- Malaysia’s airliner response exposes a ruling malaise
- Anwar: Seolah ada pertandingan pro-Umno di mahkamah
- Kajang polls reflect positively on Pakatan
- Pakatan to raise issues of judicial misconduct in Parliament, says Anwar
Posted: 25 Mar 2014 11:26 PM PDT
IF YOU are perplexed by Monday's announcement on the missing Malaysian airliner, no wonder. Prime Minister Najib Razak declared that the flight "ended" in the southern Indian Ocean, and the state-owned airline said that "we have to assume beyond a reasonable doubt" that the plane went down in the ocean, far off its course to Beijing. Both announcements were vague; neither said much about why or how.
From the moment the plane went missing, the Malaysian government has been ham-handed in its dealings with grieving families and the global glare of attention. It delayed for hours saying anything after the plane first vanished, and over the next few weeks much of the information it disseminated was conflicting, wrong or misleading.
Such a bizarre disaster would be difficult for any government to deal with, and a fair amount of uncertainty and confusion is expected. But the Malaysian government has shown signs of a deeper malaise that comes from a half century of rule without challenge or transparency. When the prime minister was about to make a statement recently, his spokesperson told reporters there would be no questions. According to Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations, writing in Bloomberg Businessweek, when reporters pressed for more access, the reply came back: "Go watch a movie." When China, no champion of transparency, complains — as it did recently, asking for "more thorough and accurate information" from Malaysia — you know the depth of the problem.
Malaysia, ruled by the same governing coalition since independence, has enjoyed strong economic growth, and we had hopes before last year's election that, if the vote was free and fair, the country would be on a path toward a more competitive democracy. Mr. Najib has taken steps toward modernization and reform, but the election fell short. Mr. Najib's coalition won a majority of seats in Parliament largely through gerrymandered districts, while the opposition coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim won a popular majority and disputed the outcome. Clearly there is rising popular discontent with corruption, authoritarianism and ethnic favoritism of the ruling powers.
It is especially disturbing that the government has renewed its politically motivated prosecution of Mr. Anwar on dubious charges of sodomy in order to sideline him from politics. On March 7, he was sentenced to five years in prison by a court, overturning a 2012 acquittal. The move had the effect of removing him from eligibility to run in an important by-election. The use of the sodomy charge is shameful and archaic, but as Graeme Reid of Human Rights Watch pointed out this month in Foreign Policy, if upheld, it could effectively remove Mr. Anwar from politics for 10?years. Malaysia should not tolerate this brazen manipulation.
It is entirely premature to say what happened to the airplane. But it is not too early for Malaysia's rulers to draw lessons from their unsteady performance of recent weeks and commit themselves to transparency and openness. Their alternative is not working.
Posted: 25 Mar 2014 11:15 PM PDT
Pakatan Rakyat akan mengusulkan rasa kurang senang mereka dengan badan kehakiman di Parlimen tidak lama lagi dan akan mendesak Speaker Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia untuk menyatakan pendiriannya.
Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim berkata pihaknya akan meperincikan cara untuk membawa perkara itu ke Parlimen susulan keputusan kes Liwat II dan sabitan kes hasutan MP Gelugor, Karpal singh baru-baru ini.
“Ke mana lagi kita mahu pergi jika bukan Parlimen? Ke jalan raya?” kata Anwar pada sidang media di lobi Parlimen hari ini.
Beliau turut menuduh yang badan kehakiman kini semakin bersikap perkauman dan tidak melindungi hak golongan minoriti.
“Seolah-olahnya seperti ada pertandingan dalam badan kehakiman untuk melihat siapa yang lebih pro-Umno.
“Pertandingan ini membunuh kehakiman,” katanya.
Posted: 25 Mar 2014 11:09 PM PDT
To the casual political observer, two facts from the recent Kajang by-election would have stood out.
Firstly, the turnout decreased from 88 percent in GE13 to 72 percent. Secondly, the majority of victory decreased from 6,824 in GE13 to 5,379 – a drop of 1,445 votes.
On the surface, these results may seem like a negative reflection on Pakatan Rakyat’s and specifically PKR’s campaign as part of the ‘Kajang Move’. But a more careful analysis of the results reveals important findings that are positive for Pakatan, moving forward.
Pakatan increased its popular vote from 56.8 percent to 59.7 percent, a 2.9 percent increase. While this increase may not seem significant, one has to take into account that the lower turnout most likely decreased Pakatan’s popular vote.
Most of those who did not vote for a variety of reasons – did not return from outstation, it was the start of the school holidays, and thought that the outcome was already decided – would have been Pakatan voters, especially the younger voters whose turnout decreased more than the older voters (more on this later).
Secondly, Pakatan won in 14 out of 16 polling stations (not including postal and early votes) in the by-election compared with 12 out of 16 polling stations in GE13.
In Sungai Sekamat, a 78 percent Malay polling station, Pakatan turned a 239-vote deficit into a 45-vote majority. In Taman Delima, a 74 percent Malay polling station, Pakatan turned a 123-vote deficit into a three-vote majority.
Even in the remaining two polling stations which Pakatan lost – Sungai Kantan and Batu 10 Cheras – the deficit was reduced from 420 to 225 and from 157 to 151 respectively (See table below).
Secondly, Pakatan managed to increase its share of Malay votes from 35 percent in GE13 to 46 percent in the by-election.
This 11 percent increase is no mean feat, considering the continued attempts to perpetuate a climate of religious and racial intolerance by certain groups in Malaysia such as Perkasa, as well those who sacrificed a chicken and gave a reward of RM1,200 to anyone who slapped Teresa Kok, MP for Seputeh, over her'Onederful Malaysia' YouTube video.
While Pakatan’s support among the Chinese did fall from 80 percent to 75 percent, this can largely be explained in terms of the lower turnout, especially among younger and likely pro-Pakatan supporters. As long as BN cannot overcome its negative image among younger Chinese voters, its deficit among this group of voters is likely to remain significant.
The Indian vote is harder to estimate. Given the small percentage of Indian voters, it is likely that Pakatan’s support among the Indians increased slightly from 60 percent to 65 percent, looking at the results from the polling stations with more than 15 percent Indian voters.
Greater support from young voters
Thirdly, and perhaps more importantly, is the increase in Pakatan’s support among the youth.
For the unfamiliar, voters cast their votes according to polling streams or ‘saluran’. They are arranged according to age, with the older voters in saluran 1 and the younger voters in the later saluran.
The average vote won by Pakatan in the final polling stream or saluran for each polling station increased by seven percent, from 59 percent in GE13 to 66 percent. In comparison, the average vote won by Pakatan in the first polling stream or saluran – the saluran with the oldest voters – for each polling station remained the same at 49 percent.
What this means is that the increase in the support for Pakatan from 57 percent in GE13 to 60 percent in the by-election came mostly from the younger voters.
At the same time, the turnout rate among the youth saluran fell from 87 percent to 69 percent, an 18 percent fall. In comparison, the turnout rate among the oldest voters – the first saluran – fell from 83 percent to 73 percent, only a 10 percent fall. What this means is that if the turnout rate among the younger voters had fallen by a smaller amount, Pakatan’s support as well as majority would have increased.
This is significant because the youth vote – the final polling stream – has always been the most liable to swing to either side. This is why BN poured so much resources into youth-related programmes and branding activities such as 1M4U and the 1Malaysia Youth Fund.
If the Kajang by-election is a bellwether for a larger trend nationwide, then it heralds well for Pakatan.
The older voters who are more likely to be BN diehard supporters are slowly but surely being replaced by younger voters whose political allegiance is not certain.
They will be more influenced by issues which will hurt BN and help Pakatan – cost of living increases especially with the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), high profile corruption cases, abuses of power, Bersih and electoral reform, environmental concerns, just to name a few.
They are also more likely to be swayed by social media that will compensate for the effects of BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia) cash handouts.
Challenges for Pakatan remain
The challenges for Pakatan to increase its vote share are still significant. Pakatan has to find ways to motivate younger people to register and to turn out to vote. Pakatan has to minimise its infighting so as to not turn off potential supporters.
It has to continue to showcase Penang and Selangor as models of governance in contrast to what BN is doing in Putrajaya. Pakatan has to increase its effectiveness as a check and balance on the BN government at the federal level and in the BN governed states. It must also strengthen its leadership at the local level, especially in the marginal seats and states.
This work is ongoing. And while the Kajang by-elections may not have been as decisive of a victory as Pakatan would have wanted, the underlying trends do point positively for Pakatan moving forward towards the next general election.
(Only data from 14 out of 16 polling stations were used because two polling stations only had two polling streams or saluran.)
Posted: 25 Mar 2014 11:07 PM PDT
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic) said today that Pakatan Rakyat will raise issues of judicial misconduct in Parliament next week, following concerns over the impartiality of judges.
The opposition leader voiced his concerns over the conduct of former judges and a series of judgments that he claimed was contrary to the rule of law and principles.
“Pakatan Rakyat will have to make a forceful stand on the misconduct of the judiciary. We insist that Parliament be more assertive and do not use the standard line that there is a separation of powers,” he said at a press conference at Parliament.
nwar’s remarks came following the appointment of former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad as the chairman of National Unity Front, an organisation linked to Malay rights group Perkasa.
He also vowed to defend the rights of the Malays and Muslims "within the boundaries of law".
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