Najib offers the Masculine Touch as Shahrizat’s successor

April 8, 2012

Najib offers the Masculine Touch as Minister of Women Affairs, Family and Community Development

Prime Minister Najib Razak today announced that he would assume the role of Women Affairs, Family and Community Development Minister.

This follows Wanita UMNO Chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s announcement on March 11 to step down as Minister when her term as Dewan Negara member ends on April 8 in the wake of the National Feedlot Corporation scandal.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, made the announcement at an event in Temerloh, Pahang today. The Prime Minister, however, did not say how long he would be acting in the post. Shahrizat is nevertheless keeping her Wanita UMNO chief post.

Najib said Shahrizat had pledged to continue giving her best as Wanita UMNO chief. “Shahrizat has promised me that as Wanita UMNO chief, she will assure a big win for the Barisan Nasional in the upcoming general election,” he said.

“I dare say that the people are gradually coming back to us, their affection for us is rising. Shahrizat emphasised the word ‘sayang’ (love) during her ministership, if the people give their support, it comes from their minds, but if they give their love, it comes from their hearts.”When it comes from the heart, the choice will definitely be the one and only (Barisan Nasional),” he said.

Najib said the people would be able to evaluate what had been accomplished by the government in an effort to improve their livelihood through various assistance rendered. He said the people could also gauge the promises fulfilled by the BN-led government compared to that of the opposition, which had failed to honour their election undertakings.

Shahrizat’s key supporter

Najib’s announcement today quashes speculation that Selangor UMNO Wanita chief Raja Ropiaah was earmarked to stand in as Shahrizat’s replacement.

Talk of her possible ministerial role surfaced when Ropiaah’s name cropped up among the five leaders to be sworn in as senators tomorrow.

Ropiaah has earlier dismissed the speculations as “tall tales”. “I have not been informed of any appointment to be a minister,” she told Malaysiakini when contacted on Friday.When I become a senator on Monday, I will carry out my role to my best effort. I don’t want to say anything further than that,” she said.

Ropiaah, who is a Wanita exco member, is one of several vocal supporters of Shahrizat. Embattled Wanita chief Shahrizat had received calls from within the wing – in particular deputy Wanita Chief Kamilia Ibrahim – to step down over the NFC fiasco involving the alleged abuse of a RM250 million government loan by her family.

From Euphoria to Doom: Wither Pakatan Rakyat?

March 9, 2011

From Euphoria to Doom: 3rd Anniversary of 2008 Political Tsunami

by Masterwordsmith-Unplugged

“Today, 8th March 2011, is the third anniversary of the 8th March 2008 ‘Revolution’. Has the Revolution lost steam? Will the next general election see the opposition make more gains or is it downhill from hereon? This is what many are asking and most are of the opinion that March 2008 was a flash-in-the-pan. The next general election is not for Barisan Nasional to win but for Pakatan Rakyat to lose” –Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK)

Actually, I did not want to write about the 3rd anniversary of the 2008 tsunami because there is nothing to celebrate. In fact, I hang my head down in shame for all that has been happening. From a high point of euphoria, we have descended into the doldrums of doom with hope that seems to be diminishing by the day. In his latest post HERE, RPK said that “The next general election is not for Barisan Nasional to win but for Pakatan Rakyat to lose.” What led to this despondent state of affairs?

Are we really headed for doom? Where is the hero that will prevent us from being decimated by all the squabbling and controversies? What do we see at the moment? Top on the list is the fast diminishing support from voters who are unlikely to continue to stand behind Pakatan Rakyat candidates who refuse to stand TOGETHER for Malaysians. However, is there really increasing support for BN? The record shows that both coalitions have won eight of 16 by-elections which means that when the next GE comes, anything could happen so it is not the end until the fat lady sings.

Pakatan Rakyat: Facing the Backlash of the Gambling Ban

Time and time again many have asked PR to take the bull by the horns and deal with issues e.g PKR internal problems, the PAS gambling ban etc. but have they done what is needed? Have they put the rakyat first in their deliberations and actions? They have to be serious in their leadership role not only because it is the right thing to do for us Malaysians but because to do otherwise would be absolutely foolish and politically self-destructive.

However, at a time when the PR leaders should come together and reason to see how to attack the common enemy, they are facing the backlash from voters because of the gambling ban. It is not so much the public outcry against gambling per se but rather the insensitivity to the needs of those of different religious beliefs and the impact on illegal gambling. In other words, PR is digging its own grave at an unprecedented speed what with:

* the departure of Zaid Ibrahim and the formation of KITA.
* the internal squabbles of PKR.
* Selangor water woes.
* Sodomy II trial.
* defections.
* the absence of public statements from the coalition as contrasted by differing views from leaders of the coalition such as on the gambling ban.
* the increasing distrust and fear/wariness of PAS.
* failure to deliver.
* how the needs of the rakyat have NOT been prioritized.
* the gambling ban.
* poor public relations strategies.
* failure to handle internal problems and to deal with objections/public outcry
* and many other shameful issues which have been headline news.

Are our politicians too proud to admit that they have erred? Have they been so complacent with the high points of the 2008 victories and the aftermath to the extent that they are of no earthly use because they have yet to come down from their cloud 9?

Are they busy taking care of their own turf and bickering over seats for the next elections? Are they foolishly complacent into thinking that the disgruntled rakyat WILL support them?

Knock, knock knock! Reality bites! Real hard bites too! Pakatan MUST consolidate. They MUST come together to see how best they can go to battle. This is the time to improve their artillery, train their foot-soldiers, improve their public relations techniques, spruce up their report card, go down to the grass root levels to seek out support and to lobby instead of floating around in their airy-fairy land doing sword-fighting antics against their friends instead of foes!!!

Pakatan Rakyat MUST remember that the rakyat are their bosses and if we are NOT happy in our appraisal of what has and has NOT been done, we will have no qualms about showing them the door just as we did to BN in the previous election.

Honestly, I do not understand their warped mentality. At this time, BN is at full turbo speed zooming to the rakyat, forking out aid, giving out goodies, delivering well-written speeches, painting a hunky dory pic of BN while PR members are taking turns to shoot themselves in the foot.

Good heavens! Please stop all this monkeying around and get down to the brass tags of serving the people. Time is running out, you are playing in injury time and there have been too many red cards issued to you.

Wise up or prepare to be shipped out! That, my dear, is the hefty price you may have to pay for your false pride and complacency!

Don’t Politicise Sensitive and Racial Issues, says Malaysia’s King

March 7, 2011

DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Agong: Don’t Politicise Sensitive and Racial Issues

DYMM The King and His Prime Minister

DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin today expressed concern over the tendency of certain quarters to raise sensitive and racial issues and politicise matters which they should not.

He said the sovereignty of the Malay rulers, the position of Islam as the religion of the federation, the special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak, and the legitimate rights of the other races encompassing citizenship and fundamental rights, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, should not be questioned so as to avert disunity.

At Parliament House

“I urge all quarters to uphold the rule of law and the constitution,” he said when opening the first meeting of the fourth session of the 12th Parliament.

Tuanku Mizan said that though Islam was the religion of the federation, there was healthy practice of moderation in the country which enabled other religions to be practised in peace and harmony and these religious festival days were also recognised and regarded as public holidays.

He said it was hoped that to ensure peace in the country, non-governmental organisations would avoid touching on issues which could jeopardise harmony and undermine the nation’s image when implementing their programmes and activities.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong said that although the economy was now going through rapid recovery, as a nation that practised open economy, Malaysia must be sensitive to external factors such as the uncertain global economy which posed a challenge to efforts towards strengthening the country’s economy and subsequently the efforts to achieve a developed nation status with high income in 2020.

However, the King hoped that the Government Transformation Plan and Economic Transformation would benefit the people fully so that they could enjoy the improvement in the quality of life including education, health, housing transport and public amenities.

Tuanku Mizan also congratulated the government on Malaysia’s success in being placed on the 10th spot in the World Competitiveness Report 2010 but hoped Malaysia would not be quickly satisfied with the achievement.

On education quality, the King said educational transformation at the school level, particularly pertaining to the standard of curriculum introduced would be able to raise further the education quality. Tuanku Mizan also called for an improvement in the quality and skill of teachers and lecturers in teaching and learning besides maintaining dedication and integrity.

The King welcomed the strategic cooperation between the police and armed forces in tackling crime such as using military camps to train police personnel, to absorb former soldiers into the police force and to carry out joint patrols.

“I’m most impressed by this development because previously such strategic cooperation had been rare. It was a positive development that would bring much benefits to the people and country,” he said.

In tackling corruption, Tuanku Mizan called on all quarters to give solid support and confidence to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in fighting corrupt practices, power abuse and irregularities in the country.

The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong recorded his appreciation to everyone involved in ‘Ops Piramid’ to bring back Malaysian students from Egypt following the unrest in that country recently.

He also congratulated national athletes who had brought glory to the country at the international level, including at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the Suzuki AFF Football Championship, besides hoping that Malaysian athletes would continue to perform excellently at the Olympic Games 2012 in London.

Dr Dzul on Kerdau and Merlimau

March 7, 2011

After Kerdau and Merlimau–Reform or Face a National Revolt!

by Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad  (March 6, 2011)

I’m fully conscious of how the BN’s mainstream media (MSM) would demonise and ostracise me for what I’m about to say. I’m nonetheless going to say it in simple and unequivocal term. Simply put, if I were to call the shot in N28 Kerdau by-election, I would want my party to boycott the election. Period.

The BN’s MSM would then have a field day in making PAS their punching bag and would go to town for weeks on end on this huge political meal. They would be apparently vindicated for all their claims that the opposition is bankrupt of ideas and issues to fight them on any further political contestation.

On the back of the looming 13th General Election (GE) coming ever closer, the decision to boycott would arguably be a political suicide for PAS and the Pakatan. Political analysts might argue that the opposition has finally succumbed to the psychological war of the BN’s ‘propagandist firepower’. It doesn’t take a pundit to tell you that.

That’s the usual ‘in-the-box-kind-of-thinking’ that invariably ends up in political parties quite unwilling to brace drastic unconventional ideas and maneuvers. That’s the thinking that underpins the predictable decision of most political parties of whatever ideological persuasions in the face of challenging situation.

What’s my rationale for proposing this drastic action? Am I already conceding defeat on the 11th hours? Am I now perceived as mitigating the adverse impact of another PAS’ defeat? Say what you like.

I’ve been part of the strategic teams of many a by-election especially after the 12th GE. Some we have won and others we lost. The sweetest victory was of course Kuala Terengganu and the more bitter defeat was Galas. On both occasions power changed hands.

Quite contrary to the idea of running from defeat, I have a strange feeling that Kerdau is fast making me upbeat especially towards its finishing line. I’m not commenting on Merlimau as I’m not aware of the realities on ‘ground-zero’ in that BN’s state of Melaka.

Let me say it again. I’m not looking for an upset in Kerdau but is seriously hoping for a reduction of the majority the BN’s candidate secured in the last GE.

I’m not being wishful but given our campaign ‘blitz’ which put the Pahang’s MB defenceless to the finishing line, this writer is hardly surprised if the voters so decide to protest against UMNO-BN’s decades of malaise and negligence.

No one in his right frame of mind would miss noticing that Kerdau is a ‘cowboy’ town. After 53 years Kerdau has never got on to be in the radar of development. It’s the PM’s home state mind you. So simply said again, I’m not running from defeat.

However, this piece is at best purely academic as far as a boycott is concerned, as polling is well underway for both Merlimau and Kerdau, before this writer could publish or upload this piece.

But I felt the compelling need to say and share it with the entire nation, before the results are announced this evening. I’m dead serious. If anything this piece and the likes of this writing, if widely enough read and disseminated, could very well be the genesis of a pending ‘national revolt’, not quite like the middle-eastern turmoil now on world stage that Najib dreaded.

But strangely quite alike though, as it will also represent the utter disdain and hatred of the rakyat or the citizens, for what is here now dubbed in “Political Science” as an ‘Electoral Authoritarianism’ (EA). Malaysia is now listed as one by the author of ‘The Logics of Electoral Authoritarianism”, Professor Andres Schedler (2006).

Simply defined, EA is how government abuses power as to distort and contain a true electoral competition and denies equal access to the media of competing parties and subverts a free and fair election.

In the eyes of an enlarging enlightened sections of the Malaysian electorates and citizenry, Malaysia is indeed guilty of perpetuating ‘electoral authoritarianism’ with impunity. For that, Najib and his cohorts please take note!

If PM Najib wants to put the “Ben-Ali-Mubaarak-Gaddafi-type Revolt” at bay in our beloved land of Malaysia, act urgently to redress and reform the many excesses and sins on ‘electoral authoritarianism’ that has continued unabated for far too long in this country!

My arguments, with respect to a boycott call on Kerdau by-election and now urging immediate reform, are essentially premised on, but not limited to the following basis and evidences.

  1. Najib now infamous saying, “We don’t buy votes, but if you support us we can increase your allocation tomorrow or later. But show support for Barisan Nasional first”. Now that could only equal to his atrocious words of “You help me, I help you” in Sibu i.e his promise of delivering RM5 million on Monday if Robert Lau wins on Sunday now is iconised as the ultimate of ‘vote-buying’ in the lexicology of our local EA. If that is not vote-buying, what is?
  2. Najib began as early as on the second day of the campaign period to blitz Kerdau with ‘goodies’ and handouts as follows: RM400,000 for a hall in Kampong Seri Kerdau, RM150,000 for a Balai Bomba, RM100,000 for Hindu Temple and RM9.25millions on a water treatment plant in Batu Sawar. That’s a hefty RM10.4million, well exceeding the constituency budget allocation. Where are funds coming from? UMNO’s coffers or cronies’ or tax-payers’?
  3. Abuse of usage of public premises for party political campaign listed below:
    1. Public Field in Teluk Sentang,
    2. Mosques and Schools in Batu Sawar,
    3. Community Hall in Jengka 23 Felda,
    4. Broadband Centre for Jengka 25
    5. Community Hall in Kuala Tekal
    6. Kerdau’s Felda’s office.
  4. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan’s announcement that the federal government will settle the CESS payment of RM13,000 for each settler in Jengka 22 next Monday is a surely a covert inducement for settlers to vote for BN come polling day for the Kerdau by-election on Sunday. (Cess payments are monies deducted from the sale of rubber for the purpose of replanting rubber plantations with oil palm. However, when settlers made the decision to switch from rubber to oil palm in 2004, cess payments worth RM12,000 that each settler had accumulated over the course of more than 20 years were not paid by Felda. Felda had paid the settlers RM5,000 each but the Land Development Authority still owes the settlers RM13,000 each, including interest). The bone of contention is why only pay those in the Jengka 22 in the N28 Kerdau constituency, while all Felda settlers Pahang have long been waiting for what are rightly theirs!
  5. The vicious and baseless attack on Dato’ Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, the Director for PAS’ Strategic Centre for the N28 Kerdau by-election by the MSM. The footage was widely covered and repeated by the BN’s TV channels including the ‘independent’  TV3.  This should be the last straw of it all. Seen and peceived by many as failing to respond to all the allegations of a failing Pahang state, as concertedly attacked by PAS’ election machinery, as depicted by Auditor General’s report, UMNO took the final hours of campaign to level a smear campaign on him, accusing him of abusing and capitalizing on a Felda settler’s financial hardship to his advantage. All these heinous hate campaign were fortunately clarified by those involved but wasn’t at all featured in the BN’s MSM. Abuse of MSM and denial of opposition’s right to MSM has become more rampant of late.

Based on a snap-shot of the abuses and excesses of a regime that practices “Electoral Authoritarianism”, I for one would not have hesitated to give the Election Commission and now Najib an ultimatum –Respond or face a National Revolt!

For the information of all well-wishers of democracy and in all fairness to us in PAS/Pakatan, we had submitted on 2 occasions, memorandum to the EC, MACC and the PDRM in protest of all these abuses and subversion of democracy.

It does not take a lawyer to be telling you that Najib and his cohorts are abusing the provision of the Election Offences Act of 1954 aimed at curbing abuses and corrupt practices of contending parties in an electoral process.

It is the conviction of this writer that Malaysia may not well see the equivalent of the Middle Eastern upheaval soonest. But if this regime persists and perpetuates “Electoral Authoritarianism” with little or no regards for the demands of electoral reform by both civil society and opposition political parties, Najib is indeed courting the like of another and bigger peaceful assembly of 500,000 protestors @well-wishers of democracy prior the 13th GE.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Member, PAS Central Working Committee and Malaysia MP for Kuala Selangor.

The Najib Factor in Merlimau and Kerdau

March 7, 2011

The Najib Factor in Merlimau and Kerdau By-Elections

By Jahabar Sadiq
Editor, The Malaysian Insider

ANALYSIS — In just three years, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has promoted himself and his agenda to revive Barisan Nasional’s (BN) fortunes for another string of by-election wins yesterday while Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has floundered due to a cohesive strategy and policy.

BN won both the Merlimau and Kerdau state seats with significantly higher majorities than in Election 2008, where it had lost 82 Parliament seats and four state governments to a loose political pact led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The pact later coalesced as PR but remains as loose as it was on March 8, 2008 when it shattered the veneer of popularity for then-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his UMNO, the dominant partner in the BN.

Abdullah never recovered from the blow of Election 2008, just four years after he brought BN to its biggest victory ever in the 2004 elections where the ruling coalition won 91 per cent of the parliamentary seats and all states except Kelantan which PAS has kept since 1990.

Najib took over in April 2009, weighed down by scurrilous gossip that linked him to the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder and an UMNO that could no longer command the majority of Malay support, its raison d’etre since the party was first founded in 1946.

Instead of pushing a damaged UMNO and a hurt BN, Najib has pushed himself to the fore with economic policies and a moderate tone to win over Malaysians, including the Indian community that deserted the ruling coalition in the aftermath of the HINDRAF march in November 2007.

He started with 1 Malaysia, proceeding to unveil his New Economic Model (NEM) with the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and later the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) which covers nearly 200 projects and business opportunities.

The jury is out on the programmes and the funding but Najib has enjoyed a comfortable level of personal popularity since succeeding Abdullah, although UMNO itself has yet to recover from the bruising Election 2008.

A measure of his success is the young candidates UMNO has put up in the last three by-elections, or whom Najib has dubbed “winnable candidates” in his quest to renew and reform the party revived by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after it was declared illegal in 1988.

“Basically, even if you don’t trust UMNO, you can trust Najib. That’s the message,” an analyst told The Malaysian Insider last night. The analyst also said facing Najib in the past two years has been an increasingly rudderless PR where de facto chief Anwar has been distracted by yet another sodomy trial, the first which pushed him out of contention as prime minister in 1998.

Anwar has thus far kept quiet over this past week’s brewing spat between allies PAS and DAP over Kelantan’s anti-gambling laws. All three parties had ironically promised last year not to allow football pools which was initially licensed to a Berjaya Group unit but has since been rescinded.

“PR is far from united as Anwar is the glue for PR but the trial is taking its toll and has reduced him to a figurehead,” said a PR leader who declined to be named.

In many ways, he added, the past three years have seen a reversal in fortunes for both Najib and Anwar.“Anwar led us to a string of victories from Election 2008 to some of the by-elections but that seems so far away now. Najib is on the rise,” warned the leader.

“We have to get our act straight, work on our strengths and ensure the momentum of 2008 is not lost,” he added.

For the record, PR has won eight out of the 15 by-elections held since Election 2008.Political analyst Datuk Dr Zainal Kling said the double win last night could be used as a benchmark of public support although the political tsunami that swept during the 2008 general election has not subsided.

“This is because we are yet to be sure of support by urban voters but there are signs that public support has returned to BN,” he told state news agency Bernama.Zainal said this was due to hard work by Najib who created policies like the GTP, ETP and National Key Result Areas (NKRA).

“The BN government has to double its efforts to maintain the existing momentum, because the opposition always come out with plans and agenda to attract interest of the people,” he said.

INTI International University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid said BN cannot be too comfortable with the wins as history has showed that small errors can lead to a political tsunami like in 2008.

“However, Barisan Nasional is now on the right track to face the next general election,” he told Bernama.Najib has not indicated when the general election is but last night’s victories and the impending Sarawak state polls appear to suggest that it could be as soon as this year, as he said in an interview with the Reuters news agency during last week’s official visit to Australia.

UMNO officials have cautioned Najib against calling for snap polls soon as the party has yet to recover its popularity, an UMNO warlord told The Malaysian Insider recently.

“We briefed him about the preparations on the ground but told him he might be popular but the party isn’t as popular as him,” the warlord said, attributing most of the wins to Najib’s policies.

In yesterday’s polling, BN retained the Merlimau state seat when UMNO’s Roslan Ahmad defeated PAS candidate Yuhaizad Abdullah with a majority of 3,643 votes. Roslan obtained 5,962 votes compared with Yuhaizad’s 2,319.

In Kerdau, BN candidate Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad defeated PAS candidate Hasanuddin Salim by a majority of 2,724 votes. Syed Ibrahim obtained 5,060 votes to Hasanuddin’s 2,336 votes.–