Friday, August 29, 2008

Yeh, yeh, kita menang!

Thursday, 28 August 2008 13:45

Tell your friends and family that the son of Malaysia Today has taken over the fight of its father. And this son is called Also tell them that the fight is going to get fiercer. The son wants to avenge the death of its father.

Government to target blogosphere next

The Malaysian Insider, 26 August 2006

Next up: a crackdown on bloggers. This possibility looms large after the government reached a sober assessment that it could all end in tears for the Barisan Nasional at the next general election if tough action is not taken to counter allegations on the Net and hold owners of blogs accountable.

This conclusion was reached during a meeting last week involving several Cabinet ministers and senior government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.Government officials noted that some 400,000 new voters are registered each year. Assuming that the next polls are in five years, there would be two million new voters the next time the BN seeks a fresh mandate. A large chunk of these two million voters are likely to obtain their news and information from websites and blogs, and not from the mainstream media.

Several ministers noted that if the government followed its current policy of allowing allegations by bloggers to go unchallenged, this would create the perception that the information being posted is accurate.

"There is a growing consensus in government that those who run websites and blogs should be held accountable and this means that laws should be used to take action against those who defame and spread disinformation."

If not, we are going to have a situation where everyone will be free to make all sorts of allegations with no downside at all. There is a fear that the trust level with BN would be very low if nothing is done, '' said a senior government official familiar with details of the meeting.

The prevailing mood in the government against the alternative media is one of frustration. After decades of being able to control newspapers and television stations through a raft of legislation, government officials and politicians are finding that their tools are useless in setting boundaries for new media.

At last week's meeting, an official of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) explained that the authorities have not come down hard on websites and bloggers because Section 3 of the Communications and Multimedia Act prohibits any form of censorship.

But government officials corrected him and said that the guarantee that the Internet would not be censored did not preclude legal action from being taken against bloggers for defamation and sedition.
Request for action under section 263(2) of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 In exercising your duties under section 263 (1) of the CMA98 act in preventing the commission or attempted commission of an offence under any written law of Malaysia or otherwise in enforcing the laws of Malaysia, including, but not limited to, the protection of the public revenue and preservation of national security as provided under section 263(2) of the same act , the commission hereby requests to undertake the actions under section 263(2) of the CMA 98 with respect to the following url/web reference:

http// .
To request all internet service providers in Malaysia to block access to the website. The abovementioned url address has been found to be in contravention of section 211 and 233 of the act. (Letter from MCMC to all ISPs, 26 August 2008)
Dear Anil,Your biased live coverage of the PP buy-election was disgusting to say the least. It seemed like the Barisan Nasional was non-existent in PP. The fact that more than 15,000 people voted for Arif Shah is testimony to BN’s popularity. If it were not for the roughhouse tactics of the PKR goons, more legitimate voters would have made it to the polling stations. You and your ilk ought to be detained under the ISA and the keys thrown away.

You are partisan, unfair, biased, and a false witness to the events in PP. Like the 31,000 odd who voted for Anwar, you are ungrateful for the development and progress wrought by the BN. Honestly ask yourself: Would you even own a laptop or even know how to use the Internet if not for the education that the BN gave you? Just like the other bloggers and commentators on the blogsites, you bite the hand that feeds you. You are despicable and so are Raja Petra and the likes of him.

When the BN government finally wipes out the Opposition from the face of this Earth, we’ll be coming after you and all of your ilk for the lies and ridiculous untrue propaganda that you spread to the innocent rakyat. Unfortunately it seems now that a large minority of the rakyat are stupid enough to pay attention to the lies of the Opposition. The BN will educate them very soon and I assure you it will be a painful lesson indeed.

BN Sakthi!!!( )

Yeh, yeh, kita menang!

Kita menang when the government decided to ask all Malaysian ISPs to block Malaysia Today. The government has finally admitted it has lost the internet war, a war which started way back in 1998 on the birth of the Reformasi movement.

The first government clampdown was more than seven years ago -- on Hari Raya Haji of March 2001 -- when the police arrested me, raided my house, and confiscated my computer. In that incident, Bakri Zinin, the CID Director, beat me up in the police station in front of more than twenty witnesses, one of them my wife. Cikgu Bard, PKR’s candidate for Rembau in the recent general election (versus Khairy Jamaluddin), was also there. In fact, Cikgu Bard was handcuffed to me -- his left hand attached to my right hand. They then detained me, my wife, Cikgu Bard -- plus five others -- overnight in the police lockup.

The following month, I was detained for two months, also for what I wrote on the internet. Since then, over the last seven years, the police have raided my house five times -- the latest was last Thursday -- and they confiscated my computers and other stuff each time. I was called in to the police station for interrogation (they call it ‘to record your statement’) a half dozen times or so and I currently face four charges as well. Over the next week or so I will again have to report to the police headquarters at Bukit Aman for my ‘statement to be recorded’. I am waiting for them to phone me, which will be over the next few days.

On Monday, the eve of the Permatang Pauh by-election, Malaysia Today saw three times the normal traffic. We anticipated this and beefed up our resources to be able to cater for this heavier traffic. This high traffic continued till Polling Day the following day. Malaysia Today was supposed to flash the early election results from around 6.00pm, ahead of the mainstream media. But, as the results came in, and just before Malaysia Today could flash them, the government blocked access to Malaysia Today.

Why did they do this? Simple, they wanted to make sure that the results remained a ‘secret’ in case it was a close-finish. Assuming Anwar Ibrahim’s majority was very narrow then they would not want anyone knowing about it until they decide what to do. If Anwar won by a mere few hundred votes then something could be done to ‘modify’ the final results. But this would be difficult to pull off if the results have already been flashed on Malaysia Today.

Nevertheless, Anwar won two out of three votes casted (66.6%), so the margin was just too wide to manipulate -- so it did not really matter anyway. But if it were a mere few hundred-vote majority then it would certainly have mattered. For example, they could have suddenly ‘discovered’ missing ballot boxes not yet counted -- as has sometimes happened in the past like when they turned Najib’s 1,800-vote loss into a 200-vote win by ‘injecting’ an additional 2,000 ‘postal votes’ that suddenly and mysteriously surfaced.Kita menang when they decided to block Malaysia Today on the day of Anwar’s historic win in Permatang Pauh.

It is very difficult for the opposition to win a by-election. Even if, by any chance, the opposition does win the by-election, never can that win be greater than the general election before that. This time, however, Anwar not only won, but he won with a greater majority than in the general election before that. And that is the greatest win of all. A win not only for the people of Permatang Pauh but for all Malaysians. Because the message sent to the government is very precise: the people no longer want Umno or Barisan Nasional.

Yes, kita menang. It is not just the Permatang Pauh voters or Anwar Ibrahim who menang. It is we, the people, who menang. So kita yang menang.Kita menang because the Permatang Pauh by-election result is not only about Permatang Pauh, but also about the 8 March 2008 Tsunami. They say that 8 March 2008 was a flash-in-the-pan. They say it was something that came and went and can never be repeated. But the Permatang Pauh by-election proved that the 8 March 2008 Tsunami is still very much alive and has not fizzled out. The message to the government is the people still want you out.

Kita menang because they say that only the Chinese and Indians are with the opposition while the Malays are with Umno and Barisan Nasional. No doubt half the voters voted opposition on 8 March 2008 but then only 49% of the Malays did so. Even then, they say, the Malays voted opposition more out of protest and not because they support the opposition. But the Malays now regret voting opposition because they did not think that five states would fall to the opposition and that Barisan Nasional would lose its two-thirds majority in Parliament, they say.

If the elections were held again, the Malays would swing back to Umno and Barisan Nasional, they say. Sure, the Malays voted opposition on 8 March 2008. But they did so just to send a message to Umno and Barisan Nasional and now that this message has been delivered there is no longer any reason to continue voting opposition.

But the Permatang Pauh by-election proved them wrong. There are 69% Malay voters in Permatang Pauh, only 31% Chinese, Indians and Thais. If the Malays had swung back to Umno, leaving only the non-Malays to vote opposition, then Anwar would not have won 66.6% or two out of every three of the votes. It needed a Malay swing to achieve this.

So, kita menang. The Malays did not swing back to Umno and Barisan Nasional. The 8 March 2008 Tsunami has not fizzled out. They now need to block Malaysia Today because they acknowledge that the internet has done a lot of damage to Umno and Barisan Nasional. Umno and Barisan Nasional have admitted they have lost the internet war and the only way they can stop Malaysia Today is to block it.

Yeh, yeh, kita menang! Umno and Barisan Nasional dah kalah! Malaysia Today may be ‘dead’. But the son of Malaysia Today is not dead. It is alive. It is not only alive but it is also fucking mad. And the son of Malaysia Today is going to continue the fight just as Malaysia Today continued the fight on 13 August 2004, which was started by the Reformasi movement in September 1998.

Raja Petra Kamarudin no longer owns Malaysia Today. Raja Petra may have started the original Malaysia Today. But he does not own it any more. Malaysia Today has been replaced by the son of Malaysia Today. And the son of Malaysia Today is owned by the people of Malaysia. The people of Malaysia are keeping the son of Malaysia Today going. It is now called MT Harapan Malaysia and you can access it at .

Spread this message far and wide. Tell all your friends and family that Malaysia Today has died. It died at 6.00pm on 26 August 2008, the time and day that Anwar Ibrahim won the Permatang Pauh by-election with historic results and which has now triggered his march to Putrajaya. But also tell your friends and family that the son of Malaysia Today has taken over the fight of its father. And this son is called

Also tell them that the fight is going to get fiercer. The son wants to avenge the death of its father. And don’t forget to also gloat to your friends and family: yeh, yeh, kita menang!

Ooh, does this cigar taste good!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Permatang Pauh

Thursday, 28 August 2008 08:52

This by-election was all about Anwar Ibrahim and whether or not he could generate the momentum for his push on Putrajaya. Whilst the posters in Permatang Pauh stressed his federal ambitions, he knew he needed to win big in order to revitalise his campaign.


Anwar Ibrahim's rehabilitation – and the future of Malaysian politics – has been decided by the voters of Permatang Pauh, and when I visited the constituency over the weekend I observed many other important themes. Arriving on Saturday evening I headed straight for the ceramahs in the constituency's east. Wet, in the dark and rushing to venues amidst the crush of activists, it was hard to get a sense of this sprawling area opposite Penang island.

When I retraced my steps the next day I got a better impression of Permatang Pauh's geography and its relevance for much of Malaysia. It is bisected by the all-important North-South highway. To its west is the multiracial township of Seberang Jaya - a typical suburban community with a mall, four-storey shophouses dotted with kopitiams and organised boulevards.
To the east are predominantly Malay kampungs amongst expansive rice-fields, leading to Bukit Mertajam on the fringes, where tower blocks mark the constituency's edge. This geography reflects a trend that emerged from the March 8th results. On the peninsula's populous west coast, the Pakatan did better in multiracial constituencies and less so in the majority Malay constituencies where Barisan (and Umno) still prevailed.

"Sitting MPs won't jump unless they're confident that they're backing a winner."

However, in the case of Permatang Pauh there is an interesting irony which holds the key for Umno and Barisan's eventual recovery. On March 8th, Pakatan won the two majority Malay state seats of Penanti and Permatang Pasir whilst the multiracial Seberang Jaya state seat was retained by the Barisan's Arif Shah. A similar trend can be seen in the Pandan parliamentary seat in Selangor where Transport Minister and MCA aspirant Ong Tee Keat survived the tsunami whilst the two Barisan state assemblymen fell to the Pakatan.
That the Barisan and Umno were able to hold onto Seberang Jaya amidst the political turmoil earlier in the year shows that all is not lost for the party of Merdeka. If the Barisan wants to win back multiracial Malaysia they must adopt more candidates with deep local roots, committed to constituency work and able to work across racial and religious differences.

This by-election was all about Anwar Ibrahim and whether or not he could generate the momentum for his push on Putrajaya. Whilst the posters in Permatang Pauh stressed his federal ambitions, he knew he needed to win big in order to revitalise his campaign. The thumping victory was an endorsement for a man whose travails have dominated national politics for three decades. Sitting MPs won't jump unless they're confident that they're backing a winner.

Watching Anwar deliver his speech in Kubang Semang on Saturday night was an eye-opener. After thousands sat patiently in the rain as Ustaz Harun Din and Azmin Ali warmed up the crowd, Anwar was ribald, witty yet serious. He joked about the various strip-searches he'd endured over the years before explaining his position on the NEP and Lim Guan Eng's record as Chief Minister of Penang, all in front of a predominantly Malay crowd.

Tragically there's no one in Umno who can match his intelligence and drive, although his attacks on Khairy Jamaluddin suggests he recognizes ambition. But once again the civil liberties agenda comes to the forefront: Umno won't recoup its credibility until it adopts the reform agenda. Invoking the force of law and institutions of state underline Umno's pathetic condition. Its self-obsession with its own internal polls and uncertain relations with its coalition partners stand in stark contrast to the mounting confidence and focus of the Pakatan. Umno leaders still mistakenly see national politics as a sideshow to the Umno polls.

Finally, driving across Permatang Pauh revealed PAS' overwhelming strength. At every ceramah they were the backbone to the Pakatan's strategy. The Ulama's willingness to lend their moral authority to Anwar in his time of need will inevitably lead to a subtle reordering of the power structure within the Pakatan, an alliance of near-equals. Nik Aziz's visit sent major signals to doubters within the party. But will PKR and DAP curb its less democratic tendencies? Is Pakatan a Trojan horse for a PAS-led Malaysia? Only time will tell.
With Anwar as an MP and leader of the opposition, the public discourse will refocus on Parliament. Still, Anwar's strength is as much a testimony to his extraordinary personality as it is to Umno's decline. If the party can learn from its defeats it will have a future. If not we'll be dependent on Anwar's undoubted charisma as he seeks to ride the three-headed Pakatan coalition to power.

Soi Lek dares Tee Keat to repeat threat to Umno

Thursday, 28 August 2008 08:05

(The Sun) FORMER MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has upped the ante in his media war with party presidential candidate, vice-president Datuk Ong Tee Keat, with a dare to Ong to repeat to Umno what he told the Chinese press lately -- that MCA may pull out of Barisan Nasional if Umno does not shed its "Ketuanan Melayu" policies.

Writing in his blog on Tuesday, Chua, without mentioning names, chided the only man (so far) who has offered to run for MCA presidency for pretending to speak out for the Chinese community.

"One would think that when the only man running for the post of MCA president says the party may have to pull out of the Barisan Nasional if Umno continues to champion the concept of 'Ketuanan Melayu', it should make the front page of all newspapers," he said.

"Instead, it was only reported in Sunday's Nanyang Siang Pau.

"The rest of the Chinese dailies offered up only today some muted reaction to the candidate's suggestion," Chua said, adding that Bahasa Malaysia and English newspapers have steered clear of reporting his statements for now.

He said some people have labelled him (Chua) a "political has-been", and tried to show the party's grassroots, the bulk of whom read the Chinese newspapers, that the endorsed candidate for the MCA presidency is indeed a man with the courage to speak out against Umno.

"But has he really spoken out and articulated the frustrations of the Chinese community?

"What is the reaction of Umno towards such a strong statement from an MCA vice-president and cabinet minister?" he asked.

One would never know, he said, "because it appears the statement so far is meant only for the eyes of the Chinese community".

He said MCA does not need someone who only pretends to speak out for the Chinese but a president who will speak out for all Malaysians and against all injustices.

"It is really insulting to members to think that in this age of multi-culturalism, anyone would choose to put on a show in the Chinese newspapers for the Chinese community," he said.

He dared the "endorsed candidate" to send a letter to Umno, repeating his statement that MCA may pull out of BN if Umno does not shed its Ketuanan Melayu policies.

"He should also officially issue statements that that will be MCA's policy should he become president," he said, adding that if he (Ong) does not write a letter to Umno or have a private chat with the prime minister about what he said, then he would be very rude in issuing a threat without letting the other party know.

If he does not do any of these things, then it would appear he was just hoping to get political support to attain his ambition without actually intending to walk the talk, he said.

Chua, who is regarded as a likely candidate to challenge Ong in the October party election, and Ong have traded barbs in the Chinese press and in cyber space over the issue of moral and conduct for politicians.

His latest tirade was given prominent space in the Chinese dailies yesterday.

Maybe not Sept 16, but Putrajaya is definitely in Anwar's sights

By Leslie Lau

AUG 26 - Now that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has expectedly been returned to Parliament by voters in his hometown, the big question is will he become the next prime minister? The odds are still against him doing it by Sept 16.

For one, he has less than three weeks to persuade enough MPs to defect from the Barisan Nasional. He also needs to quell the problem of mounting disputes between the secular DAP and the Islamist Pas in his coalition. There is also the sodomy charge he will have to fight in court.

But his victory in Permatang Pauh today does give him renewed momentum in his quest to lead the fledgling Pakatan Rakyat coalition to eventually take over the Federal Government. He will use his new position as Parliamentary Opposition Leader to up the ante against the weak administration of Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi.

Anwar will also argue that his victory in Permatang Pauh, a predominantly Malay seat, shows there is significant support for his multiracial approach. After all, the former DPM has openly declared he will put an end to the NEP-style pro-Malay affirmative action policies of the BN government by replacing Umno's "ketuanan Melayu," with his "ketuanan rakyat-. And still he won today's elections handsomely in a Malay seat.

Even the onslaught of attacks against his personal character, from the sodomy charge hanging over him to allegations that he will sell out the country to the Jews and that he approved gambling licences while still in government, did not prevent today's landslide.

Call Anwar the Teflon man if you will, since an independent survey found a majority of the Malay electorate in Permatang Pauh believed the sodomy charge against him is politically motivated.

What the BN leadership should learn from their defeat today is that it is not just about Anwar. Five months after losing five states and a two-thirds majority in Parliament, the BN suffers from a major perception problem. A significant number of Malaysians just do not believe in the BN anymore. The BN is now associated with arrogance, a sense of entitlement, corruption, oppression. The list goes on.

Anwar and the PR, fragile as the alliance may currently be, represents change to significant numbers of Malaysians. And with a flagging economy and high inflation, the sentiment now is against the BN government.

The BN coalition, for so long the best brand in Malaysian politics, is also facing insurrection from within. While the turmoil faced by Umno seems to have receded for now, the other BN parties are becoming increasingly unhappy with their dominant partner's more pro-Malay stance. There has been growing support from within the MCA, Gerakan and other parties to withdraw from the BN coalition.

What is certain is that Malaysia faces more political uncertainty ahead. So will Anwar eventually become prime minister? Maybe not on Sept 16, but a man who can win a by-election and become the leader of the strongest Federal Opposition this country has seen in 51 years just four years after being released from jail cannot be written off.

- The Malaysian Insider

Permatang Pauh: Winners and losers

AUG 26 - Every election produces winners and losers. Here is The Malaysian Insider's take on who emerged from Permatang Pauh with credit and who should hit the soul-searching button.


- Anwar Ibrahim

The Barisan Nasional threw the kitchen sink and everything in it at him but by next sitting he will take his place in Parliament. This all but completes his rehabilitation from a political has-been 10 years ago to possibly the next prime minister of Malaysia. He now faces the near impossible task of persuading at least 30 BN MPs to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat and forcing the collapse of the Barisan Nasional by Sept 16. But for today at least he can savour the taste of victory. And yes, the debate on who should be the prime minister-in-waiting is over.

- Pakatan Rakyat

For the past two months, there have been serious questions over the future of this alliance. Some Pas leaders seemed keen on joining forces with Umno, concerned that Malay rights and the position of Islam were being diluted in Pakatan Rakyat. DAP and Pas also disagreed publicly on who should be the prime-minister-in-waiting and squabbled over the spoils of Election 2008. Guess what? All the differences were forgotten as members of PKR, DAP and Pas descended on Permatang Pauh. They outwitted and outfought the formidable BN machinery.

- Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat

When others wavered, the Pas spiritual leader stood firmly beside Anwar, campaigning tirelessly and defending the Opposition icon against the sodomy charge. By far, he was the single most powerful antidote against Saiful Bukhari Azlan swearing on the Quran that he had been sodomised by Anwar. He has emerged with reputation and image among PKR supporters burnished.


- Umno

The charade is over. This is a party without spirit. This is a party without a leader. Ministers, deputy ministers and other senior party officials all campaigned in Permatang Pauh but it was more out of duty than anything else. There was no fire in their bellies. Some could not care less how Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah performed in the polls. They showed up in the constituency to canvass for support in the upcoming divisional elections in October. One former menteri besar, eyeing a top position in the party, holed up in a hotel and dished out cash to streams of divisional officials. This is a party made of politicians who are consumed with their own interest and completely detached from reality. This could be the beginning of the end of this once powerful party.

- The Barisan Nasional machinery

There was a time when the Opposition used to shudder at the prospect of facing the formidable machinery, the women who used to campaign tirelessly from dusk to dawn, the men who braved the elements to tear down Opposition posters and ferry voters to the polling station. Not anymore. Dispirited, they just did the bare minimum in Permatang Pauh. In fact, it was the Pakatan Rakyat machinery which caught the eye. Their workers displayed the spirit of volunteerism which was once patented by the BN. How the mighty have fallen.

- Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

He was not in charge of the BN by-election team but the president of Umno and the chairman of the BN will not be able to absolve himself of blame for this dismal showing. The unvarnished fact is that he has not been able to inspire his party or the ruling coalition since March 8. If his party workers are listless, it is because they do not see him as a general capable of galvanising the troops in the face of an enemy's onslaught. If his coalition partners are feeble, it is because they do not see him as a leader capable of reviving the BN. In all likelihood, there will be calls for him to speed up the transfer of power.

- Najib Razak

Without a doubt, the deputy prime minister is hurting. The uninterrupted stream of attacks on his character, his wife and allegations that he was involved with the murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shariibuu have damaged him in the eyes of the public. His words once used to carry weight but now they ring hollow. His decision to swear in a mosque that he was not involved with Altantuya did not find popular support. Still, he remains best placed to take over from Abdullah. But he will need much repair to his image before he can claim to have the support of Malaysians.

- Saiful Bukhari Azlan

He claimed it was a coincidence but his decision to swear on the Quran on the eve of nomination day that he was sodomised by Anwar does not look very clever now. A snap poll of 544 Malay voters by the Merdeka Centre painted him as a pawn in a political game. He should stay out of the limelight till the trial begins.

- The Malaysian Insider

Renewed opportunism in Umno

AUG 27 — It's is hardly surprising that Umno leadership pretenders, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, have renewed calls for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's resignation as premier after Barisan Nasional's comprehensive defeat in the Permatang Pauh by-election.

The pressure for Abdullah to step down started right after BN's disastrous performance in the general election but quietened soon after the prime minister and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced a transition plan which would see the latter taking over both the administration and party sometime in the middle of 2010.

Although not unanimously accepted by Umno rank and file, it was enough to buy Abdullah some time to build his legacy and give Najib a chance to resuscitate a tattered public image courtesy of his top advisor's involvement in the gruesome Altantuya murder.

The transition plan scuppered plans by Abdullah's detractors in the party to oust him during Umno's general assembly in December. Most notably, Abdullah chief critic from within his own cabinet, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, was forced to back down from contesting one of the two top posts in Umno to defending his third-tier vice presidency.

Many felt Muhyiddin was forced to retreat because with Abdullah and Najib circling the wagon with the transition plan, there was little support among party leaders and warlords for him to move up the party hierarchy.

Similarly, Tengku Razaleigh's campaign to once again become the president of Umno was losing its momentum. Privately his advisers admitted to fighting a losing battle and the transition plan was as good as a nail in his political coffin.

For Mukhriz, his political career's high point of replicating his father's act of dissent by writing a letter demanding the prime minister's resignation lost any traction it may have generated with the 2010 plan and his own hopes of becoming the next party youth leader were also diminishing with a strong surge of popularity of former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo among grassroots youth members.

So for these Abdullah critics, the result of the Permatang Pauh by-election is another opportunity for them to generate momentum against the prime minister.

They claim that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's victory is confirmation of the rakyat's rejection and repudiation of Abdullah's leadership. The result is a signal that nothing has been done to salvage the situation since the general election and BN needs a new leader before it becomes too late.

Such calls are at best opportunistic. First of all, this was not an election that was winnable for BN. It took place in Anwar's "back yard" and is a seat that has been in the Anwar family for the last seven terms.

From the get go, many in Umno had already conceded defeat and this was reflected in the reality that at times during the campaign it appeared as though Najib was the only Umno leader working the ground.

While admittedly the prime minister's public approval ratings have been sliding, they are still as strong as Anwar's and Najib's. The by-election was fought under very difficult localised circumstances for BN and to use the results to hasten Abdullah's departure would be opportunistic as well as missing the point of the defeat.

Secondly, the by-election was, if anything, framed as a referendum between Anwar and Najib. Again, although this is unfair because it was held in Anwar's stronghold, many sized up both "prime ministers-in-waiting" during the campaign.

Anwar was as relentless in his attacks on Najib and vice versa. The deputy prime minister believed at one point his own credibility was at stake and swore in a mosque that he never met Altantuya or had anything to do in her murder.

If anything, Najib is as damaged as Abdullah after this by-election campaign which means whenever a leadership does transition takes place, it will do little to save the fate of Umno and BN.

To be fair, Tengku Razaleigh understood this and launched his latest salvo against the top two leaders. Mukhriz, on the other hand, was more disingenuous refusing to criticise Najib for tactical reasons relating to his own future career and limiting his attacks to his father's arch enemy, Abdullah.

Thirdly, Umno and BN must understand that this is not the time to mess about with pressure on the leadership. With Anwar's threat of Sept 16 looming, Umno and BN need to hunker down, close ranks and train their guns outwards.

They are already going to be in for a rough ride with Anwar as the parliamentary opposition leader, they cannot afford to waste their time and energy attacking their own leadership especially after a transition plan between Abdullah and Najib was put in place very recently.

Lastly, the calls for the prime minister to step down again demonstrates Umno's ignorance of the real causes for their plunging popularity. It is not Abdullah per se that the rakyat are rejecting but the system that Umno is seen to propagate.

The refusal to reform, the denial of corruption and the inability to appear magnanimous to non-Malay interests continue to characterise Umno. This is what the rakyat is against and they punished Abdullah for it in the general election because he let them down by not moving firmly enough with his reform agenda.

Umno needs to understand that the by-election result was largely due to Anwar and his personal connection with the voters of Permatang Pauh. While there may be many national factors, these alone do not explain Anwar's resounding win.

He is "family" to the people of Permatang Pauh - a favourite son that they believe will be prime minister. To take the result and turn it against Abdullah smacks of sheer opportunism and denial of the root causes for Umno’s and BN's continued decline into obscurity.

- The Malaysian Insider

Anwar's in, Pak Lah's out

AUG 27 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's stunning win at the Permatang Pauh by-election not only cemented his position as the undisputed leader of the opposition in Malaysia, it prompted senior Umno politicians to begin the countdown to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's last day in office.

The majority view is that he has to go by the end of the year if Umno and BN are to stand any chance of checking the advance of Pakatan Rakyat and holding onto to power at the next general elections.

Tuesday night was a repeat of March 8 with Pakatan Rakyat giddy with an electoral success and BN politicians dizzy with another rejection by the public.

But the joy was sweeter for the opposition because their icon not only won but did so in style, trouncing BN's Arif Shah by a 15,671 majority, 2,000 more votes than what his wife obtained five months ago.

The pain was more severe for BN because unlike March 8, they were not caught blind-sided. They poured in millions of ringgit into the campaign, brought their heavy hitters, threw every conceivable missile at Anwar but still ended up losing badly.

The consequences of the Permatang Pauh by-election could be far-reaching, with even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's neatly-packaged two-year transition of power under threat from increasingly disillusioned party members and leaders of coalition partners.

On Tuesday, only two hours after the last box of votes had been counted, senior Umno politicians were in deep discussion over the need for Abdullah to step down, believing that he had lost the ability to check a resurgent opposition.

A check of the voting pattern at 25 polling stations showed that Anwar snared a handy portion of Malays votes and the bulk of non-Malay votes.

Even the Siamese electorate – a traditional bank of BN support – gave their vote to Anwar.

Najib put on a brave face, saying that Anwar's victory proved that democracy was alive in Malaysia. Left unsaid was that the BN defeat showed that not much had changed on the ground since March 8. Despite the raft of promises by Abdullah to reform the system, the public was not moved.

If anything, Permatang Pauh confirmed that Chinese and Indians no longer fear giving their support to the Opposition.

It also confirmed that the umbilical cord between the Malaysian voter and the Barisan Nasional has been severed.

BN politicians have compiled a list of excuses for the heavy defeat, saying that Permatang Pauh has always been Anwar's fortress; that the campaign was pockmarked with allegations and innuendoes and that the electorate was in no mood to support the establishment because of the rising cost of living.

But they all sounded like excuses and could not obscure the fact that BN suffered its heaviest by-election defeat in recent memory.

Never has BN been in a deeper hole. Never has Abdullah Ahmad Badawi faced such a bleak picture.

- The Malaysian Insider

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A triumphant return

Wednesday August 27, 2008


The return of Permatang Pauh’s most famous son to Parliament does not change the equation in the House but his impressive win is a critical stepping stone for his political plans.

MEDIA people making their way up the sloping road to the elections centre at the Tuanku Bainun Teachers Training College at about 7pm to wait for the results of the Permatang Pauh by-election noticed there were very few Barisan Nasional supporters.
That was the first hint the election outcome was not good for the Barisan.

About an hour earlier, news had filtered out that PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had won in several polling stations where the votes were being tallied and leading in all the other centres. Not long after that, the unofficial account was that Anwar had won in every one of the 25 polling stations.

Initially, he had thought of announcing his own victory at 7.45pm at the PKR operations base at Yayasan Aman in the heart of Permatang Pauh. But there would have been a crazy media crush as well as supporters wanting to be part of the victory, so he decided to proceed to the Tuanku Bainun centre where he arrived in grand style with a cheering motorcade, horns blaring and flags flying.

Permatang Pauh’s political son had come home. He had won convincingly, exceeding the 13,398-vote majority of his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in March.
The Barisan’s Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah fought hard but could not match the charisma of Anwar or the dazzling campaign machinery and manpower behind him.

“Where Permatang Pauh people are concerned, you can say whatever you like about him. They don’t care. They just want Anwar Ibrahim. He is very strong in Permatang Pauh,” said Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, his old friend and one-time Umno strongman in the area.

The constituency had stood by him during his time in prison, keeping his wife as their MP. In that sense, the victory they gave him is also a sort of redemption for the tribulations he had gone through in the first sodomy controversy.

This is the first by-election since the March polls and he has shown that he has grassroots support and that the tide has yet to turn for the Barisan. And given the way the sodomy allegations dominated the campaign, Anwar can now claim that people, particularly the Malays in Permatang Pauh, do not believe it.

His team took a multi-racial line in their campaign and the fact that it worked in a Malay-majority constituency is food for thought.

The inner circle around Anwar, which meets to strategise every day, had not been sure that Anwar could do better than his wife shortly after the campaign began.

Rural Malay sentiments were a bit different but they decided to tackle the Saiful issue head-on using some of the top ulama in the country and even the imam who witnessed Saiful’s swearing episode to argue their case.

Their effort paid off as did their campaign, which has been the talk among journalists who had never seen anything like it before.

The early indications also suggested that PKR swept the young Malay vote, especially those in their twenties and thirties. It should set off alarm bells for Umno Youth, which seems to still be disconnected from the young Malay ground. The Chinese and Indian votes have flown from the Barisan coop.

“There is only one sumpah or swearing action that Anwar needs to do and that is being sworn in as the new MP for Permatang,” said Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi.

Anwar’s supporters inside and outside the Pakatan Rakyat are relieved he is back in Parliament.

The last time he was inside the House, he was seated on the front bench, waiting rather impatiently to become the next Prime Minister. This time, he will still be on the front bench but on the opposite side, and he is still waiting to be Prime Minister.

But he will probably find that winning Permatang Pauh is the easy part. Becoming Prime Minister may be as elusive for him as it was before.

It is we who have been buried

Statement on the Result of the Permatang Pauh By-Election

26 August 26, 2008
YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Member of Parliament, Gua Musang
31 Jalan Langgak Golf
55000 Kuala Lumpur

Today, five months after we met with the biggest General Election loss in our history, UMNO has suffered a landslide loss at Permatang Pauh. This despite the mobilization of the entire leadership and resources of a party that has held the machinery of government without pause for fifty years. This despite a campaign that embarrassed and divided the nation with its ugliness. It is time to face the music: it is we who have been buried:

- Our leadership is rejected by the rakyat and, moreover, is rejected by our own members. BN’s vote count was less than the number of UMNO members in the constituency.

- Within and among our component parties we ran a poorly coordinated and listless campaign against a motivated Opposition.

- What scraps of credibility the Prime Minister and his Deputy had left after March 8 are gone.

Today’s report card, delivered to a Prime Minister who is accountable also as Liaison Chief of UMNO Penang and Chairman of BN, is impossible to hide: he does not have the minimal credibility needed to run the country day by day, let alone to take it in the new directions we need to go in a complex world. He may not have the credibility needed to keep the country together. This dangerous situation cannot continue, and it will not.

I appeal to the members of UMNO and of BN’s component parties to stand by UMNO in our hour of crisis, and to take a sober historical perspective. The people of Malaysia and along with them, Umno’s ordinary members, have found their democratic voice. They demand leadership that can be trusted to unite our people, to restore confidence in our institutions, and forge a clear national direction. Today is proof that this wave cannot be held back. UMNO must change. We must begin by renewing our Party leadership. I am confident that by December, we shall.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

The Final Nail In UMNO's Coffin

Matthias Chang
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 15:28

- Najib Can Kiss Good-Bye To Premiership - If UMNO Members Fail to Dethrone The Trinity of Power "The Father, The Son, and The Son-in-law", UMNO Has Forfeited Its Right To Lead and Rule

As expected, Anwar won the Permatang Pauh By-Election. The larger margin of victory is significant as in any By-Elections the ruling party has a decisive advantage as it can marshal the entire government machinery and the mass media to bully the opposition. Yet, the Barisan Nasional failed to roll back the support of the rakyat for the opposition.

Every dirty trick was employed to prevent Anwar Ibrahim from winning but to no avail. On the contrary, each exposé of the clumsy and stupid theatrics angered the electorate further.

Anger against the inept and lame-duck Badawi was the principal cause for the defeat of the Barisan Nasional.

That this by-election is the final warning to Badawi and his family to pack their bags and get out is evident from the sentiments of the non-Malay voters who have made known their views soon after Wan Azizah vacated the seat for her husband.

I had in my article dated 3rd August 2008 which was posted to my website, warned UMNO and the Barisan Nasional to give a walk-over to Anwar Ibrahim to avoid the embarrassment of defeat and to focus on the UMNO party elections so as to regroup and rejuvenate the party.

However, the idiots and bigots in UMNO chose to ignore my warnings and now they have paid the price for their arrogance and misplaced confidence. They refused to accept the outcome of the March General Elections and the blunt message from the electorate that Badawi and his political dynasty must no longer be allowed to plunder and mismanage the country. Enough is enough!

The Deputy Prime Minister by his cowardice and false humility has allowed the sordid state of affairs to continue thereby giving a false sense of security to Badawi that his “leadership” is still needed albeit until 2010.

Since March 2008, there has been growing anger and frustration against the Badawi dynasty and it is therefore a no-brainer for any UMNO leader to conclude that unless this political cancer is removed and removed quickly, there is no hope for recovery from the General Elections debacle. The people demanded immediate action, but none was taken. UMNO was content to maintain the status quo. There was just too much loot to be taken and shared by the power elites for them to consider the wider welfare of the country and the people.

The leader most responsible for the dereliction of duty in safeguarding UMNO and the Barisan Nasional must be Najib, the Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy President of UMNO.

The people were still willing to give him a chance to make amends and the benefit of doubt as to his credibility and integrity by virtue of him being the son of the second prime minister of Malaysia. But he chose to squander the goodwill and political capital given to him by the rakyat. He opted to be the subservient lackey of the Badawi dynasty and for this he was rewarded by Badawi to be his successor.

The people were aghast that Najib chose to be associated with the tainted and failed Badawi regime rather than breaking free from its clutches and to start anew with a rejuvenated UMNO. The straw that broke the camel’s back was Najib’s aping Saiful’s theatrics that he can prove his integrity by swearing in the name of Allah in a mosque! Whatever may be the truth of Saiful’s allegations against Anwar Ibrahim, the entire episode thus far has been a comedy of errors to put it mildly.

The tape recording of Saiful swearing in a mosque disgusted all but UMNO diehards whose infantile minds are such that even the use of religion is fair game in the quest for power!

And for a seasoned politician like Najib to follow a path laden with mines and booby traps, it can only be a case of desperation and stupidity. It is also an insult to the intelligence of the electorate that they would be so gullible as to accept without more that a person can be deemed innocent by the mere swearing in the name of God in a mosque. Why at this juncture? Why not when the Altantuya case first surfaced? Regardless of his innocence or guilt, this one act of stupidity has done Najib more harm than all his previous inept handling of the situation. I have said so many times before, Najib is his own worst enemy! The same applies to the Badawi family.

Najib’s inept handling of the allegations against him has in fact strengthened the perception that his credibility and integrity is no longer warranted and therefore not fit to lead the country.

In the last general elections, the people swung to the opposition because of their hatred and anger for Badawi and his corrupt family and not because they supported the Opposition’s political agenda.

But the victory by the Opposition in Permatang Pauh has indicated that the anger and hatred for Badawi has now morphed into sympathy for the Opposition and the willingness to afford them a chance to prove that they can govern better than the Barisan Nasional.

It will be only a matter of time for this change of perception from being a minority view to that of the mainstream. It can be said without fear of contradiction that Permatang Pauh is a microcosm of the national sentiment.

Let this victory of the Opposition be the final warning to UMNO and the Barisan Nasional.

If you, the leaders of UMNO and the Barisan Nasional fail in your duty to remove Badawi and his family from power and as a result the country plunges into the hell-hole of political chaos, financial ruin and social upheaval, the people will hunt you down and put you on trial to answer for all your crimes. Have no illusions that it will be ugly, for you deserve no better than to be tried as common criminals.

Let me say it here and now, loud and clear:

Tengku Razaleigh, Tan Sri Muhyiddin and Dato Rais Yatim and members of the UMNO Supreme Council, heed the call of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to save UMNO.

Unite and save UMNO and the Barisan Nasional. Take on Badawi and Najib and rescue the country from the jaws of failure or be dumped into the Badawi cesspool of corruption, abuse of power and decadence by the rakyat of Malaysia.

This is the choice each one of you has to make.

There will be no second chance. It is now or never!