Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Malaysians and political graciousness

Malaysiakini columnist KJ John wrote All about grace or the art of graciousness, especially in politics.

He cited the post election speeches of John McCain and Barack Obama, and how these two Americans, once the electioneering was over, had America and unity in mind - when one made a gracious concessional speech whilst the other an equally gracious victory speech.

John also brought out two examples of local graciousness. He said:

“Grace is also when the government pays the ex-judges an ex-gratia payment for their wrongful dismissal and an error of judgment of the past leadership. The government of Malaysia showed grace and let us leave it at that.” […]

“It was graciousness, for example, for the Penang government to recognise the opposition leader in the state assembly and to pay that person a monthly allowance.”

Unfortunately we haven’t for we have continued debate on the ex-gratia payments. John also opined that the Penang opposition leader has, by refusing the legislated allowance for him, rejected his party’s role as the shadow/alternative government of Penang.

An unfortunate lack of graciousness but more importantly, an ignorance and neglect of the opposition role as a shadow government to challenge, check and counter the government plans, policies and practice.

kaytee must ask the UMNO opposition leader a question – where then would be your party’s obligation to your constituencies (the people who voted for you) and their (the voters') representation in the DUN?

Unless we show some graciousness in our own conduct towards politics, we shouldn’t dream of good democracy, let alone a 2-party system, where the politics can be robust yet without degenerating into hostility and ethnocentric animosities.

But with our ‘black or white’ mentality and proclivity for aggression, I don’t have much hope for a mature sense of balance in our political discussions and interactions.

Generally by adopting a take-no-prisoner approach to politics and the opposite side, we ourselves have become the prisoners of our own mental limitations and lack of graciousness.


  1. umno does not consider itself as the opposition in the penang state assembly. In fact, they are looking into the fine print of the NEP "social contract" which would allow them, as sons of the soil, to nominate an extra 30% of umno state assemblymen into the state assembly. Then they would be able to take over the state govt from kafir PR.

  2. Qantas jets collide on tarmac

    MELBOURNE, Nov 18 - A Qantas jetliner that was damaged by a midair explosion in July collided Tuesday with another of the airline’s planes on an Australian airport tarmac, airline officials said.

    Both Boeing 747 jets were damaged when they ran into each other while being towed at the Qantas maintenance base at Avalon Airport outside Melbourne, Qantas general manager of engineering David Cox said in a statement. No passengers were aboard.

    Television news footage showed that the nose of one of the jets hit the left wing of the other. The nose cone caved in and the wing had a large dent.

    “Both aircraft sustained some damage, and the extent of this is being assessed,” Cox said.

    The maintenance staff involved had been suspended from duty pending a full inquiry, he said. Qantas has not said how many personnel were involved.

    On July 25, an oxygen tank exploded aboard one of the jets, ripping a hole in the fuselage and causing rapid cabin decompression as the plane flew over the South China Sea. None of the 365 people aboard was injured and the pilot safely made an emergency landing in Manila in the Philippines.

    The jet was repaired in Manila and only returned to Australia last week, a spokesman said, on the company’s usual condition of anonymity.

    It was undergoing final maintenance work at Avalon, Qantas’ maintenance base for 747s in Australia before returning to service, the spokesman said.

    The collision is the latest in a series of accidents and malfunctions in recent months that have embarrassed Australia’s’ flagship carrier and have raised questions about its maintenance standards. - AP
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    Ya lah, must be Malaysian
    written by antipode, November 18, 2008
    Let me guess ... the tow tractor was being driven by an Pommie immigrant who is dating a sheila whose grandmother is half-Chinese who married an angmoh planter who used to run a rubber estate in Pahang ... the maaysian connection!

    written by chaptokam, November 18, 2008
    I am sure they will put the blame on Malaysians or MAS , they will say the staff are all Malaysians . If the Aussies can't shit they also blame Malaysians . If Quantas don't make a profit they will also blame Malaysians or MAS for taking away their passengers . For Quantas go screw yourself and stop blaming Malaysians , MAS or others .

    Go ahead, blame it on Malaysia
    written by Syarif, November 18, 2008
    I'm sure Qantas PR guys finding a reason to put the blame on Malaysia/MAS, like they always did on other incidents in the past

  3. chaptokam, I'm not sure how your comments on Qantas fits in with my post on political graciousness?

  4. Malaysia is and will never be the same as the US.

    While the Americans are politically matured and objectives, Malaysian politics are full of vengeance, witchhunt, sourgrape or "boo-kam-guan" (in Hokkien).

    And as KJ John rightly said, Malaysian politicians are seriously lacking in political graciousness.

    McCain, having lost the presidency to Obama, graciously accepted defeat; and continue his cause for the nation.

    But in Malaysia, the losers especilly Umno, are working extra time to bring the opponents down not through the process of democracy but via technicality (legal process), instead of building the nation together. This is evidenced by the number of police reports being made on small small or petty issues, like the alleged abuse of power on the part of Penang givernment due to the aborted cancellation of the King of Tennis fiasco. That is only one example. There are many other police reports being made, apparently orchatrated by Umno, to sabotage or shame the
    state governments in the opposition-controlled states.

    What a waste of energy and effort.

    This is our beloved Malaysia, the country without political graciousness.

  5. KTemoc

    sorry wrong thread . hope you don't mind .

    But somehow these Aussies in Quantas seems to like to play the blame game and I'm sure you'll be equally pissed off .

  6. it's like you kena walloped and you say thank you. this ain't right ....

  7. c'mon lah denzook, that's not what graciousness means. When you kena walloped at polls, you then (graciously) say "I respect the people's decision, and congratulate the new State government. I will be a constructive opposition and cooperate with the new government to ensure that the rakyat benefits."

  8. You guys are dreaming if you believe the half-educated buffoons leading UMNO are fit to be lawmarkers in the first place.

    It is an UMNO tactic to stiffle any discussion/complaint they don't like by demanding that it be withdrawn, etc on the gorunds that "it challenges the Malays, it is against Islam, you are a communist, etc".

    Reason: They know they cannot win and so donot want to be showed up but mainly to prevent any changes to status quo even if it mean intimidating those questioning their self-proclaimed role of being "defending Islam, protecting Malays and protecting the right of others". This is all bullshit. It will take three generations to change that kind of mindset...okay, two generations once the oil runs out.

    Meanwhile I choose to get on with my life in a first world country where the Govt now gives any permanent resident (yep, you don't even have to be a citizen) something like MR$60,000 and stamp duty exemption worth another MR$40,000 if you buy a first home costing less than MR$2 million!

    I did not get that subsidy but I don't mind because a house gives immigrants a stake in the country and makes them want to contribute to our peace and security.

    No red, blue, pink, yellow ICs, etc. No discrimination against gays, lesbians, and even those who want to abstain from sex altogether.

    Will Malaysia ever catch up? Sorry, but not even in your dreams.

  9. Dear KT

    RM millions to sacked judges, you call that gracious KT.
    It leaves a bile in my throat and I'm sure theirs too.
    An unnecessary gesture to inflate the ego of stupid Zaid Ibrahim.
    After depleting the nation's resources, he up and go.
    Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    Guess he's so taken up by the story that Tun Salleh Abbas is now a farmer in dire straits.
    He could have checked that Salleh owns a house in Besut, KT and in PJ.
    He's not innocent too. Running dowm Tun and the govt.
    Hope Tan Sri Rahim Noor too get some emolument for his exemplary service as head honcho of the police.

  10. You mean Tan Sri Rahim Noor for his examplary service to roughen up a certain umm...high-profile detainee...

  11. Anonymous

    Yep. The same one.
    My analogy is based on the sacked judges wno are not supposed to receive a pension at all, let alone compensation.
    Tan Sri Rahim was a good IGP. That personality deserved what he got.

  12. UMNO and its supporters are making a strategic mistake by demonising Zaid Ibrahim. Personally, I thought if Zaid could help initiate much needed change from within UMNO, he offered the opportunity for BN and UMNO to climb out of the deep hole it is in. That opportunity has passed.

    I'm not sure if UMNO supporters realise that the majority of people in this country are no longer automatic default BN voters. They may not necessarily be PR supporters, but they are now in the category of "persuadable voters". And they are watching what UMNO and BN does.

    I believe GE 13 will come sooner than most people realise. Najib will looking to cement his legitimacy, and also maybe think he can get rid of the pesky PR state governments once and for all.

    Najib may be in for a nasty surprise.

  13. Rather than explain by using the variable cultural or moral norms like graciousness, we should look at other variables, eg. the incentives and structure of our political system to analyze our political deadlock. I assert that it is because Malaysia is not a real democracy, without the required checks and balances that flows out of separation of power between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. We have had 50 years of one-party government that has subverted all our political and judicial institutions. Hence, in our winner-takes-all political system, the stakes are extremely high for the political actors in Penang, and anybody (even Americans) in their shoes would fight back with a vengeance to regain their ill-gotten wealth and power.


  14. Ktemoc's blog becomes boring and directionless when he is not demonising Anwar Ibrahim.

    All the other things he talks about are petty.

    What to do, Anwar has not been making any waves lately.