Sunday, March 09, 2008

Election 2008 - the morning after (1)


Even as a DAP supporter I didn’t dare dream of the (to use Uncle Lim’s word) tsunamic force that has swept Malaysian politics. Makkal Sakti.

On landing after a night flight, I rushed impatiently to the Net to check Malaysiakini but as I had anticipated, the online news was chockablock with other excited, estatic and eager surfers. It didn’t allow me to catch up with what had happened since I left Penang last night.

So, I visited my blogging mate’s site, Lucia Lai’s Mental Jog, and found out that it’s confirmed - DAP in a loose coalition with PKR and PAS have taken Penang. Lucia also kindly provided a Malaysiakini alternative access, which I gratefully used.

Kelantan remains under PAS with an even stronger majority but alas, UMNO has hung on to Terengganu. But PAS has taken over Kedah, a victory denied to them in 2004 by some creative gerrymandering which Steven Gan prophesized ;-) in a Malaysiakini editorial that year.

Remember then of the predicted PAS victories that were to transform the northern (Peninsula) Malaysian States of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu into a ‘Green Crescent’. Well, it’s in a large fashion realised in this election.

Another long awaited political transformation has at last being realised, Lim Kit Siang’s ‘Tanjong’ project, carefully not mentioned in this election to avoid giving Penangites any impression of the DAP being arrogantly presumptuous. The DAP takeover rule of Penang is of course conditional on the continuing support of PKR and to a smaller extent and indirectly (via PKR), PAS.

Lim Guan Eng has been proposed as the new CM, but the enduring, endearing and enviable perseverance has been that of Uncle Lim, a man who never says die, despite being incarcerated under the draconian ISA and suffering the humiliation of public rejection in 1999 (because of his supporters’ anger at his association with the then dreaded PAS).

The tribute must go to him, to his inimitable courage, strong leadership and unfaltering dedication.

I am also thankful Penangites has provided courageous Karpal-ji a beautiful but undoubtedly (advanced) swansong to his admirable political career. A wonderful tribute too to this fantastic Khalsa warrior. We hope he stays on to do battle for the entire 5 years of his paliamentary term.

I read with glee that Perak and Selangor have fallen to the loose coalition of DAP-PKR-PAS. My uncle had told me that political status would have been the case in 1969 if the May 13 riot didn’t, hadn’t occur.

It has taken 40 years for the water level (of the people’s preference) to settle down from its erstwhile turbulence.

As had been the case in 1969, so today’s (or more correctly, last night’s) victory has come about because of unity and understanding among the opposition parties of DAP, PKR, PSM and PAS (even though DAP was quite careful not to publicise this after the 1999 drubbing).

A visitor (PKR of course) to my blog wrote (spelling errors corrected by me) “Ktemoc, I'm sorry, the man you hated most is the most credited today. He has rallied the opposition, united them, campaigned for them in a punishing schedule and his party wiped out MIC from existence and also won an impressive record by being the only party which made the most of the giant killers apart from DAP which killed Penang Chief Minister. Be polite and leave your hatred and look forward.”

As I have stated before, only anwaristas would use the word ‘hate’ or ‘hatred’ ;-). I don’t hate anyone but I do not deny I didn’t trust Anwar Ibrahim, and I still do not even now ;-) Lets’ wait and see, OK?

Firstly, allow me to congratulate his wife Dr Wan Azizah for being returned with a very comfortable majority and his giant-killer daughter, Nurul Izzah for knocking off former Women Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

Secondly, I’ll be gracious and acknowledge his political skills, charisma and drive in forging a new (loose) alliance that has brought about this stunning victory against the BN, where as in 1969, the ruling party has been effectively denied its too-much-taken-for-granted-and-highly-abused 2/3 majority.

But in the post-election euphoria let us not forget the humongous contributions and graciousness of Lim Kit Siang, who had taken a then politically marginalised Anwar Ibrahim into his (Lim's) party's company, conference and confidence – remember those DAP strategic workshops where Anwar Ibrahim (the only non DAP leader) was invited as a special guest?

Uncle Lim took a remarkable step in embracing Anwar considering the then UMNO Education Minister had been the man who initiated a policy that led to Uncle Lim eating Kem Kamunting nasi kari for a couple of years. I confess that personally I wasn’t too impressed by Uncle Lim’s move but obviously he knows better ;-)

And yes, we must no longer refer to DAP-PKR-PAS as the ‘opposition’ – maybe only at the ‘federal’ level (and in some States), because these three parties have effectively, through Makkal Sakti, earn the privilege to lead their fellow citizens in several States, in three as collectively the ‘ruling party’.

That’s right, they are now no longer the Opposition in a number of States – they ARE the governments ;-)

I recall my uncle telling of the politico-religious difficulties the DAP had faced in Selangor in 1969 on the issue of a Chinese or rather a non-Muslim MB. The MB was and still is also the advisor to the State Sultan on many issues, one of which is Islamic affairs.

It doesn't mean a State can't have a non Muslim MB with a deputy Muslim MB to look after Islamic issues, but breaking in the State's Malay Muslims to such a concept will take time. In the shorter term, some compromise may be needed.

In 1969 the DAP-PPP-Gerakan loose coalition didn’t have a suitable Muslim candidate to offer as the MB of Selangor. The evening of May 13 1969 effectively ended the DAP’s pondering.

But today there is PKR and even PAS who may offer a Muslim to the alliance for the States’ top jobs.

In this regard, I would encourage the DAP to be gracious – goodness gracious, I’ve used this word thrice (no, 4 times if you include ‘goodness gracious’) but it’s the most appropriate expression for what I am writing about – [now here’s Malaysiakini’s chance to get back at me for teasing it about its too-frequent use of ‘helm’].

I believe the DAP should allow a PKR man (Muslim of course otherwise it defeats the purpose) to be the Menteri Besar, especially of Perak. Such a move will benefit everyone (except UMNO), in that it:

(i) assures the Malays in Perak and Selangor that the positions of both Islam and the Sultan as head of the religion in the State continue to be upheld
(ii) neutralizes any potential for UMNO to exploit religion as a weapon to pry open the current pact between DAP and PKR, or worse …whatever …
(iii) consolidates on the goodwill between DAP and PKR and even PAS
(iv) forms a (hesitant) first step towards erasing the ethno-religious division that has been the cancerous malaise in Malaysian politics
(v) perhaps even prepares the DAP and PKR for a stronger and more formal political coalition.

The current informal pact or unity between DAP and PKR will be the greatest challenge for the noveau ruling parties, and mark my word, UMNO will be working very hard to destroy the informal coalition. Tun Razak did that effectively in 1970.

If PKR's Khalid Ibrahim, with the agreement of the DAP, becomes the new Selangor MB, he could surrender his Bandar Tun Razak federal seat to Anwar Ibrahim after April, killing two birds with one stone - freeing himself from federal responsibilities to concentrate on the political leadership and management of Selangor State in partnership with DAP, and allowing Anwar Ibrahim to return to Parliament.

In my next post I’ll discuss the BN ;-) but that’s all for now.

My congratulations to DAP, PKR, PAS and PSM.


  1. Seeing Anwar mug for the cameras and indirectly claiming credit for the elections is making me ill.

  2. ;-) he's having his moments - he's Anwar after all. Let's be gracious

  3. let the opposition not fight. Leave this Anwar, that Lim nonsense an engage better. Whether we hate Anwar or not, he is a man to reckon with. And we must accept that he brought PAS and DAP together thus pulling middle class Malay into the alliance. He campaigned for all DAP candidates just like he has campaigned for PAS and PKR candidates. Can't we grow or what?

    I watched and listened, he didn't claim credit but definately he should. You just need to look at what he has done for you to appreciate his magnitude.

  4. good analysis for selangor.
    i was wondering why DAP has more seats but MB is PKR.

  5. that is a pretty good independent refection and we may all rejoice that Malaysians can and will strike back when it matters tho a little but not too late !
    On hindsight that "hated" fella is a far sighted master strategist fully aware that in 'advanced high level ' politics there is no right nor wrong only achieving the right results with minimal resources !...begining from the time his dear wife planted and germinated his comeback seed in PP way back 1999...that is strategy of the highest order

  6. Dear Kaytee,

    It was a dream like feat last night for the loose Opposition coalition to win beyond expectations.

    Couldn't agree with you more, Uncle Lim, Karpal Ji and Guan Eng has sacrificed LOTS demi kepentingang Rakyat dan Negara and I am over the moon that finally the people of Malaysia has displayed their appreciation so overwhelmingly !!

    I also share with you I have reservations with Anwar. This time around, I hope he's for real and truly working for a Malaysia for all Malaysians regardless of colour/creed.

    The sunshine seems extra bright this morning welcoming a new chapter in Malaysian history.

    Let's all join hands as one family in re-building a new Malaysia.

  7. Its a new dawn for Malaysia.
    The big winner is obviously DAP.
    But give credit where credit is due - Anwar Ibrahim criss-crossing the country, speaking in non-racial terms helped cement this a truly broad-based revolution.

    We sink or swim as Malaysia. Its high time to start burying race-based parties, after 50 years of Independence.

    Hidup Bangsa Malaysia !

  8. KT, Its heartening to note your 'niceties' on the man today. Its new dawn alright for most of us. May this be the beginning of our new Malaysia. We agree to disagree openly and at the same time engaging intellectual discourse. Enough said, now its time for us to really work together to reach a better Malaysia

  9. While we savor the moment, let us not forget the Hindraf 5 who added to the momentum and reminded all of us that it is OK to openly say "enough is enough!!"

  10. Let's just say that, like the phoenix that rose from the ashes, the leaders of our current opposition groups have, in each of them, at least one who has gone through the test of fire and brimstone and returned to fight another day. Or they have persevered the toughest of battles to now see the triumph they have long fought for. And each one should have learned his lessons well. All have also learned from the history of this nation enough not to repeat the same destructive lessons. Their collective triumph now and their cooperation after this is our hope for the future. We hope they continue to treasure those lessons learnt.

  11. lets give anwar a chance. whatever wrong committed in his years with UMNO, its water under the bridge. a new dawn has begun and i am sure its for a better Malaysia.
    KT, if Anwar ever return to old UMNO ways, then by the people's vote, we will send him to retirement.

  12. one particluar DAP win i rejoiced in was Hannah in Subang Jaya. I was at her ceramah in PJS8 the day before the election, and the way she came across , speaking from her heart, was really something else. Her campaign manager, Edward, equally young and forthright, was no less impressive. I was thinking, these are the type of leaders we hope to have fr our children's sake. BTW i am indian, while she is chinese, which goes to show the absence of the race factor here. Another good sign. I hope she gets into the Selangor EXCO.

  13. Malaysia finally united against a common enemy! BN!!


  14. As a Malay I don't really care about whom become the MB - as long as he is fair to everybody. What is the purpose of having a Muslim like The Toyoman as MB if the state is plundered to kingdom come?

  15. You said:

    >>>>>I believe the DAP should allow a PKR man (Muslim of course otherwise it defeats the purpose) to be the Menteri Besar, especially of Perak. Such a move will benefit everyone (except UMNO), in that it:

    (i) assures the Malays in Perak and Selangor that the positions of both Islam and the Sultan as head of the religion in the State continue to be upheld
    (ii) neutralizes any potential for UMNO to exploit religion as a weapon to pry open the current pact between DAP and PKR, or worse …whatever …
    (iii) consolidates on the goodwill between DAP and PKR and even PAS
    (iv) forms a (hesitant) first step towards erasing the ethno-religious division that has been the cancerous malaise in Malaysian politics
    (v) perhaps even prepares the DAP and PKR for a stronger and more formal political coalition.>>>>>

    I don't agree. I think this reinforces the ethno-religious divisions instead. The MB should not and must not be selected simply for being Muslim. That's NEP.

    Maybe it will, as you say, soothe and reassure the Malay populace. But so does the NEP.

    A better reassurance for ALL should be the MB formally giving up all powers in the matter of administering the national religion in the state, in favour of a nominee of the Sultan.

    Let's think of it this way. Which way would the Regent of Perak, HRH Raja Nazrin be prefer?

  16. Let the most capable person be the MB.
    It is a new dawn for M'sia and the liberated states isn't it? Why should we fall back to BN-style "must be malay/muslim to be MB" nonsense?

  17. Gerakan has lost in 10 of the 12 parliamentary seats it contested and won only in Gerik and Simpang Renggam, both Malay-majority areas. It also lost 26 of the 31 state seats it vied for. So it should gulung tikar, like Kayveas' PPP.

  18. I still don't trust Anwar. I will when he nakes good on his promises to end the NEP. But I must give credit where it's due...the's a good politician. When I say that, it's not necessary a compliment!

  19. By the way, Guan Eng has done a great job, but I feel that Kit Siang or Karpal should be Penang's CM. They have fought and suffered for the people and party for so long!

  20. No, I think Guan Eng was the right choice. It's not so much about merit as it is about symbolism. Penangites want change, and guys like Kit Siang and Karpal Singh have been around for so long now that they'll never be seen as true agents of change. Guan Eng's relative youth will go a long way.

    It's not necessarily fair, but it is what it is.

  21. btw,

    great post.

    i think there will be contentious debate on who is the CM and DCM in coming days. politics will always be politics.

    two things i ll agree:
    1) anwar inevitable became the middle ground that bring the opposition together. wthout his role, the win migh tnot be as big.

    2) CM for now, should be non-racial, but possibly reflective of the majority of the people.

  22. I wonder whats going on in Dr.M's mind? He might be joyful that although Badawi won, it was a minor one with the loss of 5 states, and without the 2/3rds BN always used to get. And his son was victorious in Jerlun.

    On the other hand, his Other Enemy has been resurrected from political nothingness and his party has gone on to take 31 Parliament seats. The man he so unceremoniously disposed of... is back.

  23. I am reminded of a word used by ex-Vice President Al Gore during his visit to Malaysia some years back: "brave". So, here I want to say well done to the courageous peoples of Malaysia -- the brave voters for delivering a stinging slap to the face of the Coalition which has allowed and tolerated sexism, racism, thuggish, rude and bullying behaviour to run rampant and unchecked among some of its members.

    It is a slap that is much needed, richly deserved and long overdue. Pity is, it is only just one slap. They should be slapped a few more times. Harder!

  24. I read that the Perak state constitution states that the MB should be a Muslim.
    Despite DAP winning the majority of state seats, more than with PKR-PAS combined, it will a graciousness of a significant level to allow the MB post to be taken by PKR-PAS. I agree with Kaytee that this move
    i) will strengthen goodwill among the 3 parties.
    ii) prevent UMNO from exploiting the race/religion card to break this fragile coalition

    Probably DAP should get for a Deputy MB post just like what Selangor is proposing

  25. Good shout Kaytee... ;)

    For once our beloved country does not look so hopeless.... I am beyond words and speechless for how the tide has changed. A glimpse of good things to come if the coalition called BR works hard to overcome our entrenched reacial thinking.

    Thank God/Allah for hope of our Malaysian future.


  26. What about the sactimonious reversalism that such acts of bigotry signify ? We need to be conscious (and cautious) of rabblerousers who tend to upset the delicate balance that time has helped build. It is with utmost consternation that we tread on these libellously contentious issues. It is said that ravenous capricity is often the order of the day. Surely this would have flown in the face of the accepted theories of human endeavour ? Where else can you expect fairness and justice ? It really is a conundrum. In general, utopian gregariousness is preferred as a consciencious choice. Permissiveness will not get us anywhere. A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom. And a creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. Desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving. So said Ayn Rand.