Between Mahathir and the deep blue BN’s Najib Razak– they are not the same, says Academic and Reseacher, Dr. Lee Hwok Aun

January 14, 2018

Between Mahathir and the deep blue BN’s Najib Razak– they are not the same, says Academic and Researcher, Dr. Lee Hwok Aun

by Aliran Admin
Image result for Dr Lee Hwok-AunDr.Lee Hwok-Aun Senior Fellow at  The Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS) in Singapore.

We shouldn’t commit a false equivalence between the Pakatan Harapan led by Mahathir and the Barisan led by Najib, writes Lee Hwok Aun.

By all means have reservations about both Pakatan and Barisan or be disillusioned about politics and unexcited about the coming general election the Peninsula.

But by no means commit false equivalence that they are the same. They are not the same.

  • Najib and Mahathir, neither represents change, but one brandishes unchecked power in a coalition of kowtow-ing minnows while the other mustered transitory leadership of an even strengthened pact;
  • Barisan and Pakatan, both have ethnically constituted parties, but one is a house of ethnically constituted parties dominated by corrupt UMNOlords that has no qualms decimating its minions in Selangor; the other is a marriage of convenience of both ethnically mixed (more than we’ve ever had) and ethnically focused (by default or design) parties;
  • Barisan and Pakatan, neither are squeaky clean, but one has closed ranks behind a kleptocrat who jailed his popular and charismatic adversary and fired his inquisitive deputy, while the other has resorted to being fronted by a reinvigorated nonagenarian who is semi-apologetic but unrepentant of past autocratic, oppressive and nepotistic deeds – and has agreed to play a caretaker role;
  • Both are vying for the expectedly decisive Malay vote, but only Barisan is doing so by gerrymandering to concentrate Malay voters in constituencies it fancies and instinctively preying on fear and anxiety (also condoning thuggish Jamal Yunos, its highest profile politician in Selangor, where it displays an astounding leadership vacuum despite professing to want to win).
  • Both coalitions present economic and social policies packed with welfare programmes, both sides bring benefits and boost popularity through these channels – with differences in government revenue structure. But when it comes to constituency funds for wakil rakyat, Pakatan-governed states allocate in a bi-partisan manner, and Barisan religiously clings to its petty, nasty, vindictive practice of providing millions to its MPs and zero for the opposition, and even throws tantrums against Pakatan’s overtures.
  • Barisan guarantees the status quo, if not the regression, of Malaysia’s undemocratic system, while Pakatan has committed to change toward more democratic, transparent and accountable governance, backed up by some actions of its state governments. Barisan has backed down from outright reneged on promises to repeal draconian laws and legislate political financing.
Image result for Between Mahathir and Najib Razak

Ideally we would like the options to be starkly different as day and night that we don’t even need to think. Alas, think we must, and as we do, differences emerge. And there is a choice.

Lee Hwok-Aun is a senior fellow at the Institute of South East Asian Studies in Singapore.

3 thoughts on “Between Mahathir and the deep blue BN’s Najib Razak– they are not the same, says Academic and Reseacher, Dr. Lee Hwok Aun

  1. Let me add that Barisan is UMNO and monolithic while Pakatan is a well balanced coalition.
    And so, can Pakatan Harapan win GE-14 and remove Najib from the seat of power?–Din Merican

    • Barisan has tons of money and can bribe voters directly with money and through promises of development programes for every constituency it is contesting. Pakatan, not being in power and without access to the kitty and corporate sponsorship is woefully disadvantaged. Enlightened voters, who are in minority, will go one way and the majority the other way – the Barisan way. That is the current reality

  2. “There is a choice “.
    But what choice ?

    Old wine,old bottle?
    New wine, old bottle?

    Student became Master of the same trade.
    Master try to catch up with recycled trade.
    Sad,…very sad …for the country and ordinary people,
    who remain perpetual victims.

    This should not have happened or to happen,
    The Malays (60%) themselves should rise, speak up and be counted.
    The other communities had done all they could, beyond which they would be subjected incessant blame.

    What is needed and wanted is ,
    New Wine, New Bottle!

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