Archive for the Pakatan Rakyat Category

KT poll: Impact on Chinese voters

Posted in Pakatan Rakyat with tags , , , on January 19, 2009 by ckchew

Malaysiakini

analysis

MCPX

The Kuala Terengganu by-election was another victory to savour for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat, as a reminder of the ‘political tsunami’ it caused last March and the embedding of another seed toward an alternative government.

kuala terengganu by election pas candidate mohd abdul wahid endut win 32883On Saturday, Umno’s candidate Wan Ahmad Farid lost to Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut (left) of PAS, who clinched the parliamentary seat with a majority of 2,631 votes.

Many Malaysian urbanites were in joyous mood the morning after. In coffee shops, hawker stalls, shopping malls and homes, there was lively discussion of the impact and ramifications of the by-election results for the country’s political future.

There was little sympathy for Umno which had obviously received another slap in the face despite being able to call on the superior resources of the Barisan Nasional (BN) –  money, machinery, human resources – over the intensive 10-day intensive campaign.

Many urban Malays even see the outcome as reflecting the turning tide in the Malay heartland against the once powerful Umno hegemony.

“Umno can no longer claim to be the champion of the Malays,” said Hussein, 60, a newspaper vendor in Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur.

Echoing the view, chartered accountant KS Goh, 58, of Pandan Desa said: “This is a victory for Anwar (Ibrahim) and Pakatan. It no longer matters whether Umno or MCA are in constant self-denial (in rationalising the loss of electoral support).

anwar kuala terenganu by election 070109 02“Only Anwar’s leadership could forge such a victory. Pakatan is on track (to be the alternative government), God willing.”

At the Pudu market, a hawker, who only wanted to be known as Chan, was obviously excited about the prospect of a two-party system.

“There is now a glimmer of hope in fighting corruption, abuse of power and totalitarian methods of political control,” said another hawker, who joined in the conversation.

But the honest outpouring of enthusiasm at the grassroots was in great contrast to those walking the corridors of power. Those in the BN leadership showed no regret over the loss of yet another parliamentary seat.

‘Don’t blame MCA’

Will MCA be content to wait for Umno to make more mistakes and eventually come to grief of its own accord? Until now, MCA has shown more interest in protecting its turf by rejecting any suggestions that it shares the blame for the defeat.

MCA has claimed that Chinese votes have increased in support of the Umno candidate in KT, particularly in the Chinese-majority polling districts.

According to party sources, Kampung Cina, Pejabat Bandaran, Paya Bunga, Pulau Kambing and Pantai Terengganu have shown higher Chinese electoral support for BN.

This is despite the fact that the final tally shows Pakatan has walked away with the majority vote in all four state seats within the parliamentary constituency.

Umno, in the old days, was known as the “unstoppable fighting” election machine. But the devastating losses for the BN last March has undermined confidence in that assertion even within the ruling coalition.

MCA, in particular, did not take it for granted that the KT by-election was a ‘sure-win’ situation for Umno and had begun raising its defence against potential apportioning of blame.

Just five days before polling day, MCA Youth chief Wee Ka Siong had said: “Umno should not blame MCA…in order to win, BN must get votes from all races.

“Mathematically, even if the 11 percent Chinese voters give their 100 percent support (to Umno’s candidate) but the rest (89 percent) cannot deliver, it will be the same result (losing the election). Finger-pointing is not the answer.”

On the same day, MCA secretary-general Wong Foon Meng evaded the issue saying, “as far as MCA is concerned, all the votes from the various communities are important”.

He also downplayed the perception that Chinese voters would play the role of king-maker, adding that “…in the event of BN losing the seat, you cannot say the Chinese factor contributed to that”.

Political observers have said that some 3,000 young Chinese voters did not return to vote in the by-election.

Umno implosion anticipated

Some analysts point out the Chinese factor will not be the only crucial factor in determining the outcome of the next general election.

Umno’s greatest enemy is its own leadership, which looks set to implode. Not only will it destroy itself, but it will bring down other component parties, particularly the MCA.

With Umno’s obstinacy over internal and electoral reform, there is genuine fear in MCA that the next political tsunami will be even more devastating – even leading to the likelihood of BN being wiped off the electoral map.

As far as the Chinese community is concerned, the writing is on the wall. Negative perceptions toward MCA or Umno will reach saturation point and the electorate will no longer care whether BN parties undertake leadership reform. If the Malay heartland finally abandons Umno, BN is as good as dead.

The influence of the Chinese factor via MCA is diminishing, as the community leans towards a stronger position in Pakatan.

They see MCA as incapable of changing Umno’s destiny, as it merely navigates its journey according to the whims and fancies of its political master.

Jian feng shi duo (sail the boat according to the wind) is a popular saying. If MCA only acts or reacts to Umno’s political wind, this will result in disaster for the party.

Impartial party watchers said the KT by-election has shown up BN’s underhanded tactics, arrogance and hypocrisy, while illustrating MCA’s subservience and silence on alleged widespread money politics during the campaign.

A popular Chinese idiom describes the BN’s campaign speeches as kong kou shuo bai hua (making empty promises) and kou shi xin fei (being insincere).

Other BN-coalition members could not care less whether the campaign was bankrupt of political wisdom and integrity, so long as they stumbled to a win.

“It no longer matters to them whether the campaign runs contrary to MCA’s politics, Chinese ethical-moral philosophy and Confucianism,” said a supporter, referring to allegations of money politics.

A teacher, well versed in the Chinese ‘art of war’, asked with sarcasm: “What is the use of (BN) having qian jun wan ma (1,000 soldiers and 1,000 horses)?

“When Pakatan raised its flag, the battle was won (qi kai de sheng, or victory was easily achieved). Money politics can no longer buy electoral victory or public trust and respect.”

He added that there is hope for the country now because there are conscientious voters among Malaysians irrespective of race.

After KT, there is hope for Sarawak

Posted in Pakatan Rakyat, PKR with tags , , , on January 19, 2009 by ckchew

Malaysiakini

“It looks like there is now hope for Sarawak.”

MCPX

This was the text of a SMS from a KL-based senior bank manager, a Lun Bawang, after reports on Saturday night that PAS had crushed the Barisan Nasional and won the Kuala Terengganu  parliamentary seat with a 2,631-vote majority in a by-election.

This would be the second win for the Pakatan Rakyat after the March 2008 general elections, confirming waning support for the country’s ruling coalition.

anwar and sarawak state electionThe Orang Ulu senior bank manager, a PKR supporter, was referring to PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim-led  Pakatan Rakyat’s (PKR/DAP/PAS) campaign already underway to wrest control of Sarawak from the BN in the next state elections due at the latest by 2011.

He said: “The KT result confirmed for the second time, after Permatang Pauh, that the wind of change that swept the country on March 13, 2008  is real and here to stay.”

“In fact it is gathering strength instead of dying out as the BN would hope!”

He added: “To the Sarawakians it says the moment of truth is now. It’s time the voters show (Chief Minister) Taib Mahmud the final curtain.”

There has been talk that long-serving Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud may call the state elections earlier.  Although he has publicly ruled out elections this year, many believe it will be to pave the way for his son Sulaiman, 39, the Samarahan MP and deputy tourism minister, to eventually take over from him.

‘Change in the making’

Almost without any exception local PKR party leaders and supporters said the Kuala Terengganu by-election result which many people had believed would be won by the BN would be a big boost to the morale of Pakatan Rakyat, believing it to reflect the national mood for change.

sarawak state seat 2006 breakdown 011208In its major roadshows so far in places like Kuching, Sibu and Miri, PKR has proclaimed that “Change We Can” and “Change in the Making” as their campaign theme in both urban and rural areas of Sarawak.

Sarawak has 71 state assembly seats , of which  eight are in the hands of the Opposition (DAP 6, PKR 2) and one Independent (pro-BN).

Senior leaders of state BN component parties Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak United People’s Party(Supp) have already warned their BN colleagues to take the threat from Pakatan, especially PKR, seriously.

Even within Taib’s own party Parti Pesaka Bumiputera (PBB) some senior leaders – all Malays – have told the chief minister not to take the threat from PKR lightly.

But Taib doesn’t seem worried or seem to care, said several political observers.

PKR  has already penetrated far and deep into Dayak areas which represent a total of 28 state seats while DAP’s support among the Chinese, especially in the urban centres, is growing too.

This will be at the expense of largely SUPP. DAP’s six state assemblypersons won in urban areas, and political observers say DAP is likely to make greater impact the next round in more areas in central (Sibu) and northern (Miri) Sarawak regions.

DAP eyes Chinese majority areas

There are 17 Chinese majority and mixed state constituencies ,most of which are likely to be contested by DAP with a few going to PKR’s Chinese candidates.

The Malay/Melanau areas with a total of 25 state seats  are going to prove to be a tough nut to crack. Taib’s PBB has a strong hold on the Malay/Melanau seats.

But the vulnerable ones are said to be in and around Kuching ,in Simunjan, Gedong and Sibu, largely because of local issues and problems. In the last state elections, PAS lost narrowly in one of the Malay seats in the Simunjan area.

A combined Pakatan Rakyat campaign could have a significant impact, just as what has been seen in Permatang Pauh and Kuala Terengganu.

If the Pakatan Rakyat were to win also in Pensiangan (a by-election will be held if PBRS leader Joseph Kurup lost his appeal), that would further confirm a swing among the rural constituents towards the Opposition and spell big trouble for Sabah BN in the next general elections as well.

In Sarawak, the Opposition has played up to great effect, various issues regarding the growing disquiet over the land issue, Taib’s leadership, amassed wealth of top politicians in the state, cronyism, nepotism, corruption and marginalisation of various groups in business, civil service and other economic opportunities.

PKR will continue with its roadshows ahead of the state elections and will bring in their bigwigs, including Pakatan Rakyat’s chief minister and mentris besar, to meet the locals and give a boost to their local party leaders’ efforts to shore up support for their respective parties.

The three major dinner gatherings in Kuching, Sibu and Miri have attracted thousands to come and listen to such leaders as Anwar Ibrahim and Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

Other road shows will be held in other major towns in Sarawak with seminars in between to prepare party members for election work.

A senior party leader told Malaysiakini that they will expose their potential candidates at such gatherings and seminars to the grassroots. “We believe the state elections could be held this year and so we must be prepared,” he added.

As Wahid settles down to work in KT, Pakatan looks ahead while Umno-BN look for a scapegoat ~ Malaysiakini

Posted in Pakatan Rakyat with tags , on January 19, 2009 by ckchew

Change doesn’t happen just because you promise it will. It comes from within and from above. Firstly, you must have the ability to intellectualise and visualise reform, then conceptualise and formalise change. Voters – such as in KT – will intuitively know if you are for real or not

By Wong Choon Mei, SK

As the dust settles on Kuala Terengganu, and perhaps drowned by the panicked screams of the losing coalition looking for ways to shift blame, only a few remembered and sought to reassure the people of this pleasant and peaceful town that come what may – life can only improve.

Among them was Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the revered spiritual adviser of Pakatan Rakyat partner PAS.

“Don’t hurt the feelings of the opponents because if they are hurt, it will be difficult for us to convince them of our struggle,” said Nik Aziz, referring to the slew of election goodies, worth billions of ringgit, promised to the KT people by rival coalition – the Barisan Nasional.

The site of a parliamentary by-election contest polled last Saturday, the people of KT have been the centre of national attention the past two weeks.

The final choice of the people – Pakatan’s Wahid Endut, the KT chief of PAS – will not immediately alter the balance of power in the nation. Control of the federal government still lies in the hands of the Umno-led BN.

But the victory is an unmistakable signal that Malaysians want the brand of change and reform promised by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and his coalition.

“The victory is proof that the people are truly thirsting for change,” the charismatic 61-year old Anwar said.

“Wahid is a five-term Wakaf Mempelam assemblyperson. If he is not good, the people wouldn’t have voted for him,” said PAS president Hadi Awang, reiterating the party’s commitment to serve the KT people with sincerity and without fear.

Pakatan looks ahead

As Wahid settles down to work and normalcy returns to the serene, seaside town, the winds of change are beckoning Anwar and his Pakatan allies to go next to the Land of the Hornbills –  East Malaysia’s Sarawak state.

The similarities there run deep with KT. A rich state government, but swathes of poverty-stricken masses, who trail far behind their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia in terms of education, job opportunities, infrastructure facilities and basic amenities.

The state government, currently led by BN Chief Minister Abdul Mahmud Taib, is due to hold election in 2011. But there is widespread belief that the date will be brought forward to this year, with the ageing and frail Taib forced to do so in order to consolidate his family’s hold on power.

“This is a great start to the new year 2009. After the previous by-election in Permatang Pauh, the people in KT have shown they still don’t want the BN,” said Dominique Ng, KeADILan supreme council member.

“We have been preparing the groundwork and instilling confidence in the people of Sarawak that reform will finally come to their state. And from what has been seen so far, we are confident of getting a huge majority, enough to turn Sarawak into a Pakatan-governed state.”

Not the right stuff

Meanwhile, as Umno and the 14-member BN coalition it leads perform their post-mortem on KT, political watchers say it is plain for all to see what went wrong.

“They have promised to change, but it is clear that they haven’t and they won’t. If they knew how to, they would try because of political survival and expediency. But they can’t because they don’t know how to,” said a political analyst who requested anonymity.

“Especially at Umno and MCA – the new leaders there are status-quo people. The best they can ever do is to repackage themselves. But to be able to think out of the box, to have the will to introduce changes and reform – because this is something that ultimately comes from the ability to think and to intellectualise differently – now,  this is beyond both Najib and Tee Keat.”

He was referring to deputy premier Najib Abdul Razak, who is due to succeed Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in March, and Ong Tee Keat, MCA’s president who was elected last October.

Najib in particular has drawn the biggest attention. The wealthy scion of one of Malaysia’s best known political families has been in the public eye for 33 years, and throughout much of this period, has been dogged by a series of scandals involving alleged graft and corruption.

Lately, it was also alleged that a beautiful Mongolian woman murdered in Malaysia in 2006 had been his mistress. The murder trial is now on-going with two police officers belonging to a special unit tasked to protect him accused of the killing. Najib has denied he ever met the victim, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Shifting the blame

According to critics within Najib’s own Umno party, the blame for the KT loss must be shouldered by him as he personally directed the election campaign, and is also the party’s incoming president.

“The people rejected Umno in its present form and style and they rejected its leadership,” said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a veteran Umno leader and MP for Gua Musang in neighbouring Kelantan state. “I am full of admiration for the hardworking party members who toiled for two weeks on a local struggle. But we lost because of a national problem.”

However, there are also attempts by Najib’s camp to push the blame to Abdullah, as he prepares to step down soon.

And as expected, former premier Mahathir Mohamad has rushed out to defend his protege Najib, ironically using the issue of corruption as the basis for his contention.

“I think Najib is not to be blamed but if he continues to elect or support corrupt leaders then I think he will lose the next general election,” Mahathir said.  “Leaders who are discredited, who are involved with corruption, are still being chosen as candidates.”

Mahathir has himself been accused of big-time corruption in the past, and currently faces possible prosecution over allegations of having tampered with the appointment of judges to influence the outcome of cases.

Meanwhile, Abdullah stood out as the only leader in the BN pack who reassured KT people that they would not be punished for choosing to vote for change.

“When I received the news, definitely it saddened me. But what is important, BN and Umno should accept the verdict of the people,” said Abdullah.

“For BN and Umno, we will continue to serve the people in the constituency particularly because we regard the result as not a decision because of which we will forget the constituency.”

Pakatan forms council to counter federal discrimination ~ Malaysiakini

Posted in Pakatan Rakyat with tags on January 18, 2009 by ckchew
By Neville Spykerman

ALOR SETAR, Jan 18- A formal Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Chief Ministers Council and Secretariat was established today to counter what they claimed is discrimination by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Speaking to the press this evening after meeting his fellow PR mentris besar, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said they were fed up of being left out by Abdullah, who only met with Barisan Nasional menteris besar.

“When MBs of all states meets during the Council of Rulers, we are excluded by the Prime Minister, who meets only BN MBs separately at the end.”

Lim said they were left with two options, to either go back to their states or wander the streets of the city they were in.

“We have been patient for nearly a year and as leaders who are democratically elected by the people we felt we had no choice but to form the council.”

The establishment of the new council was formally called the Mentaloon Declaration by Kedah  MB Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak who hosted the meeting in Dewan Sri Mentaloon, which is at his official residence, here.

He said the council will be used to co-ordinate the activities of the five states and was necessary to reduce miscommunication between leaders.

“Many feel that we (PR Chief Ministers) are contradicting each other and through the council we hope to sit together and iron out our differences.”

Perak MB Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said the council will meet at least twice a year and will be chaired by the menteri besar hosting the event.

Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the Council was an opportunity for them to exchange ideas and learn from each other.

“It will also enable us to manage our states more effectively.”

Kelantan MB Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat was at the meeting earlier but did not attend the press conference. MI

Nik Aziz: Be gracious about victory

Posted in Pakatan Rakyat with tags , on January 18, 2009 by ckchew

Malaysiakini

PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat urged PAS and Pakatan Rakyat leaders to be “a gracious winner” and not utter snobbish remarks that could hurt the feelings of those who lost in yesterday’s Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election.

MCPX

The Kelantan menteri besar said any negative statement following the victory would put the party in a bad light.

“Don’t hurt the feelings of opponents because if they are hurt, it will be difficult for us to convince them of our struggle,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

In the by-election, PAS won the Kuala Terengganu seat by a 2,631-vote margin.

BN’s Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh polled 30,252 votes while PAS’ Mohd Abdul Wahid, who is Wakaf Mempelam assemblyperson, polled 32,883 votes.

Independent candidate Azharudin Mamat @ Adam polled 193 votes and lost his deposit.

Nik Aziz, who is grateful for the victory, said it was a meaningful one as there were signs that the non-Muslims, especially Chinese voters, had began to understand PAS’ objectives.

Not disappointed

Meanwhile, Azharudin said he was not disappointed with the defeat and would consider contesting again in future elections.

Saying that he accepted the result with an open heart as he had already done his best, the independent said the experience had taught him a lesson on the need to make a thorough and early preparation.

“I don’t feel disheartened at all… I am aware that the people are voting for parties and not individuals,” he added.

Asked whether he would join any political party in the future, he said, it was not something impossible.

On his disappearance throughout the polling day yesterday, Azharudin said, he was at a mosque praying for the best.

He also urged the winner to fulfil the promises made and for BN not to be discouraged by the result.

“I myself will try to fulfil my promise,” he said.

Pilihanraya KT akan jadi Inspirasi Rakyat Serawak ~ Malaysiakini

Posted in Pakatan Rakyat with tags , , , on January 18, 2009 by ckchew

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 JANUARI (SK) – Kemenangan Pakatan Rakyat di Kuala Terengganu akan menjadi inspirasi rakyat Serawak untuk melaksanakan perubahan.

Menurut Ahli Majlis Pimpinan Tertinggi KeADILan (MPT), Dominique Ng dengan kenyakinan pengundi di Kuala Terengganu, rakyat Sarawak kini mempunyai kenyakinan untuk berubah.

Tambahnya lagi Kuala Terengganu telah menunjukan kekuatan rakyat untuk menolak Barisan Nasional serta menunjukan sokongan kepada Pakatan Rakyat.

“Ianya adalah permulaan untuk tahun baru 2009 serta selepas Permatang Pauh, rakyat telah terus menolah BN,” katanya ketika dihubungi Suara Keadilan pagi ini.

Dalam Pilihanraya Kecil Kuala Terengganu, calon Pakatan Rakyat yang diwakili oleh Pas, Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut telah menewaskan calon Barisan Nasional Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh dengan majoriti 2,631

KeADILan dan Pakatan Rakyat katanya kini sedang bekerja keras untuk membawa perubahan kepada Sawarak. Menurutnya, beliau yakin Pakatan Rakyat mampu merampas Serawak.

“Kita sedang mempersiapkan kerja bagi membawa keyakinan terhadap rakyat disini. Dan saya yakin kita mampu mendapat majoriti yang besar seterusnya menjadikan Sarawak negeri Pakatan Rakyat,” katanya lagi.

Anwar: KT bukti rakyat tolak kepimpinan Najib ~ Malaysiakini

Posted in Pakatan Rakyat with tags , , on January 18, 2009 by ckchew

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 JANUARI (SK) -KETUA UMUM KeADILan Anwar Ibrahim berkata kemenangan Pakatan Rakyat dalam pilihanraya kecil Kuala Terengganu membuktikan rakyat tidak lagi menerima Barisan Nasional dan kepimpinannya.

“Umno telah hilang kekuatan di kubu mereka sendiri. Kekalahan di Kuala Terengganu bermakna rakyat menolak kepimpinan Najib (Razak),” kata Anwar.

Anwar menambah kekalahan BN juga adalah kekalahan peribadi Najib kerana sebelum ini dia berkata pilihanraya ini adalah kalah mati (do or die) bagi beliau.

Mengulas lanjut, Anwar berkata perpaduan di kalangan parti-parti dalam Pakatan Rakyat merupakan faktor kemenangan di dalam pilihanraya ini.

“Kemenagan di Kuala Terengganu ialah kerana, Pas, KeADILan, DAP telah berkerja sebagai satu pasukan seperti mana yang ditunjukkan ketika pilihanraya kecil Permatang Pauh tahun lalu. Tahniah diucapkan kepada Pas dan Pakatan Rakyat,” kata Anwar kepada Suara Keadilan.

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