Saturday, August 28, 2004

Merdeka! Really?

Its the 47th Celebration of Independence (Merdeka) for Malaysia (Malaya to be exact as Malaysia only came in 1963), the National Day Parade will be held in Kuantan. And Kuantan will be packed jam with visitors as they expect about 200,000 visitors will be in town for the Celebration. I am proud of the fact that I was born during the British Colonial era, saw Independence Day being declared, and went through the thick and thin of nation building for Malaysia though I have never was given a major part in the nation building process but I must say that I have contributed my share. However there are certain aspects of Malaysia norms and daily events which I must comment, especially in the political scenes. And I must confess that in this area I have been only a bystander. But whatever happens in the political scenes still affect my life, my people now and generations to come.

There is no better secenes to describe the real happenings in the political arena but during an Election. Be the Election a General Election or a By-Election, the scenes are almost identical. In the General Election there are more people involved and the activities are wide spread whereas in the By-Election the activities are more concentrated and the air is heavier. During the time of writing this article there is a By-Elction going on the Trengganu State seat of Kuala Berang, called due to the demise of their previous State Representative. In writing this I have used certain harsh words, satire now and then and sometime I have tried to use pun to create a bit of humour. To me politic is all play acting thus the need for some play acting methods of write ups.
Malaysia election or erection? In Malaysia it is NOT the man that people vote for, it is the Party. The man only gets voted by being candidate in that Party. That is why as I said in one of my earlier write up, when a man contests in the Election as a candidsate for a Party, he/she can be a ‘monkey’ and still may win the election. Its a real monkey business in politic.

Malaysia fears the Party. If you are not in the ‘Party’ you may be sidelined, you may not get aid (AIDS is a dirty word but accepted by Malaysian -especially the Malays- like flies to dead carcasses) and without aid the Malays cannot survive. So the Malays mostly vote for the Party that they are familiar with and which have track records of aiding them and in giving them subsidies, moneywise especially. But in some places, it’s the religion that they vote for, as the Malays who are Muslims also fear the after-life. So the Malays have choices between UMNO and PAS. What are these? UMNO is United Malay Nationalist Organisation and PAS is Part Islam Se - Malaysia (in Jawi its spelt as Fa - Alif - Sin but when translated into Romanise alphabet it becomes PAS) - Malaysian Pan Islamic Party.

Why I said ‘aid’? Let us look at the profile of a Malay who may be a member of UMNO or PAS. A Malay who is an UMNO member have 90% chance of being awarded Government Contract, get businesses, get taxi licences, get low cost houses (now they call them affordable houses), get everything that they want just by being in the Party and when in trouble bring all their woes to the power that be. And the ‘power’ is usually someone high in the Party heirachy. And by being in the Party and voting for the Party candidate, you are assured of your aid and also assured that your woe not only get listened to but attended to as well. So you become rich and can own big and expensive cars and can live in exclusive areas with big houses and your children assured of getting good education, and later your children also joining the Party (on being adults) and maybe become a ‘power’ or become famous. I am not just speculating, But I know. I have a neighbour who is very rich because he is a Party official, another neighbour who has to join the Party just to get a low cost (affordable) flat, another neighbour who looks to be very active in the Party as he own a second hand car business, and some Professional who have been asked to join the Party if ever they want to be considered to be awarded Governments Contracts. And so they all join the Party. Once you are in the Party you are taken care of, even the annual subscription is paid for you if you forget to pay, the Party doing it just to maintain its large membership number – and so can boast that it has a large following. But in reality, one only will know if the number is that big by counting the votes that the voters vote for that Party during the Election time. There is no such thing as the Party members number being audited by any independent auditor.

The profile for a PAS member may be as follows. (But not necessarily so as UMNO now has taken in a lot of people with Islamic religion background into their fold to fight PAS. Like if you cannot fight them, then you join them – in this case make them join you). A PAS member may look very religious (though not necessarily so) wearing their white skullcap and quoting the Koranic verses and the Hadith when they make speeches (even some UMNO members who has no religious teachings background also quote Koraanic verses and Hadith sometimes when they make speeches – though they may not even understand really what they quoted). A PAS member probably wear Baju Melayu (the Malay dress) but of course not with songkok (black velvet Malay cap) but instead with white skullcap. Or they may even wear the Arabic dress, white (or sometimes green or black) ‘jubah’ Demographically they are quite poor, living in the kampong and mostly non-Government servants. Some PAS officials may drive big cars (not as big as those UMNO officials) and they may own some small retail business or they may be a Headmaster in an Islamic religious school or they may even be petty traders. Not many make it big (other that professional like Doctors) as all their paths to wealth are blocked by UNMO, being the ruling Party in the Government. And if PAS members become too big, then they are cut down to size as maybe their bank loan will have very stringent conditions attached. So their profile is quite different from that of UMNO members.

With such different in profile you can predict how the votes are going to swing in any Election in Malaysia. Of course there are the exceptions. But these exceptions suffer materially when that happens.

Now as go on, when I say UNMO after this, it also covers the other Barisan Nasional (BN) components (National Front, a combination of parties collaborating in managing Malaysia and forming the Government when they win an Election). When I say PAS after this it also includes other small political parties contesting against the BN. These used to have a Alternative collaboration (they used to call it BA) but it broke apart as each small party has different visions.
Malaysia is a funny country in that sense when coming to politic and the Election. The Party who was in power after the previous Election is still called the ‘Government’, even though Parliament might have been dissolved. The others are called Opposition. Funny but its true. And being the ‘Government’ then they still rule. They control the mass media (newspapers and radio stations and TV stations in Malaysia are controlled strictly by the ‘Goverment', some newspapers are owned by the ‘Government'). The result? The so called ‘Opposition’ has very little chance to get to the voters. Not only the chance is restricted in that sense, but also the period of campaigning for the Election is very short. Its only about 8 days after Nomination Day in the last General Election. In the olden days it was two weeks of about that period. So the path is very difficult for PAS (and other ‘Opposition’ parties) to gain ground. Sometimes you get fed up of watching the TV or listening to the radio or even read the local press. What the ’Government’ does is always projected as the ‘good’ and what the ‘Opposition’ does is always projected as the ‘evil’. And the public just listen (as they say in England "You open your legs for old England"). Anyway they will not be able to do anything to counter such ‘Government’ propaganda as they have no mean to, no mass media and if they go overboard they get held under the ISA. What is ISA? You have to find that out yourself. So a member of the public like me just grins and bears.

I use ‘erection’ for a purpose. The Election is mean of being elected into power and a mean of making wealth. And there is plenty of wealth to be made if you are in the right Party, and that wealth and power may go to your next generation, thus an erection of your dynasty. I must say that there is talk of controll now but we have a long way to go in Malaysia.
So politically Malaysia is still not that matured. Malaysia fears its own shadow, it cannot trust itself neither its citizen. In this part of the world, Singapore, Thailand and Indoenesia to my mind are far ahead in their political maturity. After 47 times celebrating our independence from the British rules we are still tottering about politically.

To shout back, e-mail:

To Shout Back


Anonymous malaysia is no future country said...

First of all, are we (the non-bumis, that is) really to believe that the government will abolish or tone down the New Economic Policy in the near future? We must be realistic, if you have the right to buy a property at a discount and have scholarships for your children, would you let go of these rights?

With Chinese population dwindling in Malaysia, what needs to be done depends on the Chinese themselves.

There is nothing wrong with the brain drain. In fact, we should encourage our children to move to Singapore, Taiwan, China etc. if we disagree with Malaysian government policies that are based on race and religion.

When it comes to the matter of the dwindling number of Chinese Malaysians, we should talk about quality, not quantity.

We should resolve why the Chinese-Malaysian population is reducing. Official figures have more than one million Chinese Malaysians emigrating over the past 25 years. Why did they emigrate? I am sure the government knows.

Straight A students can't get scholarships or university places. Nothing new, it is been that way for the past 35 years. Nowadays, even enlightened malay Malaysians are speaking up on this injustice. The MCA and Gerakan? Busy making money from private colleges.

What is so great about having TAR College or Utar which took more than 35 years of begging? Why should it be so difficult to set up an independent university when we have scores of public ones?

While we push young talented people away, other countries notably Singapore, the US and Australia welcome them with open arms.

Is it logical that we drive away our young talented ones and then invite retired Mat Sallehs to live here and exploit our low-cost of living?

Singapore's success in particular owes much to these ex-Malaysians or their descendants including Hon Sui Sen, Goh Keng Swee, Goh Chok Tong, just to name a few.

About 30 percent of top management in both Singapore's government and corporate sector are ex-Malaysians. We export them so that Singapore can compete with, and then whack us.

Korea and Taiwan, both way behind us in the 70s and 80s are now way ahead. Thailand is breathing down our necks.

Sadly, there is just no integrity in the nation's leadership.

10:29 AM  
Blogger mylias said...

You want my frank opinion, here it is.
Abolish NO! Tone down MAYBE! UMNO is too entrenched, so you and I have to live with it, whatever promise they make anywhere in this country. PAS, I am not sure - they have not got the Government yet.
Nobody in their right mind will let go the privileges. See what happened at the recent UMNO meeting.
Agreed, the Chinese have got to decide what to do.
Brain drain? It happens everywhere, from India and from China, even from US and UK. The world is now borderless. Each to decide where to migrate to.
Are we really worried about the dwindling Chinese Malaysian population? Not much noise have been made in the press on the subject. Migrating? Yes, I have met some riends in Australia, infact a Chinese neighbour of mine is there. Free education for their children they say. Is that the only reason? 3 of my Malay class mates are staying put in Australia. So its not only the Chinese!
Scholarship? Even children of a Malay like me do not get scholarship nowadays. I pay every sen to educate them up to U level. Most Malays can afford that now except that Malays have this 'subsidy' menatlity. They should have pride and get rid of this 'subsidy' mentality.
Private U are just racial pride to me. The attitude of 'what you can do, we can also do' should be got rid of. But still we need these private U as the Government doesn't seem to be able to build more public U. Too much money have been spent on PUTRAJAYA and PROTON.
Agreed, Aust & other countries welcome Malaysian. Its just we in Malaysia are not bright enough to value our graduates. THere is too much 'nepotism' and probably still a lot 'corruption' Its the 'you know who' and not 'you know what syndrome'. But in reality, are our graduates really of quality? I think not, many are just 'bookworms' and 'frogs in the well'.
OK if we have Mat Salleh, at least they open our eyes to alternate way of life.
Our leadership, what leadership?

12:50 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home