Tag Archives: politicians

Will Johor voters set the trend to choose change?

Seriously, what kind of politicians/political parties use a convicted former prime minister to lure crowds on the campaign trail in the hope of winning votes and describe it as “the people want BN”?!

What kind of former prime minister shows such a blatant and brazen disrespect of the judiciary and snubs the courts which convicted him of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering by strutting around engaging in politics on the technicality that his sentencing has been stayed?

Worse still, what kind of a convicted former prime minister thumbs his nose at an official request by the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat — the highest law-making institution in the country — to attend a Dewan Rakyat session to explain his comments on the 1MDB issue and dismissively explains that he would give a response on another date?

What kind of prime minister is it who is unable to back the Speaker to enforce his authority to discipline the disobedient convicted former prime minister by suspending him or referring him to Parliament’s rights and privileges committee?

What kind of prime minister is it who says nothing of the issue and lets the convicted former prime minister off the hook? The Speaker is able to throw out of the assembly a DAP MP who asks pertinent questions but is unable to stand up to a convicted former prime minister?

What kind of politicians woos the adviser and head of a political party who were facing criminal charges in court to fell a legitimate government with the mandate of the people in the name of the Malay-Muslim cause and never once proved its majority?

What kind of a politician allows himself to be sworn in as prime minister, aided by vested interests, and like the convicted former prime minister, walks around and goes on the campaign trail as if he did no wrong?

What kind of prime minister holds himself ransom to his party leaders who are facing corruption charges in court, absolves the culprit in Azamgate, and says nothing when his party leaders dissolve state assemblies and call for state elections?

What kind of leaders signs memorandums of understanding with the incumbent unelected unconstitutional government for paltry reforms that are yet to be realised only because they are afraid to form honest alliances with other opposition parties because it would mean that one party will have to surrender its party’s leader’s personal ambition to become PM?

What kind of leaders allows themselves to be seen with royals for the photo opportunity of implying that they have the latter’s endorsement once an election is announced? What kind of leaders apparently are so frail of heart that they do not have the conviction of their beliefs and service to the people, and the courage to say an emphatic “No” to lobbying vested interests?

What kind of government leaders make “working visits” to constituencies facing an election to lend support to their candidates? Did these leaders get there on government funds or their own? They justify their actions by spinning a spiel that when they attended the government function they said nothing of politics, but then changed their clothes and demeanour and drove in their private cars to attend the political function. Even if the trip was partly funded by the government, isn’t that an abuse of government resources?

These are some of the major monkey tricks incumbent leaders have and are playing since the Sheraton moves. The point is whether the voters in the Johor state elections buy into the narrative these political players say and play, or can see through it. We will know tomorrow.

In the Umno strongholds — mainly in the rural constituencies — it’s a forgone conclusion that Umno will win. The question is whether they will have a majority and that depends on whether they make an impact in the Malay-majority urban seats where the majority of the Malays are.

Urban Malay voters need to understand that no matter which coalition/political party wins a majority, the basic needs of the B40 group will be taken care of. That aside, the voters need to consider other criteria in choosing their representatives.

The list above simply shows the current calibre of incumbent politicians. But the Johor state elections present Johor voters with an array of choices, including new candidates without the baggage of the past.

Tomorrow, we will know if the majority of urban Malay voters have bought into the spiel the incumbent politicians are mouthing or whether they will choose change — for a corruption-free, service-orientated, constitution-upholding politics.

Urban Malay voters and non-Malay voters need to forget about the disappointments of the past, especially with Pakatan Harapan’s short stint in government. They have to look at the choices before them and see which party or coalition can form suitable alliances that will best take them into a better future.

If they choose well, Malaysia has hope and we can look forward to the next general elections. If they choose the same old, same old, we can resign ourselves to goons in government.

Tomorrow we will know.

How to achieve political stability …

Politicians who think politics will ever be calm and stable are dreaming! So, when they make statements claiming that they and their parties represent political stability, is it true or just another effort to justify unconstitutional conduct?

Recently, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakub, said in response to Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin and PAS president Hadi Awang’s statement that their parties’ support for the federal government was “conditional”, that political stability was important for the country as without it there might be another political turmoil that might affect the economy.

Strange for him to say that when it is obvious that the political climate since he took over the role of premiership has been unstable from Day 1 because Sabri’s party, Umno, has held the threat of pulling out of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government he leads, over his head. Now, Bersatu and PAS are doing the same.

When Umno couldn’t get what it wanted from the federal government, it turned its focus on the states. In Malacca, instead of facing a no-confidence vote in the state assembly, Umno played politics and dissolved the state assembly with the Yang Di-Pertua’s blessing. In Johor, despite a one-seat majority, it dissolved the state assembly and as in Malacca paved the way for state elections.

Is this not political instability? Umno has expressly stated it wants to wipe out Bersih and be the majority government in Johor as in Malacca and now there will be state elections in Johor. If Umno wins in Johor, it is likely that general elections will follow. All this isn’t political instability?

We have been drifting along in political instability since Muhyiddin got himself sworn in as the prime minister but he can’t see it. He thought he had the support of the majority until the Malacca state elections last year when Bersatu won only two seats despite contesting all the seats.

Like Muhyiddin, Bersatu information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan also claimed that the party’s alliance with PAS had strengthened political stability in the country. It amazes me that the former CEO of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, can not see the political instability that followed since his party president took over as prime minister!

Either these politicians — Umno, Bersatu and PAS — can not recognize what is and has been unfolding before their very eyes as a result of their actions or they are in self-denial; they prefer not to face the reality before them because then they have to admit they are responsible for the current state of political instability.

Bersatu shouts “political stability” to remain in power but claims its purpose is to ensure the welfare of the people — like previous governments didn’t take care of their political base, the Malay majority.

Umno shouts “political stability” in order to rule by itself so that it can do what it likes like it did when it led six decades of the BN government.

These parties promise political stability but the truth is that they will be unable to deliver it because of the intense in-fighting taking place among Malay-majority parties. As long as their position in government is threatened they will do everything by any means — even if it means compromising the constitution — to get what they want. That is the source of the current political instability and all the parties in the current government are guilty of it.

Politics is characteristically always fluid and sometimes volatile. What controls it from exploding and destroying all the good hitherto achieved is having a good grasp of the constitution and complying with constitutional requirements as written and intended in the constitution.

If all these Malay and Muslim-majority politicians practised politics according to the constitution, we would not be drifting in political instability.

In the last two years, they have proven with three changes of prime ministers that they can not deliver political stability. They should stop deluding themselves and others. The only way to bring political stability back is to vote them out and vote in those who understand the constitution and will stick by it.

In a season of hope …

It’s the end-of-the-year holiday-cum-Christmas season again — a time when we are full of hope that the troubles of the year will be left behind and we can look forward to something better in the year ahead. So, we celebrate, through a holiday or staycation while Christians celebrate the birth of The Child who gives us hope always.

My one hope through this Christmas season is that Malaysian politicians will disentangle themselves from the current self-serving political culture of making deals in the name of political expediency and sidestepping the constitution in doing so, which was how former premier Muhyiddin Yassin and incumbent prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob operate. Make deals, claim a majority but don’t prove it, and remain in government at taxpayers’ expense irrespective of whether it is constitutional or not.

Hopefully, after the Malacca state elections, both would have realised that their claims of a majority remain unproven and that the proper conduct of politicians claiming a majority is to first prove it by facing a no-confidence vote or an election. They would have seen the significance of it if they were aware of the norms and conventions of democracy and understood the words, spirit, and intent of the constitution and the will to set the example of upholding the constitution to the best of their abilities.

Sadly, negotiations and pacts take precedence over conforming to the constitution. The PN and Sabri governments have a long list of constitutionally questionable decisions — from the Sheraton moves to emergency to withdrawing emergency, suspending Parliament, withdrawing Umno support, Muhyiddin’s resignation, Sabri’s appointment and the signing of the MoU before the Sabri government proved its majority by facing a no-confidence vote.

Then, there are all those blunders Cabinet members made. The latest is the debate on price hikes in the Dewan Rakyat which has been moved for discussion in special chambers and not in open debate. An issue of such public significance should be debated by all the MPs not just some. Doesn’t the Speaker grasp the democratic principle that issues of public importance should be debated in public, not hidden in special chambers?

When Seputeh MP Teresa Kok asked for black and white guidelines on the liquor ban at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Federal Territories Minister Shahidan Kassim said that a consensus was reached among stakeholders and if an application for a liquor licence was rejected the applicant can appeal.

Without clear guidelines, on what grounds would the application be rejected or accepted?

If Shahidan were professional and grasped the concept of good governance he would have understood that it is better to spell out guidelines rather than leave it to civil servants to decide according to vague consensual agreements rather than black and white rules to accept or reject an application on a sensitive issue such as a liquor licence.

Such poorly thought-of practices have become the norm and the standard of governance we are now stuck with. If I kept highlighting it, it would get depressing!

But, this is the Christmas season! A season to celebrate the reason to hope. So, this season I want to consider something more uplifting in politics — that by the next Christmas season the last two years will be behind us and left better forgotten!

The only way forward is now a reset. That reset will come after the next general elections which we hope will be held sooner rather than later. The sooner we hold it the sooner we herald a better Malaysia.

That’s my one hope for Malaysia this Christmas! A better Malaysia! I believe it will happen!

Fasting in harmony!

Did you notice how pleasant the political climate was during the fasting month? Muslim politicians were all on their best behaviour! Or, maybe, the fast made them too tired to fight! Well, whatever the reason, the political temperature was pleasantly cool.

Otherwise, with the Malay community divided between Umno, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Bersatu, Amanah and PAS and now with a Malay opposition, Malay politicians go for the jugular! All sorts of accusations would come up, some giving us little shocks that take a couple of days to recover from. The political climate is often hot and intense, with the back-knifing particularly sharp. Often, non-Muslim politicians join in the fray! So, Malaysian politics is a rojak of issues which often causes temperatures to rise.

Of course, all this is normal in politics. Politics is never even-tempered! Nevertheless, it was nice that there was no major political tussle during the Muslim fasting month. It was a nice way to celebrate Hari Raya. I hope it will stay that way now that Hari Raya is over.

Maybe Muslim politicians should carry on fasting indefinitely, then there will be harmony in the country even when Hari Raya is over!

Still in the Hari Raya mood, wishing all of you Selamat Hari Raya! Maintain the tranquillity of fasting!