Monday, May 13, 2013

The 1-Malaysia Crap

5 May 2013 was a day Malaysians will remember. I call it a Dark Day for the simple reason that our hopes for a better future were shattered. What transpired the entire week later gave us firmer reasons to believe that the change that we have been clamouring for will be close to impossible.
When the election results were announced, National Front a.k.a Barisan Nasional (BN) - the ruling party - had won, albeit by an even smaller margin compared to 2008. In fact, it was reported that BN's performance was the worst in the Malaysian history. Despite being victorious, they were dissatisfied, and had to get a scapegoat to cover their embarrassing faces. Being the sour grapes they are, the BN government led by PM Najib called their loss a "Chinese Tsunami", implying that the Chinese rejected the government, and were the main cause of their dismal performance. From that day onwards, Malaysians saw headlines in the media of how ungrateful the Chinese have been. Whiffs of racial sentiments were blown across the country by irresponsible BN politicians each day. We see new articles in the media to condemn the Chinese who have been hurt by baseless accusations and condemnations.
"Utusan Malaysia", a pro-BN paper was ruthless when the headline "Apa lagi Cina mahu?" (What else do the Chinese want) was splash big on its front page. It doesn't take a political scientist to read between the lines. Their agenda, I believe, was to cause even more hatred to the Chinese amongst Malaysians, and the BN has given them the green light to do so. The editor's analysis on BN's loss and the Chinese's "contributions" to the loss was indeed a lame one.

So what's the point of having the "1-Malaysia" slogan that BN has been harping about when we have individuals and the media who work for the BN sowing seeds of hatred and lighting up flames of racism each time something goes wrong? And why is it the Chinese have become victims all the time?

The massive post-election rally in Petaling Jaya the day after the elections was proof that the Chinese were not to be blamed for BN's loss. There were evidences that the results were unreliable due to fraudulent activities that occurred on the night of 5 May. It was reported that close to 50,000 were there to listen to ousted ex-Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim speak to call for a clean election and to call for an investigation into electoral fraud. Attendees came from all walks of life, braving the rain and traffic congestion to show solidarity. Malaysians showed their indivisibility that night, and we should NEVER let a few moronic, selfish politicians to break this unity.

The true "1-Malaysia" slogan which our BN government has been crying out loud for was seen especially at the rally. We have always been a united nation; we do not need that slogan, which I believe is just eye candy. It's just that someone messed things up long ago, causing the disintegration of the unity that our founding fathers had worked so hard to achieve over five decades ago.

This is a country where everyone lives together in harmony - the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Punjabis, Dayaks (in East Malaysia) and the Orang Asli (the indigenous people) - live under one roof, undisturbed. Anyone who ruffles this harmonious society should be banished.

Monday, May 6, 2013

GE13: The Frustrations of It All

Chants of "Ubah, kali inilah!!!" (Change, now's the time) reverberated across the open fields.

The MP for Yong Peng waving at passers-by while supporters
held placards telling people to honk for support. Photo taken
on my way home.
These chants were made by Pakatan (the Opposition coalition) supporters weeks before, every day. The social media was clogged with similar messages to awaken the sleeping voters and fence-sitters, in our quest for a change in the government. We are tired of corruption, we don't want our money to be wasted, we despise racism. I watched countless video clips of political talks on YouTube, and the carnival-like atmosphere in each of them was so electrifying that I told myself that I just had to go back to Malaysia to vote even though I had initially refused for I knew Barisan Nasional (BN) the ruling coalition would chalk up another victory, and every vote counts - apparently. Never mind if I stand to lose an equivalent of RM960 as I had to take a 2-day unpaid leave, and forfeit my allowance. Like others, I too wanted a change, for once. Confidence of a Pakatan win filled the air. But then...

5 May 2013 (Sunday):

It's a day Malaysians would never forget. We made history as never has the percentage of voters achieved more than 80% in many areas. I was at my polling station at 8:15AM - the queues at both channels were extraordinarily long. A young father told his little daughter: "When daddy came last time, it wasn't like that." I couldn't agree more. I waited only a few minutes in 2008 compared to an hour this year. Could it be a sign that a change was about to take place?

Scene at my voting centre (polling station) at 8:15AM
The crowd was much larger than usual at this time 5 years ago
We waited, hearts pounding like a train, for the results to stream in late evening. It trickled. As I watched the marquee scrolling at the bottom of the television screen, BN logos appeared one after another indicating a win for the candidates of BN constituencies. My dad was delighted. I wasn't. Of course if he had known who I voted for, he probably wouldn't be talking to me for days :) Occasional messages came into my mobile phone to inform of unofficial results. I had palpitations when the PKR were thought to be "assaulting" one state which has been BN's stronghold for ages.

It was a race, a closely-fought one. By midnight, it was officially announced that BN has regained power after some heart-stopping moments, but they lost even more seats to the Pakatan coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS. Thanks to the Chinese voters for ousting the irrelevant MCA. This is another historic event.

What I think happened:

I believe there were last minute turncoats, but the reality is that Malaysia is predominantly a Malay country. UMNO, whose members are 100% Malays are the dominating BN party, while the MCA (for the Chinese) and MIC (for the Indians) are just parasite coalition partners who dare not even flick a finger at the supreme UMNO to criticism them. The Malays from UMNO are just not ready for a change, for it means the possibility of not having a good time like what they've been enjoying the past five decades. No more hand-outs of RM500, no more cronyism, no more privileges (the Federal Constitution never said they had one), and so on. I think it is more accurate to say that they do not want a change. Ever. On the contrary, the Malays who have joined either PAS, PKR or DAP are more open to changes, which explains why many constituencies were grabbed by one of the three.

Secondly, Pakatan is partially to be blamed for their under-performance. They have been bickering about who takes which seat, whether the Islamic law would be implemented, about policies that many were unsure would even take off if they win. It is my opinion that Anwar, the PM-in-waiting if the Pakatan wins, made a blunder. In his political speeches nationwide, he had threatened to snatch away all assets of BN's big guns, including that of Mahathir's own son, who by now has already been appointed the Menteri Besar of Kedah. This threat, though pleasing to the ears of the Chinese, Indians and other races, could have sent shivers down the spine of the Malays and given them something to ponder: "Will they lose everything if they let the opposition win?"

The most controversial point is the possibility of fraud, or the rigging of results when BN discovered that they were trailing big time. There were claims that the total votes from one centre did not tally after arriving at the Election Commission's main centre. There was a complaint of a 3-hour blackout at another centre, and additional ballot boxes being brought in out of nowhere. Could it be a coincidence? Only those who were there would know. In the meantime, I'd say these are speculations, and investigations must be conducted.

BN was damn fortunate that their  candidates in both states in East Malaysia (Sabah & Sarawak) won the majority of seats there. They should, considering the fact that the rural natives are quite deprived of information technology, many are not well-educated, and many families are poor. Therefore, it is safest in their point of view to vote for the party that could continue to support (or "support") them. Had the DAP and PKR taken even half of the total number of seats there, the headlines would be different. The morning talk show today would be solemn, to mourn the death of BN. The local papers wouldn't be splashing decals and large photos of BN's victory. In the end, the official results of the 13th General Election showed that BN had 133 seats (140 in 2008) and Pakatan had 89 seats (82 in 2008). Obviously, if BN politicians are smart, they should wake up and see that their popularity is sliding down. DAP has chased BN out of Penang once more. The Pakatan coalition also retained Selangor hands down. In Kelantan, PAS managed to secure the state once more.

This BN guy lost his post as the Chief Minister
when the results were announced
To Penangites and Selangoreans particularly, we salute you for wanting that change and for not bowing to pressures, and listening lies to vote for BN.

I was on the bus this morning back to Singapore a few hours ago. The passengers had indelible ink marks on the index fingers. They were all teens and youths; there wasn't a single elderly on-board. Only the sound of the engine could be heard. The rest appeared silent - there was nothing to cheer. Most would have chosen the opposition; they were likely to have felt totally disappointed that their attempt to call for a change was blocked by betrayers, and by people who preferred complacency over the chance of giving themselves and their families a better life. I'm not sure if Malaysia will ever change; we're unlike America (a president with Muslim heritage), Japan (opposition rules) & Thailand (the first female PM). Malaysian politicians just want to cling to power at any cost.

Back in Singapore, as I was having lunch, I heard someone talking about how some foreigners managed to get an identity card (IC) to vote in Malaysia...

I was truly embarrassed as I hid my index finger from being seen. Remnants of the blue ink are still visible.