Thursday, January 15, 2009

The hearts and minds of the voters

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Thursday, 08 January 2009 12:59
The Chinese in Terengganu have a love-hate relationship with PAS. Okay, maybe it’s not quite a love-hate relationship as such. But it would certainly qualify as a love-not love relationship. To sum up what one local-born Chinese said: we love PAS Kelantan and wish PAS Terengganu would be just like them.

Well, PAS Kelantan is PAS Kelantan and PAS Terengganu is PAS Terengganu. And for that matter PAS Kedah, PAS Perak and PAS Selangor are separate entities in their own right as well. Many people make the mistake of looking at PAS as one party. However, as I have said before, PAS is actually not one party but a collection of many PASess, each state being independent of each other and of the centre as well.

The message PAS needs to send to the Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu is that they are not being asked to choose a new government or to change the government. They are just being asked to elect a new Member of Parliament for Kuala Terengganu -- which is a vacant seat anyway, so no one is being replaced or changed. Therefore, there is not going to be any change of government either at state or federal level.

The issue of Hudud is not really that serious an issue except to those weak in arithmetic. These weaklings do not appear to understand, or pretend to not understand, that Malaysia has 222 Parliament constituencies and two-thirds of 222 is 148. This means PAS will need to win 148 Parliament seats to form the federal government with a two-thirds majority and with the required majority to amend the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

This has been explained so many times in the past. And it has also been explained that PAS contests only 60 seats, far short of the 148, and they win less than half the seats they contest. In 1999 they won 27 seats. In 2004 they won 9. And in 2008 they won 23. How in heaven’s name can PAS amend the Constitution when this is all it can win?

I have said this before, many times, and I will say it again. PAS can never in 100 years win more than 35 Parliament seats, never mind how many seats they contest. They can contest all 222 Parliament seats and they will still win, at best, 35 seats. Most likely, though, PAS will win less than 30 seats.

Now, some are arguing that PAS can always team up with Umno to get their two-thirds majority. Aiyah, Umno has only 78 seats in Parliament. Combined with PAS it would be only 101 seats. Did I not say they need 148 seats to have a two-thirds majority? Even then you are assuming that the 13 Umno Parliamentarians in Sabah will follow the 65 in Peninsular Malaysia. I dare take on any bet that if Umno decides to merge with PAS to turn Malaysia into an Islamic State, at least 10 of the Umno Sabah Parliamentarians will jump ship.

Sigh……it is most tiring having to keep repeating this same issue and present the arithmetic for all to see. Yet, many still repeat the same questions in spite of this repeated explanation and even with the arithmetic glaring you in the face. I am sure many readers are as tired of reading this explanation as I am of repeating it to those thick heads who still don’t get it.

On the positive side though, many Chinese have said they find PAS a better government in some respects compared to Umno. They took me to their building built on a piece of land that the PAS government gave them. Under Umno the Chinese were not able to get any land.

The Kuala Terengganu Chinese are also aware that the Perak government is trying to convert at least 150,000 pieces of land from TOL to freehold but the federal government is blocking the move. The reason the federal government is blocking the effort by the Perak government is simple: the beneficiaries are mostly all Chinese.

Don’t think the Kuala Terengganu Chinese do not know that the move to block the conversion of TOL land to freehold in Perak is mainly because the Chinese -- who will end up owning this land -- will become richer by RM1.5 billion, overnight. In fact, the Kuala Terengganu Chinese too are facing the same problem. They have been residing in Terengganu for more than 200 years and yet they can’t get land and the only land they own is TOL.Now, even that is going to be taken away from them. After the Kuala Terengganu by-election on 17 January 2009, the state government is going to acquire quite a bit of Chinese land for development and beautification purposes. The state government is not making too much noise about the matter but the Chinese already know about the plan. Even their temple that goes back centuries is not going to be spared.

Yes, the Chinese are most unhappy and would like to see Umno given a kick in the teeth. However, in the same breath, they do not want to ‘rock the boat’. How can they have it both ways? You can’t fry the egg unless you break the shell. And more than mere shells need to be broken if you want to send Umno a message. And we hope to see this message delivered on 17 January 2009. That is all for now from Ground Zero in Kuala Terengganu. The rest of my report will be in pictorial form.

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