Pakatan Harapan– The One Platform Party in Disarray


November 29, 2017

To  Anwar Ibrahim from an old Friend–Open Letter

There is reliance on only one policy plank. Label Najib a kleptocrat and attack him non-stop on 1MDB…In strategic terms, it is an instance of what Dr Wong Chin Huat terms “strategic ambiguity” – avoid the thorny issues and focus on safe issues like corruption and living costs. Mahathir’s strategy goes even further – “Topple Najib first, leave everything for later”.

It is easy to see why PH is adopting this strategy. Dr Wong calls it “communal incoordination”. In more simple language, it means if you try to please the Chinese, you lose Malay votes; if you try to please the Malays, you lose Chinese votes. So just concentrate on the issues both sides can agree on i.e. corruption.–Dr. Ronnie Ooi

by Dr. Ronnie Ooi

Dear Anwar,

You may remember me from the time we worked together in Majlis Belia Malaysia (MBM) when I was chair of MBM Penang and worked with your late brother Rani and others.

Image result for Anwar Ibrahim

Anwar Ibrahim cannot do much since Najib Razak has placed him in Sungei Buloh Prison

I left for the UK in 1990 mainly because of disillusionment with the political situation. I returned in 2008 as Prime Minister Najib Razak was in his liberal phase and things looked quite hopeful.

I feel somewhat guilty that, as a friend, I had not come forward earlier to offer to help, but I wanted a quiet life. I now put pen to paper with some reluctance but unfortunately, I think the warning lights are flashing for Pakatan Harapan (PH).

I feel I cannot in good conscience keep quiet any longer. I point to these warning signs not to discourage people from continuing or joining the fight, but as an indication that PH has weaknesses which must be reviewed.

I am making this letter public as I do not know how else I can be certain of getting my views to you. Besides these proposals will be of interest to the rakyat.

The resignation of three founding members of Bersatu (PPBM) on the grounds that the leadership is unable to accept criticism, is worrying. One bad apple is to be expected, but three all at once?

Image result for Najib and Rosmah visit Anwar Ibrahim in hospital

UMNO style shadow play (wang kulit)–Advantage Najib Razak

The Merdeka Centre Youth Opinion Survey shows that high dissatisfaction with the government is not translating into support for the opposition. Most telling of all is Zaid Ibrahim, Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s greatest cheerleader, now advises Malays to emigrate if they have the chance.

The weaknesses of Pakatan Harapan

There is reliance on one man, Dr Mahathir, in the belief that his name plus the 1MDB and other financial scandals will be sufficient to trigger a Malay tsunami. I truly admire him for coming out of a comfortable and privileged retirement to lead the opposition. But I do worry whether his age prevents him from understanding the demands and aspirations of today’s voters, especially the youth.

Image result for Mahathir

That’s Fine, Tun Dr. Mahathir when you were the Prime Minister. Today, Najib Razak is in charge of Malaysia and he can shut you up.

There is reliance on only one policy plank. Label Najib a kleptocrat and attack him non-stop on 1MDB.

In strategic terms, it is an instance of what Dr Wong Chin Huat terms “strategic ambiguity” – avoid the thorny issues and focus on safe issues like corruption and living costs. Mahathir’s strategy goes even further – “Topple Najib first, leave everything for later”.

It is easy to see why PH is adopting this strategy. Dr Wong calls it “communal incoordination”. In more simple language, it means if you try to please the Chinese, you lose Malay votes; if you try to please the Malays, you lose Chinese votes. So just concentrate on the issues both sides can agree on i.e. corruption.

Politics of hope vs politics of hate

I do not want to hurt your feelings Anwar, but it is best to be blunt. What PH is offering the voters of GE14 is the politics of hate (hate Najib), and the politics of personality (Mahathir can solve everything).

There is no message of hope, nothing of policy. It looks back to the past (what Najib and Mahathir have done), not how to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Elections are won on the politics of hope, although I admit the politics of hate can be a useful aid.

Trump won the American presidency elections because his message of hope to his right-wing supporters was very clear and powerful i.e. “Build the wall, keep Muslims out, make America great again” and his message of hate was also useful – “Crooked Hilary”.

Hilary lost because, although she had a message of hate (“Trump temperamentally unfit to be President”), her message of hope was muddled and unclear.

Chong Eu won Penang on the politics of hope i.e. “Economic development, Free Trade Zones, Penang bridge”. He had no message of hate.

In the urban areas and amongst the educated elite, hatred of what Najib is doing is very strong and for many of them, probably even a majority, the politics of hate is sufficient. They willingly accept Mahathir’s position of “Topple Najib first, leave everything for later”.

But the rural Malays have received benefits from the government, and although they may be disturbed by allegations of systemic corruption, they will not have the hatred of Najib that the urban voters have.

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The registration of Pakatan Harapan is held up by the Registrar of Societies–Checkmate?

To say to the rural Malays “Topple Najib first, leave everything for later” is like saying, “Your house is in bad condition. We will tear it down for you. When you are homeless by the road side, only then we will think how we can build a new house for you.” No sane normal person will allow his house to be torn down until he is certain he will get a better replacement.

Four steps to bring about the politics of hope:

1. Mahathir’s position of “Topple Najib first, leave everything for later” has to be discarded

This position prevents PH from telling the people how life under PH will be better and it prevents PH from hearing what the people want to say.

The Merdeka Centre Youth Opinion Survey found that 40% of respondents were not registered as voters, 70% were not interested in politics and 71% felt politicians do not listen to them.

If PH says to these youths “Mahathir knows best”, they will turn their backs on PH. If PH is willing to listen to them, to discuss how best to meet their hopes and aspirations, PH will win their support and votes and by doing so, win GE14.

2. Saving Malaysia requires a two-election process

Those who think that toppling Najib will solve all problems mistake the PM to be the cause of the country’s problems, whereas he is only the symptom. The real cause is the growing distrust and antagonism between the Malay and non-Malay communities, which sustains and protects leaders like Najib.

Removing Najib will not prevent a Najib clone from emerging a few years later if this inter-communal antagonism is not tackled.

There is a deep fault line in PH. Bersatu (PPBM) is constructed to be like UMNO to attract discontented UMNO members. But, as a result, their core political ideology of discriminating in favour of Bumiputeras conflicts with PKR’s and DAP’s core ideology of economic policies based on need and not race.

This means that whilst Bersatu and PKR/DAP/Amanah are completely united that Najib must be toppled to save Malaysia, there is no agreement over what Dr Wong terms inter-communal bargains on issues like economic redistribution and social inclusion, religion and lifestyle, language and education.

The way to resolve this contradiction in objectives is simple: use GE14 to defeat the BN government to bring about institutional change and use GE15 to resolve the breakdown in the inter-communal bargains concerning economics, education, etc.

GE14 is about whether voters want an honest government, GE15 is for voters to decide how best to resolve inter-communal antagonism.

In GE14, Bersatu (PPBM) and PKR/DAP/Amanah work together to fight Najib’s BN. In GE15 Bersatu (PPBM), possibly in combination with a BN without Najib, may be contesting against PKR/DAP.

If we try to solve everything in one election, a voter who would like to vote for an honest candidate may instead vote for a dishonest candidate of his own race if he fears domination by another race.

If we do not separate out an election for an honest government from an election over communal anxieties and inter-communal bargains, we may have a dishonest government for a very long time.

I am excited to see Dr Wong Chin Huat recently come up with roughly the same idea, which he terms a two-step transition pact.

3. PH must show its commitment to institutional reform

PH must set up a readily available central reference of all its proposals for institutional reform.

Some of the questions PH must answer are:

  • What oppressive laws are they going to repeal or amend? We must remember that when Najib proposed repealing the Sedition Act, Mahathir was in the forefront of UMNO criticism of the move. Mukhriz is on record expressing “his disappointment at the abolition of the ISA”.
  • How should the Universities and University Colleges Act be amended to enable the brightest of our youth to play their proper role in our society?
  • How does PH intend to prevent a recurrence of the 1MDB scandal?
  • The Prime Minister has too much power. How does PH intend to reduce the power of the PM?

Proposals for institutional reform require only mental effort, unlike physical projects which require time-consuming study and planning. It is too late now for PH to promise the rakyat it will build 100,000 low-cost homes but there is still plenty of time before the election for PH to say whether it will or will not repeal the Sedition Act. Besides, there are many social activists who can help PH draft and finalise details of proposals for institutional reform.

To prove the truth of what I am saying, Anwar, in the second part of my letter to you, I will set out my ideas on how the powers of the Prime minister should be reduced.

4. Announce a limited-time fixed programme election manifesto

Because institutional reforms require only changes in laws and legal procedures, they can be implemented in a short time, say a year, especially if a lot of work has been done before the election.

PH should therefore announce that, if they win GE14, they will govern for only one year, to implement a limited, specific and publicly-agreed programme of eradicating corruption in government, carrying out institutional reform, repealing oppressive laws, and undertaking any such other programmes as PH component parties can agree on, such as abolishing the GST.

Following this, an early GE15 will then be called, at which the parties will be able to fight each other over their different political ideologies.

Advantages of a limited-time fixed programme election manifesto:

  1. Policy differences in economic re-distribution, education, etc cannot be postponed for the normal government term of five years. But they can be postponed for a period of one year.
  2. Many people have doubts about a PH government. They are more likely to give PH a chance if they can throw out a bad PH government after one year.
  3. With a fixed programme, Malays who fear that PH will be dominated by the DAP, can see exactly what they will get under a PH government.

Go where no one else has gone before

Confronted with difficult questions, Malaysians, both politicians and the general public, have a habit of sweeping them under the carpet and pretending to themselves that there are no problems.

They insist on remaining within their comfort zones, rejecting the mental discomfort of thinking new thoughts. They bury their heads in the sand, dreaming of a PH victory in GE14.

They get very angry when disturbed from their dreams, demanding why their side’s weaknesses are being advertised to the enemy.

But exposing weaknesses before the election campaign starts allows time for them to be corrected. Burying heads in the sand prevents solutions to problems being found. If solutions are missed, we suffer defeat when it could so easily have been a victory.

My voice is not loud enough to be heard by the people. But if you, Anwar, speak, people will listen. If you think my ideas are good, let us work together to implement them. If you think them bad, do not hesitate to say so, in order that better solutions can be found.

To members of the public reading this, I say: we best serve the party we support not by keeping quiet but by giving them feedback and ideas. Those who have feedback and ideas to give are invited to contact me at roonieooi@malaysiabebas.com so that by banding together, we have a stronger voice.

To solve Malaysia’s problems, we need to go where no one else has gone before. Remember: he who dares, wins.

Your old friend,
Dr Ronnie Ooi

Dr Ronnie Ooi is a former politician and medical practitioner based in Penang.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2017/11/29/an-open-letter-to-anwar-ibrahim-4/

Dr Mahathir and Kit Siang deflected Tough Questions at Youth Forum in Petaling Jaya


November 23, 2017

Dr Mahathir and Kit Siang deflected Tough Questions at Youth Forum in Petaling Jaya

byMuzliza Mustafa

Many youth unhappy over Dr Mahathir and Kit Siang’s replies at forum

THOSE who attended a youth forum in Petaling Jaya last night were unhappy with how Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former nemesis Lim Kit Siang answered their questions.

They said the Pakatan Harapan chairman and DAP parliamentary leader evaded some questions, while their answers to some were wishy-washy.

“I think Lim (Kit Siang) answered my question, although he was being diplomatic about it. He did say that if a crime happened, it should be investigated,” said Tharmelinggem Pillai, 24, when met at the What Say Youth forum in the Petaling Jaya Community Library last night.

Tharmelinggem had asked Kit Siang if Pakatan Harapan would set up a royal commission of inquiry to investigate Dr Mahathir’s actions when he was Prime Minister for 22 years.

Image result for Mahathir and Kit Siang at PJ Youth Forum

He, however, was not satisfied with Dr Mahathir’s answer on the use of the Internal Security Act during the Ops Lalang crackdown.

“His reply that Police had advised him to use the act… I don’t think he was being very clear on that,” he said. Tharmelinggem said he had yet to decide on which party to vote for in the next general election. He will be voting for the first time.

He said Dr Mahathir now in the opposition had forced him to rethink his choice. “That is why I am here tonight, to speak to Dr Mahathir because I do not like him.”

Jason Wong, 31, said he thought Dr Mahathir did not explain how Pakatan Harapan could change the current system to limit the power of the Prime Minister.

“He only said there should be minor changes to the system, but how are we going to stop someone from using cash to get what he wants?” said Wong.

Wong said he was frustrated that Dr Mahathir did not explain what he had done to the system that had given ultimate power to the Prime Minister.

Wong, however, said he still supported PH and believed it could change to Malaysia. He said Dr Mahathir should reject the Malay supremacy ideology that UMNO and Barisan Nasional was used to manipulate low-income Malays.

He said the answers that Dr Mahathir and Lim gave tonight had been repeated to PH supporters lately. “I am happy with the tough questions thrown tonight, but not the replies.”

He and Dr Mahathir left the venue at 10pm after answering more than a dozen questions from the crowd. – November 22, 2017.

https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/23972/

 

Deal Between Anwar and Najib Razak? :The Worst Possible News for Malaysia


November 21, 2017

Deal Between Anwar and Najib Razak?: The Worst Possible News for Malaysia

by P. Gunasegaram@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for Anwar and Najib

Is there something brewing here which is suggestive of some kind of a deal materializing between these two once staunch allies? Like they say, there are no permanent enemies in politics and politics is the game of the possible, or is it the impossible? Never mind, you get the drift.–P. Gunasegaram

QUESTION TIME | In Malaysia where conspiracy theories arise at the drop of a 10-sen coin, the visit by Prime Minister Najib Razak to jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is in hospital following a shoulder operation, has started tongues a-wagging. And how they are wagging!

Is there something brewing here which is suggestive of some kind of a deal materialising between these two once staunch allies? Like they say, there are no permanent enemies in politics and politics is the game of the possible, or is it the impossible? Never mind, you get the drift.

After all, who would have thought that former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, widely held responsible for Sodomy 1 which put Anwar in jail for six years until 2004, would now be working with him to topple BN and Najib? If that can happen, why not a reconciliation, or even a deal, between Najib and Anwar for mutual benefit?

 

Even the burying of past differences between Mahathir and Anwar is difficult to understand. How does a person who spent years in prison, was beaten after he was arrested, had his life ruined and political future now in tatters, forgive the person who was held to be most responsible for this?

And was it not what Mahathir did in terms of consolidating his power within UMNO – technically UMNO Baru as the old UMNO was dissolved as part of plans implemented by Mahathir – that now makes it near impossible to remove a sitting UMNO President and Prime Minister because of all that such a person has at his disposal in terms of power?

Now this, Najib visits Anwar in the hospital with his wife Rosmah Mansor and with Anwar’s wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail present and the gossip bandwagon goes berserk, although it is more likely to topple than to sustain over the next few days.

Here was the man who pushed Sodomy 2 against Anwar with Anwar’s accuser having seen him – Najib – before making his police report. And Anwar is in jail again for a further five years from 2015, more or less putting paid to his political career unless Pakatan Harapan wins the next election. The chances of that are pretty low right now.

How could Anwar countenance a visit from this man who was responsible for his prison sentence in the first place with a lot of people believing that Anwar’s sentence was terribly unfair with admission of evidence that could have been tampered with? If Anwar’s trial was fixed, as he himself claimed, then only one person could have been responsible.

How could he even consent to see this person? As difficult as this is to understand for people like me, those who understand Malay culture say that nothing should be read into the meeting. The PM went to see a former friend and ally who was ailing – nothing more, nothing less.

But talk is not so easily stopped because Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, at one time one of Anwar’s closest friends and allies, visited him as well. Perhaps there is nothing but those visits perhaps indicate to Mahathir that two can play the game – if Mahathir can reconcile with Anwar, Najib can reconcile with him too, with all that it implies for Mahathir.

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What about the stolen money?–1MDB 

But is it as simple as all that really? No. Because if somehow Najib and Anwar ally, who becomes the enemy then? Surely not Mahathir now. And what about 1MDB? What does it mean for all that the opposition has been saying about billions stolen and still unaccounted for?

And what about the allegations, with some evidence, that UMNO and BN are tainted with 1MDB money and that they support Najib only because of that? Will all this be conveniently swept under the carpet forever more and everybody lives together happily ever after?

There can be only one deal that will allow this – in that permutation or combination of both, Anwar has to become Prime Minister, no less. That will entail Najib continuing for a while and then making way for Anwar – which means that Anwar has to be within BN or some larger conglomerate.

Anwar Ibrahim– A political chameleon or a publicity seeking politician?

How that may form boggles the mind but remember that after the May 13, 1969, riots and emergency rule, Najib’s father Abdul Razak Hussein persuaded (coerced?) the substantial opposition then into a coalition in 1973 forming Barisan Nasional, with the only significant party out in the bitter cold – that being DAP. If Anwar and Najib make a deal whereby Anwar is rehabilitated and Najib carries on, for a while at least, that is the worst possible news for Malaysia because all sections of the political divide – both ruling and opposition parties – will implicitly sanction the greatest theft this country has ever known and multiple events of gross mismanagement and lack of governance.

I don’t believe this will happen but I would have been far more comfortable if Anwar had not consented to meet Najib – and yes, if he had not done a deal with Mahathir too. But then who am I but just another insignificant citizen of Malaysia?

 

Political Fatigue deepens as Azmin Ali turns Pakatan’s Brutus


October 27, 2017

Political Fatigue deepens as Azmin Ali turns Pakatan’s Brutus

Analysis

by Jocelyn Tan

    There is still a sense of uneasiness about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad among many voters. They cannot decide whether they can trust someone who can change his political alliance and views the way people change their clothes. 

    POLITICIANS sometimes become the news even when they are not around and that was what happened with Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

    His “absence” at the Pakatan Harapan rally became a talking point at the event. The rally was in Selangor and everyone had expected Azmin to play a prominent role and use the gathering to strengthen Pakatan’s hold on the state.

    He did turn up as the sun was about to set and he was mobbed by those who saw him. It was what one would call a “cameo appearance”. He was in a red sports shirt but it was not the anti-kleptocracy T-shirt that everyone, including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was wearing.

    He did not speak on the stage and left after about 30 minutes because he had to attend a dinner organised by some Islamic NGOs.

    By evening, word got back to him that people at the rally were asking, “where is Azmin?” So he tweeted pictures of the dinner held to raise funds for the Rohingya cause.

    Many have noticed that he seems to have scaled back on party politics to focus on his Mentri Besar duties. He is aware that Selangoreans are tired of the politicking and gimmicks.

    He wants the track record of his state government to take precedence over the politics of Pakatan.

     

    Azmin: He made a cameo appearance at the rally.

     

    Besides, his team has been burning the midnight oil to prepare the state budget which will be presented at the state assembly next month. To compound things, three of his most senior and experienced officers were suddenly transferred out to the Federal Government while his state financial officer reached retirement age.

    Of course, some thought that he did not wish to be too closely associated with the gathering because he could see that the turnout was embarrassing to say the least.

    The venue is in the heart of Petaling Jaya, it is next to the Federal Highway, there is a LRT station across the road and ample parking. The organisers had predicted a crowd of 100,000 and there have been all sorts of excuses for the poor turnout – it was the Deepavali week, young people prefer to rally on the streets and the weather was too hot.

    No matter how they explained it, the rally was a failure compared to the PAS show of force in Terengganu. The PAS rally was a sea of people in green outfits whereas at the Pakatan rally, one could see more green grass than people.

    “This is what it is like without PAS. If they cannot get PAS to come back, they are heading for defeat. But you know, it is like a football match – even though you know your team cannot beat the other team, you still got to go in and kick around,” said Andy Lim, a PKR supporter from Sungai Besar.

    PKR big names like Nurul Izzah Anwar were there but kept a low profile while others like Rafizi Ramli were noticeable by their absence.  Another PKR leader from Penang said he “clocked in” and left shortly after.

     

    Lim: They are heading for defeat without PAS.

    The sense is that PKR leaders were not 100% committed to the event. The PKR flags were not put up until late in the afternoon because someone forgot to bring the flag poles.

    “It laid bare what had till then been doubts about whether we have exhausted the 1MDB issue. We have misread the ground in our hurry to make gains, we have lost the young vote. But I want to read it positively, people have made up their minds, they don’t need more convincing,” said a DAP politician from Penang.

    This was Dr Mahathir’s first rally as Pakatan chairman and he looked rather tired by the time it was his turn to speak. His adrenalin would have been pumping had there been a big crowd but it was far from the Malay tsunami that Pakatan leaders had been boasting of.

    He stuck to the script and the crowd reserved their loudest cheers and claps for him even though everything he said had been said before.

    His repertoire of topics have been slowly shrinking. His claim that Malaysia is a failed state cannot be used anymore given the steady growth rates in the past few years.

    Neither is Malaysia going bankrupt given the inflow of investments. As such, it was basically a hate speech about his nemesis Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak whom he described as “musuh negara” or national enemy.

    And that is now one of Pakatan’s biggest problem. They are so focused on denigrating Najib and the ruling coalition that they come across as selling the politics of hate rather than the politics of hope.

    There is so little that is positive in their messaging and it explains why the youth cohort has lost interest in politics. No one in Pakatan wants to ask the question whether Dr Mahathir has become a liability rather than an asset.

    Petaling Jaya, where the rally was held, is a bedrock of DAP support. A survey by a Chinese vernacular paper a few days after the rally indicated that more than 80% of those who read the publication want a change of government.

    It reflected the Chinese sentiment yet they did not come out to show their support.

     

    Khaw: Dr Mahathir has too much baggage.

     

    “They support Pakatan but the urban Chinese middle class are not with Mahathir. His appeal is not in the city,” said political commentator Khaw Veon Szu.

    Pakatan leaders thought that he would be able to stir the Malay ground and unite people with his star power. But there has been this sense of uneasiness about Dr Mahathir. Can they trust someone who can change his political alliance and views the way people change their clothes?

    Many out there are still evaluating him. They see him as a bag of contradictions, someone who has brought great change to the country but who is also the cause of many lingering problems.

    For many voters, his message to topple Najib and change the government is like asking them to follow him across a fast-flowing river. He has been unable to assure them what it will be like on the side of the river, he is unable to tell them who will be the Prime Minister if Najib goes.

    Most of all, it is difficult for a 92-year-old man to inspire hope for the future because he belongs in the past. His leadership of Pakatan also failed to impress advocates of democracy abroad. The Economist wrote a strong editorial titled: “Mahathir’s return shows the sorry state of Malaysian politics”. It is quite sad that it has come to this.

    As he stood on stage that night, his diction was slurred, he stumbled several times over his words and in what some thought was a rather Freudian thing, he said: “Not sure how long more, I want to finish this work.”

    It has been a demoralising weekend but the old tiger is fighting on. A day after the rally, he was chairing a Pakatan council meeting to discuss their alternative budget.

    Azmin was present at the meeting. His flitting appearance at the rally had come on the heels of that strange exchange of tweets between him and the Prime Minister.

    Najib had tweeted a picture of him and a smiling Azmin on the sidelines of the Conference of Rulers, with the cryptic caption: “Senyuman ada makna tu” (a smile full of meaning).

    The pair was surrounded by the Mentris Besar of Perak, Terengganu, Kedah, Perlis and Melaka as well as the Chief Minister of Sarawak. It was quite a powerful photo but the most striking thing about it was the camaraderie of the group.

    From their big smiles and comfortable body language, it was as though the Barisan Nasional leaders regarded Azmin as their equal and someone they can work with.

    A few hours later, Azmin retweeted the picture with an equally cryptic reply: “Smile, what’s the use of crying? Take action, what’s the use of sighing?”

    What on earth was that about? His government is the most successful among the three opposition states. He has carried himself well and even a former Selangor Mentri Besar had praised his political style.

    Tan Sri Abu Hassan Omar told an online news portal that UMNO needs leaders like Azmin. He said Azmin is strong and well-liked in his constituency but is in the wrong party.

    Of course, Azmin was flattered. He thanked Abu Hassan but said that “I am not a frog”.

    In hindsight, it is apparent why Azmin was less than thrilled about the rally. Pakatan will struggle in the general election without PAS.

    Negotiation over seats between PKR and PAS has broken down and PKR seats are in danger in the event of three-corner fights.

    The uninspiring turnout at the rally showed that Pakatan has been unable to plug the big hole left behind by the exit of PAS. It was like announcing to the world: Look, look, this is all we are left with now that PAS is gone. Azmin certainly did not need that at this point in time.

    The Demise of A Secular State


    October 16, 2017

    The Demise of  A Secular State

    by S. Thayaparan

    http://www.malaysiakini.com

    “What the State can usefully do is to make itself a central depository, and active circulator and diffuser, of the experience resulting from many trials. Its business is to enable each experimentalist to benefit by the experiments of others, instead of tolerating no experiments but its own.”
    John Stuart Mill, “On Liberty”

    Malaysiakini columnist P Gunasegeram ends his latest piece, ‘I am a pendatang and proud of it,” with the appropriate “And know that I am here to stay whether you bloody like it or not because this country is mine too!” which is exactly how most non-Malay/ non-Muslims feel whenever they read about the use of the weaponised Islam in this country.

    All you have to do is read the comments on social media when Johor’s HRH Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar stands up for what is right and decent when it comes to countering the agendas of Islamists in this country, who would use religion as a demarcation line to understand the frustrations non-Malays have with a system that on the one hand, finds utilitarian value in non-Malay contribution to this country, and on the other, is disgusted by their very existence as Malaysians with hopes and agendas of their own. These agendas are not necessarily different from each other but are anathema to the agendas of these state-sponsored Islamists.

    Image result for hrh sultan of johor

    Johor’s HRH Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar stands up for what is right and decent when it comes to countering the agendas of Islamists in this country. The Malaysian Opposition led by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his sidekick DAP’s Lim Kit Siang is deaf and dumb on this issue.
     

    People often miss the larger narrative when it is easier to digest sound bites. When a religious school burns down, this should have been an opportunity for a national discussion on why these religious schools exists in the first place, what values they are promoting, how safe are they and the corrupt practices that goes in the creation and maintenance of these schools. Instead, nobody was really interested in this, but carried on putting all their eggs in the 1MDB basket.

    The Muslims-only launderette issue becomes about how:

    1)HRH The Sultan of Johor was the line in the sand when it comes to this type of religious mischief because politicians offered only mild condemnation which sounded more like bemusement, and

    2) the relevance of an institution like Jakim (Islamic Development Department) to state religious bodies is questioned by the moves of the Johor Sultan, who, by cutting off contact between the federal religious authorities and his state’s religious department, is making it clear that – for the time being at least – he does not want religious extremism from the federal level contaminating Islamic moderation at the state level.

    Where is our glorious opposition in all of this? As I said before – “If you are waffling on your commitment to a secular state, then you have to make your case for an Islamic state and this is where the trouble begins and ends. If oppositional Muslim political operatives and their allies would just stop using religion as the basis of critique and concentrate on furthering the agenda of the secular state, oppositional Muslim MPs would not have to worry about attempting to ‘out-Islam’ their rivals because this would not be the grounds on which they battle for votes.”

    Image result for Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki

    Prime Minister Ayahtollah Najib Razak, Malaysia Al-Islam

    Image result for abdul hadi awang

    Ayahtollah Abdul Hadi Awang–Deputy Prime Minister, Malaysia al-Islam

    Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki  reminds us that BN – not Umno but BN – is committed to make Malaysia an Islamic state and of course, we will not hear anything from the MCA and MIC about this glorious agenda. Neither will we hear anything from our doughty opposition, because they have convinced themselves that they need to be “Islamic” to win the votes of the majority of the Malay community to replace the current Umno poohbah who is apparently the enemy of the state.

    Which brings up the uncomfortable question of what kind of state? The enemy of an Islamic state or a secular state?

    Forsaking the Constitution

    Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak blathers on about how we should embrace new politics – whatever that means – and not abandon the Constitution, but the reality is that by chipping away at the Constitution which is what Umno is doing in its attempt to create an “Islamic” state, it is just further evidence that the Constitution is not worth the paper it is printed on.

    Meanwhile, the opposition is doing nothing about this. Nobody in the opposition has ever made statements that reaffirm the primacy of the Constitution or the opposition’s agenda of ending the Islamisation process. We do not even know if this is one of the reforms that would “save Malaysia” that the opposition intends to carry out.

     

    Remember, “this meme that by benching UMNO, we as Malaysians, whatever our religion or credo, would be safe from the machinations of Islamic extremists, is irrational considering that we neither have a committed secular opposition nor Muslim politicians who openly commit to secular agendas. As long as this remains the default setting of Malaysian politics, there will never be a period where secularism is safe from encroaching Islamic extremism.”

    I mean really, this whole idea of making Malaysia an “Islamic” state is really about making Malaysia more like Saudi Arabia. And you know what the Johor sultan thinks about that, right? Here is a reminder – “If there are some of you who wish to be an Arab and practise Arab culture, and do not wish to follow our Malay customs and traditions, that is up to you. I also welcome you to live in Saudi Arabia.”

    But what I really want to know is, what does the opposition think of that? Does the opposition think that Malay culture should emulate Arab culture and if so, does the opposition advocate that Malays who don’t want to follow “Malay” customs and traditions are welcome to live in Saudi Arabia?

    Depending on your point of view, the balkanisation of Malaysia is something that is a very real possibility because of this agenda of turning Malaysia into an “Islamic” state. This is not something that any rational person would want and I am including the Malays in this equation, because if they really wanted to live in an Islamic paradise, they would have voted for PAS a long time ago.

    https://akrockefeller.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/TangkapNajib.jpg

    Young Malaysians on a Mission: #TangkapNajib

    Writing for Malaysiakini has presented me with opportunity to talk to young people from all over Malaysia. This is purely anecdotal, but what young people tell me is that they are disgusted by politics in this country. They voted for change and even on a state level, this has not happened. Most, if not all, of them say that if UMNO stops “playing” with race and religion they will vote BN because they know all over the world politicians are corrupt.

    A common complaint or some variation of the same, is that Pakatan Harapan is not doing anything to stop Malaysia for becoming an Islamic state. Most young people who choose to leave do not leave because of corruption, but because of race and religion.

    Image result for mahathir and lim kit siang

    Pakatan Harapan is not doing anything to stop Malaysia for becoming an Islamic state.

    I am beginning to realise that the idea of voting for the opposition to create a two-party system and the almost zealous advocacy (mine?) of such, is an idea of diminishing returns.

    Puteri Reformasi Nurul Izzah Anwar talks Politics and her Future


    September 25, 2017

    Puteri Reformasi Nurul Izzah Anwar talks Politics and her Future

    by Zikri Kamarulzaman

    http://www.malaysiakini.com

    INTERVIEW | For almost two decades, Anwar Ibrahim has been the opposition’s bedrock, a political titan who had cast a long shadow over those opposed to BN.

    It is a shadow that his party PKR has struggled to step out of, even in his long absence due to imprisonment over sodomy charges.

    Image result for nurul izzah anwar at wefin phnom penh

    Reverence for Anwar had even stymied Pakatan Harapan at one point, with PKR’s insistence on giving him a top position and delaying the formation of the coalition’s leadership lineup for weeks.

    Still, he remains highly regarded, with many still deferring to his judgement or invoking his name in their struggles. But as the 14th general election (GE14) looms, Anwar’s daughter Nurul Izzah feels that it is time for the opposition to step into the light.

    “At the end of the day I think even Anwar himself wants us to move beyond his shadow,” the PKR Vice-President told Malaysiakini in an interview on Thursday.

    Praising Anwar’s commitment and willingness to sacrifice personal freedoms for a better Malaysia, Nurul Izzah said the former Deputy Prime Minister’s ideals and struggles are embodied by PKR, and is what drives the party forward. however, she said PKR was not a personality based movement.

    Her remarks echo that of Anwar’s symbolic statement in June this year, that he would not be seeking a position as Harapan’s candidate for Prime Minister.

    His statement came amid long, drawn-out arguments between Harapan and its then-newest member Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia on who should head the new government.

    Many in PKR, DAP and Amanah insisted that Anwar was the only choice, but the former opposition leader said such arguments were distracting the coalition from more important matters, such as preparing for GE14.

    Malaysia’s Prisoner of Conscience–Anwar Ibrahim

    GE14 will likely be the first time since 2008 that Anwar has not been on the ground campaigning for the opposition. He is currently serving a five-year jail term, but is expected to be freed by the middle of 2018 on good behaviour.

    Women not given enough priority

    Nurul Izzah indicated that his absence will be felt on the campaign circuit, but said many leaders, especially women, have stepped up to the plate.

    “We should focus on our core strengths. PKR President Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and (Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s wife) Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, they have their own followers.

    “The womenfolk are always, always not given enough priority. I feel that it is a Zeitgeist for female empowerment. It is our moment to seize the future of Malaysia,” the Lembah Pantai MP said.

    But to truly step out of Anwar’s shadow, she said, one thing must be done by the opposition, which is to achieve critical mass among all walks of society in order to enact reforms.

    “If you want to step out of the shadow, we should harness everyone’s strength… Even harnessing the strength and support of PAS members.

    “If we can harness a former dictator (Mahathir) who has embraced reformasi, don’t tell me that you can’t harness everyone else.”

    In the following excerpt from Malaysiakini‘s interview, Nurul Izzah addresses speculation that she will be defending Anwar’s traditional seat Permatang Pauh, as well as whether her siblings will be contesting in GE14.

    The interview has been edited for language and brevity:

    Will you defend Lembah Pantai? There are rumours that you will move to Permatang Pauh.

    I love rumours, Malaysia is built on rumours, at least because we don’t have access to mainstream media. Thankfully, we have Malaysiakini, which can allay some rumours

    It has been such an honour (being Lembah Pantai MP) because I contested in 2008 and it was Bangsar, it was Lembah Pantai, it was Kerinchi.

    Lembah Pantai is a microcosm of Malaysia, and that’s where I got the chance to represent them. I was humbled by the experience, especially more so winning for a second term the most hotly contested seat (in the Federal Territories) previously held by (UMNO Wanita Chief) Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, and then the new minister (Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin), who controlled the coffers of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), and who defined the name of the game in terms of political patronage. So, it was so monumental for me.

    I’ve learned so much. I would love to serve them (Lembah Pantai constituents) again. But we are all tied to the decisions made by the political bureau. This is exactly my same answer in 2008 when people asked me, “Are you going to contest Lembah Pantai?”.

    Now we are making our rounds visiting the constituencies especially where people are in need of help, and we are planning a huge Deepavali get together.

    So, for me until D-Day, which is election day, it’s going to be a battle in Lembah Pantai, that is how I look at it.

    If PKR’s political bureau decides that you have to go to Permatang Pauh, would you go?

    Yes. Of course. As a soldier of the party, I would expect every candidate that hasn’t been dropped to follow the instructions of the party.

    There is a certain degree of freedom allocated to you as an individual, but there’s also the responsibility you have towards the organisation, and that’s community responsibility at work.

    Assuming you stay in Lembah Pantai, your vote majority fell by over 1,000 votes in GE13. Can you survive?

    I was really humbled by that win. It was extremely challenging. You aren’t taking into account the exact number of votes and the exact degree of manipulation.

    Who knows exactly how many votes were cast for us? At the same time, you also have the transfer of voters that took place quite alarmingly in the last election, and because of that, I don’t really place much of an issue in terms of numbers.

    It’s more of whether the seats are marginal or whether it’s supposed to be a safe cushion for us in the government. We have to ensure there is a high degree of voter awareness. We have to utilise technology whether it is cell phone cameras etcetera, to guard against vote tampering.

    We do hope this time around with all this preparation and investment in poll monitors, legal support, there will be a reduction in terms of BN getting fewer opportunities to get away with fraud.

    Prime Minister Najib Razak (seen with his Advisors and Sycophants) faces the greatest challenge of his long political career– Credibility. Problems he faces are of his own making. He is seen as a corrupt, dishonest, lying and greedy leader. As a result, he is today the most unpopular Prime Minister in our country’s history. That said, he has all the advantages of incumbency and should not be underestimated–Din Merican

    But we have to be realistic. It is life or death for (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak). It is life or death for his government. They won’t stop at anything.

    That is something we have to be prepared for. You have to understand that we used to win due to protest votes. We used to win due to people genuinely giving a chance to the opposition. But this time around, it’s going to be a clear headcount war.

    Every person has to be engaged.The approach by Harapan’s secretariat is canvassing, getting out to the voters like never before utilising sentiment analysis, which is what (PKR Vice-President) Rafizi Ramli has been mentioning, also Institut Darul Ehsan has been , targeting people’s sentiments.

    These must all coalesce into a targeted smart and sophisticated campaign. Every message counts. We can’t make a mistake because BN (UMNO-BN) will be watching and, of course, their mistakes can be managed very well through a controlled media, but not ours.

    So yes, I think because of that, marginal seats are not just ours for winning but also theirs for losing.

    Will your siblings be contesting in GE14?

    (Laughs). You have to ask them. I think that’s quite a funny question you know… all of us have the Anwar DNA.

    I grew up very much in my formative years with reformasi. He was in prison for a long time. I can’t change the fact that I’m very much his daughter. But in terms of learning about human rights, civil rights, that is from (my time in) Abim, Suaram. That formed me into the person I am today.

    We (my siblings and I) are all of different cohorts. I’m building a future for Malaysia. I want to represent my generation, and that’s the generation born from 1980, 1985, to 1999. That’s my generation. So I represent them.

    I think my sisters and my brothers represent their generation. You don’t need to be a politician to enact change

    You have to give them the right to choose. So you have to ask my siblings (whether they want to contest in GE14). For now, they are quite happy in their own chosen vocations.

    Where do you see yourself in five years?

    I want to continue fighting for the ideals I believe in. I want to be proud of the fact that I am a living testament to my children as someone who will do everything I can to secure a better future for them.

    MP Nurul Izzah Anwar who was born into a political family is Vice President of Parti KeADILan Rakyat (PKR) which was founded by her father, Anwar Ibrahim. Her mother, Dr. Wan Azizah is PKR President.

    And of course, I’d like to always be there as their mother. Supporting them, empowering them. Since they’re the biggest joys for me.

    YESTERDAY: No negotiations, Nurul Izzah says Harapan’s stand is clear