Monday, March 10, 2008

Election 2008 - the morning after (2)

Massacreannihilationgenocideholocaust - 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.


  1. Great Article...Well written. Thats the problem that motivated me to vote for BA...

  2. "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."

    Yup agreed.. The problem is when people got trapped in a situation where they thought it was their ideology that attracted the voters to vote their party.

    This could be temporary, the Malays voted for DAP based on their protest for the present UMNO leaders. Maybe some urban Malays do vote due to ideology.

    Bearing in mind, anwar persuaded the Malays to Vote for DAP, and he insist that he will look after the Malays. Stream of Malays voter put DAP into power in Penang!

    But I disagree that Tun M play a role in Malays voting trend this time around. Many Malays still cant forgive him for what he did to Anwar.

    PAS was voted in power in Terengganu in 1999 based on protest votes. But he misread the voters and thought that people wanted an Islamic State!

    He was voted out of power in 2004. And in 2008 he failed to win Terenganu despite PAS in Kelantan and Kedah are doing better.

    We must know where we stand.. Try to please those voters first. Work hard, forget partisan ideology, concentrate on something common, like improving the economy etc.

    Malaysia mudah lupa, if UMNO manage to re-package themselves, I am afraid the Malays will come flocking back to them! They will play 'Ketuanan Melayu' song over and over again.

    With regards,

  3. Mostly well said. Many factors helped influence the electorate and the blogging community was certainly one of them. So we should be thankful... just as we should be thankful for the utterances of the PM and his merry men at every real and mismanaged crisis. The Hindraf 5 were, as you put it, instrumental in shaking off the lethargic complacence enveloping most Malaysians. They gave us more than the battle cry "Makkal Sakthi!" ...they showed us that deliverance from the neo-colonialist BN will take more than blogging...that it requires personal sacrifice. I believe they will be released.

  4. The Way ... thanks for your comments but I don't agree on teh point you raised. If the Malays haven't forgiven Dr M for what he did to Anwar, then what happened to PKR in 2004? It was almost wiped out, save for about 500 votes.

    Compare 2004 with now, where Dr M had been lambasting AAB, almost continuously.

  5. Yes, elections are almost always for the incumbent government to lose rather than for the government to win.
    An exception may be last year's Australian elections, where the Liberals lost in spite of a booming Australian economy and (to me) reasonably good governance.

    In any case the Opposition now has the heavy responsibility to prove that it can move on to the level of effective government, beyond being a critic. They have one shot at it. If DAP in Penang and Keadilan in Selangor (with their political partners) can show they deliver responsible government, we will have the beginnings of a true 2-party system

  6. In 2004, Tun M is already out from government. The Malays thought that AAB is better, portraying as Mr Nice Guy.

    Being Malays 'Mudah Lupa' they forgave UMNO. The anger was with Tun M. When he left the government the Malays forgive him and UMNO.

    So there seem to be no cause for voting against UMNO in 2004.

    Now Malays are angry with AAB and KJ. The anger is more than their anger to Tun M.

    Bear in mind, there are still Tun M loyalist in UMNO.

    KJ is kurang ajar, 9/10 Malays think so. This is not acceptable in the Malays culture.

    The anger is with KJ on his cunning political ambitions and compounded with AAB inability to govern effectively (price hike etc).

    The only different is, this time around the non-malays also angry with BN. We can see how the vote swing in both community. It is a compounded swing.In 1999, the non-malays vote help BN. You can see in 1999 most Malays seats contested are razor thin in term of majority.

    Now in 2008, PKR is being use as a conduit to express their dissatisfaction on UMNO. (Most Malays are still sceptical about multi-ethnic political party)

    What worry us is, if UMNO is able to re-package themselves and is being perceived as changing (AAB and KJ (include all those of his cronies)is out, or kick out) I would say that Malays would forgive them again!

    Same as MIC. If MIC re-package themselves and is perceived to be attractive again to the Indian community, MIC might gain the Indian community again.

    This is something real and BR/ BA or whatever we want to call ourself have got to understand and take action on.

  7. ^ Very true. KeADILan/DAP/PAS cannot afford to slack about and expect the same and more in 2013. Starting this week, they better get to work in making their vision & promise of an Alternate Malaysia a reality. Otherwise, BN will be back and trust me, there will be reprisals in KED, PNG, SEL and PRK. I can guarantee it will happen with that Najib guy at the captain's seat.

    Fortunately, this task has been made easier with unexpected victories at KL & Selangor, both of which are prosperous states. If we can make the BR administration prove its potential; with an efficient & accountable government, restored local elections, improved public services, and lower toll rates... then we stand a strong chance in '13 to keep these 5 states, as well as advance South...

  8. It is practically impossible for UMNO to re-invent itself.
    UMNO have been in power for so long they have no sense of what 'others' mean It is all UMNO and nothing else. Look at how Mahathir is already heaping all the blame on Badawi eventhough the 'massacre' of UMNO in this election is due to an accumulation of many problems over many years. I do not see how UMNO will ever come to the realisation that they are in trouble because they forgot how to serve the people. It won't be long before the Badawi camp starts to retaliate. Badawi will not go quietly. Power within UMNO has always been a zero-sum game which leads to riches. Remember UMNO is still in power. There is however less to go around this time around. Rather than reinventing itself UMNO will see a civi war over a smaller pie. No UMNO leader or BN leader today is forged from the fire of political persecution. None had to crawl and fight against a superior enemy. On the other hand, all the leaders of PAS, PKR and the DAP have in one way or another experienced the bitterness of political persecution. Simply put, UMNO toady is too soft to reinvent itself.

  9. never underestimate the power of the people.i hope the b.r. will impliment thrir manifestos.

  10. KT...brilliant article! Very insightful and quite unbiased, although you do tend to slant towards the opposition a little. This is why you're my favourite blogger!

  11. You're right about Hindraf being a catalyst. I was a very staunch BN supporter until I saw water cannons let loose on unarmed and peaceful marchers, chemicals sprayed on young girls bearing flowers for the PM to plead for the release of their fathers, the antics of the Attorney-General as he rushed into court to personally charge the helpless guys for murder; all these troubled me greatly. I don't think the ruling elite in their arrogance will ever change. To them their infrastructure to coerce and cow the populace is already in place. They have the judiciary, the police, the election machinery and the civil service doing their bidding. And, they have accumulated vast war-chests of almost limitless funds. Why should they change? I mix with them and I know. You guys don't know what you are up against. Their thoughts now are not on changing to serve the people better and redeem themselves but on how to use all the means they have wrongfully grabbed to eventually annihilate the Opposition. Next episode? "The Empire Strikes Back."

  12. Dollah's feng shui master's latest prediction: Under intense party pressure, the PM will feign a 'heart attack' in the next few weeks and retire from umno

  13. There were a lot of simmering issues for sure.

    But it was Hindraf rally that provided the the required spark that really galvanized the Indians first and subsequently emboldened all other races to come to terms with UMNO and stooges' malpratices and deceptions and vote them out.

    Mainstream media and official contortions probably backfired since nowadays people can easily rely on alternative media such as internet, mobile phones and VCDs.

    Anti-incumbency is a fact of life in the democratic system .. I believe there has to be regular cleansing period within a party if they wish to remain relevant in the long run.

  14. Help This Man Please!!

    "My friend looking for a job.His education background is not that strong.He have been working with malaysian goverment more than 30 yrs. His last post held was WORK MINISTER with Malaysian Geverment. His name is SAMY VELOO, Pls help him."

    from a comment by "dharma" in

  15. KT,

    Your write-up sums it all up quite accurately.

    In my opinion, the county's situation presented an opportunity to ignite a more matured population's heart to heed the call for justice.

    I think HINDRAF, Raja Petra, Haris Ibrahim, bloggers (including you, KT) all had a role to fan up the fire in the people to do by what's right by the people and for the people.

    Let's continue to work towards embracing each other as fellow Malaysians looking out and after each other as one happy family.

    It's hard work I know, but, we MUST try for our future generations.

    Goodness should surely prevail.