Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Post election snippets (1)

Based on news reports from Malaysiakini, Star and various blogs.

Case I - Kalliste

I was flabbergasted to read in the Malaysiakini corner for bloggers that someone posted ‘Selangor is PKR country’ when the loose/informal coalition which aspires to govern the State consists of three parties, PKR with 15 state seats, DAP with 13 and Pas 8.

PKR wouldn't be able to present itself alone as the majority party.

The title of the post has been most insensitive and provocative, with the potential to cause disharmony amongst members of the still fragile informal coalition of DAP-PKR-PAS. It’s virtually a Kalliste* on the apple of discord, that one could expect only an UMNO cybertrooper, frustrated with his party’s loss, to toss in among the nascent alliance.

* meaning ‘to the fairest’, provocative words sinisterly designed by a goddess to bring about discord leading to the devastating Trojan War

And to prove my point, the Sultan of Selangor wants to speak to the other two component parties of the informal alliance before he would consent to Khalid Ibrahim of PKR assuming the MB’s post. Technically, PKR will head the government of Selangor in a minority rule with the support of the DAP and PAS. The Sultan wants to ensure that the coalition can be a stable one. Obviously he doesn't want his State to be run like Italy, where shaky minority governments are changed faster than underwear.

I recall the blogger as once a protem chairman of a supposedly apolitical association, who strangely led his committee on its initial outing, to visit of all people, Malaysia’s most controversial opposition leader.

That inexplicable visit was a bizarre and provocative action. Today we can do without any more of his provocative words or actions.

Case II - Ong Ka Ting in pseudo-repentance?

Star Online said Ka Ting won't seek Cabinet post, he wants to focus on rebuilding MCA. How self sacrificing, or is he?

In Malaysiakini Stanley Koh wrote in MCA drowns in ocean of disgust: “… cracks have already appeared in the MCA top rung and voices in the party ranks have become louder, calling for a revamping of the entire leadership echelon through an early party election.”

“Several MCA sources speculated that the president Ong Ka Ting, should he delay party elections, would raise more suspicions that he intends to serve a personal agenda. It would also strengthen widening allegations that such manipulation would be secure the position of elder brother Ka Chuan in order to succeed him before his term expires in 2012.”

“In addition, there is a growing collective sentiment that Ka Ting should step down to walk his own talk on the importance of a healthy political culture. He stands accused of lack of wisdom, poor leadership strategies and turning a blind eye to the ‘real’ election issues in the Chinese community.”

Though Ong stated he wants to dedicate his time and energy to rebuild and reform the party, I believe it is his attempted compromise to avoid being told by his party membership to leave because of his leadership failure.

Case III - RPK, keep my ombudsman steak medium rare please!

While I have the greatest admiration for Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK), sometimes I think he gets too carried away. For example, he wrote about instituting an ombudsman (or committee) for the 5 States under the DAP-PKR-PAS governments. But what took my breath away was his over-the-top proposal:

“The Ombudsman must be above the Chief Minister and Menteri Besar. It must have the power and authority to summon even the highest man in the state to come before the committee for questioning on anything at all that may be perceived as wrongdoing, transgressions, deviations, etc. And the Ombudsman must have the power and authority to recommend the removal of any public servant or politician who may have committed a breach of discipline, even if he is the Chief Minister/Menteri Besar.”

"... above the Chief Minister and Menteri Besar ..."? Then, power this and power that for the ombudsman?

This is going too far, putting an unelected person above the elected representatives of the people!

It’s not unlike the government of Iran, where the unelected clerical Supreme Leader and the Assembly of Elders in Iran ride shotgun over the elected President and the Majles (Parliament).

In fact, an ombudsman is no more than an official, usually appointed by the government or by parliament, to represent the public interests. He or she does this by investigating and addressing complaints reported by individual citizens.

The ombudsman is more interested in mitigating administrative injustice and correcting a system rather than taking punitive actions. An ombudsman does not have executive powers to sack or dismiss anyone. But in a democracy it would be the foolish government or private corporation which ignores his/her recommendations, which usually would be, as I mentioned, to right any administrative wrongs for the just benefits of the individual or the general public.

I certainly welcome the introduction of ombudsmen into our political and financial systems, and public and even private institutions (especially for Police and banking matters). But let’s not overcook the new meal by making him/her into a pseudo-Ayatollah with supra powers over the people's democratically elected representatives.

An ombudsman trivia – while the word (meaning ‘representative’) stems from Sweden, it seems prototypes of ombudsmen flourished in China during, strangely the draconian Qin Dynasty (221 BCE).

Now get this, it was actually Umar, the second Muslim Caliph (634-644) and his concept of the Islamic Qadi al-Qadat, which influenced the Swedish King, Charles XII. Poor Charles was in self-exile in Turkey when he learnt of the Islamic ombudsman concept. When he returned home in 1713, he created the Office of Supreme Ombudsman, which became the model for the world.

Maybe we could have an ombudsman for religion?


  1. "Obviously he doesn't want his State to be run like Italy, where shaky minority governments are changed faster than underwear"

    Hahaha...true..my Italian friend tells me their school textbooks don't even bother to name all the PM's Italy has had since 1945...too many to count.

    The Coalition in Selangor and Perak is going to be a difficult ballet dance...it will need a lot of goodwill and determination on all the parties involved to make it work...
    For the sake of Malaysia's future, I pray they can make it work, and work efficiently and cleanly.

    We REALLY, REALLY need to break the psychology in the country that BN, and only BN, is capable of government.

  2. ktemoc,
    You are brave, opinionated, articulate and concise in your writing. But why hide behind a facade?
    The blogger who wrote selangor is pkr country, in my opinion was not out to stir the shit. Neither was he trying to be a bigot. He was gloating at umno.
    At least he's got more balls than you by not hiding his identity!!
    from DAP supporter

  3. ha ha.. are we going to fight about this? come on.. there are more important agenda!

    If we keep going on like this - among those political hardliners, we can say good bye to the next GE!

    Then we are no better than MCA and UMNO..

    Easier to see other people fault, but its difficult to see our own weaknesses.

    Now BN is already spinning on the so called Malays / Chinese MB conflict in PERAK!

    What are we going to do about it? Instead we fight among ourselves!

  4. I read your blog using a feed reader, Bloglines. However I can hardly see the text because the background does not come up. Could you please change the text colour to a darker shade?


    Incidently, its going to be a long five years. We are still in the honeymoon period and BN has not got its act together. But dont worry. It will. The first thing they are going to target will be the internet and its related citizens. Because whatever it is, its the power of information what done em in. We should highlight people who are trying to create trouble. Who ever they are. You are on the right path.

  5. Congratulations to Barisan Rakyat or Barisan Alternatif or what Anwar called " A Government In Waiting " . I expected only 50 Parliament Seats between them but they delivered 82 and 5 State Governments. Now let me see : I predict that the Perak Coaliton won't last more than 1 year.

  6. Whatever it is, the ombudsman idea is a good one though not to the extend that he can over-rule the elected representatives. He can look into suspicious incidents sans Official Secrets Act The state government can ignore him and his committee in his quest for the truth. They must be constantly aware that the people elected them and the people can vote against the next time.

  7. To put it in more simple terms, the ombudsman plays the role of ‘fairness commissioner’.

    He/she is not a policeman, ACA officer or judge. The ombudsman in investigates complaints by a member of the public, to ensure the complainant has not suffered unfairness, injustice or disadvantages because of bad intention, unfair decision or poor processes perpetrated by the government or business corporation.

    He cannot on his own initiative go around looking for issues to investigate, like an all powerful auditor of everything Malaysian or of a State (as has been proposed). He/she may only act on a complaint lodged by a public member.
    Even then, the complainant should before lodging a complaint with the ombudsman go through the normal system to see whether dissatisfaction can be resolved by the authority or corporation. In other words the normal system must be given the opportunity to function correctly.
    The public cannot abuse the ombudsman system by rushing to him/her on every issue which the agency, being complained against, may not even be aware of or had a chance to resolve. And usually the ombudsman will not, and in some cases cannot, investigate complaints until they have been raised with the relevant authority.
    The ombudsman must act within the law and accorded powers by an Act (Ombudsman ACT?).
    But he/she is not some super cop, super investigator, super judge or Ayatollah-ish officer with supra powers.

  8. If you want to have a better future for our children in Malaysia, do you part by signing the on-line petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/RCER2008/petition.html

    This is one of the way (non-violence) to bring our message to the Government. Don’t just sit there, stand up and be counted!

    Why do we need to reform the Election Commission?

    1) Gerrymandering. The discrepancy between number of voters in voting areas is too great. The smallest parliamentary seat (Federal Territory, Putrajaya) has only 6,608 voters while the parliamentary seat for Kapar in Selangor has 112,224 voters. What this means is that one vote in the Putrajaya parliamentary constituency is equivalent to 17 votes in the Kapar constituency.

    2) Phantom voters. A common tactic is to ‘buy’ the identity card of the voters. Party members from the ruling parties will then vote on the voters’ behalf. Random checking of a person’s identity must be conducted using those finger print checking device (like the bank use). Any voting done on another person’s identity must be made a serious offence under the election law.

    3) Postal votes. The rules on postal voting must be reviewed, tightened and amended. The current rule favours the ruling party as the armed forces personnel and policemen who vote by ‘postal voting’ would obviously not jeopardize their career or promotion prospect by voting for the opposition. Voting under postal voting is not secret as it is under the watchful eyes of the senior officers.

    4) Spoiled votes. How do we define spoiled votes. It is very easy to turn good votes into spoiled votes (by adding one more x to the ballot paper). Are spoiled votes being verified and watched over by the party representatives? In marginal areas in which the winning margin is razor thin, the so-called spoiled votes need to be scrutinized.