Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pakatan should not just depend on Chinese votes

Pakatan should not just depend on Chinese votes —

February 02, 2011
FEB 2 — As expected, the BN has not only won the Tenang state by-election, but it has also successfully stricken another blow to the Pakatan Rakyat’s morale with an increased majority of 3,707 votes, 1,215 votes higher than the total votes it won in the 2008 general election.
The Pakatan Rakyat blamed the bad wet weather in Tenang on the polling day and the low turnout rate of Chinese voters for its loss and the increased majority gained by the BN.
However, based on the by-election results last year, the Pakatan Rakyat’s bigger loss of votes this time did not happen by accident. It should not be considered as an isolated incident either.
In last year’s Hulu Selangor and Galas by-elections, the BN was expected to lose as it had been defeated by the PKR and PAS respectively in the 2008 general election. However, the BN won both by-elections. As in the Batu Sapi by-election, the majority had increased by 2,651 votes and now, the BN also gained increased majority in Tenang. It reflected that the 2008 political tsunami has subsided, and the Pakatan Rakyat has failed to break the BN stronghold.
The BN has won four of the five by-elections last year. There are many factors, including the strength, morale, performance and strategies of both the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat.
Right after he took over the office as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has introduced the 1 Malaysia concept and actively promoted the Government Transformation Plan (GTP), Economic transformation Programme (ETP), Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and the National Key Result Areas (NKRA). Najib has also changed the low efficiency impression of the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration and earned extra points for the BN.
In addition, the internal unity of Umno has also laid a foundation for the retrieve of Malay votes.
As for the Pakatan Rakyat, it has been trapped in chaos, with particularly the PKR. Many of the PKR lawmakers and members have quit the party and its first direct party election had also triggered various controversies.
The performance of th Pakatan Rakyat state governments has not been generally very impressive, with the exception of perhaps the free water in Selangor and the senior citizen scheme in Penang. Some of their measures are obviously for image-building rather than serving the people. Besides, there are conflicts among state government members in terms of concepts. For example, the DAP and PAS hold different views on the recruitment of Muslim workers at places selling alcohol.
The continuous problems occur in the Pakatan Rakyat have caused rational swing voters to think whether the alternative coalition has the ability to govern the country. The Pakatan Rakyat had not been formed when the 2008 general election was held and most people voted for the opposition just to vent their anger. Three years later, some voters have decided to opt for the establishment, and this is what the Pakatan Rakyat should be concerned about.
The Pakatan Rakyat should consolidate its grassroots organisation and civil society networks while fighting for the trust of the non-Malays and Orang Asli, including finding a way to reach reclamation, rural and long house areas. It would be too late to speculate issues only during elections.
The dispute over the flow of Chinese votes in the Tenang state by-election between the DAP and the MCA is meaningless as Chinese votes alone would not be able to reverse the overall situation. The DAP is a non-racial party while the Pakatan Rakyat is taking a multi-racial line and thus, they should not be over dependent on Chinese votes.
Even if the Pakatan Rakyat is able to retain or increase Chinese votes, it should not be too excited as the fact is that it is the Malay and Indian votes who have returned to the BN. The Pakatan Rakyat was able to gain 72 per cent of Chinese votes in the Hulu Selangor by-election but it still failed to win the election. So what even if the support rate increases to 80 per cent?
In such a situation, the BN is expected to win again in the coming Merlimau by-election with only 21 per cent of Chinese voters. Racially mixed constituencies have now become a nightmare for the Pakatan Rakyat.
Would the next general election still far away after the BN has gained a victory in the Tenang by-election? For sure, the BN is now having more confidence to face the Sarawak state election and this is another warning sign for the Pakatan Rakyat. — 
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

* This article is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The blog owner does not endorse the view unless specified. To share the above article, please click the followings:
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Malaysia is Tanah Melayu, says Dr M

February 01, 2011

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia belongs to the Malays. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told Malaysians today to admit that the country belonged to the Malays and accept the culture and language of the dominant community.
The former prime minister said that country’s forefathers gave the Chinese and Indians citizenship because they expected the communities to respect Malay sovereignty.
“This country belongs to the Malay race. Peninsular Malaysia was known as Tanah Melayu but this cannot be said because it will be considered racist.
“We must be sincere and accept that the country is Tanah Melayu,” he told an audience at the “Malay race and the future” talk at the Tun Hussein Onn Memorial here.
Dr Mahathir also stressed that non-Malays must accept the concept of “Bangsa Malaysia” (Malaysian nation) to help strengthen national unity.
He said the communities must place country before race and identify themselves as Malaysians.
He said if the communities continue to identify themselves according to the country of origin then it is an admission that they are immigrants in the country.
Dr Mahathir said that all races must accept that they are from “Bangsa Malaysia” to allow better co-operation from the different races and guarantee the future of the country.
He added that Malays will feel less threatened if the country adopts the concept of “Bangsa Malaysia”.
“(Former Philippine President Corazon) Cory Aquino is Chinese but she identified herself as a Filipino. (Former Thai Prime Minister) Thaksin Shinawatra is Chinese but he speaks the Thai language and lives the Thai culture.
“It is different in Malaysia, we still introduce ourselves according to our race. This is why the question of race will continue to haunt us,” he said.
He said the race affirmative programmes such as the New Economic Policy (NEP) were still important as the Malays were still weak economically.
“We must not reject every government effort to help us. We must push away the crutches and realise that we are still limping.
“Which is better? To be dependent on policies which will save us or depend on others hoping that they will save us? Sooner or later, we will be under their rule,” he said.
He said the Malay community may risk losing the country without the affirmative action policies.
“When we are weak that means we will lose power even if we are still the prime minister but we will no longer have any power because we will dependent on others,” he added.
Dr Mahathir has been criticised for mocking proponents of meritocracy, calling them racist and decried Malays who support meritocracy as having misplaced pride.
In his blog, he blasted advocates of meritocracy, calling them “meritocrats” pushing for dominance by one race in all aspects of the country and that the campaign for meritocracy was not a campaign against racism but a movement by racists against racists.
Dr Mahathir’s remarks were seen as an attack on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia and the New Economic Model (NEM), both of which promote national unity and meritocracy.
Today, he continued the tirade against 1 Malaysia and said that his Vision 2020 differed because it wants to create an inclusive national identity.
“When we say 1 Malaysia, people will think equality among all races. For the Malays, equality means abolishing vernacular schools.
“But for the Chinese and Indians, 1 Malaysia means to abolish the rights of the Malay people,” he said.
He said the administration must be clear on what is 1 Malaysia.
In a poll conducted by Merdeka Review last year, only 39 per cent of non-Bumiputeras accepted the 1 Malaysia concept despite the fact that it had been introduced for over a year.
Forty-six per cent out of 3,141 respondents interviewed felt that 1 Malaysia was only a “tactic to win over non-Malay support” while another 16 per cent had either refused to answer the poll questions or claimed to have no understanding of the concept whatsoever.
Respondents were undecided on whether Malaysia had become more united under the Najib administration, with 48 per cent saying “yes” and 43 per cent claiming that the country was still disunited.
Veteran Umno politician and one-time Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah also agreed and said that the 1 Malaysia slogan was “hollow” and had lacked direction and vision and even compared it to Dr Mahathir’s Vision 2020.

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