Posts Tagged ‘BN’

BN and BR: Do not betray the voters

March 21, 2008


Skullduggery, espionage and defections – is this the latest James Bond film? No, this is the latest fallout from Malaysia’s 12th General Election – but I dare say no less thrilling than a good Bond film.

The skullduggery
The Barisan Nasional currently holds 127 140 of 222 seats in Parliament and if it lost 16 29 seats this would take it down to 111 – wiping out its simple majority and creating a ‘hung parliament’ – a Parliament in which no party or existing coalition has a majority. Alternatively, Barisan Rakyat has 82 seats and needs a further 30 seats to obtain a simple majority. To top it off, in states such as Perak, Barisan Rakyat won a majority by only a small lead.

A situation ripe for skullduggery – and by accounts there is much of it afoot with both sides accusing the other of trying to ‘buy’ MPs and assemblymen.

The espionage
The newly crowned UMNO Sec. Gen., Tengku Adnan (for his information I am not unemployed, I’m a student and I KNOW I am not a woman. He is never going to live that one down, is he?!) has stated that UMNO will be dispatching some “intelligence teams” (read: spies) to East Malaysia to determine whether BN MPs are being wooed by the Opposition.

Does anyone else spot the irony? Right now the words ‘UMNO’ and ‘intelligence’ are the last two words I would expect to see in the same line. Kind of like that other oxymoron: ‘military intelligence’.

So there’s our espionage thrown into the mix.


Hmm…I wonder what kind of equipment the UMNO spies will have with them?

The defections

Malaysiakini reported yesterday that Richard Riot, an MP in Sarawak has left SUPP, a BN component party, citing that SUPP does not have the interests of the Dayak community at heart. Speculation is rife that Richard Riot and up to four other MPs are contemplating a defection to Barisan Rakyat.

According to Raja Petra:

“there were many planned defections before the 8 March 2008 election but Anwar told them to stay put in Umno and Barisan Nasional and make sure that they win their seats first. Only if the opposition wins with a large enough minority and all it needs are those few extra seats to form the government should they leave the ruling coalition and join the opposition.”

And there you have it folks: the defections.

Checkpoint Charlie Sign

The sign at Checkpoint Charlie, a site synonymous with espionage and defections during the Cold War

Checkpoint Charlie 1961

American and Soviet tanks facing off at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961

Now for the serious bit

What are we, the rakyat, to make of all this? Not even two weeks ago we voted for candidates on the basis that they represented a political party and now some us are faced with the prospect of our votes being undermined.

I for one, couldn’t be happier that BN was denied a 2/3 majority in these last elections. It means they cannot amend our Federal Constitution willy nilly as they have been doing for years. But I am happy that they have retained a narrow simple majority. Why?

First, Barisan Rakyat still have to prove themselves, remember?

Second, it keeps both BN and BR hungry. Hungry to gain more influence and seats and hopefully, hungry to please us, the rakyat, in the process. At least that’s how democracy is supposed to work.

Encouraging any of our wakil rakyats to defect to either side is facilitating a betrayal of anyone who voted for those wakil rakyats. In doing so it also undermines our democracy.

Instead of playing these games, both Barisan Nasional and Barisan Rakyat should be focusing on the real work – proving themselves to the rakyat.

A Vote for Change…

January 30, 2008

I recently received an interesting comment from someone named Rem regarding my last post Why the Paranoia?

It reads as follows:

The question is not whether he deserves (or not) a second chance. The real question is — who deserves the ‘chance’ then?

PKR? I would rather eat my own pubic hairs in public!

DAP? There’re many ways to insult my intelligence, but going for this one is not the option I would consider.

PAS? Well, may be… a considerable choice. At least, at the 2.0% level of confidence. Not signficant, though.

And yes, the people do respect the government — if you mean ‘people’ as in ‘the majority’. But if the ‘people’ you’re referring to are your clans and the ever-loud minority — then yes, the respect isn’t there.

If there’s a better choice, with ‘the current state’ of our government, I’m sure the majority will be more than willing to switch. Unfortuntaley, this is only an IF. In reality, there isn’t any!

Most people are happy to settle for less, than going for none.

I thought Rem’s were worthy of some comment and include my riposte to Rem below.


Rem, I’m not quite sure whom you seem to think my ‘clans’ are. If by my ‘clans’ and ever-loud minority you are talking about those who are willing to stand up and be counted on matters of principle and are willing to stand up for the rights of anyone, irrespective of that person’s political persuasion – then yes I am a proud member of that ever-loud minority or those ‘clans’.



I will make no secret of the fact that ten years ago at the height of the Reformasi movement I was a staunch supporter of the BN. Though even at that time the BN did not necessarily represent good governance to me, they did represent economic stability and as someone who thought like an economist the BN made the most sense to me back then. The Opposition, on the other hand, were a motley crew whose only common purpose was to displace BN. To a great extent I maintain that the latter remains true.

In recent years, however, my position has shifted slightly but with dramatic effect. The state of the economy is still the jewel in the crown as far as I’m concerned as it affects the man in the street and his ability to provide for his family. However, I now approach the whole subject with a much longer term view. Unlike our last Prime Minister, Pak Lah has shown that he understands little about economics. Further, despite all the hype, he has managed to muddle his way through one term and curtailed certain freedoms along the way. Rather than promote responsible discussion of ‘sensitive’ issues, public discussion, particularly in the media remains verboten. If memory serves me correctly, he has already closed down 3, possibly 4, newspapers where Dr. M closed down 3 in 22 years. Not to mention our government’s foot dragging when it comes to reform – for instance we are promised that corruption will be nipped in the bud and yet we still see many of the same Ministers who have been dogged with claims of corruption for years. Added to this, Malaysia’s brain drain continues unabated.

As neighbours such as Indonesia become more democratic and progressive we in Malaysia seem to be falling behind. Is it any wonder that our levels of Foreign Direct Investment have been declining while Indonesia has been experiencing a rise in FDI? Where do you see Malaysia in 20 or 30 years time?



Let’s be realistic here. A vote for any of the Opposition parties in the next GE will not deprive the BN of a 2/3 majority. What then is the point of voting for the Opposition, you may ask. First, the purpose is to send the BN a message that we are displeased with their performance. Second, it is to attempt to impose a greater degree of check and balance. The judiciary has already made subservient to Parliament by virtue of the constitutional amendment to Article 121. And Parliament is subservient to the BN (due to its 2/3 majority). Who then is in a position to influence the executive arm of government?

The answer is a stronger Opposition. A stronger Opposition will mean a stronger voice to offer a check and balance against what I increasingly regard to be a coalition government that is stuffed full of arrogant fat cat politicians.


It’s high time we began demanding for more rather than being content to settle each and every time for less…and less…and less – for who knows what we will be left with in the end.


In conclusion, and not intending to sound too Obama-esque, A vote for the Opposition is a vote for change.

A vote for the Opposition is an expression that we, as Malaysians, are insisting on greater accountability. Now where, pray tell, is the harm in that?