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Top 10 Little Uncircumspect, Uncircumcised Reasons for the Malay Vote Swings in PRU-13
A total political tsunami, including a massive exodus of malay voters swinging over to the Pakatan, would have happened had it not been for some minor silly mistakes that the entire PR machinery had brought about. Remember: the kingmakers are the rakyat. And in particular, the Kampung folks and the deep suburban housewives and youngsters, and the oil palm plantation workers and the estate rubber tappers. The east coast fishermen and the west coast factory workers. These are the silent giants, the mute decision makers. You won’t want to cross them. And crossing them was what happened in the recent election. Let’s have a look at some of them here: some of them had been gelled for some time already, while some of them emerged just a few days before election day:-
1) Cute But Vulnerable Election Slogans. It’s good to have catchy little slogans that people can carry and shout around, not to mention to make stickers with which you can stick everywhere. But if you do that, can you please make sure that they are soooo invincible that it leaves no one, and I mean no one, able to find alternative, albeit equally catchy, phrases? So for example:-
a) Asalkan Bukan UMNO. Or ABU, as created by lawyer Harris Ibrahim. Almost overnight, its sensation and impact drizzles down when the pro-Umno guys came up with an alternative of what the acronym really stands for: Allah Bersama UMNO! Yes, that Allah that the DAP wants to share, remember? But frankly, among the kampong folks, which one do you think is more appealing: the Asalkan Bukan one or the Allah Bersama one?
b) Ini Kali Lah. I thought this one would be cute too, when lo and behold, the BN Dead Poets Society came up with their own version of what the PR reeeeaaaalllly means: Lain Kali Saja Lah …
2) Cute and Witty but Harmful Remarks. Irrespective of how much you hate Dr Mahathir, no one (apart from some die-hard Mahathir dissenters in Rocky Bru’s comment columns) would so much hate the former Prime Minister vehemently. So imagine your PR number one man saying something like “Kalau mahu mati, mati saja lah …” So the karma goes back to him. And what about that do’a by the brother of Nik Aziz: “KO UMNO! KO UMNO! KO UMNO!” So it got the common and ordinary folks into thinking … hey this is really unbecoming of a group of people who claims truth and righteousness side with them. And they voted …
3) Cute Little Multimedias. Well, we’ve seen them all. The mirip Anwar sommersaulting the China Doll. The mirip Anwar groping a guy’s scrotum in a hotel room. The mirip Anwar sweet-talking a boy in another hotel room, believed to be the rudimentary beginnings of foreplay. Then there’s the mirip Azmin Ali offering some Cornetto to a lady friend in a bathroom. The mirip Stopa Ali asking his … err… wife… to massage him for RM1400 after … err… performing his duty as a husband. Yes yes I know. People are tired and loathsome with all these raunchy videos, but then, they either go back to their homes believing that UMNO is such a GRRREEAAAT filmmaker to come up with movies so very much like the original people that even great Hollywood directors could not do, or … there MAY be something to it. There MAY be something to all these allegations and proofs after all. And they thought and they thought. And then they voted.
But the voters look beyond these videos and multimedia. They observe silently, pool all the information they gather around them, and put two and two together. For example, this is what they have been thinking:
- Nasharuddin Isa takes a trip with Najib to meet some Mid East scholars and he’s expelled? (When he was shown flanking ranks with some DAP harbis he was considered a hero)
- Hassan Ali insisting that malay-filled Shah Alam should not be selling alcohol in public and raided a premise that did, and when he opposed Ronnie Lieuw to ask the government to “put them alcohol back”, he was expelled?
- When Stopa Ali’s mirip video was shown, the entire PAS machinery deem it Unislamic to expose a person’s keaiban? But much earlier Hadi Awang goes on record to say that it is okay to expose the wrongdoings of a leader, and he means his raunchy ones too, if it is for the reason of telling the voters what kind of man that that particular leader is. He was, of course, referring only to BN leaders.
- When PR leader championed LGBT, Pluralism, Israeli rights etc, none of the PAS leaders bat an eyelid?
4) A Little Over-the-Top Be Bop Flip Flop. Well how would you like to vote for leaders who, at one point says that there shall be no hudud and thereafter says that there shall. First the name of Allah can be used by those who don’t believe in His Oneness and then (for the sake of votes) say that they can’t. First you say Lynas will produce mutant babies and therafter say that it is safe. If you can flip before elections, say the voters, what makes you think that you cannot flop right after it?
5) The Lahad Datu Fiasco. Reports of Tian Chua and Sivarasa’s trip to Manila just before the intruders intruded, and Nur Misuari’s open support for PR as well as Anwar Ibrahim’s meeting before him prior to the fiasco, made people wonder just what the hell is going on. But when lives are lost, they decided they if they can’t defend their sovereignty using guns, they would do so using their voting rights. And they did.
6) The Open Zionist Israeli support for the PR. Oh Brother! Of all these 10 reasons, this one is perhaps the stupidest of all. I mean, what were they THINKING? And who was it that convinced those Israeli firsters to shoot a video of themselves and send it to Ziono-phobic Malaysia to gain votes? I mean, I would even to start believing that there are certain sections in DAP out to sabotage the party by convincing them to do this one up. Either that, or the DAP really should replace their strategists. This point is self-explanatory.
7) Increasingly glaring revelations by Anwar’s closest friends and aides. Yes. The ones who know Anwar rightly and deeply are not the Surendrans or the Sivarasas or the Rafizi Ramlis who just got to know Anwar only since last year or so. The people who were with Anwar for like more than 4 decades—the ones who created ABIM together with him, who supported him even before he was UMNO, the ones who were his schoolmates, the ones who defended him in court 15 years back, the ones who taught together with him in Yayasan Anda right during the days when Anwar still goes around in buses in rubber slippers. These are the ones who have left him, for good reasons. And the reasons, the gory details for their doing so, is scattered everywhere in the the net. And it’s not a pretty picture, I tell you!
8) Saiful’s Kaabah Sumpah Laknat. Folks, do not belittle the power of Sumpah Laknat. You know, the one that starts with Wallahi, WaTallahi, WaBillahi … A muslim can rob, a muslim can steal, a muslim can entertain his neighbour’s wife playing konda-kondi wearing expensive Calvin Klein socks and nothing else, but ask him to perform this sumpah, he wouldn’t dare. And in front of the Kaabah? Doubly wouldn’t dare. And isn’t this the very exact introductory sumpah that became the pivotal statement of Najib’s oath as a Prime Minister in front of the Agong yesterday? And let’s say, takdirwise, and nau’zubillah, that Anwar DID become prime minister. Wouldn’t he have to undergo the same sumpah in front of the Agong? That very sumpah that Anwar says is unislamic, unnecessary and above all, means nothing? And latest is, just a few days before the polls, came the exploding revelation of this former Anwar aide by the name of Rahimi. He was a close friend to Saiful, and man! Those who had any doubts in Saiful before, better be hearing this guy out. The details, the very clear picture of what happened at the heights of the Saiful allegations on Anwar, those few hours preceding it … there is absolutely no way at all that this guy could be lying. Who else would know that much detail? And equipped with all this, the silent voter goes to the polls.
9) Very dubious Characters of PR strongmen. And very strange ones too, not to mention horny. First they caught a PAS guy doing acrobatics with another man’s wife inside a train—caught red handed by the jilted husband himself! Brought him to the Tok Guru, and the latter, in the manner of a Catholic Pope, announced that said playboy had already been pardoned by Allah! Luckily no monetary indulgences were necessary. And then they trapped this PKR biggie talking to a mole in the internet, who was able to convince the guy to open up his pants and beat his meat in front of the camera. And then they sort of put two and two together, and lo and behold, suddenly Mat Sabu’s Room 121 case, Ustaz Badrul Amin’s tryst with another guy’s wife in hotel room etc etc seem all too real, too believable and too … humanly possible!
10) The sudden realization of what the WHOLE thing means. There is an overwhelming suspicion that says the Chinese are really not against corruption and fairness and transparency etc etc at all. For if applying the same standards, they would have equally complained about PR-led states like Selangor and Penang too. But of course when cornered they can always shift the blame to faulty Microsoft Excels or convenient typing errors, such errors sometimes potentially costing a billion ringgit or two. But apparently, the Object of Contention is the Malays! Yes, their slogan Malaysian Malaysia really means, Chinese Malaysia. I mean, that’s what are in the minds of these simple folk voters as to what it really means. And after the ordeal is over, especially in Gelang Patah, it is clear that chinese voters would prefer Mummy-Foo’ed Kit Siang who, in his 40 years of existence, had absolutely nothing to prove of his worth as a Malaysian politician, over squeaky-clean Ghani Othman, the architect of Modern Johore Development, just because Ghani is a malay and Kit Siang is a chinese. That, along with pictures like the ones shown below, are not helping voters to side not along racial lines at all:-
Suddenly, the voters awoke from their slumber. Suddenly, the kampong voters stop to ponder what it all means:-
- Here’s a vote to allow LGBT to take roots in Malaysia
- Here’s a vote to make me complicit in establishing pluralism as a national Ideology
- Here’s a vote to abolish, or reduce, article 153
- Here’s a vote to UBAH … for the worse !
Everytime an election is near, the brains behind political strategy of election campaign will start cracking and one by one the revelations, news spin and shocking exposé will surface in order to maintain an upper-hand in the perception game.
Some will gain traction while some will not make a dent among the psyche of the whole population. Worse, some issues raised will backfire.
Here are a few hits and misses of election issues that have been brought up just to stir and heighten the tension of an already anxious population. We must expect more to come in the next few weeks.
C. Sugumaran’s death
On 23rd January 2013, C. Sugumaran who was believed to be mentally unstable was found dead after being beaten by the public and allegedly by some police officers after he went berserk and caused damages to public property.
Politicians from PKR namely N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya quickly seized the opportunity to run a smear campaign on the police alleging police brutality over an innocent man whose only crime is to run amok and potentially be harmful to other bystanders.
Hoping to emulate the smear campaign on police’s brutality for the death Kugan Ananthan in lock up back in 2009, both opportunists Surendran and Latheefa even sought the help Dr. Pornthip to perform post-mortem on Sugumaran’s remains, of which the infamous pathologist had declined. The absurdity of taking advantage over death of others and trying to prolong a family’s bereavement is lost upon them.
However, due to Hindraf’s constant sniping at Pakatan Rakyat and the lack of focus on indians in Pakatan Rakyat’s manifesto, the issue just died a natural death a few weeks after it surfaced.
Rest in peace, C. Sugumaran.
Verdict: A miss
Pakatan Rakyat’s manifesto
Pakatan Rakyat launched its election manifesto on 25th February with much pomp and celebratory claptrap from within the informal coalition that it befuddled even Anwar Ibrahim when so many had dismissed the manifesto as a non-serious, non-obligatory document a couple of weeks later.
Right off the bat, there was a silly omission of efforts to uplift the plights of indians although Anwar Ibrahim and his lackeys rebutted them by saying the manifesto transcends all race and creed, he however made an about turn when finally he said the manifesto will be amended to include specific commitments to the indian community.
Like what an article in Free Malaysia Today had published:
This episode of the Pakatan manifesto has revealed many weaknesses in the Pakatan fabric. Clearly, within the ranks of Pakatan, the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Rather some underhand handiwork is suspected. For instance:
• Lim Guan Eng was quoted to have said that the manifesto only sets out the common policies of political parties but not the specifics. But now Anwar has contradicted him by including specifics – about the Indian community.
• Anwar Ibrahim had said when the manifesto was first launched, that it transcends racial groups. But now Anwar has contradicted himself.
• Pakatan’s director of strategy, Rafizi Ramli, had said it was not a mistake to not have mentioned Indians in the manifesto. But now Anwar has made him eat his words.
After all the hullabaloo made by segments of the marginalised Indian community who felt they were being again marginalised in the manifesto, Pakatan is trying hard to regain lost ground. But it is too little too late
There were other peculiarities from the manifesto which made it lose traction and potentially votes for Pakatan. Namely, Khalid Ibrahim’s admission that a manifesto is not a promise and also the timing of the launch of the document.
The former damaged the credibility of Pakatan’s capability to deliver its promises while the early kick-off of Pakatan’s campaign is deemed as too early for some. In the fast world of cyberspace, by the time the manifesto was two weeks old, the other side has dismantled it and highlighted its flaws. Which made this a public relations failure in terms of strategic electoral campaign. Releasing it too early even before Parliament is dissolved won’t help much in terms of gaining votes from the fence sitters.
As the result, the manifesto is deemed an insignificant political tool at the moment.
Verdict: A miss
Sulu terrorists on Lahad Datu
Around mid February 2013, dozens of Sulu terrorists landed in an area in Lahad Datu to wage war on our soil. But in a knee jerk reaction by most Pakatan Rakyat’s leaders, they dismissed it as a ‘sandiwara of Umno’ (as in the case of Tian Chua) or a school drama. They made several unfortunate remarks about how inefficient our security forces are and worse, they ridiculed the sacrifices made by the fallen heroes.
Not to mention the fact that the Philippines and international media had pin pointed Pakatan Rakyat as among the culprit who had invited the terrorists into our land and also the fact that Anwar Ibrahim has close ties with Nur Misuari, the leader of MNLF, a known advocate of capturing Sabah.
The social media was filled with sympathies and support for the government’s effort to protect and defend our sovereignty but the leaders of Pakatan Rakyat continued to belittle and criticise the effort. They were going against the tide and losing ground on the perception game which, miraculously only Lim Kit Siang recognised the ebbing support towards Pakatan’s wayward stand 3 weeks after the incursion.
In his article on 7th March 2013, Lim Kit Siang had said:
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s stand of unconditional surrender for the Sulu militants deserves the support of all Malaysians.
There is neither basis nor merit in the call for ceasefire or the unilateral ceasefire by the Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, after eight police commandoes had been slain and some of their corpses treated in the most harrowing and bestial manner after they had fallen as national heroes in the cause of national duty to protect national sovereignty and the security of the state and people.
All Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or political affiliation, are united as one in giving full endorsement to all necessary measures by the government and the security forces to end the month-long battle against Sulu militants.
By mid March, the Lahad Datu incursion made a mark in everyone’s psyche whereby the ridiculous tormenting of all government’s effort have spoiled Pakatan’s image in the bigger scheme of things.
Verdict: A miss
Betrayal by Saiful Bukhari’s father
Sensing that Parliament will be dissolved soon and scrambling to regain the lost ground on the Lahad Datu debacle, Azlan Mohd Lazim, the father of Saiful Bukhari made a compelling revelation that allegedly, the sodomy case involving his son was a conspiracy concocted by personalities close to Najib Razak. Never mind the fact that he never met these ‘conspirators’ himself.
Saiful Bukhari himself made a press statement a few hours later to dismiss the assertions made by his father. To top it off, he told the world that his father is a victim of Anwar Ibrahim’s political ploy.
A few days after, his father announced that he is joining PKR. It is interesting to note that in both occasions, Azlan Lajim was escorted by a PKR leader named Johari Abdul, an MP from Sungai Petani.
A cursory assessment at the reaction of this fiasco revealed that there was no positive impact on Pakatan Rakyat’s election strategy. Even a pro Pakatan columnist has apprehension towards this U-turn.
Verdict: A miss
Anwar Ibrahim latest video
A few days ago a blog revealed a few pictures allegedly a sexual tryst of Anwar Ibrahim in a hotel room. The grainy pictures threw almost everyone initially but as the furore subsided, the matter has shifted to the act of Anwar Ibrahim suing another blogger for RM100 million for slandering him as a homosexual.
Umno has quickly distancing itself from the pictures while PAS’ Harakah Daily had frequently highlighted this story with glee.
The said blogger fought back by telling the knee-jerk reaction prone Anwar Ibrahim to rescind the litigation otherwise further video exposures implicating Anwar Ibrahim further will be published.
Verdict: At first a miss for BN for this gutter politics, but will be a miss for Pakatan if Anwar Ibrahim mishandles the litigation.
Taib Mahmud’s video
Yesterday’s evening saw a video by Global Witness which had slandered Taib Mahmud through an investigation piece by a western journalist. In that video it was alleged that shady corporate deals are being administered by relatives of Taib Mahmud which gave the impression that Taib Mahmud is enriching himself through his family members and syphoning money into overseas bank accounts.
Taib Mahmud fought back the allegations by saying it wasn’t true.
Taib Mahmud had a tremendous track record in developing Sarawak which for a fact, had caused him to win the 2011 state election in a landslide victory. Analysis of that win can be read here.
It is very interesting to see the kind of effect this video will have on the voters. The next few days will be crucial for the political strategy teams in Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat in dealing with this issue.
Verdict: Too early to predict. Could be a hit or a miss for Pakatan Rakyat.
“I support all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel”
That’s what Anwar Ibrahim said in an interview with Wall Street Journal when asked what would Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation’s relationship with Israel would be if he were elected as Prime Minister
The article asked a lot of thing ranging from his opinion about the appeal made by the prosecutors over his acquittal of the sodomy charges, his agenda as the would be Prime Minister, all the way to reforming the sodomy laws which he deemed as ‘archaic’.
But the fact that he supports all efforts to protect the security of Israel is paramount in understanding the psyche of Anwar Ibrahim. Will we have a Prime Minister that will do his utmost best in securing Israel’s future?
The unfortunate reality of his statement is this – since when the state of Israel is being threatened which precipitates him to decide that Malaysia must support the efforts to protect it?
That is very telling indeed. When Malaysia in the past 6 decades had lent support to secure Palestinian’s sovereignty and security, Anwar Ibrahim will take the other way around.
Israel is a current reality that Anwar could have missed, can protect itself without Malaysia lending a helping hand; whether morally or financially.
It is the plight of fellow Muslims in the Palestine that needs our support.
Anwar Ibrahim however stop short his support of Israel by not saying he will open a diplomatic ties with Israel. But judging from this initial stand, nothing should be a surprise for us Malaysians.
Malaysia has consistently refrained from establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, although limited commercial ties exist between private companies in the two countries. That might change if Anwar Ibrahim is at the helm.
He remarked on the affirmative policy as well.
If elected, he said he would speed up the removal of racial quotas for university places and focus on helping lower-income groups regardless of race instead of solely aiding ethnic Malays.
Since when the government is solely aiding the Malays only? That is highly inflammatory and of course, misleading. The fact that he plays with racial sentiment over something which is not true and telling it to the world which tarnishes the country’s image makes him seditious and malicious.
His stand on sodomy laws is also unfathomable. He reaffirmed his stand that ”it is not his business to attack people or arrest people based on their sexual orientation”.
Yes, Malaysia does not attack or arrest people over their sexual orientation.
But there are laws that can be used if the victim is sodomised and wants to report it to the authority. That will protect the victims.
Which part of the sodomy laws that Anwar wants to amend? That victims cannot report to the police?
Two homosexuals can have their sexual relationship under the Malaysian sun without ever getting arrested. Unless of course, they are doing it in public or one of them cited rape etc. Same-sex marriage is of course prohibited under the Malaysian laws. The last time I check, it is even prohibited in most parts of the world.
Even in the US, there are laws against sodomy. The fact is and this is very important; Anwar is not in the correct state of mind to lead this nation.
The baggage he is carrying, his extreme need to coddle the West, his dictatorial and megalomaniac tendencies over his own party will not help him to provide the best for us Malaysians.
The full article can be read here
For the past few weeks, Malaysians had been fed with only one sided news from the alternative media. Not one of the alternative news portals gave a thorough exposure on what the Election Commission had brief the media yesterday. Below are excerpts from The Malay Mail on the interview.
Mail Q&A: Only so much we can do, EC says of Bersih’s demands
“SOME of the eight recommendations by the Bersih 2.0 rally organisers are up for discussion and would be good to implement and some are not within our power to carry out,” says Election Commission of Malaysia (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.
“We are only an election management body, not a political party and we are answerable to the law and the Ruler.”
Wan Ahmad said this during a luncheon talk yesterday organised by the Institute of Mind Development (INMIND).
It is understood that recommendations up for discussion were on cleaning the electoral roll, reforming postal balloting, use of indelible ink, and minimum 21 days campaigning period.
The other four recommendations the EC are apparently unable to carry out were free and fair access to media, strengthening public institutions, stopping dirty politics and stopping corruption.
The upcoming Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9, organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, has been touted as an acid test for Malaysian democracy, where the “freedom and right to assembly” as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution has been put under scrutiny.
While the Home Ministry has called it an illegal rally, and the police have warned the public against taking part, Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the rally will go on.
Bersih2.0 is a “sequel” to the Bersih rally on Nov 10, 2007, where a memorandum was sent to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, with the intention of seeking electoral reform in the country.
Here are the highlights of a question-and-answer session during the luncheon talk.
MM: Have the recommendations made by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Bersih to the EC during closed-door discussions been forwarded to the government, and what is the status?
Wan Ahmad: There have been various efforts towards improving the election system. We have revised and re-checked the laws with the help of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AG). A lot of issues were brought up to Parliament with regards to the election management process, but people sometimes tend to forget that. It is true that there are a few things where the Federal Constitution needs to be amended, but the amendment of the constitution must be the last resort as the constitution is our reference point.
Just because we want to fulfill our demands, we should not disregard the efforts made by the people who formulated the constitution over five decades ago, where a lot of pros and cons, cross-checking and checks and balances were done before it was implemented. EC is not looking for temporary measures, we listen to the civil society, responsible bodies, NGOs, political parties and AG before we make any decision, especially with regards to constitutional amendments. EC is not a law-making organisation, we can only make recommendations, but it is up to the government to bring the matter to Parliament for debate.
A lot of changes have been made. Previously, no political party agents could be in military camps during postal voting sessions, but it is allowed now. These changes have been made and explained to political parties and NGOs. We did not close our door to negotiations because these were people who gave their feedback to us. We would continue to meet them for the betterment of the democratic process in our country.
What can be done will be done, but those that cannot be implemented will take some time to allow a study to take place so that we can find a solution that would serve all parties. But we cannot hurry and expect overnight changes, especially if it is made just because of the upcoming 13th general election.
MM: What has hindered the EC from implementing cleaning the electoral roll, reforming postal balloting, use of indelible ink, and minimum 21 days campaigning period?
Wan Ahmad: The voters’ registration issue has been done in accordance with the Registration of Electors Regulations 2002 which are bound with the Federal constitution. For example, a registered voter at a certain address will have to request the EC for address change as we cannot simply change their voting place because they are no longer living at the address stated on their MyKad. We cannot do that, as it would lead to power abuse. Parti Keadilan Rakyat deputy president Azmin Ali had been telling people there are six “phantom voters” at his house address.
But these six people were registered in the 1990s, and the new law which required voters to register in accordance with MyKad addresses was only implemented in 2002. Prior to the new law, there was no system that regulated people to register at their place, and not to their fancy. That is what happened and we have successfully handled the issue. It is within one’s rights to vote at the place they registered, even if they no longer live there. EC is forbidden by law to change the voting place of registered voters unless it is upon request by the voters’ themselves.
As said earlier, changes have to be made to postal voting. The police and army have to vote earlier as they have to serve the country during election day. We have allowed the political party agents to monitor poll stations for postal voting, and we cannot simply change this method without considering the rights of the army, police and even full-time students abroad. With regards to indelible ink, it is used among countries which have no identification system, such as Africa and India.
They have not reached our level yet. We only have 12 million voters. Why should we turn our system backwards when we have reached this level of technological advancement? The reason there is a push for the use of indelible ink is due to fear of double-voting, but we have an adequate system to handle voter identification and it is nearly impossible for people to register twice.
We only have one identification number, and one identification card. That is why we are seriously considering the biometric system. Explanations have been given to people concerning the campaign period. We simply cannot compare our country with others that have longer campaigning days. Look at how big the number of voters is in countries such as Indonesia or Thailand.
The situation in our country is different, with various media exposure, mainstream and alternative, and people already know the policy of the government and the political parties. Hence, I do not understand the need for a longer campaigning period.
MM: The Bersih 2.0 organisers said the EC had only made a few changes since the first Bersih rally in 2007. Why can’t automatic voting registration be implemented for those who have turned 21 without having to register with the EC?
Wan Ahmad: Automatic registration, for now, is contradictory to the constitution. If it were to be implemented, we would have to amend the constitution first. It is not within EC’s power to change it, as it is under the provision 119, where it is stated that one has to request to register as a voter with the EC.
This is done with respect to one’s freedom of choice. It is up to an individual to choose to register and become a voter. According to a survey conducted by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), the reason there are 3.2 million unregistered voters is due to laziness. We cannot force them if they do not want to be voters.
MM: Why does EC seem to be “jumpy” with regards to demands made by certain quarters like Bersih? How can NGOs prevent this from happening and deal with EC directly?
Wan Ahmad: To be fair, we have to listen to all parties for feedback. If an NGO seeks to meet EC, we welcome them but an official letter must be made. There is no problem with that on our part.
MM: Instead of a longer campaigning period, why can’t a cooling-off period be implemented?
Wan Ahmad: Indeed we have a cooling-off period. All political parties know that campaigning must stop by midnight before the polling day. We have laws but not everyone will adhere to them. We see how some political talks were played via compact discs until the wee hours in the morning. There was nothing we can do about those who disregard the law. We cannot simply arrest people during polling day when we have other things to handle as well.
MM: Apart from the army and police, is there a possibility for media practitioners to be allowed postal voting as most of them have to work on polling day too?
Wan Ahmad: We are looking into the matter. This is one area that has been in our discussions too.
Online weed-out of ‘phantom’ voters now available
STARTING today, a new system to weed out dubious voters will be available on the Election Commission’s (EC) website at http://www.spr.gov.my for voters to check their status.
EC deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the system would allow voters to check the voter list according to their home addresses.
“Heads of households are encouraged to check online and report to us if there are other names within the address.”
If there are discrepancies, the EC would be able to make the necessary changes under Rule 25 of the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002.
On the criticism that foreign observers have been denied access to observe elections here, Wan Ahmad said: “The foreigners’ understanding of our constitution and culture is different. The same is applied to us. When I visited a foreign country to observe their electoral process, I was not allowed to question the transparency of the process.”
An individual that everyone loves to hate, Datuk Ibrahim Ali went with guns blazing during an interview with The Malay Mail today.
Mail Q&A: I am a fighter, says Ibrahim Ali
DATUK Ibrahim Ali is staying defiant. Just hours after Malay-rights movement Perkasa received a stern warning from the police that action would be taken against them if they took to the streets in retaliation to the upcoming Bersih rally, its controversial president reiterated that its members would march as planned.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar had yesterday cautioned Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali that there would be a crackdown if the organisation didn’t call off its plans. But Ibrahim has other ideas.
Labeling Bersih as an “emotionally unstable” group, Ibrahim said as long as Bersih didn’t call off their march, Perkasa would take to the streets on July 9, as he believed that Bersih’s demand for a free and fair election is only a political ploy.
He said if Perkasa did not go against them, Malaysia and the global community might think that Bersih had the support of the country. Ibrahim however stressed that Perkasa’s march will be a peaceful one.
“We will go as a peaceful group, as we are peace warriors.”
The Malay Mail’s senior reporter MARHALIM ABAS spoke with the Pasir Mas MP in Parliament yesterday, and got an insight into the Perkasa founder’s reasoning and motives behind his opposition to the latest Bersih gathering.
Q: What are your thoughts on Bersih 2.0?
A: To me, Bersih is a mixed group, a group with problems, some with big ambitions and others who are frustrated. So they are a mixture of these groups who to me are emotionally unstable. I believe my reading of them is correct by looking at the Bersih committee members.
Although some are maybe academically qualified, they could have been afflicted with mental sickness, Wallahu Alam (Only Allah knows) based on what they are doing and demanding.
Q: Bersih organisers have claimed they are seeking a fair and just elections. Is asking for fair and just elections a bad thing?
A: I believe that the demand for a fair and just elections is only a ploy. We all know the credibility level of our elections. Yes, there are some weaknesses but looking at their demands, I do not believe it warrants a street demonstration.
Their demands include automatic voter registration, abolishing postal votes, using indelible ink and a campaign period of more than 21 days. These are things that can be discussed at a roundtable meeting with the Election Commission. If they cannot get their way at one time, they can keep demanding. They can submit their memorandum to the King, they can also pressure the EC via their members who are in Parliament. There are various means for them to press for their demands.
The EC had already answered some of their demands. On the indelible ink, for example, the EC has already said they will be using the biometric system which is better than putting your finger in a bottle. On the 21-day campaign period, although it is their right to demand, others may not agree. I don’t want it, 21 days is too long.
They also do not realise how much money the government spends on 11 days of elections. How much will the cost of security be for 11 days? And now they want 10 more days; these are the same people who keep telling the government not to waste public funds and save money.
They’re fond of double standards; it’s like their stand on the Internal Security Act. The Bersih 2.0 chairman (Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan) was also involved in the Abolish ISA campaign; yet these are also the same people who asked for me to be arrested under the ISA.
Q: So Bersih is not your typical NGO movement, it’s more political?
A: Yes, Ambiga is the one who is from an NGO. Others in the committee – the deputy chairman, secretary, head of information and other committee members – are all from PKR, DAP and PAS. Only Ambiga is representing the NGO or maybe in her personal capacity but she is the former Bar Council president.
By putting Ambiga as the chairman, they are in a way attempting to tell the masses that they are not a political movement, but one for the people. They can also show the world that the movement is being headed by a learned advocate, an esteemed member of the legal fraternity. This is meant to confuse people.
Q: And it is for those reasons Perkasa and Umno Youth are planning a counter march on July 9?
A: What Perkasa is doing now via my statements, public speeches and information gathering, is to explain to the public what Bersih is really about. What they are doing now doesn’t make sense.
If I do not go against them, Malaysia and the whole world might think that they have the support of the country. They do not have the support of the majority.
The reasoning is that if the ruling party goes against them, they will turn it around and claim that the EC won’t bow to their demands, hence proof that the EC is working for the ruling coalition.
The public understands that although I’m a politician, I don’t have any other agenda to promote, such as making (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim the Prime Minister. I stand alone.
As a seasoned politician, I was a former student leader. I know Anwar very well, and I myself was detained twice under the ISA. Due to that, I am able to appreciate the country’s situation.
The situation on the ground was already tense, so when Bersih was announced, my attention turned towards the situation in the Middle East.
I also noticed that several days after July 9, Anwar will have to enter his defence. (Note: July 13 is the case mention for the defence’s appeal against the judge’s decision not to recuse himself in Anwar’s sodomy trial).
I also noted that during the Sarawak elections Ambiga had stated that the people there should emulate what had happened at Tahrir Square (the site of the massive uprising in Cairo, Egypt) and she was subsequently barred from entering Sarawak.
Unlike other politicians, I like to listen when opposition leaders give speeches or talks. People like Anwar, I listen to them while sitting in my car. I want to know what they are saying, whether it’s just political propaganda or rhetoric. For example, Nurul Izzah (Anwar), when speaking about July 9, stated the public should emulate what the Egyptians did.
I’m also kept informed by my friends, who are members of PAS or PKR. So either by listening or being informed by others, I concluded that Bersih isn’t simply a means to ask for fair elections. Supporters are being told to bring along food and to be prepared not to go home for three or four days. Looking at their banners and pamphlets, I am convinced the demonstration was meant to create havoc.
Based on all of this and also the fact that I was a student leader in the ’70s, I concluded that Bersih, despite its slogan of a fair and just elections, is really an illegal attempt to overthrow the government. You see, they cannot wait, as Anwar is fighting for his survival in the court case and also the sex video scandal.
Q: Are you saying that if Anwar was not called to submit his defence (in the sodomy trial), July 9 would not happen?
A: I cannot say that. But these people are power crazy, they became more emotional after Anwar was called to enter his defence. If he wasn’t, they might still call for a demonstration to create momentum until the general election is called. They want power even via undemocratic means.
Q: The police are saying that if Perkasa and Bersih actually hold the demonstration next Saturday, there will be trouble..
A: I believe the police. Perkasa has given briefings in 22 places in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. We will go as a peaceful group, as we are peace warriors. I have told everyone that no one should bring weapons or things that could be used as weapons. But you know, when a large number of people take to the streets, anything can happen. For example, in Egypt under Hosni Mubarak, the army became one the strongest in the world. But even the Egyptian army couldn’t stop the violence when hundreds of thousands of people came out to the streets days and night.
The same thing happened in Tunisia. Bear in mind that in the Middle East, there is only one race so no racial issues. In our country, if the people take to the streets, they will be in groups, Malays, Chinese and Indians. As I said, even before July 9, racial tensions already exist.
So you can imagine if they gathered in the streets and start making public speeches. That is why I tend to believe what the police are saying about July 9. Unlike politicians who will have ready-made answers, the police, especially the higher-ups, will rely on surveillance and intelligence before making any statements. They know Bersih on July 9 is something different and it must be stopped.
Q: After knowing all that, you still want to press on with a counter march on July 9?
A: Well, I am a fighter and I am committed towards ensuring that my country remains peaceful. It just so happens that I have the blood of a warrior and as I know Anwar and his people, it is my responsibility. You see, in Islam we are taught the concept of Amal Makruf Nahi Munkar (To maintain the right and to forbid wrong doings) so I cannot run away from responsibility.
Q: We were told that you were supposed to meet with the IGP today (yesterday).
A: Yes, I was told about it yesterday (Wednesday) but I had already made plans to go back to Kelantan for a function. My statement was already taken on Tuesday so I told them they can take my statement in Kota Baru. Their officer later informed me that I could send my secretary-general.
Q: Have you been briefed about what had transpired at the meeting? (Ibrahim had just arrived from Kelantan about 1pm as his flight was delayed)
A: Well, the secretary-general informed me that it was not much different from what I was told at Dang Wangi. The IGP told the secretary-general to inform the Perkasa executive council that if we go ahead with the demonstrations on July 9, they would have no other choice but to act against us. The IGP also gave a briefing on the country’s security situation. As what I had said before, that if Bersih 2.0 do not go on with their demonstration or if the police cannot stop them and Bersih goes ahead with their plans, Perkasa will also go ahead with our plans (to demonstrate).
Q: Would you agree if the Bersih demonstration was held in a stadium or something similar?
A: Well, I don’t think the police will agree to the idea at the moment. If Bersih abandons its idea of conducting a street demonstration but instead hold it indoors, I will support them and ask the police to give a permit. I will support it as it will be just like what the Constitution says about freedom of speech and the right to gather.
Contrary to what Suhakam said, I believe if you need to gather, you need a police permit as mentioned in the Constitution. Why do you want to take to the streets? Everyone is complaining – taxi drivers, petty traders and even the tourist bodies. Just imagine even a small accident in the city will create chaos throughout the Klang Valley. What will happen during a street demonstration? It’s the weekend, let people enjoy their day off. Do not create havoc.
Other related stories you might like to read:
Due to limited ways in defending the indefensible, the defence team of Anwar Ibrahim, led by Karpal Singh, had begun to attack the credibility of the main witness – Saiful Bukhari.
The opening salvo is to paint a picture that Saiful is not a good muslim (as if that has any relevance to the facts of the trial).
Excerpts of yesterday’s trial can be read below:
Pada pemeriksaan balas itu juga, Karpal meminta penjelasan Mohd Saiful sama ada beliau merupakan seorang Islam yang baik, dan Mohd Saiful berkata beliau cuba untuk menjadi seorang Islam yang baik.
Mohd Saiful berkata semasa bekerja dengan Anwar, beliau jarang bersembahyang tetapi mulai insaf selepas membuat laporan polis berhubung kejadian liwat itu.
Katanya beliau tidak sembahyang selepas kejadian liwat.
Karpal: Kenapa anda tidak sembahyang hari itu (26 Jun 2008)?
Mohd Saiful: Mungkin kerana saya telah diliwat.
Karpal: Ada sembahyang pada 27 Jun?
Mohd Saiful: Ada sembahyang Jumaat.
Karpal: Ada mandi sebelum sembahyang?
Mohd Saiful : Ada mandi sedikit saja tapi tidak cuci habis.
Karpal: Bila sembahyang, mesti cuci betul-betul? Betul mandi junub diwajibkan?
Mohd Saiful :Ya.
Karpal: Jadi sembahyang anda pada 27 Jun 2008, adalah tidak sah?
Mohd Saiful: Ya.
Karpal: Jadi anda bukan seorang Islam yang baik.
By asking Saiful whether had he performed his mandi junub before he prayed had only shown us the fact that Karpal Singh has tacitly implied that Saiful had indeed involved in sexual relations with Anwar Ibrahim!
In the effort to attack the character of the witness, Karpal had leave an opening as wide as the grand canyon for the whole nation to surmise that Anwar has indeed buggered Saiful Bukhari.
What is up Karpal? Sabotaging your own client?
“Anwar Ibrahim mesti bertaubat!” we heard you said last time…
UPDATE 11 May 2010 – Due to the postponement of the trial again today, blogger Marahku had written an interesting opinion of the progress of the trial. Can be read HERE. At the end of the article, we can again ask – what is going on, Karpal?
Article by Syed Akbar Ali on the difference between consensual and non-consensual also begs the same question. Can be read HERE.
A blogger named Faisal asked us to think further. Please read his article HERE.