Master-mind-games

The most recent political manoeuvres and shifts even gotten those who propped Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ability and sincerity to bring about ‘change’ to Malaysia in the lemon they sold to Malaysians the past two and half years of effective Pakatan Harapan-ship.

Malaysiakini story:

Mahathir must step down to save Reformasi

COMMENT | Our decision regarding PM’s imminent embrace of Umno defectors could determine nation’s fate for generations to come.

COMMENT | It should be plain by now that we are on the threshold of seeing the reincarnation of Umno through Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his party Bersatu.

Soon, the scores of Umno MPs will dwindle to a handful, with almost all the defecting MPs migrating to boost up the small number of Bersatu MPs, making the latter party one of the largest, if not the largest component party of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.

What’s wrong with stuffing up Bersatu with ex-Umno MPs that would increase Harapan’s total numbers?

There would be nothing seriously wrong with that actually, if Umno had not almost ruined the country with astronomical corruption, corroded the entire government administration, and fractured the country with unbridled racism and religious extremism – and if the country was not being led by a dubious reformist leader, Mahathir.

Mahathir has shown unmistakable signs that he is reverting to his previous mode of autocratic rule in the Umno era, during which he destroyed democratic institutions, enhanced racism and brought rampant corruption and cronyism, which system of governance later served as a foundation for former premier Najib Abdul Razak to launch his world-renowned massive kleptocratic frolics.

Mahathir is no reformist

That Mahathir is no reformist is evidenced from his refusal to abolish the myriad repressive laws and dismantle racist institutions, like the brainwashing set-up of the National Civics Bureau (BTN) as pledged before the last election.

His reluctance to bring in institutional reforms is also seen in his persistent refusal to disclose the reports of the Committee for Institutional Reforms and the Council of Eminent Persons. It is obvious that the revelation of those reports would have embarrassed him for his lack of action in the direction recommended in such reports.

**********

This call came following the report about former Minister and UMNO Supreme Council member Dato Seri Hamzah Zainuddin’s statement of the agreement to defect after he and five other UMNO MPs proclaimed their severance from the nationalist party.

Hamzah: 36 BN MPs pledged support for Dr M

This includes those from Umno, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah and MIC.

Larut MP Hamzah Zainuddin, who left Umno today, claimed that 36 BN MPs have signed a pledge of allegiance to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“There are 33 from Umno, one from Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah and two from MIC who signed (letters of) support for the prime minister. This was not decided a day or two ago. It was decided about a month ago.

“This group sincerely want to ensure that the government (of the day) is stable and ensure that no one uses Parliament to dethrone the PM because we are hearing suggestions (of such).

“If the political situation is not stable, it would cause problems to the people. That is why we want stability and we support the PM to lead. This is all in the nation and the people’s interest,” he said, according to Berita Harian.

When asked if Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was aware of this development, Hamzah replied that the “boss” was unaware.

When asked if Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was aware of this development, Hamzah replied that the “boss” was unaware.

When asked if Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was aware of this development, Hamzah replied that the “boss” was unaware.

************

The fact is that, the Pakatan Harapan Government under Prime Minister Dr Mahathir’s Leadership have progressed very little into eighth month into power.

Only two out of the top ten ‘Change Agenda’ has been rolled out. Even that is in progress and have not achieved the success they promised to Malaysians.

One is the crucifixion of ‘UMNO Bogeyman’ ghastly stories, which currently the outrageous multiple criminal charges thrown against UMNO Leaders in the like of former Prime Minister Dato Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, UMNO President Dato Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Treasurer Dato’ Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor.

Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman is also on the hit list and expected more would be added.

This, on top of the last weekend’s massive converge of Malay-Muslim in a thunderous show of force which spooked the Non Malays, particularly PKR-DAP.

It is translated in DAP Emperorissimo Lim Kit Siang’s comment to the fate of the ‘Reform Agenda’ in the nothing-new ‘Malaysia Baru’.

The Malay Mail Online story:

Kit Siang: Malaysia Baharu won’t last without Malay support

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) must strive to win over the Malay community to ensure the country’s revival since the general election is not erased, said DAP’s Lim Kit Siang.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, the Iskandar Puteri MP said the dominant community’s backing was crucial in order for the pact to remain in power and implement its intended visions and reforms.

There is a need for more Malays to come on board. This (the 25 to 30 per cent) was enough for May 9 — for a change but it is not enough for a revival.

“[…] We must be able to increase the Malay understanding (of the government) and their support. More Malays must take ownership (of the change),” he told the news portal.

However, he said that efforts to convince the Malay community to back PH must be balanced with preserving the backing of the country’s other communities.

Failing that, Lim predicted that the PH government would not be able to stay in power.

“The ‘New Malaysia’ will fail, and we can go back to pre-May 9,” he was quoted saying.

He warned of the spreading “toxic politics of hate and fear” and cited the rally against the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination organised by PAS and Umno recently as an example.

While he said both parties were in decline, effort must still be made to counter their narrative.

Lim previously told Malaysians that true change will not be possible within a single term under PH, noting that the pact needed to undo over six decades of alleged abuse and corruption inflicted on the country by the previous government.

While PH managed an unforeseen victory in the general election, it did not do so with strong support from Malay voters.

Polls by think tanks such as Ilham Centre and Merdeka Center have placed Malay support for the coalition to be as low as in the region of 17 to 20 per cent.

**********

Obviously the neighbourhood of quarter of million in demonstration of precision peaceful assembly, not to mention rubbish-free, send tremors through the spine of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir’s party PPBM.

As the supposed voice of the Malays in the Federal Government, there are not able to amass vectorially enough attention and support.

In short, their politics don’t resonate the sentiments and conviction of the Malay-Muslim majority.

Political analyst Joceline Tan’s most recent column:

Wake-up call for Pakatan govt


ANALYSIS

The Islamic flavour, the sheer numbers and single-minded purpose of protesters at the anti-Icerd rally means that the government cannot afford to ignore what the Malays want. 

A 93-YEAR-OLD driving through the streets of Kuala Lumpur does not sound like a good idea. But Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad showed that he still has a steady pair of hands as he drove into the city centre on Saturday.

According to a staunch supporter, Firdaus Abdullah, the Prime Minister wanted to see for himself the aftermath of the biggest Malay-Muslim protest in history.

Dr Mahathir is famous for scolding the Malays, be it for not remembering the past, for not working hard and, more recently, for not being more critical of corruption.

But he must have been pleasantly surprised to find that those at the mammoth anti-Icerd (International Con­ven­tion on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination) rally that ended an hour or so earlier had done a fantastic clean-up job and left the streets even cleaner than before they descended on the city centre.

Many have described the rally as a “class act” – the protesters were disciplined and did not resort to rude sloganeering or uncivic behaviour as was the norm in past mega rallies.

It was conduct that even Dr Mahathir, known for his exacting ways, could not find fault with and it has also silenced many critics out there.

It is hard to guess what is going through his mind in the wake of the biggest challenge to his New Malaysia government.

A lesser man would have panicked, but Dr Mahathir has been rat­her sanguine in his response to the whole thing.

Besides, he could hardly blame the other side for what had happened because the Icerd issue was what KRA chief strategist Amir Fareed Rahim called an “own goal”, resulting from a total miscalculation on the part of Pakatan Harapan.

It was the golden opportunity for the Opposition to prove that the majority of Malays – two-thirds, to be exact – are not with the Pakatan government.

And prove it they did on Dec 8 when their supporters turned the streets of downtown Kuala Lumpur into rivers of human beings.

“Identity politics, especially of race and religion, still has a strong appeal in Malaysia. The two major Malay opposition parties have shown that they can unite over such issues and mobilise their support base,” said Amir.

It was a purely Malay-Muslim protest that set off alarm bells in the Mahathir administration.

The Prime Minister will be under pressure from now on to consider the Malay factor when making government policies.

“Many Malays feel they cannot rely on the government to defend their priorities on Islam and Malay rights. If this goes on, it will affect the credibility of the government,” said an aide to a Bersatu politician.

A common remark on social media was that this is a wake-up call for the powers-that-be.

At the peak of the rally, Yin Shao Loong, a policy officer to the Economic Affairs Minister, had tweeted in response to those belitt­ling the rally: “Make all the snide asides you want about this being a rally for racism or a cover for crooks. This mobilisation is a wake-up call. PH needs to get out to the Malay heartland with people and policies that will have a transformative impact.”

The Pakatan government is too consumed by the blame game which they believe can carry them through to a second term in Putrajaya.

Some say it is unfair to expect so much so soon of the new government which is floundering in unchartered waters.

“People talk of a honeymoon period, but when you are the government, there is no honeymoon. People who put their trust in you expect you to deliver right away,” said the above Bersatu aide.

A more subtle signal coming from Saturday’s rally is the overwhelming numbers of young Malays, especially those in their 20s and 30s.

It means the Opposition has support from the Malay youth cohort.

In short, the Malays/Muslims will have the biggest say over the future of Malaysia.

“The Pakatan government needs to tread carefully on Malay issues. Its Malay support base is too narrow, it needs to put serious attention and effort to win the Malay hearts and minds,” said Amir.

There is little doubt the rally sent jitters through the Pakatan side even as their supporters tried to discredit it.

The concern was not only about the size, but the way the protesters moved with a single-minded purpose. The rally was sending out the message that when Malays are united, anything is possible.

Pakatan leaders know the danger of mega protests, be it the Arab Spring or what is now happening in the streets of Paris.

Their own support for the Bersih rallies chipped away at the then government’s hold on power.

“The government is not in any real danger. But it will be a bumpy ride ahead if issues like the economy are not properly addressed,” said election expert Datuk Prof Dr Redzuan Othman.

The government has resembled a chariot being pulled by horses running in different directions.

A couple of horses seem to be running on broken legs, and that is why Dr Mahathir may have to respond to the wake-up call by reshuffling his Cabinet, among other things.

He needs to fix his chariot soon and replace some horses, because by May 2019, he will reach the mid-point of his two-year tenure, or what is known as the lame-duck phase as Prime Minister.

Unless, of course, he plans on staying on indefinitely.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/analysis/2018/12/10/wakeup-call-for-pakatan-govt-the-islamic-flavour-the-sheer-numbers-and-singleminded-purpose-of-prote/#hsruOqpA5mmZvTm1.99

***************

Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir has not able to deliver the ‘change’, though the propaganda is still harping on the ‘Malaysia Baru’ which has proven to be anything but lame and defective.

The common man of the street is already feeling the heat of the ‘change’ is heading down south.

Amongst many things, often Prime Minister Dr.Mahathir’s tendency to travel and working abroad is more prevalent than him spending time amongst the pockets of diverse Malaysian communities and interests.

Presently, he is on his second trip to Thailand in three months. His thrice visit to Japan in six months and failure visit to China, is still talked about.

Never mind the ‘Reform Agenda’. Basic statistics already worrying. Domestic economy, retail, tourism, oil and gas, foreign trade, foreign relations are already heading the other way, in rates digressing steeper than expected.

Federal Government investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd already lost RM65billion worth of market capitalisation as the the psychological market confidence factor in the translation of KLCI index dipped touching 1650 points on the bearish trend and exchange rate of USD to RM hit above 4.20 and on the uptrend.

Considering that the global price of oil and gas is on the bearish trend, the cost of production is actually going up. The latest news of Federal Government agreeing to the rise in electricity tariff would have pivotal effect across the board.

This is not what the majority of Malaysians signed on when they booted out Barisan Nasional from power on historical date of 9 May 2018.

Perhaps they have somewhat bought into the ‘UMNO Bogeyman’ hollow-win stories. However, the reality is that the biggest loser is the Malay-Muslim, which is the largest bit of Malaysian composition.

Inter-race relations is at its most precarious position since the May 1969 racial riots.

Anti-ICERD Rally Demonstrates The Malay-Chinese Divide

Amy Chew, CNA

They came by car, train and buses from across the country in the tens of thousands, turning the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, into a sea of white last Saturday (Dec 8) to rally against the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Stirred by Islamist party PAS’ call that the rally was a “jihad” and former ruling party UMNO’s exhortation for “Muslim unity”, the protestors went ahead despite Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announcing ICERD would not be ratified.

The huge turnout showed how race and religion became tools for the opposition to mobilise the masses against the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“I came here to defend Islam. We worry the government has merely delayed and not cancelled the ratification of ICERD,” said 51-year-old PAS member Surizan Sulaiman, who travelled by car from Kuantan, Pahang.

The opposition parties – UMNO and PAS – claimed ICERD threatened the position of Islam and the special rights of the Malays in the country.

ICERD USED BY UMNO’S ELITE TO DIVERT ATTENTION FROM CORRUPTION CHARGES: ANALYSTS

Analysts suggested UMNO had seized on ICERD to divert attention away from the corruption allegations facing several of the party’s senior leaders.

Former prime minister and president of UMNO Najib Razak is currently facing 39 charges of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power. Several other senior members of UMNO have been charged in court.

“UMNO’s elites saw this ICERD as an amazing opportunity to divert attention from the corruption cases, court trials, by using a very powerful issue – the notion of what the nation is and the position of Malays,” said political scientist Chandra Muzaffar, president of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST).

PAS, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to boost its standing.

“PAS saw a huge opportunity to strengthen their political position. PAS does not have to grapple with corruption, for them it is mobilisation, something which they are very good at grassroots, to boost their standing,” added Chandra.

“The way it (ICERD) was presented to the Malays by the opposition …there was a lot of distortion, even downright lies. ICERD in no way threatens Islam, the monarchy, Malay rights,” said Chandra.

“ICERD allows for affirmative action … this means it does not threaten the special privileges of Malays,” he added.

ECONOMIC ISSUES CONTRIBUTED TO TURNOUT: ANALYST

Thrown into this mix was the unhappiness of those rural Malays – the fishermen, farmers, rubber tappers – who feel that they are being sidelined by the new government.

This cocktail of racial and religious brew inflamed passions that were on full display last Saturday, prompting analysts to warn it could potentially turn into a flashpoint if the situation is not managed well by all parties.

“It (ICERD) really hurts Malay sentiment. Don’t push us too hard. The word ‘amok’ comes from Malays. If Malays are very angry, they can become irrational. We don’t want that to happen. We want peace,” said Dr Mohd Khalid Kassim from PAS who stressed that he was speaking in his personal capacity.

“We must ensure ICERD is out indefinitely in Malaysia as it affects our religion and Bumiputra privileges,” he said.

Bumiputra, or sons of the soil, refers to Malays and indigenous people in Malaysia.

“I think the big turnout reflects the growing discontent amongst the Malay constituencies and signals PH to not take the rural voters for granted. Many fishermen, rubber tappers and Felda settlers feel that they are being sidelined by the new government,” said Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, senior analyst at BowerGroupAsia.

Felda refers to the Federal Land Development Authority, a government agency which was founded in 1956 to develop land and handle the resettlement of rural poor into newly developed areas to organise smallholder farmers growing cash crops.

“While race and religion may have been the headline for this rally, cost of living, affordability of goods, opportunities for employment and affordable housing will be the deciding factor in the next election,” said Asrul.

NEW GOVERNMENT FACES BATTLE TO MAINTAIN SUPPORT AS FORMER REGIME PUSHES BACK

Equally significant, last weekend’s events were an example of the difficulties that are typically seen to plague new governments that oust long-running regimes.

In the case of Malaysia, Pakatan Harapan unseated UMNO which had ruled the country for 61 years, making it one of the longest-running regimes in the world.

“After many decades in power, the old regime forces have numerous supporters and stakeholders throughout bureaucratic, governmental, legal and community institutions with a great deal to lose,” said Professor Greg Barton, chair of Global Islamic Studies, Deakin University.

“Many resort to publicly supporting reform whilst covertly undermining it.

“Invariably, they (new government) face both open push-back, and more insidious attempts at covert meddling, from the ancient regime forces,” said Prof Barton.

“Whenever there are clashes or tensions along communal lines, that ostensibly appear to be racial or religious in nature, there are competing elite interests that are attempting to mobilise mass support by inflaming communal tensions,” he added.

Prof Barton pointed to Indonesia’s chaotic transition from an autocracy to a democracy in 1998 when sectarian violence erupted and claimed many lives as an example.

“This was very clear in Indonesia two decades ago under the reformist transitional presidencies of BJ Habibie and Abdurrahman Wahid,” said Prof Barton, who wrote a biography on Wahid.

ECONOMY, MERITOCRACY KEY TO PH SURVIVAL

‘I think the lesson learnt from the anti-ICERD rally is that the government should not move too quickly just to appease the vocal urban voters,” said Asrul of BowerGroupAsia.

“Such an entrenched mindset (on race and religion) must be tackled tactfully through engagement and education,” said Asrul.

Political scientist Chandra said the government could practise meritocracy in place of ratifying ICERD.

“You start by tending to the needs of people regardless of ethnicity, reward people on the basis of excellence and ability. Make those changes even if it’s gradual,” said Chandra.

“At the same time educate people, develop their understanding of society,” he said.

Asrul said there is a need for Pakatan to focus on the needs of the majority in order to retain support.

“PH government should focus on quick and easy wins that affect the majority to keep the momentum of winning the general election and defeating Najib Razak. Difficult issues such as ICERD should be tackled with a more long-term strategy in mind,” said Asrul.

“For Malaysia to transition through this difficult period of consolidating democratic reform, and to achieve its full potential, will require exceptional leadership from every quarter of Malaysian society,” said Prof Barton.

**************

In many ways, UMNO as the nationalist party is the symbol of Malay-Muslim, which is the fundamental of mainstay Malaysian politics for over seven decades. UMNO managed to gel the Malay-Muslim support, which is clearly demonstrated even at the point of demise Barisan Nasional’s power, the party formed by Dato Onn Ja’afar and amalgamated and consolidated 29 Malay NGOs in May 1946 is evidence the unity that could be fostered when push comes to shove.

Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir’s PPBM is unable to match that. They maybe at the helm of power by the de facto of a very fragile marriage-of-(in)convenience-between-bakcstabbing-strange-bed-fellows, it is clear the party of former UMNO leaders is very thin on nationwide machinery and grassroots support.

Even in the Malay-Muslim majority constituencies.

The sentiments The fear on the projected path of for the Fifth and longest serving UMNO President (original and ‘UMNO Baru’) is his wrath for the damnation of the nationalist party, which was a member for almost the majority part of his seventy two years in politics.

The Malaysiakini story:

Mat Hassan: Kami rayu Dr M tak bubarkan Umno

Lu Wei Hoong
 (Dikemaskini )

Mohamad Hassan menjelaskan bahawa pertemuan beliau bersama empat pemimpin Umno lain dengan Perdana Menteri Dr Mahathir Mohamad bukan bagi membincangkan keputusan untuk meninggalkan parti itu.

Sebaliknya, kata timbalan presiden Umno itu, mereka merayu kepada Mahathir supaya tidak membubarkan parti berkenaan, yang pernah dipimpinnya selama lebih dua dekad.

“Ia hanya kunjungan hormat,” katanya kepada Malaysiakini, hari ini.

“Tun M (Mahathir) kata Umno akan dibubarkan. Kami merayu kepadanya supaya tidak berbuat demikian,” katanya.

Mohamad menyifatkan perjumpaan itu diadakan dalam suasana yang mesra.

“Tun menerima kami. Saya pernah bekerja di bawahnya. Belanja kami sate dan macam-macam.

“Dunia ini bukan sahaja mengenai politik. Ia mengenai hubungan. Kami membuat kunjungan hormat dan pada masa sama kami kata, ‘tolong jangan bubarkan Umno’. Dia janji tidak akan berbuat demikian,” katanya.

Dalam hantaran di Facebook sebelum ini, wartawan veteran A Kadir Jasin mengesahkan gambar tular pertemuan perdana menteri dengan pemimpin Umno itu sebagai tulen dan berlangsung pada Oktober.

Selain Mohamad, antara yang turut hadir dalam pertemuan itu ialah bekas menteri wilayah Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, bekas menteri kpdnkk Hamzah Zainuddin, bekas menteri undang-undang Shahidan Kassim dan bekas menteri pembangunan luar bandar Noh Omar.

[Baca berita penuh]

************

The demise of UMNO as a nationalist party and spoils of of victory is probably Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir’s man-possessed scheme of things objective.

The manœuvres and shifts within UMNO are at leaders’ level and not the main body, which the grassroots. By cutting of the head and straggling resources and access to assets, is most likely to get UMNO imploded and the over three million ordinary members disorganised and unable to be mobilise for anything.

Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir’s obsession with his own political agenda and interest above the nation’s and at the expense of the aspirations of majority of Malaysians, is a mind-boggling master-stroke towards uncertainty, with mathematical permutation cannot be projected.

It is not surprising that his Machiavellian mind is strategising the ‘Divide and Rule’ and keeping the Malay-Muslim’s between UMNO and PAS wedged, as the two have more in common and working towards a new ‘Melayu Baru’.

In the absence of a proper succession plan and the agenda is have newly elected PKR President Dato’ Seri Anwar “Mat King Leather” Ibrahim despite the biggest share in the ruling Federal Constituency to not succeed as the Eighth Prime Minister.

The fear of de facto Eighth Prime Minister Anwar is apparent in his comment and tone upon getting his reaction of the massive exodus of UMNO MPs and leaders from Sabah and Semenanjung, which is about the diluting the power base of his own support.

This is not withstanding that the manoeuvres and shifts of MPs would create the imbalance of his own clout within Pakatan Harapan. It is mind boggling of Anwar’s influence of confidence and support from the valued Sabah and Sarawak combined 58 MPs, which is over 26%.

The other King Maker is the support of DAP. Combined with the centrally controlled party of 42 MPs, that is over 40% of the Dewan Rakyat. Then again, Anwar would have to come up with a very good offering to get DAP into his scheme, which is a possibility of having the first Non Malay Deputy Prime Minister formula.

A crystal-ball muddled, in so many clouded diversions rapidly flashing without any pattern.

It is a three-dimensional game of Risk and Chess, combined played by a very seasoned and strategically minded politician, whose productivity as a man still working full time as a Group Chief Executive of a very large firm of 1.6 million employees over the age nine three, itself is a medical miracle.

This is as the rest of Malaysia is fixated on the three-dimensional game of Master Mind, all and sundry.

One is reminded of the glaring comment of the son of Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir, who is also his party’s Deputy President and currently the Menteri Besar of Kedah, when the two were in the height of running down then UMNO President and Fifth President Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, “Nothing new”.

Dejavu adds the complexity of these, mind games.

Advertisements
Published in: on December 15, 2018 at 22:30  Leave a Comment  

Haliza: We would bring development that should have been here

BN candidate for Batu Pahat Parliamentary seat Haliza Abdullah promised for the development that should have brought to the town but instead taken for other satellite towns.

“I will not promise you the sky but I would ensure that the development which should have been brought here but instead went to towns like Seri Gading and Parit Sulong”.

She spoke to the Chinese voters in a temple Jalan Jenjang, in own one of the oldest towns in Johor.

Apparently, she has been to a temple everyday to meet the Chinese voters since the XIV GE campaign started last Saturday.

She then on for three other venues.

Haliza is the Batu Pahat BN Wanita Chief and the first woman BN candidate for Batu Pahat.

Published in: on May 4, 2018 at 23:30  Leave a Comment