Sunday, August 31, 2008

51st Merdeka - A tale of two cities societies

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" ... is the opening sentence of Charles Dickens’ book ‘A tale of two cities’.

The book is about events during the French Revolution. It describes the plight of the ordinary French people under the oppressive yokel of the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, and how the people rose up against the brutal upper class.

The book portrays the at-times criminal arrogance of the upper class, treachery, revenge, sinister plots, frame-ups and noble characters.

Sounds familiar? ;-)

Yes, when we read Malaysiakini news article Racism still haunts nation at 51st Merdeka it wouldn't be inappropriate one day to quote Dickens that in the year 2008 "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times".

But I hope Malaysians don’t adopt those violent means of the revolution depicted in 'The tale of two cities', that some people here in Malaysia seems to have a preference for. If there is to be any revolution, it must be via a democratic and civilized society's ballot box, or we could end up being Mugabe-ised - wakakaka.

Now, sweetie Helen Ang, a columnist at Malaysiakini, wrote The tale of two MPs, with her article’s title, I suspect, being a pun on Dickens’ book title.

Staring from the recent Permatang Pauh by-election, she weaved her narrative through the parlous state of racist politics in our country, with its over-emphasis on (or exploitation of) religion … and mind you, not religion per se but rather politicised religion with an eye towards ethnic control.

She also commented on Dr Mahathir successfully neutralizing Anwar Ibrahim’s Reformasi 10 years ago.

Reformasi! I have always asserted that this term bandied around since 1998 has a gross misuse of the meaning of reformasi (political reforms), brazenly posing as one of those miraculous, and thus implausible, overnight ‘Road to Damascus’ insight.

To paraphrase W Churchill’s immortal words, ‘never in the field of human political struggle, has so much ideological belakang pusing (about-turn) been embraced by one man in just one night’ ;-)

… yes, that ‘Road to Damascus’ insight which had resulted in frightening road protests, or should it be instead, frightening road protests which propagandised the ‘Road to Damascus’ insight.

Anyway, sweetie quoted what Dr M said when he reminisced about the aftermath of the so-called Reformasi movement, that “the Chinese electorate ensured that I got the 2/3 majority in 1999”.

From her writing, she seems a rather intense sweetie, and she blamed the Chinese electorate for retaining Dr M in power, and consequently (and thus, I suppose, liable too for) Anwar remaining imprisoned and in political wilderness … until his recent phoenix-like rising.

My personal take is that in 1998 Anwar Ibrahim fell on his own UMNO keris when his UMNO faction attempted to nudge Dr M out with an allegation of cronyism and nepotism but which (the occurrence of cronyism and nepotism) ricochetted back on Anwar. Hardly political reforms!

Sweetie said padan muka to Chinese Malaysians (especially if they are Christians) who complained about religious repression because they deserve the 22 ‘vintage Mahathir years’ that have ensured the prevalence of Ketuanan Melayu.

She reminded us that "Exercise of coercive power by Umno administrations (both Dr M and now his successor’s) has had the side effect of empowering the Islamist state apparat. If today, the Christian flock – particularly Chinese – were to complain of religious repression, then they are only reaping what they’ve sown."

She was most sorry for the plight of some Malay 'apostates', trapped by politically erected religious barriers from leaving Islam, and tossed in the interesting question, that if Lina Joy had been a Chinese, would she have faced such virulent vicious vehement opposition to her declaration that she has already left Islam?

Then she mentioned two things that I must comment on ;-). She wrote:

I cannot think of any self-professed ‘democratic’ state, unless this country considers itself a theocracy, where there is similarly such a stringent interference in its citizen’s choice and practice of religion like here in Malaysia, with the exception of perhaps Israel.

Tell me now, which other democratic country in the world brings the full force of the law to bear upon a man for freedom of conscience? Does Ireland mandate that an Irish must be Catholic and nothing else? Does Thailand regulate Thais to observe strictly the tenets of Buddhism?

Actually, until recently Greece, even as a member State of the EU, did not permit complete freedom of worship.

I read a BBC news article Ancient Greek gods' new believers as well as a Sydney Morning Herald piece Modern pagans worship illegally in Athens last year, where a group of Greeks who wanted to worship the ancient Greek Gods (immortal studs like Zeus and sexy yummy Aphrodite) had to take their case to court to demand that they should not be prevented by State laws from doing so. Fortunately for them they won.

Mt Olympus 1 - Byzantium religions 0

Wooooot, I always have a fantasy for a sweetie like cool, cold, freezing Artemis but I read that she doesn’t like men, being a … well, you know … and she would blind them (if they happen to see her naked during her bathing - damn!), castrate them … gulp … or turn them into stags to be … gulp … hunted by her.

Maybe it's best if I restrict my fantasy to the Goddess born from sea bubbles, Aphrodite ;-), or just to older women which I mentioned in Lustful fantasies - wakakaka!

(2) The more strenuously the duplicitous ruling regime is challenged by People Power, the more desperately they sabre-rattle their Ketuanan Melayu jingoism. To his credit, Anwar has eschewed this retrogressive communitarian tack and even in Permatang Pauh where the constituency has almost 70% Malay voters. He has stood by and is still standing on his pluralistic platform.

Well, Anwar has no choice, has he? What do you think his current power base is made up from? And let the bells of the temple ring forever to remind us of this.

I believe that until Anwar gets back to UMNO, he’ll be the most multi whatever there is.

However, I am always forgiving and willing to embrace his noveau politics wakakaka, but I would insist that Anwar read at least the first part of the following line:

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

It’s the last sentence from Dickens ‘A tale of two cities.’

Saturday, August 30, 2008

51st Merdeka - Racism well & truly alive

In Malaysiakini section for Top Blogs, Uncle Lim has a new post titled 2009 Budget - Abdullah fighting for his political life in which he wrote (relevant extracts):

… Abdullah was fighting for his political life when he presented the 2009 Budget.

I am not the only one to read Abdullah’s 2009 budget, as his “last ditch bid to cling to power” as a Singapore-based analyst commented: “It is a populist budget to deflect the growing popularity of Anwar”

Never before in Malaysia’s 51-year history has a budget received so little national interest and public attention – as all focus is on how long the Barisan Nasional government can last or Abdullah survive as Prime Minister.

In the past three days after the Permatang Pauh by-election, demands have grown in UMNO for Abdullah to step down as Prime Minister and from the other Barisan Nasional component parties to quit the ruling coalition.

Uncle Lim has hit the nail on the head in that there is - no, incomplete, include ‘has been’ as well, thus … there has been, and still is, humongous dissent within UMNO!

* to a lesser (vocal) extent, the BN component parties like MCA, Gerakan and MIC have indicated dissatisfaction with the existing partnership, with Gerakan members being the most vociferous.

While one of the two principal reasons for Anwar Ibrahim winning the Permatang Pauh by-election, with a majority greater than what Dr Wan Azizah had obtained in March 08, has been the voters’ dissatisfaction with the BN, the other has been the UMNO’s internal strife and the accompanying lack of support if not sabotage by some UMNO factions for the UMNO candidate.

If you examine the statistics for the March elections versus Arif Shah’s diminished voter support to just 15524 (Dr Pirdaus had enjoyed 16,950), it becomes clear that a large chunk of UMNO members/supporters had cast their votes for Anwar.

In the March general election the total votes for UMNO from the 3 State seats in Permatang Pauh totalled 20,093. So where have nearly 4600 UMNO supporters disappeared to?

Sure, there could have been some who were so repulsed by SIL’s Mat Rempit-ish brash braggart behaviour that they voted for PKR; then there were no doubt some who thought Anwar had been the victim of a political conspiracy and gave him their sympathy votes; there were a few who didn’t even turn out to vote, and there were some who have been either harbouring secret admiration (and thus voted) for Anwar.

But 4600 UMNO supporters swinging over in a mere 6 months?

If those 4600 had stayed true and blue with the UMNO candidate, Anwar Ibrahim would still have won but with only a (rounded out) 6500 majority, even less than the 10,800 majority what I had predicted for him.

I have borrowed some polling data from Malaysiakini in an article by Ong Kian Ming titled By-election: PKR gets more Malay votes.

Ong wrote a damn good analysis though he focussed on Anwar’s increased support. He analysed that Malay voters increased for PKR by 3% since March 2008, while non-Malay voters for Anwar increased by just 1% (see Malaysiakini table below). Needless to say, these were at the expense of Arif Shah.

My post discusses the cause of Arif’s loss of 4600 UMNO voters.

I also note that the Permatang Pauh by-election voter turnout was 477 less (rounded out to 500) than that for the March election, which could be due to the Tuesday polling day, or 500 UMNO supporters who didn’t bother to come out to vote, either because they thought it wasn’t worth the effort against the Anwar Ibrahim juggernaut (recall that some UMNO pollies had even suggested boycotting the by-election), or they were not supportive of Arif Shah but didn’t want to vote for Anwar or spoil their votes.

I also note in Ong's analysis that PKR gained (and thus Arif lost) 727 votes in Arif’s own Sebarang Jaya State constituency.

Now, there could be a number of reasons for UMNO’s lack of party cohesion, discipline and loyalty in the by-election, eg. members' dissatisfaction with the leaders’ choice of Arif Shah, or those belonging to factions hostile to AAB sabotaging or not supporting their party candidate, etc.

Factions opposed to AAB and those who have personal aspirations to be PM have contributed to the schism in UMNO by campaigning against him openly and aggressively. A house disunited is a house fallen.

The once powerful UMNO monolith seems to be always behind the 8-ball.

Songs of ‘hallelujah, racist politics is no more; it’s a new world where Malaysians want change’ may be true but that would only be part of the new dynamics, and in fact not as powerful as the other causes which have been:

(a) the UMNO internal fight either over the spoils associated with political domination or ideology to ensure that political domination and associated social programs, and

(b) the dream of a political party to make Malaysia an Islamic nation, not only in name but in laws, practice and frighteningly, rule (by a council of unelected mullahs?) where the party now believes (in its collective perception) that such a monumental change is very achievable in the current political state.

Malaysiakini has just published an article by Wong Choon Mei titled Racism still haunts nation at 51st Merdeka which quoted Dr Ramon Navaratnam, a member of the government's New Unity Advisory Panel, stating:

“The momentum of racism has increased with time and the perception of racial discrimination in the abuses in the implementation of the New Economic Policy. Some recent surveys also bear out this unfortunate negative trend.”

“This has been the major source of racial disharmony so to speak. This feeling of alienation and marginalisation appears to permeate among all racial and religious groups, particularly since the 1980's. This is a dangerous trend that has to be arrested.”

“Umno, MCA and MIC are seen as being more concerned with their own separate racial interests and political progress and survival than the welfare of the masses, regardless of race.”

“Some of our leaders use religion to divide and rule. Race and religion can go hand in hand. But our leaders must stand for all and promote better religious harmony. Not all do and that is the sad thing.”

Author Wong also reminded us of the recent aggressive objection by some Muslims to the Bar Council’s forum as a worrying sign. And we recall, PKR's Kulim Wonder was one of the most virulent protestors, so the dangerous racial-religious input has not been exclusively from UMNO or the other BN component parties.

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said: “… the outcome of the last general election should not be seen as a demise of ethno-religious politics. It is still very much alive. Racial politics has helped to embed racism in our subconscious mind.”

Indeed, we have just witnessed MCA lambasting an UMNO bigot who classified non-Malay citizens as only squatters of this nation even on the eve of our 51st Merdeka anniversary.

But the UMNO internal problem spells the possibility of danger for Malaysians, especially non-Malays, as the religio-ethnic warriors keep crawling out of the woodwork 'to save' the bangsa dan agama (but in reality their own interests) … with even one such ‘warrior’ from the PKR (still for Anwar Ibrahim to take discipline action against him).

Dirgahayu Malaysia!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The DNA question

Malaysiakini told us yesterday that Anwar attacks bill in parliamentary debut. The Pakatan followers and sympathizers have felt that the bill would be targeted at Anwar Ibrahim because of alleged sodomy charge against him.

Needless to say, the BN controlled Parliament ignored Anwar’s attack on the DNA bill, which resulted in a flamboyant walkout by Anwar and Pakatan MPs – see Malaysiakini DNA bill: PKR supremo leads walkout in protest.

Guess what have been the feelings like, not only in the PKR camp but among organizations which don’t like the BN-UMNO, regarding the use of DNA to identify criminals?

Fears were raised about the potential for abuse and unethical use of the DNA database etc etc etc, with lots of human rights issue tossed into the fray.

The legal beagles want to scrutinize every clause, comma, and colon … for the reason they believe (not just opine) the UMNO-led government has sinister motives against Anwar Ibrahim.

In other words, while there may be many reasons to oppose the bill, I reckon the principal one has been their perception that it’s aimed at Anwar. And that definitely won't do!

But let me pose a hypothetical question – suppose Anwar has not been accused of sodomy, would you support such a bill?

All over the world, police and the justice system have been, are and will continue to use DNA evidence to identify the criminals, and to exonerate those unfairly accused.

Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York have, in late 2007, founded the Innocence Project, which used DNA evidence to successfully exonerate 208 criminals in the USA.

208 people! And those included 15 people on death row.

It also allowed police to trace the perpetrator of a 30-year old crime in Virginia. They used blood taken from a crime scene in 1977 to identify a murderer.

DNA information also permitted the identification of victims found in mass graves in the Balkans and as a result of the Boxing Day tsunami.

As I said, if Anwar Ibrahim were to be off the ‘threatened list’ as perceived by his cult acolytes, would they have considered the introduction of such a bill with less emotion and more objectivity.

To DNA, or not to DNA, that is the Question

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dr M - even Devil will follow Anwar Ibrahim

In Malaysiakini news Sworn in, Anwar is Opposition Leader we get confirmation that Anwar Ibrahim has been officially sworn in as a MP where he assumes the position of opposition leader.

It has been a long road for him and I have to take my hat off for his persistence, perseverance and popularity.

In a Western style democracy practicing a 2-party system, the opposition leader heads the alternative cabinet known as the shadow cabinet. Each member of the shadow cabinet monitors and challenges his opposite number in government.

Currently there is no shadow cabinet other than proposed by Ong Kian Ming and Oon Yeoh in one of their regular Malaysiakini articles, yet 16 September 2008 is only a mere 18 days away!

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir like Clint Eastwood, is still 'unforgiving' of his once much loved protégé, whom he perceived as having treacherously betrayed his love and trust when the latter tried to sabo him in 1998. Anwar's sidekick then, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, had proposed an UMNO discussion on cronyism and nepotism, with the ulterior motive of ousting Dr M from the UMNO No 1 position.

Instead wily Dr Mahathir turned the table against Anwar and Zahidi when he showed lists of UMNO cronies who had benefited from government share allocations and privatizations. The lists included Anwar and Zahid - see Pollie Poo in Permatang Pauh.

Dr Mahathir in Star Online sneered that the PKR adviser could “convince even the devil to follow him”.

In that sense Dr Mahathir has been correct and lest you think he’s biased (which of course he is, given his perception of Brutus), he has not been alone in that assessment of Anwar. Even RPK, a man close to Anwar, has written of the PKR cult where many fanatical PKR acolytes would even consider Anwar’s fart as sweet smelling, so what more with a mere matter of 'following him'.

But as my good mate, famous blogger Susan Loone, had posted in her Anwar, can I drive you to Putrajaya? that “History teaches us that rebels who assume power often become worse than the dictators they overthrow.”

A good example has been Robert Mugabe, once his people's heroic and resolute leader of the Zimbabe's African freedom fighters who defeated the white Rhodesian racist regime. What has he degenerated into today?

It’s the old sad story of ‘power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

The difference between Robert Mugabe and Anwar Ibrahim is that no one then knew that the former would turn into such a draconian dictator, whilst many Malaysians knew of, and still remembers Anwar Ibrahim’s conduct and performance as an UMNO minister (in several capacities). And let the bells in Indian temples ring forever to remind us of that!

Susan asked: “Would Anwar risk the chance of losing it all by gong back on his election promises after fighting so hard to install himself as leader of the Opposition pack, with a view to the PM’s seat?” and would “…his foes would actually make good their promises to reveal truths about Anwar’s corrupt practices when he was formerly deputy prime minister and finance minister.”

Susan believes that PAS and the DAP can play an important role in checking Anwar Ibrahim should he show signs of regressing into his former UMNO self, stating that leaders of the two parties “… are not going to sit on their laurels if Anwar or PKR goes astray”.

… unless of course, as kaytee has always predicted and still believe may yet happen, Anwar returns to UMNO – you know, that old unity clarion call of ‘demi bangsa, agama dan negara’, or rather when it suits him.

However, we may be leaping - pun not intended ;-) – too far ahead. Let’s wait for 16 September 2008.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anwar Ibrahim owes EC an apology

In this immediate post by-election stage, I feel it would be wise not to conduct a post mortem of the election campaign yet, to give the event a cooling off period, and instead to examine whether a number of prejudices and unfairness against the state organs responsible for the election and vital to its safe and peaceful conduct, have any grounds.

If we are interested in a 2-party system, where I questioned the aptitude of our Malaysian mentality, maturity and meanness for such a parliamentary system in my post Permatang Pauh - zillion miles from 2-party system, then we need to stop being unreasonably and blindly fanatical for or against anyone.

We need to lift the veil of sheer hatred for the other side and to see them as fellow Malaysians with a different political affiliation.

That’s a basic start to support our discussions in this post.

Let’s consider the EC.

The EC has the notoriety of being accused as an instrument of, not the State, but the ruling party, UMNO. And there’s some truth in this, though we need to see how much.

By the convention and biased logic of our prejudices, UMNO Arif Shah should have been the winner of the Permatang Pauh by-election, the constituency’s MP. And Anwar Ibrahim would have been politically cold storaged, virtually for good!

And didn’t Anwar Ibrahim himself tell the world at the very announcement of the by-election that he was bracing for ‘massive’ vote-rigging by the government to block him from winning the by-election? Read Malaysiakini Anwar braces for 'massive' vote-rigging.

Was that an Anwar ‘pre-emptive attack’, to blame the government if he were to lose and at the same time, ‘save face’ because the voters in his hor siew (tiger’s lair) in Permatang Pauh were to reject his candidature?

Then, Malaysiakini reported in 5 'phantom' buses stopped, MP and sons arrested that PKR leader Gobalakrishnan, MP for Padang Serai, and his two sons plus a supporter, adopted the PKR ‘core’ group’s habit of stopping buses, allegedly full of phantom voters.

OK, where was the evidence that the passengers were phantom voters?

Assuming for one second that they were, could those 5 busloads counter the 15,000 plus majority?

Recall the Ijok by-election where PKR supporters blocked the car of Najib by placing flower pots on the road, with one sitting on the bonnet of that car? And in Lunas?

There has been a propensity by some PKR fanatical followers to take the law into their hands like the ruthless lawless vigilante corp of the American Wild West, stringing up people they suspected (only suspected, no proof whatsoever) of crimes whilst forgetting that in their vigilante action, they would be committing crimes themselves.

I am aghast that a member of parliament would stoop to such disgraceful grandstanding antics.

They were rightfully arrested for taking the law into their own hands, though the reported police manhandling of them, if true, were unacceptable.

Well … with all these accusations against the authority, Anwar Ibrahim won with an increased majority (to that enjoyed by his wife, Dr Wan Azizah, on 08 March).

One important question - has anyone other than the Anwar Ibrahim family held the Permatang Pauh's seat since he was first voted in as the constituency's parliamentary representative? Even when he was in prison?

NOOOoo? What, really? Well, the EC has been hopeless then, hasn't it?

I recall that on the night of March 08, after the political tsunamic consequences were known to our delighted surprise, Susan Loone and I, with a gasp, gawd and omigosh ;-), agreed grudgingly that the EC and the election it conducted were fair afterall.

But if you ask the anwaristas, they will undoubtedly tell you that if not for the dodgy-ness of the EC, PKR would have won every seat (for MPs and ADUNs) contested in the general election, with Anwar Ibrahim crowned as the nation’s political supremo on 09 March 2008 - never mind that he then couldn’t stand for election, or PKR didn’t contest every seat – why let mere facts stand in the way of a damn useful prejudice.

Even if PKR were to have won every seat in the WP as well as those in 12 other States, they would have still grumbled about the missed State – such is their blind fanaticism, hatred for, and lack of reason against any opposition to their leader.

No doubt there are areas that the EC can improve on ...

... but ... ‘massive’ vote-rigging? ...

... I believe the 'great' Anwar Ibrahim owes the EC an apology.

;-) but do you believe he could ever be so gracious and humble? wakakaka!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Congratulations to Anwar Ibrahim

As I start to write this post, the official results for the Permatang Pauh aren't out yet, and as I couldn't get into Malaysiakini and Star, I've to ask a sweetie for the latest news on the Permatang Pauh's by-election.

Kind sweetie said that Anwar Ibrahim has won with a bigger majority than Dr Wan, between 15,534 to 16,210, though the source of the info has been from PKR.

Looks my original prediction of 10,800 was too low.

In my post Permatang Pauh - simplified mathematics 3 weeks ago, I had predicted Anwar winning with a majority of 10,800.

Mind you, after the Kulim Wonder, where shouts of ‘babi’ and ‘balik China’ were heard, I did wonder whether that majority would possibly be reduced.

A quick check and I understand at this moment the official result is yet to be released. But sweetie told me that there could be a glaring 12,000 votes discrepancy between PKR’s 46,320 voters turnout against the EC's 38,144.

I just can’t access Malaysiakini or Star – very frustrating.

Oh, another kind hearted sweetie (O bless Malaysia with so many sweethearts there) has taken pity on kaytee and just provided the official result, where Anwar has garnered 31,195 votes whilst poor Arif received even less than what Dr Pirdaus had won in the general election, a mere 15,524 compared to Dr Pirdaus’ 16,950.

Considering that in the March general election the total votes for UMNO from the 3 State seats in Permatang Pauh totalled 20,093, there has been a further swing away from the BN.

Congratulations to Anwar Ibrahim on his convincing win. The people of Permatang Pauh has spoken.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Permatang Pauh - zillion miles from 2-party system

One blogger that I have a lot of respect for is Dr Hsu Dar Ren - I call him Darren ;-).

Darren is a member of the Gerakan Party, once the natural party of Penang and the one my family (though not me) had favoured.

Though we have different political affiliation we have been good blogging mates - practising the sort of civility that would promote and sustain a 2-party system.

I favour the DAP because of its puritan integrity and socialist ideology, but unlike Darren I am not a member of any political party, so if the DAP pisses me off, I’ll flick it off without any qualms or regrets, though with some disappointment.

Darren has posted a worthwhile by-election eve article titled A message to Permatang Pauh voters, which I strongly recommend for your reading.

Darren advocates voting for Anwar because he believes “…the fight in Permatang Pauh is no longer about Anwar and Umno. It is no longer about Anwar the person, but about what he represents: A hope that finally raced-based policies can be done away with; a hope that there would be a better check and balance, the lack of which has been the main reasons why corruption and abuses have become so rampant; a hope that society would become more open, racial polarisation would be less and there would be more accountability and transparency.”

“It has become the fight for the survival of the still fragile two-party system. Many in civil society believe that everything must be done to nurture it so it will grow stronger and can play the role of an effective watchdog and be a counterbalance to the BN.”

Sterling declaration by Darren - thus I have no difficulty in agreeing with the principles espoused in his first paragraph above, though kaytee being kaytee, I do not trust Anwar Ibrahim as the vehicle.

Mind you, I have given Anwar credit where credit was due, as I did in A bouquet for Anwar Ibrahim, which understandably caused widespread consternation, confusion and even chaos in Anwar-ville – wakakaka.

Those poor anwaristas – they just didn’t and will never get it, about frank and fearless but balanced analyses!

Hell, I even defended the de facto PKR leader when a Malaysiakini reader, Joe Dhanaray, voiced his anger at him in Vox Populi on the issue of DAP Sivasubramaniam, a Perak ADUN who had threatened to resign during the formation of the Perak Pakatan exco – see my When a resignation is not a resignation.

;-) Admittedly it was on April Fool’s day when I defended him - wakakaka - and during a time when my matey kittykat criticized me for being a die-hard DAP supporter, before I turned (in kittykat’s eyes of course) into a paid BN writer – wakakaka.

Anyway, back to Darren’s post – yes, as I said, I support the principles of multi-ethnic democracy espoused by Darren but I am not confident of Anwar Ibrahim as a sincere champion of such idealism.

However, I am less confident of Darren’s second paragraph, namely, that the Permatang Pauh by-election has become "the fight for the survival of the still fragile two-party system", and therefore because of this, Anwar should be supported.

Yes, Darren may be correct in saying that “many in civil society believe that everything must be done to nurture it [that is, the 2-party system] so it will grow stronger and can play the role of an effective watchdog and be a counterbalance to the BN.”

But it is only theoretically true!

… because sad to say, Malaysian society, as exemplified by the fanatical behaviour of both anwaristas and UMNO-istas, is still very immature, yes too bloody childish, to support the development of a two party democratic system.

To both fanatic mobs, they don't even understand democracy (unless they can use it to win), let alone a 2-party system.

For them, it’s all or nothing, 'either for us or against us' a la low-brow Dubya, black or white, greedy or avaricious (wakakaka - ok, re the last one, just checking whether you have been paying attention), and a polity full of sickening sleaze, slander, slime, slugs and sh*t.

We get the dirt from both – poison penned 50 dalils, libellous allegations hiding behind the sarongs of Statutory Declarations, childish fake photo of French dinner, sodomy allegations, shameless boast to subvert the supremacy of the ballot box, closed one eye to thuggish misbehaviour in the name of some unfounded religious accusations, puerile Port Dickson threats, the ustaz who attempted to discredit an oath because an Arabic word wasn't pronounced correctly - wakakaka, etc.

With such immaturity and extreme adversarial politics (to protect the gravy train), how can we expect a mature Western styled two-party system?

As Prof Bridget Welsh wrote in Malaysiakini about the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign, she hasn’t witnessed from both parties any decent campaign policies that lifts the issue above the grubby.

Well … I am not sure what to say about my preferred choice but I’ll be consistent … I’d just say I don’t trust Anwar Ibrahim.

Ustaz - Saiful's dodgy Arabic renders oath dodgy

I wasn’t surprised to read Malaysiakini news item Ustaz puts BN campaign in tatters which incidentally carried an amazing time chop of 3:33 a.m. – wow!

Has Ustaz Ramlang Porigi's verdict on Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s oath of being (allegedly) sodomized by Anwar Ibrahim, discredited the allegation against the PKR de facto leader?

It depends! But you may ask, on what?

Well, on 'perception' because politics, especially the variety given out freely during an election campaign, have always been about voters’ perception.

As I posted in Problems for Anwar Ibrahim in Permatang Pauh? Anwar Ibrahim was experiencing enormous problem in the voters’ perception of his ‘character’ because of the damning Saiful's oath, more so when he (Anwar) refuses steadfastly to take up Saiful's challenge to swear he didn't sodomize his former aide.

I was of course referring to the perception of the Malay voters in Permatang Pauh, and as PAS central committee member Dr Mujahid Yusof commented on the damaging Saiful’s oath: “We’re still not sure of the impact. Morality is a serious thing to the Malays and Saiful did swear on the Quran and he did it in a mosque.”

In an attempt to neutralise Saiful's megaton WMD, PKR shipped in truckloads of Islamic ulamas to explain to the masses in Permatang Pauh why Muslims shouldn’t be swearing to Allah (swt) on such an issue.

But obviously they weren’t effective or convincing because they were political allies of Anwar. Then, worse, I heard from a sweetie that Pak Haji Hadi Awang didn’t perform to the whole nine yards in his supposed defence of Anwar Ibrahim in this respect.

Now, do I or should we care whether a potential PM of Malaysia is a gay? No, not at all, provided his sexual proclivities (whatever those have been and may be) are always consensual between two adults.

Thus, as an example, I would accept Chua Soi Lek as the PM of Malaysia though - wakakaka - this is as likely as George Bush embracing Islam or chickenhawk but ultra-bellicose Dick Cheney (who took 5 deferments to avoid going to the Vietnam war) taking up arms himself to fight in Afghanistan.

So, the issue of consensual sodomy is not and shouldn’t be a consideration for the PM-ship, as my favorite Malaysiakini columnist Dean Johns had been at pains to assert. I agree conpletely with Dean.

The consideration should be foremost about integrity, competency and fairness.

Anyway, back to Ustaz Ramlang Porigi who, not unlike Balasubarmaniam, raises questions about his impartiality when he announced his verdict on the credibility of Saiful’s oath in a PKR press conference at Yayasan Aman, the PKR headquarters in Permatang Pauh.

Yes, Azmin Ali and the ustaz both denied this and that, but would I believe in their protestations? ;-)

Now, what did the ustaz say that Malaysiakini saw fit to headline it as such that his words have shattered the thrust of the BN campaign, based no doubt on Saiful’s damning oath about Anwar Ibrahim?

I’ll attempt to list them down as Malaysiakini had reported them, as follows, together with my comments.

(a) The ustaz said he ‘had been instructed’ to witness Saiful's swearing show.

Malaysiakini journalist Chan Kok Leong wrote that in that announcement the ustaz “stunned everyone”.

Why should it, that is, stun everyone?

A bloke fronted up at a mosque wishing to take a holy oath in front of a cleric. The man in charge of the mosque instructed a minor functionary in the mosque to attend to the bloke. Everything was normal.

Indeed if anything, it did show that there was no clerical heavy metal organizing the oath taking.

(b) During the swearing, Saiful mispronounced one of the Islamic words because he had it written down in Malay instead of Arabic.

Now, I would be hilarious over this point if I can be sure I won’t offend my Muslim friends. But I need to ask: would Allah (swt) have cared one iota if one of his creations had mispronounced an Arabic word in a supposedly serious undertaking, a sumpah laknat (swearing in the face of divine retribution)?

This is precisely the sort of irrelevant hair-splitting arguments which ignored the solemn religious nature of the oath-taking that trivializes the majesty of Islam – and, alas, it’s by a cleric.

(c) Ramlang also revealed a Freudian slip by Saiful. He said: "Saiful also made a mistake on when Anwar Ibrahim had allegedly inserted his penis into his rectum. Instead of June 26, Saiful said he was sodomised on Aug 26 before correcting himself."

So what’s the big deal? A bloke made a mistake, perhaps under stress or just a slip, but should one straightaway say he was lying?

In fact, if one reads documentaries about police interrogation, one learns that a witness or accused who consistently doesn’t make any slipups in several interrogations is to be more suspected because that's not normal in a human being, and is more probable that the person has prepared (or being coached) to memorize the sequence of events associated with the case.

By the way, the use of the term ‘Freudian slip’ by Malaysiakini journalist Chan is incorrect in this context.

If Saiful had said (hypothetically of course, just to illustrate the use of the term ‘Freudian slip’): I inserted his … bukan bukan ... he inserted his …” – now that would be a ‘Freudian slip’ as to the consensual nature of the liaison.

Ramlang admitted he wasn’t the Imam Besar of the mosque or an ulama, yet he raised an issue of a mispronounced Arabic word, which we note that even the PAS ulamas didn’t raise ..... which has been why I reckon the ustaz has trivialized an oath taking.

Note also that Malaysiakini in PKR denies bribing Ramlang reported Azmin “… rejected the argument that the latest development nullified Saiful's swearing.”

In other words, according to Azmin (presumably also fearful of Allah swt), Saiful's oath is not nullified, but Ramlang might have contributed enough, hopefully to ‘change the perception’ of the voters in the heartland that PAS central committee member Dr Mujahid Yusof had earlier expressed his concerns about.

At the PKR press conference, Ustaz Ramlang believed that Saiful’s oath taking was politically motivated because it was done on the eve of nomination day. Then he asserted he was not representing any political party by making his revelations.

And we are informed by Malaysiakini that Ramlang has started appearing in PKR ceramahs in Permatang Pauh today, revealing his role and his view on Saiful's swearing.

;-) So he is not representing any political party eh ... wakakaka.

If I may be allowed to paraphrase Anwar Ibrahim’s favourite author: "The man doth protest too much, methinks."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Problems for Anwar Ibrahim in Permatang Pauh?

Well, they did say ‘a day in politics is a long time’. The earlier belief that the non-Malay votes would be the crucial factor in the Permatang Pauh by-election seems to have given way to what one would have expected in the first place, the Malay votes …

… more so when nearly 70% of the voters are Malays.

Perhaps the earlier expectation had been due to the near ‘deadlock’ between PKR and UMNO … which could have changed since the campaign started.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post Permatang Pauh - MCA & Gerakan invisible?, based on Malaysiakini news item on Friday By-election: CM may declare holiday

… Lim GE has hinted that he may yet declare a public holiday for this coming Tuesday … where he stated:

"Currently, the state government is not planning to declare Tuesday as a public holiday unless we have to.”

"But we are not closing the door on this subject either, in case Barisan Nasional comes up with sudden tactics to stop voters from coming out to vote.”

Whatever the unknown 'tactics' may be, the aim is obviously to ensure Pakatan supporters will have the opportunity to vote.

As I posted yesterday: Declaring Tuesday 26th August as a one-off public holiday for the by-election was raised initially by Lim GE sometime ago, but was then subsequently dismissed by him when he said he and Anwar agreed that would not be advisable.

Does this re-evocation of the public holiday proposal signal a worrying concern in the Pakatan’s camp, that every Pakatan resource must be summoned upon to ensure that Anwar wins in Permatang Pauh?

Unfortunately there are two worrying factors for Anwar’s camp. The first is, perhaps of a smaller significance, the UMNO ‘ketuanan Melayu’ scare campaign re Anwar’s promise to rid the nation of the NEP policy.

Since the Pakatan grabbed 4 States from UMNO, in addition to holding Kelantan, some Malays have bought the UMNO propaganda that ‘Malays are no longer even equals in their own homeland’.

If one were to read Anwar’s policy on his replacement of the NEP, the Malays will still be ‘looked after’, thus there shouldn’t be any need for them to worry about.

Nonetheless the UMNO seeding of fear has found fertile soil - yes, soil that has been ‘tilled’ and prepared for such sowing in the last 40 years since 1969. The message to the heartland is that ‘it’s not just the crops to be harvested but the farmer who may be expected to deliver such a crop’.

The second issue and a far greater one, especially and precisely because the heartland is still a religious conservative society (not unlike the American Bible belt) where the good folks believe 101% in Allah (swt) and all teachings and practices Islamic, full stop!

So the worrying factor for Anwar Ibrahim's campaign is the Saiful factor, and not just him but rather, his oath taking in a mosque. Despite their seemingly nonchalant dismissal of Saiful and his oath, PKR has been having sleepless nights over it because of a lack of equivalent (religious) substantial rebuttal.

On Friday I blogged on The influence of the 'Oath' in Permatang Pauh.

Though I had presented what I thought was a fairly neutral opinion, I was (as usual) vilified as a BN writer and even accused of being KJ –wakakaka – but it did suggest that anwaristas have been very concerned and touchy on the issue of Saiful’s oath taking, and felt sufficiently vulnerable to attack me for ‘leading readers’ in my anti-Anwar direction.

Joceline Tan, the Star columnist on the Malay side of politics (and whom PKR supporters love to hate) wrote in her analysis on the Permatang Pauh by-election A fight to win over Malay fence-sitters:

The PKR side insists that Malay voters tak makan or have not swallowed the implications of Saiful’s testimony.

But PAS central committee member Dr Mujahid Yusof said: “We’re still not sure of the impact. Morality is a serious thing to the Malays and Saiful did swear on the Quran and he did it in a mosque.”

PAS is planning to capture the fence-sitters this weekend by bringing in its three ulama superstars, party president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, Mursyidul Am Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat and famous spiritual healer Datuk Dr Haron Din.

They are depending on their ulama leaders to provide the Islamic arguments to this thorny issue.

But some like Alwi [UMNO politician Datuk Alwi Che Ahmad] are quite daring. He has told some audiences: “Anwar says the courts are not going to be fair, the police and AG are biased, the DNA will be manipulated. In other words, no one is to be trusted. We can understand it if he doesn’t believe in people but he says he is also not swearing on the Quran. So, who is he afraid of?”

Obviously the UMNO campaign of using Saiful’s oath taking (that he was sodomized by Anwar) is biting, and hurting Anwar Ibrahim considerably. But UMNO being UMNO, they have somewhat degraded the campaign effect with crude, grubby and obscene pantomiming and gestures ….. well, at least to my impression ... but who knows what effect those would have on the more conservative Malay voters in Permatang Pauh?

The PKR strategy to neutralize this damaging-to-Anwar campaign appears to be trucking in the PAS ulamas (after Gus Dur) to buttress the defence of his reputation, people like Pak Haji Hadi Awang.

Malaysiakini also reported that (a not-so-well) Pak Haji Nik Aziz will be present to night (Sunday 24 August).

And of course Lim GE is supporting the de facto leader’s prospects by the possibility of a Penang State public holiday on Tuesday, to maximize the attendance of Pakatan supporters at the polling booths.

Will it be too late for Anwar Ibrahim to take the oath to disavow the sodomy allegations, assuming for an instance that he even wants to?

Today is already Sunday thus (personally) I think so (that is, it’s too late), because such a religio-political momentous event requires time for it to be made known to the ordinary public in Permatang Pauh.

Not every middle age conservative voter in the heartland reads SMs or the Internet. Even if they do, they require time to mull over the issue before making up or changing their minds about the credibility or appropriateness of Saiful's oath.

... but I reckon Anwar Ibrahim will still win - it's his winning majority that may be affected.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lucia's Permatang Pauh corner

My blogger mate Lucia Lai has a Permatang Pauh by-election blog.

She likes you guys to check on it regularly as you’ll get info not found in the MSM.

So guys, do it or ELSE ;-) .....

..... she won't speak to me again ... sob .. sob .. sob .....

Permatang Pauh - MCA & Gerakan invisible?

Strangely, in the Permatang Pauh by-election where political analysts have said would depend on the crucial (deciding) votes of the non-Malays, there seems to be very low key presence of MCA, Gerakan and MIC, let alone the PPP.

As reported by Malaysiakini in Permatang Pauh enters the final lap one gathers the picture that the mentioned BN component parties appear not to be pulling their fair share of the weight in the campaigning.

This has been in stark contrast to the high profile presence of the DAP in support of Anwar Ibrahim. There’s again the hint that Lim may declare a public holiday for this coming Tuesday to ensure Pakatan supporters will have the opportunity to vote.

Just a digressing note – Declaring Tuesday 26th August as a one-off public holiday for the by-election was raised initially by Lim GE sometime ago, but was then subsequently dismissed by him when he said he and Anwar agreed that would not be advisable.

Does this re-evocation of the public holiday proposal signal a worrying concern in the Pakatan’s camp, that every Pakatan resource must be summoned upon to ensure that Anwar wins in Permatang Pauh?

Back to the issue of the BN 'nons' – Malaysiakini reported that the efforts of the BN Chinese-based parties like MCA and Gerakan in Permatang Pauh have been rather muted. Would their feeble contributions compromise Arif Shah’s chances?

It seems MCA president Ong Ka Ting will only be arriving for the first time to campaign, when the PM and Najib have already been there.

And Koh TK just has to choose the incorrect timing to debate with Lim GE, where no doubt his abysmal performance (not that I can blame him on this – how the hell was he going to defend the indefensible?) will surely heighten the dodgy-ness of the BN, as well as the subordinate role of the Gerakan (despite Koh’s CM-ship) in the governing of Penang.

Worse, Gerakan’s grassroots have not been happy at all with the way UMNO had treated its coalition partners, culminating in Dr Toh Kin Woon’s resignation and deliberate public approval of Anwar Ibrahim.

The Gerakan members had voiced their wish to leave the coalition, and this was embarrassingly evident when Gerakan Wanita chief made a dumbo diplomatic debacle vis-à-vis its UMNO Taikoh, which Malaysiakini reported in its news item 'I voiced it, but I don't support it'.

Tan Lian Hoe made a fool of herself by first urging her party to leave the BN coalition because of UMNO’s racial politics (as reported by the media), and then denying that she had made that call.

Her denial was made just a day after she was reported as making that ‘daring’ call, She explained that she was merely voicing out the concerns of the grassroots but did not support the call made by the Perak Gerakan delegates during a conference on Sunday.

Mind you, UMNO hasn’t helped MCA and Gerakan much by ‘… harping on Anwar’s call for the abolition of the New Economic Policy’, obviously to frighten the Malay voters.

Such UMNO disregard for the feelings of the nons would invariably invite inevitable backlash from non-Malay voters in Permatang Pauh.

However, if Lim GE now sees fit to announce a public holiday on Tuesday, after having said he won't, it would indicate that Pakatan is having deep concerns over the balloting outcome.

Maybe the MCA and Gerakan have been working in deep cover - wakakaka!

Miracle of Permatang Pauh - fuel price drop!

So ….. Malaysiakini told us what we have been expecting … ;-) … a fuel price drop just in time for the Permatang Pauh by-election day - wakakaka

The headlines screamed Gov't slashes petrol price by 15 sen, where the Malaysiakini news article reported PM AAB giving the rationale … yadda yadda … for the reduction in fuel prices.

Such a political attempt to gain an advantage (usually near an election) is a universal practice, and not only unique to Malaysia ….. but what will be the voters’ reaction to the announcement?

Leaving aside those acolytes, party faithful and supporters already committed on both sides of the political fence, some would be cynical about the coincidental lowering of fuel price whilst a few may be ‘persuaded’ ….. and every bit of such ‘a few persuaded’ matters lots, and would be most welcomed by Arif Shah, the BN candidate, in his battle against his by-election opponent, the Godzilla of Malaysian politics.

Immediately Anwar Ibrahim responded, stating the obvious reason for the lowering of the fuel price.

Then he added: "The government can reduce it further if it can be more transparent in its financial management, eliminate leakages, wastages and corruption."

Earlier there were accusations of our Olympic silver medallist Lee being ‘used’ to boost the BN credentials, and no doubt about it, there's substance in those accusstions, but Penang’s CM Lim GE also upped the ante by promising a Datukship to the young badminton star.

They say “all’s fair in love and war” but you may bet that nothing was, has been, is, nor will be ‘fair’ in the very sense of the word as we understand it.

But that's what makes election campaigning interesting, with plenty of material for kongsamkok indulgence at kopitiam around the country.

At a personal level, I don’t like the idea of awarding Datukship to young people like badminton or squash stars, or a cross-English channel swimmer. Maybe a medal of some high order (in the sporting class) would do.

I had hoped that with a DAP government in the Penang seat, the practice of Datukship would be curtailed if not stopped entirely.

My only consolation is that in a DAP Penang, at least the Datukships aren’t being ‘sold’ like ta pau (bungkus; packaged) nasi lemak to rich but undeserving (or even dodgy) candidates.

Anyway enough of serious talk - it being a Saturday, what about a story on fuel, and gasp, gawd, omigosh it has a Catholic flavour to it too ;-) – so I dedicate it specially to the Catholic sweeties - wakakaka.


Sister X* Teresa L* - ;-) I know two, wakakaka – from Holy Spirit Penang, was out making her rounds visiting homebound patients when she ran out of fuel.

Due to high fuel price she had put in only the minimum in her tank, but failed to recall that the last time she visited a petrol station was some days ago.

As luck would have it, a Petronas petrol station was just a short distance away. She walked to the station to borrow a petrol can and buy some fuel.

But the attendant (a Burmese migrant worker who was formerly a doctor - wakakaka) told her that the only petrol can he owned had been loaned out, but could Sis wait until it was returned?

Since Sister Teresa was on the way to see a senior citizen, she decided not to wait and walked back to her car. Being a resourceful sweetie (of the church, of course - wakakaka) she looked for something in her car that she could use as a substitute to the petrol can.

Aha, she spotted the brand new bedpan she had promised, and purchased for, the senior citizen she would be visiting. Well, Sis thought, “I’ll use this; I can always wash it later".

So the sweet Sister carried the bedpan to the station, filled it with petrol, and carried the full bedpan back to her car.

As she was pouring the gas into her tank, two Baptists watched from across the street.

One of them turned to the other and said, "If it starts, I'm turning Catholic."

7 loaves and fish ... and a bedpan of petrol! ;-)


Friday, August 22, 2008

The influence of the 'Oath' in Permatang Pauh

In the Malaysiakini news article VIP hospital patient says 'Back Anwar' Pak Haji Nik Aziz, even as he lies in a hospital bed, has called on voters for the Permatang Pauh by-election not to believe the sodomy allegations against Anwar Ibrahim, and to support the PKR de facto leader in the polls.

You know, I have come to be fond of Pak Haji because of his steadfast loyalty to Pakatan (unlike the other Pak Haji), though I wonder why Pak Haji Nik has an obsession with women being less than wrapped up like a potato sack?

Like the Indonesian former president, Gus Dur, Pak Haji believes in the innocence of Anwar. He said: "I am convinced Anwar is a victim of political conspiracy. I also hold to my opinion that the recent oath taken by his accuser is questionable and doubtful."

"Even though he has been humiliated and persecuted in the worst manner 10 years ago, I see his enemies are inhuman and never satisfied with their evil treatment of him. Using the same methods, they have once again accused him of that deed that I am too disgusted to state."

Now, tell me whether this is true! I vaguely heard that in 1998 or so, a PAS and a DAP MP were the first two to raise (with the PM then) the sodomy allegation against Anwar Ibrahim, but Dr Mahathir rejected it.

Of course this was before the Anwar faction in UMNO attempted (in vain) to compromise Dr M through insinuated cronyism-nepotism, and Anwar was a rising unstoppable star in UMNO, the PM designate, the heir apparent, the Crown Prince on the eve of his coronation.

I actually heard but couldn’t and can’t confirm that those two persons were Pak Haji himself and Karpal Singh – if I am incorrect, I apologize unreservedly to those two gentlemen.

But if true, then what an ironical seachange it has been - yes indeed, politics sure make strange bedfellows (no pun intended).

It seems that the sodomy allegations/accusations have been shadowing Anwar Ibrahim for the last decade.

I am afraid even if he wins the by-election in Permatang Pauh, and he should, the accusations will continue to dodge dog his footsteps.

I know that the allegations don’t mean anything among the Chinese, who couldn’t care less about his private sexual life. But alas, the conservative and more senior members of the Malay community may!

… which explains why the video clip of Saiful Bukhari Azlan taking an oath
that he was sodomized, has been playing virtually non stop at the UMNO ops room centre in Permatang Pauh.

You know that old story, to keep throwing poo and surely some will eventually stick!

And in the Star Online news item Anwar asked to explained the S-I-L rubbed this in, as to be expected of an aggressive bloke like him.

He asked Anwar to explain why a mere party unpaid volunteer like Saiful, who was described by PKR officials as nothing more than a coffee boy (and I recall my matey kittykat asserting this to me as well), was taken along by Anwar on the de facto leader’s overseas trip?

Then KJ defended Saiful’s oath taking the Quran, that it shouldn’t be questioned as it was a sumpah laknat (swearing in the face of divine retribution). Those who made such an oath do so at their own peril as any lies would result in several of their generations being cursed.

I wonder how much effect the oath taking issue will raise doubts among the voters in the heartland as to Anwar's innocence.

I did a bit of research on the taking of oath by the Qu’ran, and these are what I have obtained:

(1) Scholars, looking at the fact that the Qur’an is also an attribute of Allah, considered an oath taken by the Qur’an to be valid.

Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him), said in his Durr: “Kamal (ibn al-Humam, the great Hanafi Mujtahid) said: “Let it be known that the taking of an oath by the Qur’an is something that has become customary, thus it would be considered a valid oath.”

Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) explained the above by stating: “This is based on the fact that the Qur’an is the Speech of Allah, thus it will be considered to be one of His attributes.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 3/712)

Of course there are other scholars like Gus Dur who disagreed. And he has a PhD from Iraq.

(2) Swearing in the Quran as taught by Surah An-Nur is to swear 4 times in Allah's names, with the fifth invoking the curse of Allah if they tell a lie. However, the surah specifically states that this kind of swearing is only when a husband is accusing his wife of adultery but can't find 4 witnesses; the oath is also used by the wife to defend herself.

Does this mean that the oath is a substitute for the 4 required witnesses?

But as I mentioned, even with a win and a seat in parliament, Anwar has to live with this accusation for the rest of his life … unless of course he becomes PM … or …

… now this has nothing at all to do with legality or law, but it’s about perception of morality through the eyes of the religious kampong people in the heartland, and in politics, perceptions are everything …

… he takes the oath to neutralize Saiful’s declaration to Allah (swt).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The torment and impatience of Anwar Ibrahim

Yesterday when I posted UMNO Omertà code to be broken in Permatang Pauh? I quoted Malaysiakini journalist Athi Veeranggan’s comments in his news article 'Najib, remember Port Dickson?' where he described Anwar Ibrahim as the ‘the slim and bespectacled de facto leader of the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance’.

I notice that Anwar Ibrahim has grown gaunt rather than slim – perhaps he’s more careful about his diet as he is already in his 60’s, or perhaps the campaign (since pre-March 2008) has taken a terrible toll on him.

Anwar Ibrahim has driven himself incessantly, frenetically and obsessively towards what he hope will be his political crowning glory, the premiership of Malaysia.

Leaving aside his conceit, love of power and disdain for those he sees as his intellectual inferiors in the current UMNO hierarchy, his unrelenting push to become the PM of Malaysia, by hook or by crook, has been due to one tormenting factor …

… which has been the loss of his place in Malaysian political leadership history as the 5th PM of our nation, just on the eve of his expected ascendancy as Dr Mahathir’s anointed heir.

His ascendancy would have fulfilled even the legend of UMNO’s Da Vinci code(s), for surely in R-A-H-M-A-N, the letter ‘A’ would have come after ‘M’.

aiyah, sayang saje, Anwar's photo could have occupied the lower right hand side


Yet, as they say, ‘There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip’, and Anwar found that to his invincible distress.

I believe it has been this narrow miss at the highest political office, just by a hair’s breath, that has made the man super-geram, a frustrated anger beyond normal boundaries, even sending him into unbridled rage.

It has been an experience that has tormented him since.

Anwar Ibrahim is a talented man, blessed with the gift of the gab and a quick witted mind, though whether he has the ability to govern with vision, competency and effectiveness hasn’t been proven, no, even when he was in several ministerial positions including the DPM and Finance Minister in the BN government for almost two decades – au contraire, as I have come to believe.

I love Greek mythology, so if I could, I would equate Anwar Ibrahim as Achilles, the most ferocious and flamboyant star of the Greek contingent to the Trojan War.

Achilles cruelly dragging Hector's body around the walls of Ilium
in revenge for his lover Patroclus' death

Prince Hector was the greatest Trojan warrior, noted for his nobility, courtliness,

peace-loving qualities and thoughfulness and a good son, husband and father

Professor James Redfield of Chicago University's Classic Department wrote of
him as a "martyr to loyalties, a witness to the things of this world,
a hero ready to die for the precious imperfections of ordinary life." 

Achilles was courageous, strong and skillful but arrogant, hubristic and disdainful of his compatriots. When offered a choice by the gods, he preferred and sought glory rather than a long life. It was in his pre-ordained meteoric destiny to be impatient.

And when we talk about Achilles, we mustn't forget invincible Achilles had one vulnerable spot, his heel. Well, Anwar’s Achilles heel has been and is his impatience.

Achilles struck mortally in the heel by the arrow of Paris

When he joined UMNO, there was no doubt that he fast tracked himself up the party leadership echelon by being more ethno-nationalistic and Islamic-centric than other UMNO wannabes.

His meaningless, useless and divisive change of the term Bahasa Malaysia to Bahasa Melayu reflected evidence of the former, whilst his Islamisation drive as Education Minister demonstrated the latter to the anger of many non-Muslim parents.

T’was his impatience to reach the top – and he earned the enmity, anger and fears of some Chinese and Indians and most of all, many of his UMNO party colleagues.

Then, he had ruthlessly shoved Gaafar Baba aside to become the deputy president of UMNO even when the grand old man, a revered member of the Angkatan 46, was about to resign in a mere 6 months.

T’was his impatience to reach the top – and he earned the fears and suspicions of many in UMNO by his lack of respect for Gaafar Baba, making the poor old man lose irreparable face.

hanya lagi 6 bulan saje, ta'boleh kah?
no face liao lah!

Unbelievably, he next attempted to expedite Dr Mahathir’s departure from the No 1 political position when he could have waited just a wee while longer. But alas his faction launched the campaign to associate Dr M with cronyism and nepotism - a move which Dr Mahathir saw as unforgivable act of treachery by a man he had loved and anointed as his successor.

As RPK said, Anwar’s impatience and perhaps arrogance must have blinded him to the hard fact that Dr M was no Gaafar Baba. Here was a master of political manoeuvring, not one to be trifled with – see my story about martial arts written two years ago, The Master & The Disciple, which may have some similarities.

don't f**k around with me
I've taken more salt that you have taken rice

& I learnt this saying from a Chinapek


Anwar made the biggest baddest bodoh-est mistake in his life.

T’was his impatience to reach the top - and he suffered such a humongous loss that he has never quite emotionally recovered from that fall …

… which may explain his obsessive need to reclaim what he thought was his, ought to be his, and shall be his, again.

… by hook or by crook …

… by reformasi or deformasi (frogs) …

Not satisfied with the Pakatan achieving a tsunamic victory (alas, there was nothing for him personally because UMNO continued to snub him, as he had otherwise hoped for but alas not expected), he sought to destabilize a democratically elected government.

In the 6-months long process of snapping at AAB's heels and attempting to crush Najib's wayward balls, he has pushed himself and unfortunately Pakatan also into a blind alley, where he now cannot extricate himself if he doesn't become PM by 16 September 2008.

Reformasi? Democracy?

Or Deformasi?

What he should have done, but failed to, was to consolidate the Pakatan’s new power, formed a shadow cabinet to train his colleagues on ministerial functions, and developed the 5 Pakatan held States into models of democracy, freedom and free speech, non-corruptibility, good governance with full transparency and public accountability, and race-less equality and opportunity.

And he would have easily become PM in 2012 …

… but alas no ..

T’was again his impatience to reach the top – and he now suffers all sorts of allegation like the alleged sodomy charge, and even accusations of him ‘making a move’ on the wife of Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Hamzah Zainuddin as reported by Malaysiakini in Say sorry for 'Anwar kacau my wife' remark.

T’was Achilles’ impatience to revenge the death of his dearest friend and lover Patroclus that led to his pre-destined demise at the hands of a useless womanizer like Paris.

Achilles looking sadly at the corpse of his lover Patroclus

O Impatience! The folly of many a great man and wannabes, wakakaka.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

UMNO Omertà code to be broken in Permatang Pauh?

(4) Until the Permatang Pauh by-election takes place on 26 August I’ll share with you one or more Penang Hokkien words, both for my personal improvement as well as to be prepared in case Arif Shah and Anwar have a kongsamkok debate in Penang Hokkien ;-)

These are genuine tulin (not tu larn) Hokkien words peculiar to Penang Island.

Today I want to introduce two Penang Hokkien words with almost identical meaning but which in reality stand miles apart in Penang (Chinese) society’s eyes. The two words are ‘shiok’ and ‘song’.

For a full explanation of their similarities and differences please read my post
Lu Bay Song Wah Shiok Ee Aar? one year ago at my other blog ktemoc kongsamkok

So the poo in Permatang Pauh is not only being flung around but it’s getting hotter too – yes, hot steamy poo!

Malaysiakini tells us that Anwar warned 'Najib, remember Port Dickson?'

Apparently he was pissed off with whatever Najib has been saying of him, or could it be the massive multi screening in Permatang Pauh of Saiful Bukhari taking the oath that he (Saiful) was sodomized by Anwar, …

… or has it been Najib’s sarcastic comment in the Star Online news article Not voters’ duty to save PKR candidate, says Najib that it wasn’t the duty of Permatang Pauh voters to ‘save’ Anwar from the sodomy charge.

Najib had said that the sodomy allegation was strictly a private matter yet Anwar was asking voters to save him. The DPM advised voters:

“Your duty is to elect someone to represent and work for you, not to save Anwar.”

Then he added the insulting part: “He chose Saiful, a person whom some would call jambu. We did not interview or hire Saiful, so where is the conspiracy?”

Of course the word ‘jambu’ (cherubic looking) had been a jab at Anwar who has been said to surround himself (perhaps only coincidentally?) with ‘jambu’ looking aides.

Maybe the ‘jambu’ bit had been the last straw for Anwar who now threatened to ‘tell all’ about Najib’s whatever in Port Dickson.

One of the most disappointing things for me as a non-UMNO person has been the reluctance of any of the different camps (current and former UMNO members) to ‘tell all’. I wish they would ;-)

But we know that there is a code within UMNO and former UMNO circles that the one who breaks the silence will have his/her 'bones broken'. It’s probably the UMNO code of Omertà!

That's why, up to now, we haven't heard of any corruption or scandalous issues or involvement of significant magnitude by any of the hostile parties, because no one dares break the silence - this, despite 6 boxes of evidence pertaining to UMNO corruption shuttling between Ezam and Anwar ;-) and the extreme animosities between camps.

I guess everyone's too scared as any revelation would not only invite retaliatory 'tell all' but possibly ominous actions.

Perhaps that could explain why RPK has been the person assigned to do all the dirty work, so that no one could accuse someone of breaking the Omertà code.

Malaysiakini journalist Athi Veeraggan said that Anwar’s threatening outburst reflected on the telling toll of the Permatang Pauh campaign on the de facto leader of the PKR.

Anwar warned Najib: "Enough is enough. Stop the scornful lies on me. Otherwise, I will expose Port Dickson. Najib will run if I were to narrate its tales."

Malaysiakini then reported:

His words brought the 3,000-strong crowd to its feet, sparking shouts of ‘bongkar sekarang’ (expose it now), but the slim and bespectacled de facto leader of the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance Anwar held off, declining to give further details.

Yes, Athi Veeraggan has been correct – Anwar must be feeling humongously stressed because he no longer teased the crowd with man man lai.

Besides, there's the code of Omertà.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pollie Poo in Permatang Pauh

(3) Until the Permatang Pauh by-election takes place on 26 August I’ll share with you one or more Penang Hokkien words, both for my personal improvement as well as to be prepared in case Arif Shah and Anwar have a kongsamkok debate in Penang Hokkien ;-)

These are genuine tulin (not tu larn) Hokkien words peculiar to Penang Island.

Nor t’au chua = literally ‘double headed snake’ = a treacherous person.

Cheah nooi pnooi = literally ‘eat soft rice’ = pimp or pimping.

Boe larm p’ah (sometimes pronounced as 'boe larn p'ah) = literally [sorry, censored, as sweeties and children may be around] but a former Penang political leader was thus described. ;-)


Permatang Pauh, as sweetie Joceline Tan of Star Online translated it, is the plain of mangoes.

But I think ‘permatang’ means the rising grounds between rice fields. Whatever, where rice is concerned, farmers need fertilizer. Here’s some, as headlined by Malaysiakini:

PM: Don't politicise DNA bill, where Malaysiakini reported PM AAB urging ‘… all parties not to politicise the DNA Bill 2008 which was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.’

He dismissed the accusation that the bill was submitted with an ulterior motive, namely to fix the de facto PKR leader who’s facing a sodomy charge.

AAB said that the DNA Bill has been planned by the government for a long time, and it was just a coincidence that Anwar Ibrahim’s case requires DNA sampling – wakakaka.

Meanwhile, in Malaysiakini’s 'I voiced it, but I don't support it' Gerakan Party’s Wanita chief Tan Lian Hoe denied that she had urged her party to leave the BN coalition because of Umno’s racial politics.

A day after she was reported by the media for making that ‘daring’ call, she explained that she was merely voicing out the concerns of the grassroots but did not support the call made by the Perak Gerakan delegates during a conference on Sunday – wakakaka.

OK, now a word from a leader of the party that promotes political reforms, known in Malay as reformasi, as well as ketuanan rakyat or supremacy of the people (‘s voice).

Bloke told us in Malaysiakini that If Anwar wins, 13 Sabah MPs will cross over.

Well done, Jeffrey Kittingan – but is it reformasi or deformasi? Ketuanan rakyat? wakakaka.

And Professor Bridget Welsh writing for Malaysiakini asked Who can PAS trust?

In discussing PAS’ dilemma with regards to Anwar Ibrahim, she said the Islamic party’s leaders and members have been regularly asking themselves whether they should trust Anwar to lead, considering his (Anwar’s) leadership style, record in government, character and Islamic credentials.

Well ... there's always kaytee - wakakaka.

Then the Star Online reported that Anwar responded to Ezam’s accusation that he, as former DPM, had practised ‘cronyism’, by challenging Ezam to Name my ‘cronies’.

I heard from an unreliable source ;-) that Dr M was attempting to ring Ezam to suggest using his (Dr M's) 1998 list where the former PM exposed Anwar’s relatives and close colleagues who had benefited from the former DPM’s largesse. wakakaka.

We are informed by Wikipedia that “…The Youth wing of UMNO, headed by Anwar's associate, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, gave notice that it would initiate a debate on ‘cronyism and nepotism’. The response was swift, as Mahathir issued lists of cronies who had benefited from government share allocations and privatizations."

"To the chagrin of Anwar and his allies, several of them were on the list, including Anwar and Zahid …” wakakaka

Aiyo, cheen chnea ch'au loh - hell of a stench - wakakaka!