Massacre – annihilation – genocide – holocaust - Apocalypse!
Pick one of above to describe the fate of the Chinese based parties in Penang, the MCA and Gerakan*.
*though Gerakan claimed to be a multiethnic party, it was for several years like its MCA foe, nothing more than a Chinese party with a sprinkling of wannabe-senator Indian members
The Penang MCA and Gerakan have been totalled in a Nanjing-ish slaughter on Saturday night. Malaysiakini tells us that even Dr Mahathir, Uncle Lim and Koh TK admitted they were shocked by the avalanche of votes burying many BN leaders, especially the Penang MCA and Gerakan.
Sweetie Joceline Tan of the Star gave the stats: “The Barisan loss in Penang was devastating. The once invincible coalition had lost 11 of the 13 parliamentary seats it contested. At the state level, it lost 29 out of a total of 40 seats.”
If Penang was Malaysia, we would have a new federal government with more than 2/3 majority ;-)
And to bring home the painful calamitous state for the BN Chinese component parties, former CM Koh Tsu Koon, when asked about Gerakan playing an effective opposition role in Penang, replied: “I am not sure how that is possible because we don’t even have one representative in the state assembly.”
But that’s not the end of it – depending on how the new DAP-led government conducts itself in the next few years.
When the Gerakan whacked the MCA in 1969, it wasn’t as calamitous as Saturday’s
landslide tsunamic wipe-out. But yet, it took the MCA decades to reassemble its political credibility among Penangites, and even then, with much difficulty due to a combination of Gerakan-UMNO sabotage* as well as (most important of all) Penangites’ distrust, disapproval and disdain originating in the late 60’s.
* UMNO didn't want a strong MCA and used Gerakan as a willing tool to 'divide and conquer' the Penang Chinese voice
So, with such a catastrophe for both MCA and Gerakan, how will they fare if the new DAP government maintains good governing and governance for years, to consolidate its standing among the Penangites?
For Gerakan and the MCA, Penang will be just like a nuclear struck bleak land poisoned by continuous radioactive contamination, politically uninhabitable.
Personally I believe the Gerakan has arrived at the end of its shelf life and should fold up and merge into (note: not ‘with’) the MCA which still has a base in Johor.
But what worries me more is the now euphoric boasting and unjustified idolizing among the new winners, with words like ‘saviour’ being used with reckless gratitude. There’s even expression of thanks to people like Raja Petra and Haris Ibrahim for changing the tide. There’s nothing wrong in being polite by thanking every Tambee, Daud and ah Hong, but let’s be more objective as to what had made the voters cast their votes the way they did.
As a rule, in democracies, governments are voted out rather than the ‘opposition’ voted in. This would be the case for Malaysia in this auspicious year of 2008. This is not to deny Lim Kit Siang, Nik Aziz or Anwar Ibrahim their due credit.
While parties like DAP and PAS have solid traditional bases, for such a sweeping victory of tsunamic proportion we have to acknowledge that the voters wanted ‘change’, yes, the ‘change’ by expulsion of a corrupt, arrogant, and nepotistic UMNO-led government, and in the case of the MCA and Gerakan, two moribund representatives of the Chinese Malaysians. They had to vote someone else in and as one PKR supporter once said, he would vote in a monkey against a BN candidate.
Maybe our parties are just 'monkeys' voted in to get rid of hungry predatory leopards. So, let us be humble, be realistic and know where we stand among the voters.
The MIC of course with such a bad leader who refuses to face reality has failed to recognise that Humpty Dumpty should go. Alas, HD is still digging in deep. If only he could behave like a gentleman and professional politician like Koh Tsu Koon.
Yes ;-) I have forgiven Koh Tsu Koon and will no longer refer to him as R.B. When Koh learnt he lost, he immediately rang up to inform the Yang Di Pertua and the DAP State chairperson of his intention to ensure a smooth handover. He said: “I want to urge the people to give their full support to the leaders they have chosen. Give your new leaders a chance to perform. This is also what I told civil servants. We may have different opinions on policies but I must accept the views of the people.”
Then he welcomed the incoming CM, Lim GE, with great cordiality, showing the new resident of the CM’s office around. This is civilised democratic process. And in accepting full responsibility for his party’s disaster, he has offered to step down as Gerakan’s president.
I am at last proud of him as a fellow Penang lang.
By contrast, look at how the Perak MB behaved when he learnt of his loss, or Humpty Dumpty refusing to resign his MIC presidency. But WTF, they aren’t Penang lang ;-) sorry.
As I said, voters kick governments out rather than vote opposition in, so apart from the Chinese and Indian disgust for the BN component parties representing them, what have been the factors that culminated in Saturday’s political seismic shift?
Surely it just can’t just be corruption alone, though this factor has lately assumed new frightening dimensions.
I will attempt to list them down in no particular order:
For the Chinese, it has been:
a. the extreme racism demonstrated by ambitious UMNO leaders as they jostled for positions in the post Mahathir period where the new UMNO president has been seen as a weak, indecisive leader without a solid base.
b. Inflation and the expected poor economy
c. The MCA and Gerakan being humiliated by even UMNO Youth such as Hishamuddin and KJ, and an insensitive PM who made the 9 non-Muslim cabinet ministers back down in public over their memo on Article 121(1)(A)
d. The humiliation of an MCA deputy minister chastised by the cabinet for alleging Education officials were corrupt with funds meant for Chinese schools, when in the end he was proven to be correct.
e. The threatening of former Kelana Jaya MP Loh Seng Kok by UMNO Youths after he had questioned the dodginess of official historical textbooks.
f. The overt intimidation of Koh Tsu Koon by UMNO Youth.
g. The insensitive demoliton of Indian and Taoist temples, even when Samy Vellu tried to stop the disrespectful desecration
In their minds they must have argued that they might as well vote in the DAP (and PKR or even PAS) to ‘make noise’ if the MCA, Gerakan and MIC dare not or won’t be allowed to.
For the Malays I believe Dr Mahathir and his camp have convinced many Malays who were traditionally UMNO supporters to vote against AAB and his henchmen. A former PM, especially one who had ruled for 20 plus years, is still highly respected, and his words carry a lot of weight, especially more so when the Malays had seen how AAB and his sycophants had victimized and badmouthed Dr Mahathir when he wanted to be selected as a delegate of his local UMNO branch to the party’s general assembly.
And the marginalized Indians – Apart from the desecration of their beloved temples, need I elaborate?
Hindraf! What a magnificent movement. While the movement had started with the limited objective of voicing the Indians’ dilemma (and recall, Haris Ibrahim was against them), their example had penetrated through our generally apathetic hides and pricked our conscience, motivating us to get off our big backside to vote against the BN.
Their examples in the face of such overwhelming odds and their courage in such adversities left an everlasting impression on many of us – we pondered and still do the question of “if they could do it, so can we”.
They gave us the example to use our ‘silver bullets’ to kill the big bad werewolf – we did, on Saturday night! Only and only our votes, each and every one of them, had been the cause of the tsunami that hit Malaysia on 08 March 2008.
I dedicate the amazing victory to those intrepid five, saudara P. Uthayakumar, M.Manoharan, R.Genghadharan, V.Ganabatirau and T.Vasanthkumar.
I call on Lim Kit Siang, Nik Aziz and Anwar Ibrahim to fight for their immediate release.