madhater and Musa Hitam………not to forget our Bapak Msia. Charisma is oratorical as seen in Obama, Nehru, Ghandi and Mandela; words from their kinds slice mountains.

    Some seems to have both according to how their society perceived them e.g. Angela. Is she charismatic or did her decision abilities defined her charisma. If that is the case, she can be expected to stay on longer. On that we wish LGE and AKI can follow her path but it would then take our public’s ability to promote their managerial skills towards leadership in Angela’s wake. That being so would dictate our public coming of age.

    In the current BN govt, it is doubtful we see any state half as well govern as Sgor and Penang but they are darn good at politicking the minds of those in their states. Now if people those BN states were to take strides in benchmarking their state’s governing with that of Sgor and Pg, then people’s power might change the tides of their state government.

    Parallel to this, PR has got to show it has the federal mettle. While the old guards are fading, who has PR got to lined up to take on federal and pass on state government to the next? As it is credibility proven over time is seen in Pg and Sgor. Can AKI and LGE present themselves as the front line for PK’s proposal of PM and DPM? The BN might rock public’s mind on grounds that they have no federal ministerial experience to unite resources from various states such as EMsia.

    Nonetheless, diamonds are first seen as carbon, crystallizing over polishing processes. Will PR be complete with its polishing process of a selected few to take on GE14?

  19. I have been supporting PR since 2008 and the recent GE13… but I think I can see that some of the leaders are getting big-headed and arrogant… especially PKR can’t seems to get their act together. Just look at the recent resignations of division leaders in Sabah…. just look at how Anwar Ibrahim, Azmin Ali and Rafizi Ramli all went for Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim on the issue of pay hike for the ADUNs. Open and public scathing remarks made without a care for the party’s image….

    And I just heard that Rafizi Ramli even cut off connection with a regular supporter on Twitter because the supporter chided him for public display of disunity by criticising MB Khalid over the pay rise… if that is not arrogance, what is?

    I think the weakest link in PR ie PKR is now getting weaker….

  20. Mr. Hunter starts off with his sincere and constructive advice to PR, after that he seems to ensnare himself in the web of deceit, deception and polemics spun by umno politicians. his criticism of the PR component parties is valid but his praise of Najib winning many battles but the money he dished out and the many policies erected by him to buy votes, seem to have escaped his attention.
    he qualifies himself by saying: ”What matters is knowing the land you are playing on and wining the competition by the existing rules. Otherwise, a tired and scandal-laden government would have long been tossed out of office.”!
    yeah..a big help!
    but how if the whole erection commission, judiciary, police and civil service is bent on making umno win the election?
    anyway PR should take note of this criticism.

  21. Anwar’s problems….

    1. He cannot stop himself from shooting his mouth off prematurely. Eg.,
    (a). After the 2008 election, he prematurely announced that he had secured agreements from more than a handful of BN MPs who were willing to cross over to Pakatan. He was wrong.
    (b). Before the 2013 election, he announced that he will retire from politics if PR were to lose the election. To date, he has not.
    (c). During the 2013 election, he prematurely announced that PR has won the election. He was wrong, again.

    2. BN has done too good a public relations smear job on him. Eg.,
    (a). The video tape of “him” in the hotel room with a lady has harmed him.
    (b). He is seen by some to be too ambitious to be PM of Malaysia.
    (c). His control (with wife and daughter) over PKR is too dynastic.

    • Why must anyone carry on bashing the PKR alone as all other political parties both within the PR loose grouping & the BN Coalition have their own internal problems though the former seems not to care hiding their intra-party quarreling from being aired publicly claiming it to be natural in the practice of free democracy. Again, why keep on bashing the poor Anwar when all other political leaders have their own faults too.
      All the publicly discussed and reported differences and quarrels within the PR are merely the bad symptoms. If the PR wants to get its act together the big PR in-house problems that often cause quarrelsome flare-ups in the public domain must be resolved and eradicated. It’s no good to continue giving excuses to the public saying that the PR’s practice of free & open democracy, even at intra-party & inter-party levels, naturally gives rise to differences of opinions & quarrels. The public is now smart enough not to be hood-winked. The most sensitive area has always been the interface between the DAP and PAS – the two partners well-known to have diametrically opposed ideologies & political objectives which cannot continue to be swept under the carpet. The biggest question, though not readily admitted by the PR partners, has always been the one that revolves around PAS’s Islamic State & Shariah/Hudud and the DAP’s strict secularism. The other inter-party problems & differences are comparatively small and, with good & sincere effort by all sides, are surmountable. The next big problem is the formality of the PR Coalition itself which needs an agreed Constitutions, a common Logo and officially registered at the ROS – no excuse again here is accepted and there should be no blame-game & finger-pointing here of shifting the blame on the ROS. However, until the above BIGGEST question/problem is fully resolved, the next BIG problem cannot be solved.
      So, if the PR is serious about going to Putrajaya it has to sort this out first before going to the people as the voters nowadays are quite smart, to say the least.

  22. Exactly what I repeatedly told you folks long before the last election… PR is far from ready for Putra Jaya and for the time being let them govern as many states as they can manage. It is good to know that more and more agree.

    But Penang and Selangor are being run well… all PR have to do is to stay focussed.

  23. Isa,
    Your words remind me of one leader in Rhodesia. Ian Smith’s quote

    “I have said before, and I repeat, we are prepared to bring black people into our Government to work with us. I think we have got to accept that in the future Rhodesia is a country for black and white, not white as opposed to black and vice versa. I believe this is wrong thinking for Rhodesia. We have got to try to get people to change their line of thinking if they are still thinking like that. This is outdated in Rhodesia today. I don’t believe in majority rule ever in Rhodesia… not in 1,000 years. I repeat that I believe in blacks and whites working together. If one day it is white and the next day black I believe we have failed and it will be a disaster for Rhodesia.”

    One question why Mahathir so supportive of Mugabe even though he’s proven to be EXTREMELY INCOMPETENT IN RUNNING ZIMBABWE

  24. PR can lead in raising the bar for Msia. To begin with, we need to develop human capital by learning from Germans.

    The New York Times November 30, 2013
    Where Factory Apprenticeship Is Latest Model From Germany


    GREER, S.C. — For Joerg Klisch, hiring the first 60 workers to build heavy engines at his company’s new factory in South Carolina was easy. Finding the next 60 was not so simple.

    “It seemed like we had sucked up everybody who knew about diesel engines,” said Mr. Klisch, vice president for North American operations of Tognum America. “It wasn’t working as we had planned.”

    So Mr. Klisch did what he would have done back home in Germany: He set out to train them himself. Working with five local high schools and a career center in Aiken County, S.C. — and a curriculum nearly identical to the one at the company’s headquarters in Friedrichshafen — Tognum now has nine juniors and seniors enrolled in its apprenticeship program.

    Inspired by a partnership between schools and industry that is seen as a key to Germany’s advanced industrial capability and relatively low unemployment rate, projects like the one at Tognum are practically unheard-of in the United States.

    But experts in government and academia, along with those inside companies like BMW, which has its only American factory in South Carolina, say apprenticeships are a desperately needed option for younger workers who want decent-paying jobs, or increasingly, any job at all. And without more programs like the one at Tognum, they maintain, the nascent recovery in American manufacturing will run out of steam for lack of qualified workers.

    “South Carolina offers a fantastic model for what we can do nationally,” said Ben Olinsky, co-author of a forthcoming report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington research organization, recommending a vast expansion in apprenticeships.

    Despite South Carolina’s progress and the public support for apprenticeships from President Obama, who cited the German model in his last State of the Union address, these positions are becoming harder to find in other states. Since 2008, the number of apprentices has fallen by nearly 40 percent, according to the Center for American Progress study.

    “As a nation, over the course of the last couple of decades, we have regrettably and mistakenly devalued apprenticeships and training,” said Thomas E. Perez, the secretary of labor. “We need to change that, and you will hear the president talk a lot about it in the weeks and months ahead.”

    In November, the White House announced a new $100 million grant program aimed at advancing technical training in high schools. But veteran apprenticeship advocates say the Obama administration has been slow to act.

    “The results have not matched the rhetoric in terms of direct funding for apprenticeships so far,” said Robert Lerman, a professor of economics at American University in Washington. “I’m hoping for a new push.”

    In Germany, apprentices divide their time between classroom training in a public vocational school and practical training at a company or small firm. Some 330 types of apprenticeships are accredited by the government in Berlin, including such jobs as hairdresser, roofer and automobile electronics specialist. About 60 percent of German high school students go through some kind of apprenticeship program, which leads to a formal certificate in the chosen skill and often a permanent job at the company where the young person trained.

    If there is a downside to the German system, it is that it can be inflexible, because a person trained in a specific skill may find it difficult to switch vocations if demand shifts.

    In South Carolina, apprenticeships are mainly funded by employers, but the state introduced a four-year, annual tax credit of $1,000 per position in 2007 that proved to be a boon for small- to medium-size companies. The Center for American Progress report recommends a similar credit nationwide that would rise to $2,000 for apprentices under age 25.

    The emphasis on job training has also been a major calling card overseas for South Carolina officials, who lured BMW here two decades ago and more recently persuaded France’s Michelin and Germany’s Continental Tire to expand in the state.

    “The European influence is huge,” said Brad Neese, director of Apprenticeship Carolina, which links the state’s technical college system with private companies to help create specialized programs. “They are our strongest partners.”

    European companies are major employers in the state, with more than 28,000 workers for German companies alone. The influx has helped stanch much of the bleeding caused by the decades-long erosion of jobs in the textile industry, once the economic bulwark of the Palmetto state.

    Of course, there are other reasons foreign companies have moved here. For starters, wages are lower than the national average. Even more important for many manufacturers, unions have made few inroads in South Carolina.

    Still, the close cooperation between employers and the state educational system is unusual, and despite initial skepticism on both sides, apprenticeship opportunities are rapidly expanding both for high-school age students and for older workers.

    Apprenticeship Carolina started in 2007 with 777 students at 90 companies. It now has 4,500 students at more than 600 companies in the state, with the typical apprentice in his or her late 20s. Mr. Neese’s goal is to have 2,000 companies by 2020.

    To help develop his program, Mr. Neese has traveled to Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where apprenticeships are thriving, youth unemployment is relatively low and blue-collar jobs are still prized. That contrasts with the United States, where the economic fortunes of younger people with just a high school diploma have plummeted, and the unemployment rate among workers age 16 to 19 stands at more than 20 percent.

    “This generation has taken a huge hit from the economic crisis,” said Alexander Gelber, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley and a former senior Treasury official. “Apprenticeships offer people the possibility of building skills when they often don’t have many other options.”

    So why have they not caught on in the United States like in Germany, which has 1.8 million apprentices with less than one-third the population?

    Besides a longstanding stigma attached to vocational education, opposition from entrenched interests on both the left and the right has hobbled past efforts to promote apprenticeships, including under President Clinton in the 1990s.

    Joerg Klisch discovered this firsthand when he started seeking support for the program in 2011.

    School officials were wary of allowing a private company to dictate the curriculum. Meanwhile, among employers, “there seems to be a perception that apprenticeship means unions,” Mr. Klisch said. “It doesn’t, but we have to overcome this hurdle.”

    Here in Greer, where more than 7,000 employees produce over 300,000 S.U.V.’s and other luxury cars a year in a sprawling, ultramodern BMW factory, Richard Morris, vice president for assembly and logistics, identifies one of the company’s biggest problems: a serious shortage of medium-skilled workers who specialize in mechatronics, or repairing robots and metal presses when they break down and operating the computers that dot the paint shop, body shop and assembly shop. Not only do these jobs pay better than typical assembly-line positions, they also open up avenues for advancement.

    Werner Eikenbusch, manager of work force development for BMW in the Americas, is himself the product of an apprenticeship program in Germany who later went back to school and earned a master’s degree in engineering. He helped create the BMW Scholars program in 2011, he said, “to build the skills from the ground up.”

    The BMW Scholars are older than Tognum’s apprentices — mostly in their 20s and 30s — and they study full-time at local technical colleges for two years while also working in the BMW factory for 20 hours a week.

    “It is a struggle, but if you know how to manage the time, it is not hard,” said Benjamin Peoples, a 27-year-old BMW Scholar who dropped out of Clemson University a few years ago because he could no longer afford it. “I wanted to work with my hands and with machines, but I didn’t have experience with robots.”

    Mr. Eikenbusch has been pitching the program to European parts suppliers in the area, as well as to executives at Boeing, which began building sections of the new 787 Dreamliner in Charleston in 2011. He hopes they will follow BMW’s lead.

    “We need to find a way to establish two-year training programs on a broader scale,” he said. “Everybody who I hire is someone who is not available for our suppliers to hire.”

    Jack Ewing contributed reporting from Frankfurt.

    • “The best thing for PKR might be Anwar declaring that he had no more ambition to become PM and stand aside. This would go a long way in winning over voters who mistrust his intentions. As long as Anwar clings to the hope of one day becoming PM, PR is doomed to remain in opposition. The myth that Anwar is a vote winner must be overturned. His immense international popularity doesn’t equate to winning new voters here.”—by Murray Hunter @malaysianinsider.

      Despite what Mr. Hunter wrote and the above quote is just an example, he was unable to fully understand the perception of Anwar held by many Malaysian voters who are still dazzled by his seeming charisma which appears to be heightened & becomes more intense as more alleged scandals are piled on him. Moreover, Anwar is the only & sole personality who alone & no other can hold the highly diverse & disparate political components of PR together. If Anwar pulls away, the loose PR grouping will immediately crumble down.

  25. Uhh.., what’s happened to aliefalfa?
    Anyway since everyOne is quoting from right, left, up, down and center, i might as well quote F. Scott Fitzgerald:
    “Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go by any rules. They are not like aches or wounds; they’re like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material.”

    Look, unless the components of PR pull up their panties/nappies or whatever they’re wearing beneath their daily wear, it’s good for them to remember this truism:
    Independent minded folk like me, figure that support for politicians and/or parties, ought to be for mutual benefit or self-interest and that there should be no emotional attachments – just unfeeling trust. This is like the relationship between a hunter and his hunting dog. The voters must be treated with respect – not disdain. We can distinguish between what is pure rubbish, asinine partisanship, brinkmanship and what is genuine. We do not need another bunch of goons like UMNOb characters – most of whom, are worthless, like tits on a bull. Understand?

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