Malaysia’s Education: Shooting ourselves in the Foot with more Sound and Fury


August 23, 2017

Malaysia’s Education: Shooting ourselves in the Foot with more Sound and Fury

by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

Image result for malaysia education blueprintWhere is this UMNO Minister of Education now? Well, he got himself fired by Najib Razak. He has since joined the opposition trying to make a comeback

 

The outcry over the disclosure that 402 schools in the country have been classified as “hotspots” with disciplinary and drug issues is yet another distraction from what should be the major priority of our politicians and bureaucrats managing the education system – that is, implementing deep reform of the national primary and secondary school system, especially beginning with the national schools of the Bahasa Malaysia or Malay medium, and predominantly Bumiputra attended, stream (SK and SMK).

Although the furore when set against the larger and more important backdrop of the overall deplorable state of the national schooling system is misplaced, what is revealing is that almost all the problematic schools (396) found in the black list come from the SMK stream as against 6 from the sekolah jenis kebangsaan stream (SMJK).

Image result for Minister of Education Mahathir Khalid

Minister of Education Mahdzir Khalid -As Menteri Besar he messed up Kedah, He is doing the same with our Education System

This is yet another clear indication of the appaling mess left by zealots pushing the racial and religious agenda in our educational system.

The main victim of this mess is a lost generation of Malay and Bumiputra school kids who paradoxically, despite being overwhelmingly favoured in resource allocation in the national system during the past 40 years, have ended up with low attainment levels as well as are generally lacking in the important outcomes that the educational system is supposed to be imparting in knowledge, skills, strong ethics, and the drive to succeed.

Image result for Minister of Education Mahathir Khalid

The Messed Up Commander-in-Chief and his Minister of Education: We can’t go wrong with these guys at the helm.

The critical problems affecting schools in the SK stream have been known for a long time. But they have been ignored or let unresolved by the Barisan government and the Ministry of Education with little attempt made at comprehensive reform until the last few years.

Repeated complaints have been raised of the quality of these schools including their low teaching standard, the obsession with single-race dominance and management, the narrowly nationalistic, rote-learning-oriented and behind-the-times curricula, increasing Islamization, poor leadership, disciplinary issues (which are now the subject of public attention) and a host of other shortcomings but to little avail. The inaction by the authorities has resulted in non-Malay parents shunning these schools and sending their children to the SJK or mother tongue stream, and English language private schools when they can afford it.

Targeting Mother Tongue Education as a Convenient Scapegoat

At the same time – diverting attention away from the failure of the politically favoured SK stream to provide quality and progressive education for all young Malaysians – was a hostile and virulent campaign accusing mother tongue or vernacular schools (SRJK and SMJK stream) of being responsible for dividing the young of the different races and being the cause for the lack of national unity in the country. The campaign, although unable to produce any evidence to support its claims, succeeded all too well in muddying the waters of educational reform discourse in the country during the last two decades.

Today, only a few hardliners are still clamouring for the closure of SRJKs. It is clear that their ill-founded politically driven campaign to close down Chinese and Tamil medium SRJKs has ground to a halt. The final blow to this campaign ironically has come from middle and upper class Malay parents who have enrolled their children in increasing numbers in the Chinese language medium schools because of the perceived higher standard of teaching and discipline in these schools, and the loss of faith in the quality and performance of the Bahasa Malaysia stream.

At last count, the enrollment of non-Chinese students in the SJKCs could be as high as 20% of the total enrolment of over 500,000 students in this stream. It is possible that if SJKCs are not discriminated against and are provided with equitable resources to grow, we may have a majority of Malay and Bumiputra parents preferring to send their children to this stream instead of SK schools.

Why have so many parents – Malays and non-Malays – given up sending their children to SK schools? What are the deeper and more serious problems and shortcomings that afflict these schools, besides that of bullying, gangsterism, smoking, drugs and other behavioural related issues that hog the headlines to divert our minds away from focusing on more critical reform concerns?

The answers are not difficult to arrive at. But throwing more money into these schools is not the solution. According to one estimate, SK schools during the 6th to 9th Malaysia Plans (1991-2010) received from 5 to 10 times more public finding on a per capita basis compared with SJK schools. Per capita expenditure allocations during the four Malaysia Plans amounted to RM 614, 483, 2,131 and 2,000 for SK primary schools compared with RM 176, 44, 217 and 274 for the Chinese medium primary schools with Tamil medium schools slightly less disadvantaged than their Chinese counterparts.

Logically, we should expect that this skewed expenditure over the prolonged period of the NEP (and until today) should have produced a higher quality of educational performance across the board in the SK stream, in its principals, teachers and other school leaders, and in the performance outcomes of its student population. This has not happened.

In October 2011, the Ministry of Education embarked on a comprehensive review of the education system to develop a new National Education Blueprint. In the Blueprint report which emerged in 2013, it was pointed out that Malaysia may not be getting the highest return on educational investment. The report also noted that the best available data on unity suggest that student and teacher diversity in SKs is decreasing and called for a renewed commitment to ensuring that the nation’s funds are efficiently used.

It also concluded that “it is important to understand what drives these outcomes so that the Malaysian educational system can scale up its successes, and reduce, if not eliminate, its areas of shortfall.” (Chapter3-28). Unfortunately the Blueprint, in attempting to be politically correct, failed to provide a blunt, indepth and critical analysis of why SK schools have failed.

Why have SKs failed to perform and what policy changes are needed to bring about real – and not cosmetic- improvements needs to be put on the national agenda priority, and not the ones put out that are generating “sound and fury” and likely to signify little or nothing.

Malaysian parents and their children especially those enrolled in the SK stream, as well as the country as a whole deserve better than the present Ministry-initiated hullabaloo over schools with disciplinary issues.

Trump’s White House and Thailand’s autocratic descent


August 22, 2017

Trump’s White House and Thailand’s autocratic descent

by Matthew Phillips

http://www.newmandala.org/trumps-white-house-thailands-autocratic-descent/

Image result for Thailand and the Trump Administration

Header image: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meeting for talks with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha in Bangkok on 8 August 2017, via the US State Department on Flickr.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Bangkok as part of a tour of the region. Top of the agenda was Thailand’s relationship with North Korea, but Tillerson also confirmed arrangements for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to visit Washington in October and paid respects to the recently deceased King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Conspicuously absent from the Secretary of State’s remarks, both to Thai officials and later to staff at the US Embassy, was any criticism about Thailand’s deteriorating human rights record. This apparently pragmatic approach marks a significant shift in Thai–US relations, which had cooled considerably after the military coup of May 2014, led by General Prayuth.

It is a rapprochement that permanently threatens Thailand’s already struggling democracy.

In Thailand, symbols matter. Throughout the Cold War, pronouncements of US support for dictatorship were vital in securing the dominance of the Royal Thai Army. As long as Thai generals could point to American friends guaranteeing economic development, they could align themselves (however loosely) with the principles of freedom and democracy that legitimised their role. For their part, US actors, by claiming to respect Thailand’s cultural traditions (primarily through support for the Thai monarchy) helped frame communism as a threat to the Thai ‘way of life’.

This consensus changed in the early 1990s when a popular movement emerged from within the urban middle class calling for reduced military power and greater accountability. In May 1992 military leaders ordered the suppression of pro-democracy protesters leading to scores of deaths. For many within Thailand, the heavily-censored local media meant that international outlets became the only trusted source of news. With Thailand’s leaders condemned by the international community, it was the protesters who now commanded the respect of global peers.

Thailand, it was clear, was out of step. With the end of the Cold War, and communism no longer a threat, authoritarian regimes through Asia were falling or being forced to adapt. The emerging new order, led by the middle class, was characterised by a shift towards greater democratic accountability and underpinned by a shift toward neo-liberal economics. It was at this point that King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in the fifth decade of his reign, stepped in, aligning his own destiny with the forces of change.

In an exquisitely dramatised exchange, broadcast across state media, His Majesty sternly encouraged then Prime Minister General Suchinda Kraprayoon to reconcile with enraged civilian leaders. The King, in a single stroke, positioned himself in line with global trends, at the same time securing the enduring affection of Thailand’s middle classes. This Royal intervention also marked a historic breakpoint that was followed by economic deregulation and more democracy so that by the beginning of the new millennium, Thailand appeared to have taken its place within a world united around free market economics and liberal politics; what the political economist Francis Fukuyama had boldly described as ‘the end of history’. Portraying himself as a critical agent of change, King Bhumibol helped authenticate the moment as an intrinsically natural and necessary step for the Thai people. He also reaffirmed his status as a benevolent monarch who, by appearing to gift the next step toward democratisation, demonstrated his love and concern for the Thai people: the embodiment of Buddhist virtues that confirmed his divinity.

By 2005, however, the Thai establishment had grown weary of elections that repeatedly elected populist parties connected to Thaksin Shinawatra. In 2010, the army violently attacked Thaksin-supporting ‘Red Shirt’ protesters, many of whom had spent months away from rural homes to call for elections. Taking to the internet, the middle classes rallied to support the establishment view that force was necessary. They also joined a chorus of growing disdain for the international media, taking particular issue with what they felt was the uncritical reporting of Red demands for more democracy. Of all the networks, CNN was most notably earmarked for derision.

In late 2013, middle class groups were once again mobilised to topple a Thaksin linked government, finally provoking the May 2014 coup. Since then, Prayuth’s government and the royalists who support him have been relentless in attempts to extinguish both the influence of Thaksin and the political system that produced him. Many from the middle class have cheered them on.

Today Thailand is the polar opposite of what King Bhumibol’s 1992 military-civilian mediation was supposed to foretell. Journalists are silenced; sharing a critical Facebook post can land someone in prison; and many who oppose military rule have been forced into exile.

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His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn

The country also has a new King, Maha Vajiralongkorn,  whose erratic behaviour and strongman persona has helped stabilise autocratic rule. Elections are penciled in for next year, but the new constitution does more to diminish the institutions and symbols of democracy than reinstate them.

Image result for beautiful Bangkok

 

Throughout this time, Barack Obama’s White House had made it clear that Thailand had veered off course. While US economic commitments to the Junta remained largely intact, the symbolic relationship and professions of friendship that secured it deteriorated rapidly, leaving Thailand out in the cold. Come mid-2016, the country failed to win a non-permanent seat on the United National Security Council, scoring a humiliating loss to Kazakhstan by a vote of 55–193.

The election of Donald Trump, however, has blurred if not obscured Thailand’s status as an outlier and threatens to normalise many of those indicators that mark its descent into autocracy. For years now, Thais opposed to Thaksin have rallied against CNN and its counterparts as unreliable, a stance parallel to the new American President’s daily denunciations of “fake news”. Having rejected mainstream international media, conservatives and pro-royalists have turned to a gaggle of Thai nationalists and alt-right American journalists to reaffirm their political positions. Thai hardliners rail against the conspiracy to topple monarchy in favour of a globalist corporate-led government ushered in by Thaksin and his shadowy backers. Trump’s reliance on the same marginal outlets, such as Infowars—hosted by alt-right radio host Alex Jones—combined with his disregard for an informed free press, not only resonates with key segments of the Thai elite; these global conspiracy theorists share much of the same world. At the same time, strong man politics appear all the rage and with two from which to choose, a King and a Prime Minister, Thailand would appear to be ahead of the game.

Image result for Thai Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the highest level American diplomat to visit Thailand since a 2014 coup, met Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in Bangkok

Secretary of State Tillerson has already indicated that the State Department is considering dropping “democracy” from its global mission. On Tuesday, he kept his word. His meeting with Prime Minister Prayuth and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai has served to de facto legitimate both the ruling Junta and the anti-democratic forces that support it. Having spent a decade seeking to extinguish Thaksin-linked electoral politics, Thailand’s once liberal elite now sits comfortably alongside the most powerful populist movements of the age. History, with its faux teleology proclaiming the inevitable progression toward liberal democracy—so critical to the American balancing act during the Cold War and as embodied so brilliantly by King Bhumibol—has reached its natural conclusion. A dead end.

Dr Matthew Phillips is based in the Department of History & Welsh History at Aberystwyth University. His book, Thailand in the Cold War, looks at the role that Thai and American consumers played in securing the alliance.

 

 

T K Chua’s Merdeka 2017 Musings


August 21, 2017

T K Chua’s Merdeka 2017 Musings

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Image result for Merdeka 2017

Sehati Sejiwa (One heart, One Spirit)–are we serious, Mr. Prime Minister?

Someone narrated to me the Merdeka wishes he had read in a news portal recently – a nation staying together, united against corruption, people showing patriotism and leaders ever willing to sacrifice for the nation.

In a way, he told me a few things for me to ponder over. And yet, upon reflection, I felt that he had told me nothing.

Malaysia will be 60 years old in a few days and like most countries, we will probably be celebrating the occasion with pomp and grandeur. There will be slogans, speeches, recitals, pledges, banquets, march pasts, parades and processions. But it will last only for a day, at the most.

What about the rest of the 364 days?

First, do we look like a nation staying together right now? What do we hear more often nowadays – programmes and encouragement for us to come together, or instigation and indoctrination that make us drift apart?

If we are constantly being reminded that we Malaysians are different for 364 days, how would one single Merdeka Day urging us to stay together make a difference? Food for thought, isn’t it?

Second, are we really united against corruption? Maybe the common folks are. But I am not too sure of the well-connected, the groups with vested interests, the bureaucrats, the numerous NGOs, the business people, and the rich and powerful.

Sometimes I feel that those who are against corruption are the least able to do anything about it. Maybe during our Merdeka celebration, we will have another pledge against corruption but seriously I don’t think it is going to make any difference.

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Malaysia Mourning on Merdeka Day?

Third, we want the people to show their patriotism during the Merdeka Day celebration. But again, I don’t think we can conjure up patriotism, neither can we fake it. When no flags are raised, that means the people are “tired”. It is useless to coerce or threaten the people with punishment if they have not flown the Jalur Gemilang.

Patriotism comes from our hearts. When there are occasions for celebration, the people will be willing and spontaneous without promptings, coercion or threats. We ought to know better whether the people are in the mood.

Fourth, I think it is time to rethink the notion of leaders sacrificing for the nation. For too long history books and national television stations tell us this.

What really is sacrificing for the nation? It would be working tirelessly for the nation even at the expense of one’s own well being, making the nation prosper not oneself, and refraining from benefiting from privileges or preferential treatment for oneself.

Image result for Malaysians celebrating Merdeka?

Requiem for Malaysia?

Now, which leader here or elsewhere is doing just that? It is time we stop talking about leaders sacrificing for the nation. There are none. On the contrary, I think we should start asking our leaders to stop indulging in corruption, abusing their power and amassing wealth for themselves, as well as lavishing privileges and preferential treatment on themselves and their families.

I may sound naive to many. None of us has ever begged any of our so-called leaders to be ministers, heads of GLCs or prime ministers. All of them fight like dogs and cats for those positions. Why then must we pamper them with luxuries, holiday packages, and other privileges if they themselves are so desperate for the job?

Utter nonsense really.

 

Singapore Thinks Ahead


August 20, 2017

Singapore Thinks Ahead–Former Prime Minister Goh calls Stronger and More Inclusive G4 Leadership

by channelnewsasia.com

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/esm-goh-calls-for-stronger-more-inclusive-leadership-team-9138468

Image result for singapore skyline panorama hd

 

With Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stating that he will step down by 70, the new generation of leaders will have to quickly establish themselves as a cohesive team, the Emeritus Senior Minister says.

 Singapore’s new generation of leaders will have to build a “stronger and more inclusive millennial generation team”, said Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Saturday (Aug 19).

Speaking at a National Day Dinner for his constituency, Marine Parade, Mr Goh said the robustness of the country’s leadership pipeline is one of the determinants of how a “small boat like Singapore” will fare in a turbulent climate of internal and external challenges. Other factors, he said, include the resilience of its politics as well as the cohesiveness of its multi-racialism and social equity.

Mr Goh noted that 65-year-old Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said he will step down by the age of 70.

Image result for Singapore Cabinet 2017

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet Colleagues

“The fourth generation (4G) leaders will have to quickly establish themselves as a cohesive team and identify the captain amongst them,” he said in the speech.

“They must try their utmost to bring in potential office-holders from outside the Singapore Armed Forces and public sector to avoid group-think. Highly competent Singaporeans outside the Government must also be prepared to step up and serve,” he said.

Beyond technical competence, Mr Goh also said Singaporeans will want to know what “the leaders stand for, what kind of Singapore they want to build and what they will pass on to the fifth generation later”.

Singapore Politics must be “Bold, Resilient, Forward Looking and Inclusive”

At the dinner, Mr Goh also said Singapore politics must be “bold, forward looking and inclusive of all races and different political opinions”. It also has to be resilient, he added.

Mr Goh credited the country’s stability to Singaporeans having successively elected a strong government. “This enables the government to plan for the long term and prepare for contingencies … a strength which most other elected governments lack,” he said.

Elaborating on how Singapore has adapted the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy to local conditions, he said that Singapore’s provision of Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) and Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) prevents a dominant party from shutting down opposition as at least one in five Members of Parliament (MPs) is not a member of the ruling People’s Action Party.

Furthermore, the Group Representation Constituency system “guarantees” a fair number of minority MPs in Parliament, he said, adding that this “prevents the ‘tyranny of the majority’ in free elections and gives every community a stake in our shared destiny”.

The Elected Presidency is likewise “a check against a populist and profligate government”, Mr Goh said. He called the recent decision to set aside reserved presidential elections for minorities a “stabiliser to ensure our multi-racial society stays afloat”.

“If these stabilisers are not introduced to our political system, our democratic state risks being capsized when buffeted by internal differences and divisions, let alone external storms,” he added.

Meritocracy safeguards Singapore against Nepotism and Cronyism

Image result for Goh Chok Tong

Mr Goh Chok Tong and his political mentor the Late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

Mr Goh stressed that meritocracy must remain a key pillar of Singapore’s “fair and equal society”, as it protects the country from the “greater dangers of nepotism and cronyism”.

Underlining the importance of maintaining social equity, Mr Goh said: “For a new country, the first round of meritocracy has produced the desired results. The brightest, ablest and most hard working have risen to the top. But for subsequent rounds, meritocracy entrenches the successful, widens the income gap and creates a sense of social inequity,” he said.

The Emeritus Senior Minister said children of well-to-do families inherit the gift of good family backgrounds and networks from the day they are born. The state, however, must intervene to ensure the meritocratic process serves it purpose, he argued, so that every citizen has equal opportunities at the starting line and a fair chance to succeed throughout life.

“We must guard against social inequity as a new fault line in our society,” he said.

Some Government policies that have gone some way to narrow the income divide are subsidies in housing, healthcare and education, as well as recent measures which soften the focus on academic grades and re-skill Singaporeans to take on higher value jobs, he said.

“The 4G leaders must find their own robust language, political values and programmes to lift the lives of lower-income Singaporeans,” he added.

These new leaders will have their “work cut out for them” – they will have to build their own social compact with the people and must be able to grow the economy, create jobs, resolve everyday livelihood issues, check divisive trends in society, give hope and improve the lives of all Singaporeans, Mr Goh said.

“But they will inherit a political system in good working order. In time, they will have to bequeath a fair and multi-racial society to the generation after them.”

Malaysia: Indian Votes Matter in GE-14, says a local think tank


August 18, 2017

Malaysia: Indian Votes Matter in GE-14, says a local think tank

 by  Ooi Heng, Elijah Khor and Yasmin
Image result for hindraf malaysia

It is easy for Najib Razak to win Indian Votes –Grant Blue ICs and Bumiputra status to the marginalised Indians together with those desperate mamaks who populate Pulau Pinang, and some duit raya courtesy 1MDB. UMNO’s racism will be forgotten and Hindraf’s struggle for Justice will be pushed aside. Money wins GE-14, not ideals . That’s pork barrel politics, isn’t it? -Din Merican

Talking about the general election results in the past, we would usually treat BN as a whole. As UMNO is facing a significant political split, it is necessary to take UMNO’s parliamentary election results out of BN for further assessment.

Whenever UMNO faced a political split, that had more meaningful impact, their Malay votes would drop, and their parliamentary seats would be subsequently reduced as well.

Before the 1990 General Elections, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah parted ways with Dr Mahathir Mohamad and splintered off from UMNO to form a new party, Semangat 46. As a result, the parliamentary seats won by UMNO dropped by 12 seats, from 83 seats in 1986 to 71 seats in 1990.

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UMNO-BN Manifesto for GE-14–Gua Tolong Lu, Lu Tolong Gua–Najib Razak

Before the 1999 general elections, Anwar Ibrahim was brutally prosecuted, leading to the Reformasi political movement, thus party leaders and followers, as well as civil society activists, joined hands to form a new party, Parti Keadilan Nasional. As for the electoral result, the parliamentary seats won by UMNO dropped by 17 seats, from 89 seats in 1995 to 72 seats in 1999.

Later, on 3 August 2003, Parti Keadilan Nasional officially merged with Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) as Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

During both of the political splits mentioned above, Mahathir was the President of UMNO and also the Prime Minister. This time, Mahathir split with Najib Abdul Razak, who is the current UMNO President and also the current Prime Minister, to form a new party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

In this coming election, how many parliamentary seats UMNO will lose is crucial to determine the election result.

There are two scenarios.

The first scenario 

This time UMNO’s seat will lose 15 to 20 seats, out of 88 seats in the GE13.  Therefore, in this election UMNO will be left with 68 to 73 seats.

This scenario assumes that every “meaningful split” being faced by UMNO would result in a more severe split than before, and translates into a kind of electoral result. This would mean that UMNO’s performance in 1999 as compared with 1995 was worse than their 1990 result as compared with 1986.

Based on this, their result in GE-14 as compared with the GE-13, will be relatively worse than the GE-10 (1999) as compared with the GE-9 (1995), or comes close to that.

The second scenario

This time UMNO will not only perform worse than before, but also demonstrate the worst fall in history, reducing their number of parliamentary seats by 25 to 30 seats. If this is the case, in GE-14, UMNO will be left with 58 to 63 seats.

This scenario is considering the fact that out of the former UMNO leaders who have led the opposition coalition in the past to challenge UMNO, the highest-ranking one was a former Deputy Prime Minister.

This round, Mahathir is a former Prime Minister who was in office for 22 years, and the two elections before this – GE-12 (2008) and GE-13 (2013) – have successfully changed the political landscape, and also shaken up the one-party dominant system which used to be invincible.

Based on this scenario, other than UMNO showing a definite loss of parliamentary seats, the overall result of BN in GE-14 will not be a repeat of the situation in GE-10 (1999) where “the Malay voters opposed but the non-Malay voters did not oppose”, or a result where “BN saved UMNO”.

In the 1990 and the 1999 elections, even though UMNO was split, the one-party dominant system remained intact.

Today, however, after experiencing the change in political landscape through the 2008 and 2013 elections, the one-party dominant system has loosened. Based on this, this time there shall not be an outcome where “BN saved UMNO”.

The votes of marginalised groups

Let us take a look at the ethnic Chinese votes. BN’s Chinese votes in 2008 dropped by about 30 percent, and this did not stop falling in 2013 where it dropped further by 22 percent. Basically, the BN Chinese votes had dropped to its lowest. In GE-14, we assume an increase in Chinese votes for BN.

If BN gains Chinese votes by 5 percent to 10 percent, it will not be sufficient to result in “BN saving UMNO”. While Pakatan Harapan is fighting aggressively for Malay votes, they also need to manage their loss of Chinese votes, and also the percentage of votes regained by BN.

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Awesome Najib Razak with a huge War Chest

What Pakatan Harapan cannot underestimate the most is the ethnic Indian voters. After BN lost Indian votes in 2008 by about 49 percent, the coalition regained 10 percent in 2013.

According to the electoral map in 2013, there were altogether 60 parliamentary seats in which Indians comprised 10 percent of voters. In 52 seats, Indians comprised 10 percent to 20 percent of voters, while in the remaining 8 seats, Indians made up 21 to 30 percent of the voting population.

Even though upon the 2013 election results Pakatan Rakyat had only 10 Indian MPs, these 60 constituencies with more than 10 percent Indian voters would also affect the chance of winning for the non-Indians in these constituencies.

Out of the 60 seats, other than the 10 seats with Indian MPs, Pakatan Rakyat had also 28 seats with non-Indian MPs, who were also affected by the Indian voters. In order to prevent the situation of “BN saving UMNO” from happening in the GE14, Pakatan Harapan should work more on addressing the Indian community’s needs and their issues of concern, and propose an effective policy for it.

The Indian community has a high proportion of lower middle class and lower-class families, and they are also experiencing the pressure of expensive goods and a high cost of living in this goods and services tax (GST) era. Other than this, many of them are having a hard time getting a low salary and having insufficient unemployment protection.

If we only focus on the 30 seats with more than 50 percent of Chinese voters, and being in delusion of controlling the back low of the Chinese votes, thinking that these would be sufficient to make use of the splinter in UMNO to obtain a good result, we are afraid that BN will be able to obtain a greater proportion of Indian votes in the GE-14.

Just as BN was greatly hit by Hindraf in the 2008 election, in this coming election, Pakatan Harapan will probably be quietly hit by the Indian community. Can the political elites feel the movements within the marginalized groups?

Ooi Heng is Executive Director of the think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU). Elijah Khor and Yasmin are research officers at KPRU.

Chameleon-like nature of Malaysian political culture makes Malaysia a Malusia


August 17, 2017

Chameleon-like nature of Malaysian political culture makes Malaysia a Malusia

by Ronald Benjamin@www.malaysiakini.co

We need a breed of leaders who will bring about a new brand of politics that respects moral integrity, says Ronald Benjamin.

Image result for mahathir badawi najib

The Malusian Transformers–Vision 2020 to  TN50

It is unfortunate that the political culture in Malaysia has lost its moral compass over the years. It seems that any means at one’s disposal is justified as long as the enemy is defeated.

This is evident in the new political landscape of change we currently see in the country.

For example, former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whose authoritarian rule was responsible for the weakening of institutions of justice over years, now speaks about the importance of independent institutions when he is no longer in power. He currently supports term limits for Prime Minister. Why were such proposals not presented when he was helming the government?

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his cabinet ministers have repeatedly condemned Mahathir for past mismanagement such as the foreign exchange losses in the 1980s and 1990s, crony capitalism and the jailing of political opponents.

Image result for mahathir badawi najibMaking Donald Trump and David Duke Proud

Why were such acts of mismanagement and authoritarian rule condoned at that particular time, when an immediate motion of no confidence against Dr Mahathir would have forced him to step down earlier?

Why was there no ministerial dissent in the cabinet? Does this not show that Barisan Nasional ministers have lost their moral integrity and betrayed the rakyat by condoning wrongdoings? Is this not an act of political survival at all costs?

If Najib is sincere about fighting crony capitalism, why are certain deals involving government contracts still done without open tender?

The opposition parties, who had nothing good to say about Mahathir in his 22 years of reign, have now opportunistically accepted him as a political asset for rural votes.

Have Pakatan Harapan leaders forgotten that Mahathir’s style of politics cultivated ethno-religious dominance in the minds of rural voters over the years, which has made it difficult to fight elite corruption?

What can clearly be seen is that the attitudes of politicians change based on political expediency rather than integrity. A chameleon-like behaviour is projected to the rakyat.

It is obvious that the ends justifies the means. This behaviour of politicians seems to be exciting, especially for those who desire change over the years, but the truth is this excitement would only be for a while.

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When moral integrity that sustains good governance is sacrificed in order to win at all costs, it will ultimately crush a party. Therefore, it is vital for Malaysians to discern the behaviour of politicians who have lost their sense of moral integrity. Integrity is required in the DNA of politicians. They must be accountable for their actions.

A political culture of integrity will go a long way in rebuilding trust in our institutions. For this to happen, we need a breed of leaders who will bring about a new brand of politics that respects moral integrity. This would replace the chameleon-like nature of our current political culture.