Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Happy Majority....

Most Malaysians are very happy that the election is over and everything is back to normal. Even if they don't know who the new Ministers and State Excos are, or whether they represent the electorate or not let alone be happy with their selection, someone is there in the seat of power to look after the interest of the people and nation. Only the buddies of the ex-Ministers and Exco members will really feel the lost of the big cables they have been hanging on to in order to help them achieve their goals. For the men-in-the-street, they have fought their own battle with little or no help from the powers that be.

Yes, everything is back to normal, including the traffic jams on the main highways and roads. A few hours journey from one point to another may now take half a day or a whole day. Bumper to bumper and not a single traffic policeman to help smoothen the traffic. They are perhaps too busy controlling the traffic flow on the city streets or directing traffic at some of the big national celebrations like The Colors of Malaysia and the Youths Festival. While enjoying the very slow ride on the roads, observe that some of the election posters, banners and buntings had yet to be removed although more than two weeks have passed after the election. Many are blue in color with the 'dacing' (weighing machine) prominently displayed. No wonder the authorities concerned could not take the offenders to task. Who dares touch the 'dacing' people? - the power behind the throne, so to say.

It is at the time when the political leaders are sorting things out and getting the Cabinet in order that the civil servants are left pretty much to themselves. They have to get things done while trying to get to know their new bosses, if they are new and of an unknown quantity. The top civil servants themselves must make some adjustments, especially when the new boss had not been a real favorite or friend while he was serving in another lower capacity. Some will have the unpleasant experience of finding a person you once rebuffed or refused to cooperate with suddenly becoming your own boss. In politics the villain of yesterday can suddenly become the power-that-be of today, (It might also work the other way around). In the bureaucratic organization itself, a nobody of yesterday might suddenly become your superior since he or she enjoys the trust of the new boss. Well, that's the name of the game and you jus t have to play it.

Be that as it may, a change of the political leadership at the top of an organization offers a good opportunity to rescrutinize the organization's past and on-going programs. Many weaknesses can be removed since the new boss will only be too eager to set his own mark and standards. Many will want to bring about a big change. to stamp his or her personality on the organization's book of record. That's when civil servants can make their own recommendations to "remove previous weaknesses." Must be careful though or you yourself might be removed. Those who have moved up the scale before based on favoritism, will find themselves in trouble.And that is good for the 'apple polisher'(or bottom fanner) can now be removed.

Come to think of the 'transformation' (transformasi) that the PM has been harping on. Is there a real change for the better or will it be more of the same like before. The civil servants can be in the best position to judge. But make peace with your new bosses first or you will end up in pieces. When most Malaysians are happy with the leaders that they have voted into power, who are you to say that you don't like the new boss. Yoiu're the lot that's supposed to be innovative and creative. But do or say something that the new boss doesn't like. No matter how innovative or creative it is, you'd better get ready to be phased out. It's better sometimes to just smile and dance to the new tune set by the new boss.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Back to Normalcy

The general election is over and Malaysians returned to their normal life, when politics seems to be a remote power influencing their destiny. There're rumblings about the opposition mounting a campaign to protest against frauds in the election, about old faces occupying the same seat of power with some shuffling around and only a few new faces being placed in important Cabinet posts, and about how MCA is going to react to the new Cabinet line-up. But otherwise, every Malaysian is happy to continue with their normal life like before. New Chief Minister of Kedah

One wonders how the world would be without politics, leaders vying for power to rule over the masses, using organized institutions to achieve their end. In Malaysia, teachers used to be the moving power behind UMNO and the National Front. And we enjoyed peace and stability for decades. Now the professionals take over the leadership, including professional politicians. Politics become a business with power to control human interactions and the market. We the consumers can shout our voice hoarse without any effect unless,of course, you've huge cables to pull. Correction. Even little cables are okay if you are in the right group. If you're in the opposition camp, say what you want. You can do nothing till the nest GE, four or five years from now.

First thing that I noted after the GE is that the flags, buntings and posters lining up the roads are not entirely removed yet. Some can be very hazardous to drivers because you can't see the other side of the road or what's in the next corner. After a heavy rain these paraphernalia of election campaign are a real eyesore. Two weeks given by the authorities to remove them is too long a period. They should be removed within a week.

The share market shot up in volumes of transaction and values immediately after the election. A real bonus for those in the game but means nothing to the those who don't or couldn't afford to gamble away their meager earnings. Price of things remained the same or even showed a slight increase. There certainly is no new regulations for price control in the next few months and anything can happen. In and around KL the pipes run dry for hours and even days. The opposition (Pakatan) is returned to power and I'm sure it will continue to be blamed for the water stoppage in Selangor and some areas in the Federal Territory of KL.The argument continues and the people affected will continue to suffer. There has been a lot of rain lately and it pays for those affected by the water shortage to harness the gift of Nature and the Creator in their own way for their own use.New Minister of Youths and Sports

Kedah has been recaptured by Barisan ( the National Front) and the son of our illustrious ex-Perime Minister, Tun Mahathir, installed as Chief Minister. It's too early to expect any immediate change of policy or its method of implementation. But many eyes will certainly be focused on what will develop there as well as in the MInistry of Youths and Sports where the son-in-law of our ex- Prime Minster, Tun Abdullah Badawi, has been installed as the Minister. Other Ministerial shuffles are not too surprising although the new Minister of Tourism and Culture had raised some eyebrows since the post required a tremendous amount of good PR stuff and cultural sensitivity.
New Minister of Tourism
The GNP growth for the first quarter of this year is 4.1%, short of what is expected to achieve the high-income aspiration of the nation. But since the PM, the author of the High-Income-Nation goal, shall remain as the Minister of Finance, he will certainly do something to jolt up the economic growth. We can only hope that it shall be done without causing the prices of foodstuff and other consumer goods to take a big leap upward, thus creating a false impression of a faster economic growth and a higher standard of living. Of course, by returning the Barisan to power,we have implicitly agreed to the current price of patrol, the toll rate, and the cost of housing - items which the opposition had wanted to review.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Government without MCA Representation?

If MCA's decision not to allow its members to participate in the government at Federal or State level is strictly enforced, then there will be no MCA Chinese representative at all in the Barisan government. There'll only be opposition members from DAP or from other parties in Pakatan. What will the philosophy of multiracialism and concept of power sharing in the government then become? All Chinese interest can only then be represented by the opposition as set against the interests of other racial groups. Racialism will be the order of the day.

God forbids. Even if all Malaysian politicians are wise and sane enough to avoid open racial conflicts and confrontation, there cannot be any goodwill and love between the multiracial citizens anymore.Their interest would be totally divided along racial and political lines. Disaster would befall the country.

The Prime Minister is thus faced with a very difficult situation now in forming his Cabinet line-up. Who can he get to represent the Chines in the Government since MCA will refuse any position offered? Only four major alternatives are open to him,
(1) form a Cabinet with only Malays and Indians representatives
(2) get some representatives in Cabinet from prominent Chinese community leaders outside MCA, through non-political association,
(3) appoint some Chinese leaders from among his own trusted friends as Ministers, and
(4) include some elected Chinese leaders from the Opposition party to join his Cabinet ( which requires a coalition of sort).
Of course the PM can resort to all those alternatives in various degrees.

But will that overcome the real issue faced - that the Chinese community had rejected MCA to represent their interest and that Barisan as it is does not command their confidence anymore. No matter what Datuk Seri Najib will do to assure them that BN and he himself ( as a Prime Minister for all, irrespective of races) will take care of their interest, the trust once enjoyed is gone. And the door to regaining that trust through MCA seems closed by MC's own decision itself, which may have been done to rebuke the Chinese for the lack of support.

We have thus a very complicated problem for Datuk Seri Najib to solve.He might need to reestablish the Department of National Unity again, and maybe tun it into a Ministry to deal with the reemergence of the racial issue.. The current situation may well be the result of a neglect on the significance of maintaining harmonious community relationship and allowing material progress to exceed multiracial cooperation by the government. The goals of national unity as spelled out in the NEC, especially that of spreading wealth and not allowing it to remain in the hands of a few billionaires, had not been pursued well. And the need to assist the underprivileged and the poor, irrespective of race, had been terribly misunderstood.

The new 5-year term of office as won by Barisan should, therefore, be used as a period of rescrutiny of the national objectives and bringing the Malaysians of all races together again. This should remain as the most important overall goal, over and above creating a modern high income nation.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Solemn Victory for Barisan Nasinal ( National Front)

GE 13 ia over in Malaysia and the ruling party BN or NF won 133 aeats in Parliament as against a total of 87 ( DAP 38, PKR 28 and PAS 21) won by the opposition. That gives BN a majority of about 22 seats in Parliament, no 2/3 majority. That could explain why the PM Dato Seri Najib seems to accept the victory with a solemn look at the victory reception in PWTC. Nor was Datin Rosman who sat by his side together with DPM,flashing a victory smile.Even those standing behind them - nor representative from MCA or MIC it appears to me - were not too happy as were the other supporters of BN who were present.present leaders and the exPMs behind them

Why the solemness? 4 Cabinet Ministers, 2 Chief Ministers and 8 Deputy Ministers went down. The Ministers were mostly from MCA while the two Chief Ministers were very strong UMNO personalities.It certainly reflects very poorly on the popularity of the Najib's former Cabinet line-up.The two Chief Ministers were doing very well at the state level but when asked to contest for a Parliamentary
seat, failed to get sufficient support.

The defeat of former Johore Bahru Chief Minister, at the hand of the DAP strongman Lee Kit Siang who has no earlier footing in Gelang Patah, reflects another issue which could have saddened the PM. That the Chinese votes will go to their popular candidate irrespective of party affiliation with BN. Most MCA candidates have been trounced by their DAP contenders. The Chinese citizens of Malaysia seem to be putting all their faith on DAP. DAP continues to dominate Penang. Najib would do well to invite DAP to share power with Barisan rather than continue to play host to MCA. If that is done PKR and PAS would of course become a very weak coalition.

PAS' spiritual leader Dato' Nik Abdul Aziz, its President DS Hadi Awang and other Pas stalwarts are of course unshakeable as are some of the PKR leaders like its supremo Anwar Ibrahim and its most prominent general TS Khalid Ibrahim, the Chief Minister of Selangor. Selangor, Kelantan, Terengganu and Penang remain in the Opposition's hand while Kedah has been wrenched back by BN. Tun Mahathir's son is certainly going to be the Chief Minister as a stepping stone perhaps before going for the Primiership in the near future until Najib's son grow of age to join politics.

Now where does that leave TS Muhyiddin? Is he going to be a DPM forever without a chance to become PM? That could be another issue which could disturb Najib very much. Tun Mahathir had given himm all the support during this election and everyone can see why he wants BN to remain in power.The tradition of passing on the baton to the first born in Malaysian politics is a known fact. TS Muhyiddin seems to be the odd man out in the race for the no one post.

Whatever it is, Malaysia is back on track now with the nation's agenda of becoming a developed country with a multiracial identity. The Opposition and AnwarIbrahim will have to wait another four plus years to make another attempt at grabbing the reign of power.Malaysians have chosen their leaders for the next five years in spite of the unanswered allegations and suspicion of high-level corruption which had plagued the BN. Perhaps Najib transformation program had retrieved the bumipitras's faith in UMNO but not the Chinese faith in MCA. More will have to be done to bring back the old qualities and glory of BN. The victory in GE 13 could only be the result of a last flicker in the magic of the old BN although Najib's Father Christmas' style of bringing the goodies to the poor had won him considerable admiration in the year before the election.

A most disturbing observation made by a panelist discussing the outcome of GE13 on the night of May 5th (or morning of May 6th ) on RTM1, was that (free quote) the Malays show their grievances on the street but not in the ballot box while the Chinese show their grievances in the ballot box and not in the street (as had happened in Gelang Patah). It amounts to saying the the Malays grumble a lot but do not take action to change a situation while the Chinese don't grumble much but act positively to change things. There's indeed a lot that the Malays should learn from their more prosperous and wealthy fellow citizens. The only wealthy Malays are those BN politicians who have been holding public posts in the BN government during its half a century's hold on power and those businessmen under their aegis.