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Friday, November 29, 2013

Selangor State Assembly salary boost warranted – Michael Xavier

By Michael Xavier | TMI

I have to confess that my first reaction to the astonishing news of the salary hike was a shocker as the last time we were subject to that news was when the Sarawak State Assembly initiated the move to triple the salary of the house of representatives.

Until I realised that I was reading the news in retrospect to the time when BN was in office. Hey, contrary to the usual undeserving request by poor performing elected representatives of the past, the news, refreshingly comes from the Pakatan government.

Does it sound so bad now? To me… far from it. Khalid has successfully increased the reserves of the State coffers through prudent spending and plugged quite a bit of leakage that the past Selangor government was fond of. It is only after a full term in office, producing results that we can all be proud of that he has now implemented a salary hike.

Can he do better, of course he can. Conversely, when government is corrupt and have their hands stained with people's money through ill-gotten means than, needless to say, that a hike is unjustified and even audaciously scandalous in intent hence the outcry by Pakatan leaders when BN representatives salaries were raised without substantial results to show.

What is RM 39,000 a month for a head of state government when he may be in possession of billions of dollars of "illicit" money from logging concessions and land snatching activities? When a corrupt government raises salary, it is not only wrong, it is repugnant and supremely abominable.

In the case of Khalid and this team, they are not accused of any money swindling activities and have somewhat run a clean and prudent state government.

Let's talk facts from a wider perspective: Singapore with only 5.3 million people, elect representatives that earn in access of US 13,000 (RM 33,000) a month totalling to US 166,000 (RM405,000) per annum. In the 2012 Corruption Perception Index, Singapore is listed No 5 of 170 countries.

Australian MPs earn $118,000 (RM 389,000) and they are ranked No 7 on the 2012 CPI. Canada MPs earn $151,000 (RM 453,000) and they are ranked No 9 on the CPI. Malaysia MPs earn RM6,500 per month, RM78,000 per annum and we are ranked 54 in the CPI. The moral of the story: Pay peanuts and you get monkeys!

We know for the fact that we have many "monkeys" as elected representatives and further aggravated when we offer a thin and measly carrot at the end of the stick. When the Selangor state assemblymen are remunerated handsomely, they are now compelled to serve the people even more diligently and courageously, punctuated with a sense of pride and self-worth. The same should apply for our MPs.

In the long run, we can attract high professional talents to public office including people who will be willing to forgo their corporate and academic high paying jobs to serve the people. So, I record my blessing for the Selangor State Government and I urge them to increase their service to the people by 400%, the same quantum that will enjoy as a pay rise.

For some reason, I strongly believe they will rise to the occasion. – November 29, 2013.

Michael Xavier, consultant and corporate trainer, reads The Malaysian Insider.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Should Penang Island control its population growth?

Since Pakatan Rakyat rules Penang many are comparing the Island with Singapore or Hong Kong but do not realised that both Singapore and Hong Kong are governments by itself with no hindrance/control by a Federal or central government. Though Hong Kong may now be influenced by China one way or another after 1997.

Also since then various NGOs are openly voicing their opinions or objections to how the state government runs the state especially in developments and the infrastructures.

They are very much concerned with the hills, the seas and beaches and rivers, forests, park land and cultural aspects which they term as 'The Commons'. The article in Anil Netto's blog titled Corporate predators eyeing ‘the Commons’ prompted me to write and ask the pertinent question "Should Penang Island control its population growth?"

The one thing that NGOs seldom talk about is population growth. All their fights over environment destruction are due to what, is it not cause by human beings? No doubt human beings can easily be taught how to be environmentally friendly as they can also be taught how to live on trees, but would they. As population grew the need to house them grew as well and the whole cycle begins with developments vs environment(The Commons). To avoid any misunderstanding, what I am saying or proposing is specifically on Penang Island only.

Penangnites must know that Penang Island is already badly damaged in terms of developments and infrastructures by poor planning, outdated National Land Code and Building by-laws. There is no way any government can reverse it provided they dare or can impose strict restrictions on private lands. One example of strict restriction is, any private land less than 5acres cannot be developed (even if it is gazetted as development land). If you can visualized the situation as it is now, you can see small buildings popping up at every corner by private land owners, some land less than an acre.

What are the consequences? Traffic congestion, drainage & sewerage system failure. When the government plan and construct the infrastructures in the early years they did not foresee the future growth hence built the infrastructures as per required at that time. Since then more and more developments, big or small were built and all discharges be it cars, drainage & sewerage from those new developments are connected to the main infrastructures which were built and only cater for in the early years.

There is no way the government can restrict private developments as long as developers comply with the National Land Code and Building By-laws which are enacted by the government themselves. Developments will continue when the demand is there as more people flock to reside on the Island and the local resident population growth itself.

So, can you blame the greedy developers when they are allowed to buy up as many private lands, big and small, comply with the authority requirements and developed them. Is the government to be blamed when their hands are tight by their own laws?

Some may question why Singapore or Hong Kong can do it and not Penang Island. Let me use Singapore as an example how they can developed so well since I was there in the 70's involving in the construction of their HDB flats.

Firstly as per my opening statement, Singapore is a government by itself with no Federal or central government looking over them and secondly, they started on a near clean ground or you can say a fresh start since leaving Malaysia. Not much damages done yet to most of the Island's land. Their planning were done with the future in mind. No doubt they evict with iron fist but they do have other places ready for you before the eviction. The way I see it is that most Singaporeans are willing to 'Move' with their government together in developing the nation or they will die should the nation failed.

How far is Penangnites willing to 'Move' with the government, giving up their lands or old depleted buildings (outside the heritage zone) at nominal prices to make way for newer better development? Many would not since private developers can offer a much better premium.

So, what are we going to do and I can safely declare that no government can solved the Island development problems if no drastic action is taken to address it. And I can also be quite certain that hill developments will be carried out beyond the present 250 feet allowed in 50 years time.

I can suggest three very nasty solutions not popular with Penangnites but may be acceptable to some NGOs.

1) Government acquiring private lands and old depleted buildings by force.

With so limited land for development on the Island whereby 'The Commons' must not be touch what other options does the government have? All develop-able private lands and old depleted houses standing on it must be sold to government at a controlled reasonable pricing. Amalgamate all small pieces of land into a sizable piece where newer and proper affordable housing can be developed. Simply put, remove the old low density and replace with new of higher density.

2) Control the population growth

The population on the Island is set to keep on growing and uncontrolled development will go on till hill development beyond 250feet will be allowed by whoever is the government of the day. To avoid this and the concern of 'The Commons', the government should start finding out how much land is still available for development and calculate the total residential units that can be built including the existing ones. Let us assume the whole Island can allow 3 millions of residential units, present plus future with no more registering of new units. The population should then be controlled at 3millions when all develop-able land have been developed.

The third suggestion is a little far fetched, just a little laugh for enlightenment.

3)Turn Penang Island into a Tourist Island

Move all Penangnites and other residences to the mainland or else where. Turn existing housing areas into tourist attractions, tear down some to turn it into green zone, zoo, theme parks and whatever that can attract tourists. Let the Island grow back to the era before Sir Francis Light landed on the Island. Bring in the wild animals and let them roam wild and free as like the African Safari or The Jurassic Park. The whole Island will practically be a tourist haven. You will have to stay in a hotel if you want to visit overnight and everyone you meet will either be local Malaysian tourists or foreigners. No one live on the Island as residence but as tourist.

Give this a thought: You want to live in a clean, affordable, easy accessibility movement, pleasant environment on an Island that was already badly damaged that can only be rectified by forceful, unpopular amendment of the laws to acquire private lands and old buildings to rebuild a newer and better housing and infrastructures. Would you accept that?

Malaysian media – watchdog or running dog?

BY TESSA HOUGHTON, GUEST CONTRIBUTOR – 17 NOVEMBER 2013 New Mandala

If people use the mass media to inform themselves about their society and about the performance of their politicians, and if they use this information to direct their political choices and participation, then inadequate or inaccurate information is liable to result in misconceived political acts. (Street, 2001: 257)

Malaysia’s 13th General Election (GE13), held on the 5th of May 2013, was the continuation of a historical arc that begun at the 2008 general election (GE12), when the Barisan Nasional (BN), Malaysia’s ruling coalition for the past fifty-six years, lost the states of Penang and Selangor (and Perak temporarily) to the Opposition, as well as their coveted two-thirds Parliamentary majority. This was an unexpected shock to the system that immediately plunged Malaysia into an anticipatory political fervour. After 5 years of delays, civil unrest, and an increasingly unified opposition, with their term stretched to the far edge of expiration (and several state assemblies pushed beyond this point), BN failed to counter Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) message of ‘Ini Kali Lah!’, returning their worst result ever. The BN not only failed to recover a two-thirds majority in Parliament but lost the popular vote for the first time, with only 47.38% support compared to PR’s 50.87%.

The anticipation and tension leading up to and extending beyond GE13 (with widespread accusations of electoral fraud and BN retaining power through systemic gerrymandering and malapportionment), was apparent not just within civil society but also within academia, surely going down as not just the most anticipated but the most researched election in Malaysian history. Non-governmental organisations, too, were on high alert, with extensive scrutiny of electoral processes and authorities. One of the main areas of interest and contention in political, academic, activist, and civil society alike was that of media bias.

The ‘Watching the Watchdog’ GE13 media monitoring project, a collaboration between the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus’s Centre for the Study of Communications & Culture (CSCC) and the Malaysian Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), brought together the intersecting goals of data-based media freedom advocacy and critical media and politics research. With much of Malaysia’s mediascape controlled by BN and its constituent parties through a combination of political/regulatory mechanisms (most notably, the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Sedition Act), and the economic domination and control that exists in a state of symbiosis with these regressive and often selectively-mobilised pieces of legislation, most Malaysians have resigned themselves to newspapers and television news broadcasts full of what is best described as ‘running dog’ journalism, with little of the ‘watchdog’ functionality one expects from a free and independent media.

Several scholars, notably those from the Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Communication, have delineated the political-economic power structures behind this state of affairs (e.g. Mustafa & Zaharom, 1998; Wang, 2001; Zaharom, 2002), and there has been content analysis carried out at both the academic level (e.g. Abbott, 2011) and by NGOs (such as CIJ’s previous monitoring exercises) in an attempt to map the extent of the actually-occurring political bias in the Malaysian media. However, these content analyses have been relatively limited in scope and/or conducted at the article level.

The ‘Watching the Watchdog’ project both expanded the scope of these previous studies (monitoring twenty-seven print, televisual and online media in 3 languages, English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin, across Semenanjung and Bornean Malaysia) (see Table 1).

Table 1: Media monitored by the WtW project

The project utilised a conservative sentence-level methodology, with references to politician and political figures or political parties and coalitions only ‘codeable’ as non-neutral in tone when linguistic data such as emotive or descriptive vocabulary (such as ‘liar’ or ‘experienced’) was present. Some overarching ideological frameworks were accepted as normative – such as economic growth being (in the abstract) something generally perceived as positive – but issues such as hudud were not ‘coded’ as inherently negative, despite this being, in many cases, what was inferred. The methodology was designed to remove as much ‘coder bias’ from the results as possible; to be able to be applied effectively by a cohort of over seventy coders or research assistants; and to provide a granular measure of bias.

References to politicians and political figures were disaggregated into (1) individuals being talked about/mentioned and (2) individuals being used as sources. This allowed us to see which politicians (and political parties/coalitions) were given the highest proportion of unmediated access to the media – who, effectively, is able to use the media as their personal soapbox, and who is not. We used this disaggregation to track not just positive and negative mentions but to track source-level attacks – i.e. who was conducting attacks when used as a source, and which politician or party were they attacking?

The project monitored the month leading up to the election plus slightly beyond polling day – from the 7th of April to the 7th of May. Only election news articles were coded/analysed – no opinion columns or reader comments or contributions were included, with the one exception of the newspaper’s daily editorial if they ran one. Five interim data reports were released in the two weeks leading up to polling day, with two final overview reports on the media’s coverage of (1) politicians and political figures and (2) political parties and coalitions split by language/location/medium, as well as twenty-seven individual publication reports, released to the public on the 17th of September 2013. The full cohort of reports can be downloaded from Scribd.

For the most part, our results statistically corroborate the copious anecdata available. Within the newspapers and television news broadcasts monitored, in both Semenanjung and Bornean Malaysia, in English and Bahasa Malaysia, there was consistent bias in favour of BN and against PR. The volume of coverage dedicated to each coalition and its constituent parties and politicians varied from media to media, with some media groups, surprisingly, dedicating significantly more coverage to the opposition (although for the most part, BN received more coverage overall). However, once coverage volume was contextualised with the data on tone, this unexpected skew was explained – PR may have sometimes received more coverage overall, but they always received much higher proportions of negative coverage and attacks in comparison to BN, who always received the highest proportions of positive coverage. This was true for both coverage of political parties/coalitions (see Table 2) and politicians/political figures (see Table 3).

Table 2: Distribution of Tonal Coverage of Political Parties & Coalitions

Table 3: Distribution of Tonal Coverage of Politicians and Political Figures

These tables show the proportions of tonal coverage within each media group (e.g. Bernama’s coverage consisted of 36% positive mentions of; 39% neutral mentions of; 17% negative mentions of; and 9% attacks on political parties/coalitions), as well as the ratios within each tonal category with regards to their split between BN and PR (e.g. Bernama’s 36% positive coverage was split between BN and PR at a ratio of 1: 0.045 respectively). The top 5 most unequal ratios within each tonal category are shaded grey, with these ‘most unequal’ ratings then extrapolated across horizontally to show ‘repeat offenders’ with regards to unequal distributions of tonal material – i.e. political bias. It is notable that a very pronounced pattern of these ‘repeat offenders’ emerges, as does the overwhelming bias in favour of BN and against PR. The only media groups who do not conform to this bias pattern are the Mandarin newspapers and the online media.

The sourcing practices of all the media groups, with the exception of the online English media, were further cause for concern. Table 4 below shows the ratios of use as source distribution between BN and PR politicians (e.g. Bernama used BN sources 88.81% of the time and PR sources only 3.19% of the time). BN sources are used at much higher rates than PR sources – a fact that is likely attributable to multiple factors, including the vast electoral machinery at BN’s disposal. Causation aside, when paired with the extremely negative or attack-oriented Malaysian political environment, and the tendency for these sources to be attacking the opposition (as can be seen in the individual publication reports), this skewed direct access to the ‘media soapbox’ is another major contributing factor to the lack of a free, fair, and balanced Malaysian mediascape.

Table 4: Distribution of Use as Source

The findings below were particularly notable:
* The extremely pronounced bias present in Bernama’s news wire releases: Bernama has not been monitored previously; it runs on taxpayer funds; and it is a common news source for many, if not all, other Malaysian media. As such, its pronounced bias is cause for extra concern.

*The relatively balanced coverage provided by the online media we monitored: Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider (TMI) both regularly come under fire for being pro-opposition. Certainly, once one takes opinion columns and reader comments and contributions into account, this is likely the case, but in terms of their core news output, they are doing a professional job of maintaining balance in an extremely difficult environment.

*The relatively balanced coverage provided by the Mandarin newspapers we monitored; these papers, too, have sometimes come under fire as being pro-opposition. I am unable to speak for their opinion columns and reader contributions, but their core news content also does a professional job of maintaining balance in a difficult environment.

There have been reoccurring and predictable arguments against the significance of our findings. Firstly, that the internet, and particularly social media have equalised the playing field, so it doesn’t really matter than the mainstream media are in such a state (just look at all the votes the opposition got!); and secondly, that PR has its party organs, such as Keadilan and Harakah. I’m not sure if these criticisms are na├»ve, deluded, or strategic, but my response is as follows.

The argument that the internet has equalised the playing field is misguided on several levels. Firstly, not everyone has internet access (roughly 35% of Malaysians are still offline), and huge differences exist in terms of the quality and quantity of the access that does exist. Older, poorer, rural populations continue to be BN’s main vote banks, as has been definitively shown by the voting data from GE13. These populations (following global trends) are much more likely to have no/poor quality/limited internet access. This is no coincidence. It has nothing to do with innate intelligence, and everything to do with access to competing opinions and ideologies. These populations have and continue to consume primarily BN propaganda masquerading as news, whereas wealthier, younger, urban populations are constantly bombarded with and socialised into consuming a multitude of competing and critical perspectives.

That is not to say that factors such as party allegiance and political leanings derived from factors such as family background, ethnicity, and religion do not have any impact on the interaction between media and audience – they do. But they are secondary factors, part of the interpretive framework audiences apply to the primary information received from the media. If the primary information pool is limited and biased and audiences do not have well-developed critical media literacy skills, then their resulting decisions are likely to be similarly biased – particularly when set within a developing context and against a meta-discursive background of stability versus the unknown.

As for the rising importance of social media – certainly, the opposition appear to be savvier in terms of utilising Web 2.0 platforms than BN, likely because they have had to learn or perish. However, much of what circulates on Facebook and Twitter is in reaction to news stories emerging from the mainstream media. While recognising the importance of citizen journalism, social media, and micro/blogging, high quality ‘traditional’ journalism is still central to the facilitation of a vibrant mediated public sphere. Furthermore, socially mediated political debate often tends towards ‘cyberbalkanisation’ – and in an already heavily polarised and increasingly bitter political environment, is this really what is needed? A more diverse and balanced mainstream media environment would feed into engagement across difference – rather than opposition supporters clustering around Malaysiakini and TMI and circulating in one social media loop, and government supporters clustering around the sites of Utusan et al and staying within their own respective media enclaves, only emerging to ridicule and malign one another. It would also help foster meaningful debate between religions, races, classes, and between Semenanjung and Malaysian Borneo – all important conversations to do with the core issues of national identity and community.

The same argument applies for party organs like Harakah. Party organs and news media perform different roles, and the former cannot substitute for the latter. News media should facilitate informed political participation and hopefully understanding of (if not agreement with) our socio-political community; party organs are for the express purpose of party advocacy, and are intended to ‘preach to the choir’. When the vast majority of the mainstream Malaysian ‘news’ media, labelled and sold as such, is actually more akin to a BN party organ; when the only media functioning as anything like professional news journalism organisations are in Mandarin or are online? It’s safe to say that something is seriously rotten in what aspires to be the “best democracy in the world” (Najib Razak, September 18, 2011).

The media are key to the democratic and electoral integrity of any political system, and “[f]reedom of information is a fundamental feature of a democratic society” (Street, 2001: 170). Malaysian citizens who relied on English and Bahasa Malaysia newspapers and/or television as their media source/s during the GE13 campaign (either by choice or as a result of only limited options being available) were not provided with fair and accurate information with which to construct informed voting preferences, with clear voting patterns emerging along these strata of info-communicative diversity and scarcity, and the media used more as a tool of division than of reconciliation. Although gradual improvements in internet penetration and demographic shifts may benefit the opposition, BN continues to possess many structural advantages and despite lacking agility overall, is capable of adapting to the shifting terrain. With Malaysia already turning its attention towards GE14, the national media continue to be the arena in which political struggles play out. In media as in politics, only time will tell whether entropy or stasis will prevail.

Tessa J. Houghton is Assistant Professor in Media and Communication / Director of the Centre for the Study of Communications and Culture at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.

References


Abbott, J. P. (2011). Electoral Authoritarianism and the Print Media in Malaysia: Measuring Political Bias and Analyzing Its Cause. Asian Affairs: An American Review, 38(1): 1-38.

Deuze, M. (2011). Media Life. Media Culture and Society. 33(1): 137-148.

Mustafa, A. K., & Zaharom, N. (1998). Ownership and control of the Malaysian media. Media Development. XLV (4): 9-17.

Street, J. (2001). Mass Media, Politics & Democracy. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Wang, L. K. (2001). Media and Democracy in Malaysia. Javnost/The Public. 8(2): 67-88.

Zaharom, N. (2002). The structure of the media industry: implications for democracy. In Loh, K. W. and Khoo, B. T. (eds.) Democracy in Malaysia: Discourses and Practices. London: Curzon, p.111-137.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Penang Lang, get to know your state better.

The questions often asked nowadays by your friends and relatives from other states when you met them are;

Is Penang really performing better than the pre 308 government?

Has Penang really change in every aspect of governance under Pakatan Rakyat?

Some can give their answers straight away while some will have to ponder a while or could not know really how to answer.

Those who can answer will most probably have daily involvement directly or indirectly in the state, i.e being part and parcel of the working force (private or civil servants), moving and seeing the actual transformation going on.

For those who could not answer are most probably those staying at home, not mixing or less interacting with others etc. Even for me who is well connected online seldom realised what is actually happening to the state.

You cannot find much news about the state progress on the internet and worst is the total silence from the MSM. Those online news portals are more interested in reporting political oriented news, especially when they got winds of political fights within internal parties from both sides or rumors of PR wrong doings spread by the other side.

So how are you to know what is Pakatan Rakyat state government doing all these years? READ the BULETIN MUTIARA that is delivered to your house every now and then by the state government. You will be surprised to read and see so much ongoing and the progress that have been implemented by the PR state government inside the BULETIN MUTIARA.

BULETIN MUTIARA is the state government news bulletin providing information about the state progress and NOT a political newspaper as some people might think. Some may question that since it is a PR state government bulletin surely they will only print all the good side of them. This is a good question indeed. Let me try to answer it this way.


For over five years the whole force of umno/bn including various federal authorities and their party owned msm have been trying their very best to find a single wrong or fault that PR government may have done. From corruptions, land developments, open tenders, questioning the CAT system to almost everything even trying to spin, create something out of nothing but till date found none.

Secondly, why worry that the state government will not report their wrong doings. Should there be any or even a single ringgit corruption you will never miss out this news as they will be front paged by all newspapers and repeated over and over again on RTM & TV3. Till today the eager angry hawks are still hawking around in search for the slightest mistake by PR government. Just relax and let these hawks do the dirty jobs.

Do seriously read the BULETIN MUTIARA to know your state better, its full of information and it comes in four different languages. You want a government that cares and works for the rakyat equally and fairly, this is it, Pakatan Rakyat!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pakatan Rakyat aiming to win 135 parliamentary seats in 14GE to capture Putrajaya

By Lim Kit Siang

Based on present redelineation, the Battle for Putrajaya in the 14GE will depend on the outcome in 80 marginal seats – 51 presently held by Barisan Nasional and 29 from Pakatan Rakyat.

Taking more than 55 per cent vote secured in the 13GE as a “safe” seat, BN has 82 safe seats while Pakatan Rakyat has 60 safe seats.

In the 13GE, Pakatan Rakyat won the popular vote but robbed of Putrajaya as Barisan Nasional is the federal government with the majority of seats – 89 for Pakatan Rakyat as against BN’s 133 seats.

If Pakatan Rakyat had won another 23 seats in the 13GE, PR would have the simple majority of 112 out of 222 seats.

In the 14GE, apart from retaining all our 89 parliamentary seats, Pakatan Rakyat should not just aim at winning 23 of the 51 BN marginal seats, but should aim to double this target to win over 46 out of the 51 BN marginal seats so that the Pakatan Rakyat can win a total of 135 out of 222 parliamentary seats with a parliamentary majority of 48 – with the seats evenly distributed among the three Pakatan Rakyat parties, i.e. PKR, PAS and DAP each having 45 parliamentary seats.

At present, DAP has 38, PKR 30 and PAS 21 MPs. This means DAP has to win another seven parliamentary seats, PKR another 15 and PAS another 24.

I do not think this is too tall an order, considering that PAS had won 27 parliamentary seats in 1999 general elections – when the Barisan Alternative was first formed – and PAS almost quadrupled its previous parliamentary score of seven MPs in the 1995 general elections.

PAS would not need to quadruple or increase four-fold its parliamentary numbers in the 14GE to increase from 21 parliamentary seats in the 13GE to 45 parliamentary seats in the 14GE.

The performance of the Pakatan Rakyat parties in the 2008 and 2013 GEs have shown that the three component parties have their basic strengths and if we are prepared to persevere in a common patriotic cause to save the country from corruption, cronyism, abuses of power and exploitation of the poor and the downtrodden regardless of race, religion or region, extremism and intolerance and put in place good governance, public integrity, accountability, respect for democracy and human rights, moderation and tolerance, we have no reason to be pessimistic about the future of the country or the outcome of the 14GE.

Last Thursday, the country’s former top diplomat Tan Sri Razali Ismail warned that Malaysia will lose its competitive economic edge if its politics continue to cater to racial and racial extremes, as his international friends have of late started to question the divisive goings-on in the country.

He cannot be more right and the rhetoric and politics of extremism and intolerance have never been so rancorous and polarising in the nation’s history than in the past six months after the 13GE despite the Prime Minister’s talk of national reconciliation and his promotion of the Global Movement of Moderates.

The battle for the 14GE has started and concerns have rightly been expressed that taxpayers money will be raided for the Umno/BN war chests to fund a cyberwar via the social media against the Pakatan Rakyat.

Even after the 13GE on May 5, the cyberwar against the Pakatan Rakyat parties have not abated. I was recently accused of being part of the “Illuminati”, the so-called secret global organisation of the most powerful and influential elite to exercise political and economic control of the world. After the allegation in the Umno cyberblogs, I have to search the Internet to learn about the so-called Illuminati conspiracy.

Recently, a Malay woman came up to me at a local airport when I waiting for my luggage, extending her apologies to me. I was taken by surprise and I asked her what it was all about. She said that for the first 18 years of her life, she hated me as a racist and an evil person as all that she had learnt about me was that I was anti-Malay and anti-Islam, but when she entered society and have access to information on the Internet, she found that what she had learnt about me were completely untrue.

This episode should be a source of inspiration for all of us, whether in DAP, PKR or PAS, who are targets of vicious lies and falsehoods seeking to divide and split the PR parties and leaders.

The information revolution will help Pakatan Rakyat to liberate minds which Umno/BN propagandists and cybertroopers are seeking to poison and imprison.

What is important is that Pakatan Rakyat parties must stay the political and electoral course until we succeed in bringing about political change for Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or class to achieve the common Malaysian Dream – a Malaysia for all Malaysians where there is democracy, good governance and socio-economic justice and where every Malaysian can achieve his or her fullest potential for the collective good and greatness of the nation.

(Speech at the Pakatan Rakyat fund-raising dinner at Empire Hotel Ballroom, Subang Jaya at 9.30 pm)

Friday, November 1, 2013

What more do you want, Paktan Rakyat elected representatives?

GET DOWN TO WORK! That is what I and the voters would have wanted those Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament and state assemblymen/women who have been elected in GE 13 to do.

You should know better the differences between an elected representative and party position. Know your position and standing inside the party before you decide to stand as candidate. Once you are elected the voters are hopeful that you will perform your duty as an MP or assemblyman/woman of the party you represented and there is no turning back till the next general election.

You cannot just decide to turn independent and side with umno/bn because you have internal problems with your party, that is your individual problem and not the voters. There is always room for discussion and solution to resolve any internal conflict that you may face inside your party. If you cannot resolved your problem internally and decided that leaving the party and turn independent (but sided with umno/bn)is the way it shows that you are not suitable to be an elected representative. Hence the only way for you is to resign and let voters decide a more suitable candidate in a by election.

Ask yourself why you join the party and being selected to stand as candidate which you finally won. Is it because of you that voters voted you and not the party? If you were to stand as an independent do you think you can win? As far as I know up till GE13 majority of voters have voted along party line and not an individual.

If you are not happy because you cannot get what you want, be it power, position or monetary by all means please leave. Or because you cannot accept criticism within your party, then leave, as voters can see that you won't be able to accept their criticism as well.

Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives must understand that they are voted in is because the majority of voters wanted change and they believe that change will come. The voters voted you in is to see the process of change or will happen and not for you to become arrogant, greedy in the likes of umno/bn.

So, to those Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives who are thinking of turning independent (but siding with umno/bn)please explain to the voters, WHY? Do not tell us because you have differences and cannot work with party leaders, that are not reasons but excuses which are unacceptable. You are responsible to the voters who voted you in unless you are an irresponsible person with no integrity and your moves are already pre-planned to get what you wanted!

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