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Posted by Admin Direktori Blog | Posted on 10:17 PTG

Philosophy Politics Economics


Zahid Hamidi's Contempt of Malaysian Voters

Posted: 17 May 2013 08:10 PM PDT

Newly appointed Home Minister and UMNO Vice-President is doing his very best to block and jeopardise any possibility of Najib's so-called "national reconciliation"

In a shocking article published in Utusan Malaysia, completely unbecoming of a Home Affairs Minister, Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi tells Malaysians who are not happy with the outcome of the 13th General Election to migrate somewhere else with an electoral system which suits their fancies.

In the article, he said that

Jika golongan ini mahu menerima pakai list system atau single transferable vote seperti mana yang digunakan oleh negara-negara republik, sepatutnya mereka berhijrah ke negara-negara berkenaan untuk mempraktikkan kepercayaan politik mereka.

Dato' Seri Zahid gave the excuse that Malaysia has inherited the first-past-the-post system from the United Kingdom, which is also utilised in many Commonwealth states.

Malaysia mewarisi sistem politik daripada United Kingdom dan kebanyakan negara Komanwel juga menggunakan sistem first past the post yang mana parti-parti politik yang bertanding di kawasan pilihan raya memilih hanya seorang wakil bagi setiap kawasan pengundian yang mengambil kira prinsip undi majoriti mudah.

Therefore he argued that despite Pakatan Rakyat achieving 51.78% of the popular vote, our adopted system allows for a party or coalition with lower popular vote to win the elections.

Dato' Seri Zahid fails in his argument on 2 separate counts.  Firstly, while the first-past-the-post system does indeed grant disproportionate allocations of seats relative to the percentage popular vote, our electoral boundaries have been excessively corrupted over the past decades.  The gap between the constituencies with the least number of voters such as Putrajaya (15,791) and Padang Rengas (28,518) and those with the biggest population such as Kapar (144,159) and Serdang (133,139) goes to prove that our electoral system is manipulated to give the ruling Barisan Nasional an unfair advantage.  One will not find such ridiculous discrepancies between constituencies in other advanced first-past-the-post democracies such as United Kingdom or Australia.

The evidence is also clear in the fact that the average size of a constituency which Pakatan Rakyat candidates won had 77,655 voters compared to only 46,510 voters for a typical BN constituency.

Secondly, the fact that we have an imperfect electoral system in place is exactly the reason why the people are speaking up and expressing their disappointment and anger at the system.  It is the reason why hundreds of thousands of Malaysians have gathered in various cities over the past week to demand a better electoral system, be it a fairer distribution of voters in all constituencies or a thoroughly revamped proportional representation system, or a mixture of both as practiced in certain other advanced democracies.  It is the right of ordinary Malaysians to demand free and fair elections.

Dato' Seri Zahid in his article is in effect denying these Malaysians their rights for a system which will better able to reflect the wishes of the citizens of the country.  Such arrogance and contempt by the newly appointed Home Minister and the current UMNO vice-president points to the fact that UMNO-BN has no desire at all to seek "national reconciliation" post the 13th General Election.

His comments also points to the hypocrisy of the new UMNO-BN government which the Prime Minister has promised to be inclusive and "transformative".  It is the same arrogance and hypocrisy which has caused BN to lose its 2/3 majority in 2008 and the popular vote in 2013.  Such arrogance and hypocrisy will only lead to one inevitable result in the next general election, that is the rakyat will vote overwhelmingly for Pakatan Rakyat to ensure that no amount of cheating and gerrymandering will stop the tidal wave from sinking the BN party.

Paul Low's Ministerial Appointment: The Test of Najib's Success or Failure

Posted: 16 May 2013 08:15 PM PDT

The appointment of Datuk Paul Low as a Minister in Prime Minister's Department will be the barometer by which Datuk Seri Najib's new 5 year reign as the premier will be judged.

The Cabinet line up provided many disappointments such as its bloated size, the inclusion of controversial characters with questionable repute.  These disappointment will be dealt with to varying degrees by my Pakatan Rakyat colleagues.

However, Datuk Seri Najib Razak sprung his only surprise with the "bold" inclusion of Datuk Paul Low, who is the current Chairman of Transparency International, as a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

This "bold" appointment, will in fact decide the fate of Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his second term as the Prime Minister because it will determine if his administration is willing to carry out the far-reaching reforms necessary to ensure a clean, transparent and competitive administration as advocated by Transparency International.

With Datuk Paul Low, we look to seeing an uncompromising stance in the Government's fight against corruption and cronyism, to uphold the Transparency International's Integrity Pledge which Najib has himself signed.  The pledge demands that Najib's administration will "observe the principles of truth, integrity, ethical conduct and accountability, including not accepting or giving bribes or being involved in any way in corrupt practices."

More generally, the pledge requires that the government "uphold and give priority to the interests of the Rakyat as a whole" as well as "practice good governance and transparency".

While Barisan Nasional has trampled upon the above pledge before and during the General Election, with the blatant practice of vote-buying and media manipulation, the people of Malaysia still hope to see that the BN leaders have learnt their lesson after clearly losing the popular vote.

The first priority for the BN Government, with Datuk Paul Low acting as a "Transparency Minister", is to immediately declare that all Government privatisation and procurement contracts will henceforth by awarded via open and competitive tenders with all details and information made in a transparent manner.

In fact all recently concluded procurement contracts, particularly in the defence industry as well as mega-privatisation contracts such as the RM5.3 billion West Coast Expressway, the RM2.2 billion Kinrara-Damansara Expressway, the Penang Port and KTM Bhd which have not been completed or where works have yet to commence, be immediately suspended pending a new open tender exercise.

The measures carried out by Pemandu under Datuk Idris Jala to date to ensure greater transparency have also failed to gain traction with many Ministries openly defying directives to publish the outcomes and details procurement contracts.  Datuk Paul Low must hence wield the uncompromising stick to enforce discipline among the many ministries to cut back on wastages, corruption and cronyism.

At the same time, we expect the new administration to be resolute in carrying out effective investigations against those who are corrupt, regardless of the position these powerful may hold in the Government.  For a start, the new Cabinet must immediately rebuke the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud for his outright refusal to cooperate with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) because the latter is "naughty".  The failure to even admonish such behaviour will erase all "positive" perceptions arising from Datuk Paul Low's appointment.

Most importantly, beyond the expected minimum of just acting against corrupt and opaque practices, we look to Datuk Paul Low to raise the bar of transparency in the Malaysian government by requiring that all Ministers and Deputy Ministers publicly declare their assets as had been done in both Penang and Selangor state governments.  The asset declaration is a critical element to regain public trust of the administration which has been riddled with corruption and abuse of power, contributing to a continuous decline of Malaysia's rankings in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

Pakatan Rakyat will provide the fullest support to Datuk Paul Low to implement all necessary measures to ensure a clean, transparent and competitive government.  In fact Datuk Paul Low can afford to be the "bad cop" in the Najib administration because he will owe no political allegiance to any person or party.

However, we hope that the Najib administration isn't just trying to have Datuk Paul Low's impeccable credentials rub off on the former, without real and tangible reforms enforced.  Without such measures by the Prime Minister, Datuk Paul Low will only become a lame duck Minsiter, and his reputation severely tarnished.

The eyes and hopes of all Malaysians will be on the performance of Datuk Paul Low to check the rampant corruption in government.  We will not want to be disappointed.

Selangor Win: Clear Endorsement for Pakatan Rakyat

Posted: 06 May 2013 08:04 PM PDT

Pakatan Rakyat's overwhelming win in Selangor proves the people's ringing endorsement of our 5 year term in power

Datuk Seri Najib Razak had made the capture of Selangor state his prime objective in the 13th General Elections (GE).  In fact, he made the infamous clarion call last year to "take Selangor back at all cost" and even appointed himself as the Director of Elections for Barisan Nasional (BN) in the state, the first time a sitting Prime Minister is appointed to lead a state election machinery.

Despite the massive onslaught by BN, the outcome of the 13th GE in Selangor has proven Najib's utter and complete failure in making any in roads in the state.  Not only did Najib not manage to recapture Selangor, BN lost additional 8 seats, allowing Pakatan Rakyat to capture 44 seats and leaving BN with only 12.

If not for the self-inflicted damage of a 3-corner fight between PAS and PKR in Kota Damansara, as well as another involving PSM and PKR in Semenyih, Pakatan Rakyat would have comfortably captured an additional 2 state seats, leaving BN with only 10.  In both these seats, the combined PKR-PAS and PKR-PSM votes overwhelm the votes obtained by BN by 5,783 and 1,423 votes respectively.

The resounding victory by Pakatan Rakyat is a ringing endorsement by the people of Selangor to our 5 years' in power since 2008 where the state government has rolled out massive amounts of people-centric programmes via "Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor" as well as proving our competence in a clean and transparent state administration.

Strong increase in Malay support

What is the sweetest bit of our victory in Selangor is the massive increase in Malay support for the coalition, which has allowed us to significantly increase our seats in the semi-rural belt of Selangor.  PAS has successfully captured the Malay majority seats (% Malays in brackets) of Sabak (79%), Morib (59%), Paya Jeras (57%), Dusun Tua (53%), Tj Sepat (52%) and Taman Templar (51%).  This achievement was inspite of the relentless attacks by UMNO over the issues of race, religion and royalty on Pakatan Rakyat in the Malay heartlands.

DAP received multi-racial support

Similarly, for DAP, it would not have been possible for us to capture the seats we lost in 2008, Kuala Kubu Baru and Sg Pelek without increased support from both the Malays and Indians.  In these 2 seats, the Malay and Indian population comprises of 33% and 21%, 45% and 21% respectively.  The increased in support from the Malay and Indian community has allowed DAP to win both seats with majorities of 1,702 (2008: -448) and 1,972 (2008: -1,572) respectively.

Even in Telok Datuk, where Malays and Indians form 29% and 20% respectively, where DAP candidate won by only a marginal 698 votes, we have successfully increased our majority to 5,391 votes marking a significant increase in both Malay and Indian support.

Large increase in popular support for Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor

In terms of popular support, Pakatan Rakyat Selangor enjoyed a 4% increase in popular votes from 55.4% in 2008 to 59.4% in 2013 confirming that we have won over our doubters in 2008 with our policies and administration.  This result also cements permanence of Pakatan Rakyat Selangor as a highly credible political coalition, and not a "one-hit-wonder".

Selangorians are discerning

The only blot in Pakatan Rakyat's Selangor results was the loss of Bukit Melawati by 806 votes, reversing the 297 votes win in 2008 by PKR.  Under such marginal circumstances, the coalition's past performance in the constituency may have affected the outcome of the vote.

However, this outcome and the narrow losses in several other state and parliamentary seats in Selangor proves that continued clean and transparent policies, and their effective implementation will enable us to win even more seats in the future.

Conclusion

The thumping endorsement from the rakyat for the Pakatan Rakyat state government is a clear cut thumbing of the nose at Datuk Seri Najib Razak's leadership of the country and the state.  It is also a rejection by the people of Selangor of all races and religion, of BN's divisive politics of race, religion and royalty.

While Pakatan Rakyat campaigned on a platform based on our track record and our administrative credentials in contrast to BN, BN's only target of attack was the attempt to sow discord between races and religions.

The contrast in campaign messages and styles can be perfectly encapsulated by the victory of a moderate Khalid Samad of PAS thrashing BN's Zulkifli Nordin, Perkasa Vice-President who is universally condemned as a racist and bigot.  In fact, we believed that Zulkifli's candidature has played a crucial role in ensuring Pakatan Rakyat's victories in Selangor with much larger majorities.

The challenge for Pakatan Rakyat Selangor in the coming 5 years will be to enable Malaysians outside of Selangor, especially in BN bastions to recognise our achievements and to realise that a vote for Pakatan Rakyat will be a step forward for them, and for their children in the next General Election.

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