For my son, when he grows up, this site will be my legacy for him. The decisions his mother and I made for him, to understand them, to learn from them and to lead a life without prejudice and to succeed in it on his own merit.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Let There Be Light In Cyber Space

Cyber-paper at vanguard of media revolution
January 27, 2009

A Malaysian newspaper that exists only in cyberspace has inspired a torrent of online debate since its launch a decade ago, in a phenomenon that has shaken up the nation’s media and political scene.

The pioneering website Malaysiakini and the thriving political blogosphere it helped spawn have been key to the rise of the opposition which after decades of obscurity now has a real chance of gaining power.

“The Malaysian blogosphere has really exploded and pushed the boundaries of press freedom in Malaysia in unprecedented ways,” said Shawn Crispin, Southeast Asia representative for the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Without question Malaysiakini was on the vanguard of the Malaysian online news phenomenon and provided a brave, bold example that this whole generation of online bloggers and news providers has been able to draw on,” he said.

Malaysiakini - ‘Malaysia Now’ - stumbled into a void waiting to be filled in a country where the government-friendly media have close ties to political parties, and where new publishing licences are virtually unheard of.

It was the vanguard for a flowering of news and views from a wide range of commentators, who use the relative freedom of the Internet to broach once-taboo topics such as opposition politics, race and religion.

It’s all a long way from 1999 when founders Steven Gan and Pramesh Chandran launched Malaysiakini online, at a time when many people were only just signing up for email accounts and learning how to navigate the Internet.

“The Internet was our last resort. I knew we wouldn’t reach a lot of people but we had no choice as we didn’t get a publishing licence,” Gan said in an interview at his headquarters in Kuala Lumpur’s lively Bangsar district.

“We thought we’d run it like any other media organisation as that was where our experience was, and make it different from other political websites by being credible and professional.”

The path has not been all smooth. Malaysiakini’s offices were raided in 2003, staff were banned from official events until recently, and the mostly young employees have made some errors and mis-steps.

But the editorial team has expanded from four to 25, daily hits have peaked at 500,000 during major events when the subscription-only site is thrown open to the public, and it has been profitable for the past four years.

The Internet-led news phenomenon helped breath life into the opposition just as its figurehead, former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim was returning to the political stage after a spell in jail.

In March 2008 general elections, his opposition alliance seized five states and a third of parliamentary seats, humbling the coalition which has dominated Malaysia for half a century since independence from Britain.

A big mistake

The political earthquake stunned the government which had vilified bloggers and threatened them with jail. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi admitted his “biggest mistake” had been to ignore cyber-campaigning.

“We thought that the newspapers, the print media and television were important, but young people were looking at SMS and blogs,” he said.

James Chin from the Kuala Lumpur campus of Australia’s Monash University, said Malaysia’s vibrant online scene was the result of a unique set of factors including a muzzled mainstream media and relatively good Internet access.

“Malaysiakini could only have existed in places like Malaysia, Singapore or Burma, simply because the mainstream press have no credibility,” the political analyst said.

The phenomenon has also provided more space for the mainstream media - which largely practices self-censorship - to cover stories that in the past they would have had to ignore, he said.

“The traditional press can justify covering a story because they can argue that it’s already in the public domain,” Chin said. “They act as a safety valve for local papers.”

Jeff Ooi, one of the nation’s top bloggers who has now become an opposition parliamentarian, said there were fears that deputy premier Najib Abdul Razak, who will replace Abdullah in March, could clamp down on the Internet.

Malaysia made a 1996 pledge not to censor the Internet, but websites and blogs are still subject to strict slander and security laws which critics say can be wielded as political weapons.

Another high-profile blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, an outspoken critic of the government, was jailed for two months last year under an internal security law that allows for indefinite detention without trial.

But Chin said the Malaysian blogosphere is now so large and diverse, with many pro-government sites also reaching a wide audience, that the genie can never be put back in the bottle.

“It’s unclampable right now. The Internet has gone far beyond the conventional control methodology,” he said.

“Regulators are saying that whatever is illegal offline is illegal online, but there are loopholes that mean bloggers are still having a heyday.”

Friday, January 30, 2009

Colour Me Blind

Go on, insult your neighbour!
By James Chin

(The Malaysian Insider) — Were you surprised that the Cabinet scrapped the proposed Race Relations Act (RRA)? According to Bernama, the minister said the idea was dropped because "we don't have to unite the various races through the enforcement of laws, on the contrary, the community should be educated not only at the adult stage but at a much younger age. This will be more effective".

He further added: "There is no element of force in our efforts to inculcate unity, the spirit of solidarity should be nurtured among the young people. There must be willingness in the feeling of love for others instead of using force."

Now I don't know about you but I'm guessing that the reason why the RRA was dropped is probably the same reason why Malaysia cannot ratify (or sign) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This convention is one of the oldest UN conventions presented to the UN general assembly in 1966.

Under article two, it states:

1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognised in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

2. Where not already provided for by existing legislative or other measures, each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Covenant, to adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognised in the present Covenant.

3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:

(a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognised are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;

(b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;

(c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted."
Now, in Malaysia, we have the infamous NEP and affirmative action policies plus other regulations which come into conflict with this international convention. Some of these policies may be judged to be racial discrimination. Malaysians do not enjoy the full political rights granted under this convention so that is the reason why the government cannot sign it.

Connected to this international convention is the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) another United Nations convention. The Convention commits its members to the elimination of racial discrimination and the promotion of understanding among all races. The convention was adopted by in 1965, and entered into force on Jan 4, 1969. As of June 2, 2008, the Convention has been signed by 173 countries but not Malaysia

The convention states that:

"Considering that the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 20 November 1963 (General Assembly resolution 1904 (XVIII)) solemnly affirms the necessity of speedily eliminating racial discrimination throughout the world in all its forms and manifestations and of securing understanding of and respect for the dignity of the human person,

Convinced that any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and that there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice, anywhere,
Reaffirming that discrimination between human beings on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic origin is an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations among nations and is capable of disturbing peace and security among peoples and the harmony of persons living side by side even within one and the same State,

Convinced that the existence of racial barriers is repugnant to the ideals of any human society,

Alarmed by manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence in some areas of the world and by governmental policies based on racial superiority or hatred, such as policies of apartheid, segregation or separation.

Resolved to adopt all necessary measures for speedily eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and manifestations, and to prevent and combat racist doctrines and practices in order to promote understanding between races and to build an international community free from all forms of racial segregation and racial discrimination"

Need I say more? Since we have not signed any of these convention it’s perfectly okay in Malaysia to insult your neighbour using their ethnic status. Hence there are plenty of racial jokes here that you can repeat; from calling other Malaysians "pendatang" to "Go back to India" to "Go back to China" to "when you see a snake and … who do you kill first?" Who cares about the Sedition Act since it is applied selectively.

It’s also okay to have laws and regulations that divide the population into two halves and you can have 1st class Malaysians, 2nd class Malaysians and so on. You can also divide the country according to the various religions and so on.

In fact you can discriminate in all areas of life and we Malaysians do it all the time. Discrimination is now part and parcel of Malaysian culture so much so that we even write jokes about it.

Thus, for those middle-class pretenders who are fighting for RRA to be adopted in Malaysia, I can only wish you good luck. If the government has no intention of signing international conventions on discrimination and social and political rights, I doubt it will accept RRA.

James Chin teaches at Monash University's Malaysia campus in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the views of institutions he is associated with.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Call For Justice, From The Police

Victims of Malaysian Police Custody

A public note to Yang Berhormat Charles Santiago , Members of Parliament and all the State Assemblies

We have to thank YB Santiago for making a very clear and painfully crafted statement in respect of the most recent death of an individual who was held in police custody for several days. This statement was made by the YB in the face of the Selangor Police Chief’s statement, which already implied that it was not the police that was responsible but the people who shut themselves in the hospital morgue and as if it was a conspiracy to further taint the already bad image of the police force. Today the police seem to have come up with another ridiculous explanation for the death. They have yet to explain the horrendous visible injuries on the body of the victim, which appears to be many days old. The image of the dead victim is like a scene out of the ‘killing fields of Vietnam’.

The Police Chief, in the rush to make a judgment, has clearly demonstrated that he cannot be relied upon to conduct any independent and objective investigation and take action on the criminals who killed or murdered the detainee. Even if the Police Chief had the will to do so, which we clearly doubt, he has already shown his incompetence on many issues and the rush to judgment is the latest episode. He has disqualified himself from investigating the case. People do not have any trust in him.

Words will not express the sadness, the fear, the shock, the shame and a sense of helplessness and bewilderment that Malaysian’s are feeling at the loss of a young human man in the prime of his life in such a despicable, horrendous and atrocious manner regardless of the crimes that he may or may not have committed. Such deaths can only happen in a barbaric and uncivilized society. Until this issue of deaths of detainees is properly investigated and every death is properly accounted for, it will be difficult to believe that we are not living among the scum of the earth.

Any kindergarten child will tell us that the police are directly responsible for this death. Knowing that this is bolehland, it is possible that the police gave access to the victim’s enemies to enter the police space to do the despicable act. Another possibility is that some other detainees in custody could have committed the dastardly act. We want to know the truth in this case – who are the criminals?

If we had the IPCMC, then we could have some hope for an independent investigation, and that truth will be told and justice would be done. But, IPCMC is not here today and it is not likely it will ever be established as long as the likes of YB Syed Hamid hold power. Kugan, the most recent victim of custodial abuse should be the last straw that broke the camel’s back. His death should become the catalytical flashpoint to put the Government, the Home Minister and the Chief of Police in the dock to explain his death and the deaths of the 1535 detainees from 2003. We the citizens of Malaysia have the duty to prevent another custodial death in such mysterious circumstances. Let his be the last.

Who are all these 1536 people who died mysteriously in custody – what is their ethnic background, which age group did they all come from, in which districts of the country did these deaths occur, for what reasons were they held in custody, how long were they in custody before they died, what investigations were carried out before these cases were closed and what was the cause of death in each case, how many police officers or prison officers were disciplined or brought to court. Yes, these are all the questions that require to be answered. Are these deaths random occurrences, as the police may have us belief, or are these targeted killing?

It is often said that the crime rate in this country will not be so high if the police personnel are involved directly in crime either through participation or through corruption. Are these deaths the manifestation of the sorry state of our police force that is led by a Chief who has been openly accused of being in complicity with the mafia groups? Let an independent commission or panel tell us this is not the case for we do not have anymore trust or faith in the assurances of either our political leaders or the Police Chief.

Every elected representative of the people should agitate in their respective legislatures and send delegations to go meet DYMM Agung, DYMM Sultans and the YAB PM to establish this independent commission or panel. Every forum should be used to raise this issue. The Bar Council should be requested to have a debate on custodial deaths and its effects on justice, the judicial system and simply on the moral fabric of society.

Ask people to come to new candle light vigils, gather in every place of worship, be it Masjid, Church or a Temple and pray and ask for truth to be told and justice to be done to the voiceless victims and their families and get the congregations to petition the DYMM Agung on the issue.

Going by YB Anwar’s experience, the government will not act until its back is against the wall. Unless the elected representatives make this call and people agitate, nothing is going to happen.

It is ridiculous, to say the least, to have special parliamentary sessions to pass resolutions to protect the rights of Palestinians if in our own backyard every human right in the book is so willfully disregarded. The resolutions of our Parliament will only be credible if our parliamentarians act first and foremost to protect the citizens of their own country. The resolutions on the Palestinians, as much as the much as they deserve to be supported, will not amount to anything if our police force behaves like a Nazi outfit and ignores the rights of the citizens of this country.

One can also see the intimidation the police are using to scare two Ministers of the government and members of Parliament by specially electing to question them simply for being at the morgue to console the distraught and angry people present at the scene. The Police Chief did not say a word that a proper investigation will be carried out to determine the truth. This is what any Chief, however incompetent he is, would have stated. This shows the arrogance of the Police and is completely contrary to what the YAB DPM assured the public immediately after coming out of the defeat in KT. Unless this Police Chief is suspended from duty with immediate effect, he is likely create evidence to disprove police liability.

Shame the government into acting on the inexplicable death of so many detainees. In the absence of an independent investigation, any decent citizen has no reason but to believe in what HINDRAF has been saying.

BN should know that after the destruction of Hindu temples, the careless treatment of the Tamil people of this country would be the next big issue. Makal Shakti will rise yet once again, if the BN does not act.

Parliamentarians, please, we urge you to act.

Thank you

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Land Of Opportunity

New rules could hit car dealers

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — The controversial import-licensing system for luxury cars is undergoing a major shake-out that threatens to put several dozen car dealers out of business.

The turmoil in the sector, which is worth several hundred million ringgit annually, is a result of new rules the government imposed this month to plug loopholes in the licensing system called Approved Permits, or APs.

The rules came about after a yet-to-be published government audit exposed serious irregularities.

The audit looked into the business practices of a small clique of well-connected Malay businessmen who received their AP allocations each year.

The audit revealed that a large number of the businessmen were hawking their import permits to mainly ethnic Chinese car dealers who dominate the country's luxury vehicle dealerships, documents reviewed by The Straits Times show.

The government audit also revealed that many of the companies involved in the AP business were poorly managed, lacked adequate funding and in some extreme cases even forged government documents when importing luxury cars. It was not clear whether action will be taken against them.

To stem the abuses, the government has temporarily ceased the issue of new APs, ordered the AP companies to beef-up their financial position and banned the trading of these permits to car dealers.

The last measure, industry executives say, could force many Chinese car dealerships out of business. Several Chinese-owned car dealers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the new rules have disrupted imports and their purchases of APs from Malay businessmen are being questioned by the authorities.

“Car sales are already down because of the economic crisis and the new rules only make doing this business tougher,” said one owner of a luxury car dealership in Petaling Jaya.
“We bear the financial risk in this business by importing the cars. But if we are also going to be investigated for using APs then there is no point staying in the trade,” griped another car dealer in KL.

All cars not assembled in Malaysia must have an AP, which are issued for free by the government to a small band of Malay licensees.

The models include limited editions of Mazdas and Toyotas, along with the Porsches and Ferraris. Typically, the APs are then sold to car distributors for prices ranging from RM10,000 to as much as RM40,000 each. These costs, including taxes imposed by the government, are then passed on to consumers who generally pay some of the highest prices for cars in the region.

The AP system for imported vehicles began in the mid-1970s to encourage ethnic Malay businessmen to venture into car distribution, which was dominated by foreigners and ethnic Chinese.

When the government began national car production through Proton, the AP scheme was adapted to protect the domestic car market.

The system later morphed into a symbiotic relationship between the Malay AP beneficiaries and Chinese motor dealers. Despite the glaring abuses to the scheme, the government is reluctant to scrap the policy which foreign car companies have long maintained is a trade barrier that violates the spirit of the Asean Free Trade Area.

International Trade and Industry Tan Sri Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told reporters recently that the government, which had originally promised to scrap the AP system by next year, had decided to extend the licensing arrangement.

He did not detail reasons for the extension, but industry executives say that it is because of the strong lobby from the policy's beneficiaries, who count among them powerful interests from Umno. — Straits Times

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Let's Hope For More

Hope For Change That The People Can See, The People Can Touch and The People Can Feel
Lim Guan Eng

In saying our long goodbye to the Year of the Rat, we are inspired by momentous local and international events.People everywhere wanted to be inspired by democracy that empowered ordinary citizens and not corrupted by the rich elite. Malaysia was transformed by the political tsunami of March 8 when voters denied BN its two-thirds majority and gave Pakatan Rakyat 5 state governments. America transformed the world by electing a black man as President teaching the world that the content of character is more important than the colour of our skin. These political tsunamis were followed by the economic tsunami of a global economic recession.

As we usher in the year of the Bull, let us give ourselves to the hope of change. That we can begin the transformation of Penang into an international city and the government into a people-centric, CAT (Competent, Accountable and Transparent) and ethical administration that is pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-poor. The Year of the Bull brings many economic uncertainties. But as long as we believe in our own and each other abilities we can overcome these economic challenges. Like the strength, dynamism and dedication of the bull, never underestimate the energy, expertise and entrepreneurship of the people of Penang. Let us grow together, learn together face obstacles together so that we can enjoy the fruits together.

Aspirations without accomplishments mean nothing. That is why we have always stressed that to accomplish change, it must be change that the people can see, and change the people can touch and change the people can feel.

In the 10 months of the new Pakatan Rakyat state administration, we have seen the change in our investments double 2007 RM 4.7 billon to RM 9.5 billion. We have seen the change in the revival of Komtar that has been brought back to life from the sleepy half dead existence. We can see the change of putting up bilingual signboards when there was none before.

We can touch the change in the restoration of free CAT bus services in Georgetown. We can touch the change in our notebook with the Penang@wireless initiative of providing free WiFi and WiMAX at affordable prices in certain hotspots. We can touch the change in free tender on government procurement through the internet with our e-tender replacing “political cables” with “computer cables”

We can feel the change in running a CAT government that takes action against waste, abuse of power and corruption. We can feel the change in promotion of education with the institutionalization of funding for partially-assisted schools such as Sekolah Agama Rakyat, Chinese primary schools, Tamil primary Schools, Chinese independent Chinese schools, mission schools and national type secondary schools. We can feel the change of a caring government with RM 100 given to each of the 170,000 families in Penang and aid to the poor.

Malaysians must continue to be inspired by hope and hold on to aspirations of a better Malaysians. In celebrating the auspicious Reunion Dinner with our family and loved ones, we must not forget the poor and have compassion for the unfortunate and ill. Most important of all, we must harness the potential of our future generations so that they have equal opportunity of education and employment. Only by committing our future to human resources development and encouraging the talented ones, can we have hope and succeed. Choose the best so that we can be on top of the rest to achieve progress and prosperity.

A Happy, Healthy and Wealthy New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mr Wendel come calling

This is a catchy song from the early 90's about a homeless man who's enjoying his freedom in a society moderated thruought the ages to be deemed as civilized yet subject itself to countless mental and physical harm. Yet this man is fulfilling a life simply by living off what nature and the environment can offer without demand and possession. Maybe a little extreme perhaps, but if we strive for a better tomorrow, our approach in life should be one of bonding for a common existent.

"Uncivilized we call him, but I just saw him eat off the food we waste. Civilization, are we really civilized, yes or no? Who are we to judge? When thousands of innocent men could be brutally enslaved and killed over a racist grudge"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thugs In Uniform

In latest death, gap between police and Indians widens
By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — The latest death in police custody of a suspect from the Indian community, which comes just after another case last week where six policemen were charged with causing grievous hurt using boiling water on another suspect, also an Indian, is indicative of a deep credibility chasm between the police and the Tamil working class.
The death of 22-year-old Kugan Ananthan, a suspected car thief, on Jan 17 has kicked up a huge storm not only here but also abroad among the Indian diaspora, putting the spotlight once again on the beleaguered police force.

Their hands are full, fighting rising violent crime, fending off daily opposition attacks of corruption and inefficiency and now another death in custody, which had abated in recent years, but is back again to spark emotions and anger in the Indian community.

Although a minority, the Tamil poor are blamed, rightly or wrongly, for much of the violent crimes in the country. It is not surprising that study after study has shown a direct correlation between crime, poverty, marginalisation and alienation.

Considering the socio-economic conditions of the Tamil working class, with so many living precariously on the edges of mainstream society, it is no surprise if Indian involvement in crime is higher compared to other communities.

Police statistics year after year show a gradual increase in Indian youths being involved in gang activity, violent crimes and other criminal activities. Consequently the percentage of Indians in prison and police lock-ups is higher compared to their population size of 8 per cent.

In some depressed regions of the country like Padang Serai in Kedah, Klang and Kapar in Selangor and Muar in Johor, where Indians predominate, the situation resembles a war zone with higher violence and disrespect for the law on all sides.

Rape, murder, gang fights and contract killings are commonplace and people live with it. Victims are brutalised by the gang violence and police action replicates the brutality with the innocent also being caught in the dragnet, resulting in a self-feeding cycle of violence. Ultimately the death of Kugan is symptomatic of the spiral of violence that has gripped some sections of society, especially among the Tamil sub-class.

The fact that Kugan's family and others stormed the Serdang Hospital mortuary to inspect his body and take photographs also indicates the deep credibility disconnect between them and not just the police but also other government agencies.

Over the years poorer Indians have acquired and suffered the stigma that they are associated with crime. Many feel they are unfairly blamed for every theft or robbery in their neighbourhood, not just by society but also by police and law enforcement agencies. Stereotyping comes easily and is common among enforcement agencies.

That is why people like Hindraf lawyer Uthayakumar Ponnusamy and Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam, who have cast themselves as "defenders of the defenceless", enjoy wide respect among the Indian poor and are regarded as heroes.

Unfortunately by storming the mortuary, moving and photographing the body, they may have tampered with crucial evidence and compromised their own demands for justice. Credibility is a core issue in the growing angst between the police and the Tamil masses and has been for a long time, as far back as the 1996 incident where police shot dead a pregnant woman and others who were suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of a VIP's son.

Photographs of the dead infant lying on the dead mother's stomach was exploited by the opposition during the 1999 general election but the impact on the Indian consciousness then was limited.

But today with a huge Hindraf network reaching into the far-flung Indian diaspora, the photographs taken on Wednesday are already gracing huge banners that protestors paraded yesterday.

Today, on the steps of the Indian Supreme Court in New Delhi and with prominent Indian human rights lawyers applauding, Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy showed the same graphic photographs of the bruises on Kugan's body as he railed against the police and accused them of murdering Kugan.

Another landmark incident in the police-Tamil masses fault-line is the Francis Udayappan case in 2006 and the inquest that followed which ruled he died by drowning in the river behind the Brickfields police station.

The case became rallying cry among the Tamil poor and heightened their feeling of alienation and anger. The level of distrust is deep and that is why the crowd stormed the mortuary on Wednesday to see the body of Kugan for themselves and do what they did — cry, hug, take photographs and make accusations.

With emotions running high, the fact that the police have acknowledged the bruises on the body, and were probing why and who was responsible, is easily ignored. Last week the authorities surprisingly took swift action to charge six policemen for causing grievous hurt in the "boiling water" case, in an indication that they wanted to close the credibility gap but this week they lost that initiative.

Already, graphic photographs that the mob took are circulating on the Internet, and being delivered to the mail boxes of hundreds of thousands of people. Together it all makes for yet another explosive political disaster for the BN government, the latest in a long list that had alienated the Tamil working class and has given rise to quick-fix, severely jaundiced heroes like Uthayakumar.

It is notable that the MIC has also joined with opposition MPs and angry family members to demonstrate outside the Selayang Hospital mortuary on Wednesday and demand justice.

Party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu himself visited Kugan's home, consoled his family and viewed the body. He also send MIC Youth leader T. Mohan and Deputy Minister Datuk S.K. Devamany to the mortuary to help the family and console them, winning instant kudos from the family and the Hindraf protestors.

Another deputy minister, Senator T. Murugiah from the PPP, was also there to help, to co-ordinate and to console. The two deputy ministers now face questioning by police. Both defend their right, as elected representative and leaders of the Indian community, to be at the mortuary.

Their case is being investigated under section 451 of the Penal Code for trespassing and section 506 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation. But politically their presence — from midnight to the early morning hours — is an image re-building masterstroke that has elevated their political party's battered image with the Tamil media giving great play to their "help" and presence to console the families.

"This is the way it should be," said a Kugan family member who had called both leaders on their mobile phones. "I asked them to come and both came." For the MIC it is part of rebranding to go out there and hold the banners and shout the slogans to "defend" the community. It had learnt a bitter lesson after losing badly at the ballot box on March 8 for keeping quiet and, worst, defending the indefensible.

"We must set up a committee to monitor the welfare of all Indians currently in custody and also those in future to avoid this sort of abuse and murder," said Vel Paari, MIC Youth adviser in an e-mail message to The Malaysian Insider and to numerous other Indian Yahoo groups, here and abroad.

"Truly a sad day for not only his parents but also our community," he said, referring to Kugan's death. Credibility is again a key issue and therefore there is an urgent need for a truly independent investigation into Kugan's death. That's something most people, including the 2006 Royal Commission on the Police Force, believe the police themselves cannot do.

That is why the commission strongly recommended an oversight commission to investigate abuse, curb violations and return credibility and respectability to the police force and all other uniformed and enforcement agencies.

Such an independent commission is long overdue and even if a tough one is set up, as promised by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi before he retires, it would still take years of intelligent and careful management to narrow the wide disconnect between the police rank and file and the Tamil masses.
Second post-mortem suggests Kugan was tortured and severely beaten
By Neville Spykerman
Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, March 3 — The results of a second autopsy released by the family of A Kugan shows the suspected car thief was beaten and eventually died from acute kidney failure.

This appears to confirm widespread suspicion that the suspected criminal was beaten to death in police custody.

The second post mortem was carried out by forensic pathologist Dr Prashant N Samberkar.

It indicated Kugan died of acute renal failure as a result of a condition known as rhabdomyolysis, which is the rapid break-down of skeletal muscle tissue which will lead to kidney failure.

The condition was likely to have been caused by blunt force trauma from the beating he sustained, according to the report.

During a press conference, today, lawyer N Surendren said the findings of the second post mortem report was totally contrary to the first, which was carried out at the Serdang Hospital, on Feb 21, and indicated that Kugan died due to fluids in the lungs.

More shocking is the extent of external injuries found on Kugan body, who died on Feb 20 after five days in police custody.

The post-mortem reports indicate there were “41 external marks” on Kugan’s body including burn injuries and from beatings.

Kugan was branded, just like how cattle are marked, by the “repeated application of heat with an instrument with a triangular surface, multiple “V” shape imprint burn wounds on the skin of his back.

Some of the wounds were in their healing stage while others were infected.

Surendren said the pathologist also found that Kugan’s stomach was empty which also meant he was being starved at the time.

“I hope the police hang their heads in shame, institute reforms and stop putting obstacles in the implementation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.”

He added that the second post mortem report will be handed to the Attorney-General’s chambers tomorrow.

Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran said the post-mortem report was a damning indictment of the police.

“In my 15 years, of (law) practice I have never seen so severe injuries in a case of death.” He added that confessions were no longer admissible in court and he failed to understand why the police went to such an extent to brutalised a suspect.

Manogaran said there was death in custody almost every month and no one knew how many suspects were being treated this way.

“I am afraid this could happened to even my own children and I am embarrassed that the police would resort to interrogation methods.”

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo said the case highlights the need for independent inquiries to be held for all death in custody cases.

He said families of victims should be allowed to have second post-mortem reports done to satisfy themselves that their loved ones were not tortured in police custody.

Meanwhile Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmood said she was shocked at the findings of the second post-mortem but advised the public not to turn the matter into a racial issue.

She said this was not a racial issue, but a question of humanity, because it can happen to anyone who is in police custody.

“What if it was our children and how would we feel if they were?” she asked.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jay Leno Be Here

I remembered one particular Jay Leno show some few years back. Most of you who have watched his show might agree with me that his take on every day life including the government are spice with straightforward story telling and humour including those of guests he interviewed in very direct manner and responses the everyday folks in the street are able to understand. During that particular episode, the main guest was a congressman of the United States.

As we know, most, and all actually, politicians have a knack of saying things filled with jargons and bombastic words so much so that they only serve to confuse rather than convince. Jay Leno, of course, being the skillful interpreter that he is, re-delivered those messages to the audience in his own style lacing it further with his sarcastic humour he is famously known for. The audience simply loved him.

Wish we have a Jay Leno in our midst calling on our politicians and for him to gauge the truthfulness and real meaning of their messages and statements. Unfortunately, we do not. But let’s imagine if we do, perhaps even create a parody of some sort how such a personality like him will tackle our politicians on his show.

Let’s name our very own as Jamal Bin Latiff (JBL) and the would be victim, oops, guest politician will be a so called Datuk Ali Mohammed (DAM).

JBL: Welcome Datuk. It’s a privilege to have you on the show.

DAM: Thank you very much for inviting me.

JBL: Datuk, there’s a lot of speculation that your party is embarking on a plan to gain back the confidence of the rakyat after failing from two by-elections. Mind enlightening us what are the plans?

DAM: Well, first of all, we all know why we were unable to recapture those two seats. Our party values and administrations have proven for the last 50 years that we have governed the country well and took it to new heights. The rakyat now demand for more transparencies in our governing and to eliminate corruptions and cronyism. We have in place, actually in it’s final stage, to rebrand our party to be rakyat oriented and align all our leaders to be proactive including accommodating with current and future sentiments when ever it arises. Once the rakyat sees us as the people’s party, I’m sure any further allegations forthcoming will be easily tackled from the proper authority and enforcement.

JBL: You mean throwing the rakyat a brand new slogan saying what you would be doing so that the people will just read it for it’s apparent face value? But the problem highlighted in the past by various organizations, oppositions and even your own party members of the very system of governing that are biased to an elite few. How do you handle this perception?

DAM: Ah, it’s only perception. And perception is a dangerous thing in our country. So far, they were never proven and we still run the country with wealth distributed evenly. That’s why the proper authority and enforcement got to be put in place to ensure that such perceptions are not allowed to spread. Otherwise, it will have a devastating impact on our economy.

JBL: Like invoking the detention without trial so that such perception are suppressed before it gets out of hand. Isn’t that the main problem facing the party now each time someone accuse the party of abuse they are being investigated by the authority on past misdeeds as way back even during their schooling years.

DAM: No, no. you’re twisting everything here. We have to first regulate ourselves and to align among our leaders for a more caring party to society. Those that goes against the fundamental rights of our present constitution and the safeguard of a peaceful nation must be dealt with but with actual existing laws so that their grief are properly handle and rehabilitated to align with our national agenda.

JBL: Isn't that more of national issues than party issues? Well, I don’t know about the audience, but it sounds to me what you’re saying is the party must gang up together to attack the enemy, paint them up as a criminal with every known clauses in our laws then brainwashed them to comply with your party propaganda. Is that how you mean it?

DAM: They are co-related. You can't resolve one without the other. Both mechanism have to be stable for change to take effect. You got to realized that freedom comes with a price. Total freedom nowadays, as in many undeveloped countries, tells us that ratio of wealth and fairness are never evenly distributed and constant suffering by those not within the circle of power. We are not in a jungle where everyone is free to roam and then when night comes hide themselves away from predators.

Take for instance, we allowed you to continue with your show because we believe in the truth being told and I’m very honour tonight to be here. You should appreciate me being on this show because we supported it and not ban it like some country. If we do not practice such policy, your show may get cancelled for bringing up unjust sensitive issues that holds no truth or was never proven. Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you?

JBL: Sorry, Datuk. I may have slip just a little bit. My apology. So how does these help to rebrand your party in the first place? The general population thinks that it is the party that needs to rethink it’s approach to serve the people but instead what you have just stated, in my humble opinion means imposing laws from a ruling government capacity for the party’s shortcomings. Isn’t that a wrong use of taxpayers monies for the party’s objectives for change? You have to admit that it should be done within the party’s capabilities and resources and not with the nation resources and manpower. Does that make sense at all?

DAM: No doubt we are still ruling the country. But we have the majority who confidently voted us into parliament and entrusted us with the necessary tools and services at our disposal that includes utilizing every aspect of administration for the well being of the country.

JBL: You’re saying you have every right to direct enforcement agencies and laws for the party's benefits. But I always thought the issue is for the party to be more accommodating and tolerant to the rakyat’s needs. Even if the opposition got concrete dirt on some of your politicians, you should come out in the open and be accountable for it. Not to mention the appropriate punishment meted out.

DAM: Yes, we have all dealt with that. Our leaders will embrace the concept of total efficiencies and performance oriented without jeopardizing the party’s image. Once our rebranding exercise is completed, we will first make alliances with private corporations and multi-nationals and impart our wisdom for them to spread it further to the masses. Even our GLC’s have played a small part in our planning and they contributed significantly during our early stages of brainstorming. From thereon, we will move as one with support from every corner of the country.

JBL: Wow! I am smitten by your choice of words. In essence, your people will make sure all their tracks are well covered with no loopholes or scandals, then rally to the rich corporations maybe even subtle threat including GLC’s to buy into the idea of a cosmetic change from your party. Sounds grand, the way you put it. You said they 'will' embrace the concept. Shouldn't their mindset be changed altogether? To me, it’s just like changing your wardrobe with the latest fashion. Are you sure it will work?

DAM: Why not! We are all optimistic that it will go the way we planned it. Once we have that new image in place, it will surely generate enough support and a second look from the masses to view us as such. We want to be seen as the party with the most accommodating and sensitive to the rakyat’s futures and yet still perform. We cannot delve into the past anymore. We have to continue to move forward with better ideas to take on global challenges and properly regulated policies to safeguard this objective.

JBL: That’s like putting up a shield among yourselves. The people will only able to see you as empathetic but don’t actually feel you are because you slap them with rules that probably forbids them to question your policies, whatever they may be. Isn’t that the way for the last 50 years where our society has been one of compliant.

DAM: Regulations are necessary for a common cause in order to succeed. It is somewhat like a system where everyone play their part to make a whole product complete. And we are the product for the nation. We have done so for 50 years.

JBL: So it’s back to the old ways? Aren’t you supposed to completely break away from it since the party’s popularity is diminishing due to this concept.

DAM: Why throw away something that is not completely broken. All we need is a little tweak here and there and we will have a re-imaged and brand new perception for our party. All those little cracks and scratches will be gone once we start on our re-branding campaign. We served the country well all these years so for the rakyat and opposition, it’s a matter of viewing it from a different perspective. They are all creative and innovative efforts designed to enhance our image and take this country to the next level.

JBL: Looked like you covered all your bases. So when you start on your campaign, they will not see any leak. Basically, they will be looking at the same party with no leaks. Or like a new paint job on an old car that still drives the same, or repackage a box of chocolate with still the same bitter taste. That’s a real marvel idea. That’s why I can never be in politics.

DAM: Wait and see. You will be surprise once we go on our tour across the country to promote our new image.

JBL: Well, Datuk, our time is up. But I would love it if you will come back on our show right after the next general election. Maybe then, you will hold a Ministerial position in government.

DAM: I’m truly honour that you intend to invite me back. My messages are to the people including the opposition that we are dead serious of changing ourselves to steer this nation into a world class society and set a fine example of governing for the entire world to emulate. Thanks for the interview.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pity The Filthy Rich

The Government Must Say No!
By TAY TIAN YAN/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily

I came across a small news story two days ago. Malay Automobile Importers and Distributors of Malaysia (Pekema) requested the government to extend the Approved Permit (AP) system to the year of 2020. A short story was just that simple. But I got goose bumps after reading it.

If we are not forgetful, we should remember what AP is. It is a mechanism used to control the number of vehicles allowed to be imported into Malaysia. If you are having a good faculty of memory, you will remember the AP issue a few years ago that caused an uproar in the country.

Some people granted a hundred or a thousand of APs from the government every year and each AP could bring a profit of RM20 000 to RM30 000. In other words, those having a good relationship could earn millions of ringgit a year.

Such a get-rich-quick scheme has made somebody become the "king" of imported cars, while another takes helicopter ride to work and some became an automobile tycoon even they do not even have a shop.

Numerous APs involves a substantial amount of money. But it is impossible to benefit all. Perhaps because of the uneven distribution, the AP issue surfaced, causing the classical dispute between former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the then International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, as well as a financial black hole.

AP has become a hole that must be patched up. Thus, the 2005 National Automotive Policy announced that the AP system would be suspended on 31 Dec 2010.

It is definitely a mistake to allow a mistake to continue. However, Malaysians are having a lenient heart, they wish not to see these rich men to end their jolly lives too fast.

Therefore, they did not strongly oppose to the system. Instead, they just hope that such a super privilege would be eliminated after 2010.

Meanwhile, the government is also very sympathetic to these AP tycoons as it has been assisting them to participate in other areas of the automotive industry over the past few years.

However, where could you find an area that could bring you so much money without any effort required like the AP system? How would those turned rich because of the system join other areas?

Who will wish to become poor after they have got rich? It would be the best if they can stay in their paradises with the APs in their hands.

It is best ever if the AP system could last not only until 2020, but forever. This is the common wish for AP tycoons. Based on the past experience, the government would attach great importance to their views and feelings.

However, once the AP system is extended, why do we bother having a National Automotive Policy? How would the public think? How is the government going to convince the people? Where is the social justice?

The government needs not to think about it. It must directly say "NO!" so that Pekema would just give it up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Harpooning For Shrimps

Clueless and defiant - a recipe for continued disasters

PAS wrested back P36 - Kuala Terengganu from BN with a 'decisive' majority of 2,631 votes and what have Barisan Nasional learned from it? Apparently nothing!

Najib says "It's only a minor setback" and his lackey Ong Tee Keat says "MCA grateful to Chinese".

They both still don't get it and are quick to put their blinkers back on and return to self-denial mode which is easier to explain away the KT results. The following is my analysis of what KT means with their voting patterns since 1999. (qualifier : I'm only a backseat busybody with an opinion)

If you look at KT through the elections of 1999, 2004, 2008 and now 2009, you will see a better picture of the desires of KT voters and remember that KT represents the Malay heartland which traditionally UMNO/BN depends on for their survival and claims is representative of the majority of Malaysia.

In 1999, PAS won this seat with a majority of 14,448 votes! It was then 2 years after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked, manhandled, shabbily and unfairly treated by Matahir and his henchmen. The idea that a Malay could do what he did to another Malay must have struck at the core of Malays of KT which forms 88% of voters.

In this election, I believe it was simply a vote against Mahatir and the authoritarian manner of governance he exemplified. Nothing to do with KT development, religion and other issues. Simply put, it was saying NO to Mahatir's despotic regime.

In 2004, after Mahatir had retired and Badawi's 1st electoral challenge, KT returned BN with a majority of 1,933 votes only. This is despite the fact that the country as a whole gave a 'softer' Badawi (in contrast to Mahatir) an overwhelming mandate based on his promises of reform and a more people-centric form of governance. Already KT voters were not entirely caught up with the euphoria of the rest of the nation and already they knew that it meant very little for them since national issues were less important to them than bread and butter issues.

Even as late as 2004, despite all the oil revenues Terengganu was entitled to, I believe many folks living within KT were struggling with poverty and bread and butter issues hence the return of BN out of need and not of 'real' choice.

You must remember that those of us from the west coast of Malaysia did not have much bread and butter issues then but were more interested in a 'greater' Malaysia. Therefore Badawi's promises then meant more to us than the poor folk of KT. (hence 2004 and 2008)

Nothing changed much by 2008 and the struggle for a 'greater' Malaysia remained secondary to KT. Their main concern remained the bread and butter issues but the younger KT voters could understand the need to tell UMNO/BN that their way of governance is both selective and corrupt hence the reduction of the majority from 1,933 to 628 votes. Bread and butter issues still remained for these poor KT folks not to mention the spoiler by the cycling grandmother!

This brings me to 2009 where PAS won KT by a majority of 2,631 votes. Not convincing by any means in an electorate of 80,229 voters but it does tell me one thing that KT is is still very Malay at heart (as should be and hence the significance of their choice). Bread and butter issues still is amongst the top reasons why KT voted the way they did but at the same time it also tells me that as time goes on and more and more of the KT young are educated to think for themselves, bread and butter issues should not be a problem for Terengganu, being the 2nd most wealthy state in Malaysia once the selective corruption ceases!

It tells me that KT folks are starting to realize that the way forward for them and the country is to remove the self-serving UMNO/BN from power and with it the corruption can end, once and for all. Once ended, there will be greater prosperity for ALL. The reason why the slow pace is because of UMNO/BN's propaganda but it will happen sure enough, slowly slowly, bit by bit. (education of the young ones is key)

The message is so clear to me. Whilst we are worried about race and religion and how to provide for our families, we are SICK and TIRED of the blatant corruption and total disregard for the wishes of the Malaysian people. We are sick of racial politics and the one upmanship required to be played by UMNO, MCA and MIC to retain their relevance. (I'll talk about the 'neither here nor there' Gerakan another day)

The multi-racial system of BN no longer works! This system requires each party to fight for their often narrow conflicting interests and therefore the continued conflicts "to be resolved behind closed doors".

This system only brings more divide rather than unity, despite BN's cry for multi-racialism. If BN really wants a united multi-racial Malaysia, then dissolve yourselves and form one BN which has no race restrictions. Then there is no need for 'closed doors' and we can all speak openly for all Malaysians.

In my simple analysis, until and unless UMNO/BN realizes that whilst we may fear for our own race, we want a fair and just system where all Malaysians may survive or even thrive in this bountiful land of ours. To walk tall side-by-side and where the character of a man determines his future and not the color of his skin.

ONE MALAYSIA and ONE MALAYSIANs. The message is clear against the divide and rule since we know the reality on how to survive and prosper but that is counter to self-enrichment and the grip on power by the ruling elite.

Wake up or be shipped out by those who put you there in the first place!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is The Signal Strong Enough

BN has lost the plot
By Deborah Loh

PAS has wrested the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat from Barisan Nasional (BN) by a 2,631-vote margin, with a greater swing in Malay Malaysian votes to the Islamist party.

PAS also swept the parliamentary votes in all four state constituencies in KT, winning in the Bandar seat by more than a 100-vote majority, according to early estimates. The seat, which is roughly 60% Malay Malaysian and 40% Chinese Malaysian, is the only one presently held by MCA in the state assembly.

The by-election result will be seen as a signal to the ruling BN that its lead party, Umno, has lost the trust of Malay Malaysians and has failed to regain the confidence of other Malaysians. In the 2008 election, PAS lost to the BN by 628 votes.

The result will be cited as evidence that the opposition's wave of success in the March 2008 general election on the west coast was not accidental, a view that Umno's hardcore have refused to accept.

PAS candidate Abdul Wahid Endut polled 32,883 votes against the BN's Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh's 30,252. Independent contender Azharudin Mamat@Adam obtained 193 votes and lost his deposit.

The results were announced at 9.30pm by the Election Commission at the Kuala Terengganu indoor stadium, which was used as the vote-tallying centre. Shouts of "Allahu-akhbar!" erupted from a mammoth crowd of PAS supporters gathered outside the stadium, where the announcement was fed through loudspeakers.

Balance of power unchanged

While PAS's win returns Kuala Terengganu to the Islamist party for a second time since 1999, the result has no bearing on the balance of power in Parliament. PAS only increases the number of its seats to 23, and the Pakatan Rakyat's tally now comes to 81. The BN now has 137, while other seats are held by Sabah Progresive Party (2), Parti Sosialis Malaysia (1) and independent Datuk Ibrahim Ali (1).
Anwar Ibrahim (file pic)However, the consequences go beyond seat numbers. The by-election is also more than a referendum on individuals like in-coming prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. While the statuses of these two leaders will be impacted, the poll points to larger changes on the national stage.

The results show that the people are voting for whichever party's policies they find more relevant in a changed environment of economic recession and greater awareness of multiracial politics. This is especially so since the March 2008 general election ushered in a genuine two-party system in the country.

It indicates that the BN's formula of relying on its development record and asking voters to "balas budi" is no longer accepted by the public.

It is still unclear just how many of the Chinese Malaysian votes went to PAS, but the fall of Bandar is a telling sign as it has the largest concentration of Chinese Malaysians voters in Kuala Terengganu.

Signal to Najib
"It will signal to Najib that he has to do more when he becomes Umno president and prime minister. It may not be that people reject Umno totally, but that they can no longer tolerate its policies," says political analyst Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff.

For PAS, the result shows that it has been able to increase Malay Malaysian support above a minimum of half the votes in Kuala Terengganu, where its core strength is only about 30%. In the March 2008, PAS won about 53% of the Malay Malaysian parliamentary vote, but this was overrun by Chinese Malaysian support for BN.

This time, PAS was helped by the DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in Chinese Malaysian areas, cementing further their ties under the Pakatan Rakyat banner.

"PAS will see that working with the DAP does not have to cost them Malay votes. The DAP will see that it is possible to work with PAS and not compromise its principles," political analyst Ong Kian Ming notes.

Debunking the bogey image

The Pakatan Rakyat has put up a stronger multiracial front than the BN in this by-election campaign, and was thus able to debunk the Muslim extremist bogey image for PAS.
Implementation of hudud law became a non-issue in this by-election, despite the BN trying to drive it as a wedge between the DAP and PAS.

Though PAS won the by-election, it is a huge boost for Anwar, who will say that he has the backing of more Malay Malaysian voters.

The win will provide the Pakatan Rakyat with an extra gust of wind in its sails as it pursues the takeover of the federal government. More than that, it has gained credibility after having gone through the electoral process in Kuala Terengganu, as opposed to earlier attempts to form the government through defections.

As for the BN, whether Umno is humbled will be something to watch for when the coalition holds a special convention next month. The event aims to strengthen race relations and reform the coalition.

For now at least, the biggest loser is Wan Farid, the former deputy home minister and senator, who is now officially jobless.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh Man! PAS Passed With Flying Colours

Pas takes KT in convincing win
By Adib Zalkapli and Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

In a major boost for the Pakatan Rakyat, Pas won the Kuala Terengganu by-election tonight in convincing fashion, with its candidate Abdul Wahid Endut taking the parliamentary seat by a 2,631-vote majority over his closest rival, Barisan Nasional's Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Salleh.

"Perhaps it is because I have known the voters for so long," said Wahid after his victory was announced. "I believe many of the Chinese voted for me."

With this win, the PR alliance increased its representation in Parliament to 82 seats, and while it does not significantly affect the balance of power, it provides the fledgling partnership of Pas, DAP and PKR a huge psychological advantage as it continues to try to destabilise and topple the BN government.

It is also the clearest sign yet that the PR alliance has not lost the support it obtained in the last general election, when it denied BN its traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament.

BN's defeat in Kuala Terengganu is also a significant setback for Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who led the ruling coalition's campaign and who is set to take power as prime minister in March when Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi retires. "In a democracy we respect the people's choice.”

"Of course it's a setback for BN. We will continue to serve. It will not dishearten us," said Najib. Asked what he thought this meant for BN's chances in the next general election, he said: "There is no impact."

With this defeat, BN still has 137 seats in Parliament, with one independent and two from SAPP. PR parties make up the remaining 82 lawmakers. Wakaf Mempelam assemblyman Abdul Wahid defeated Wan Ahmad by 32,883 to 30,252 votes. Independent Azharudin Adam lost his deposit after obtaining only 193 votes. In last year's general election, BN won the seat by a wafer-thin 628 votes.

The turnaround for Pas shows the party not only managed to win over the crucial Chinese votes, which went BN's way last year, but also managed to claw back significant numbers of Malay votes which it had conceded to the ruling coalition previously. The loss will cause BN to do some soul searching as it is the second by-election it has lost since March 8.

A victory in Kuala Terengganu would have represented a recovery from March 8, and provided a fillip for Najib as he prepares to take power.

But instead, Pas's win is likely to solidify PR's alliance and provide what Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says will be renewed momentum to topple BN.

Pas president Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang said his party's win was a sign the people wanted change.

He also took the opportunity to pile pressure on Najib, and said that with this defeat for BN, it was perhaps better that Abdullah stays back as prime minister for now.

"I want Pak Lah to remain as PM to see through his reforms.

"Pak Lah has shown an open attitude and his leadership has brought much change," he said.

He cited as an example the willingness of the returning officer in the by-election to quit after complaints were made by Pas about his alleged biasness.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Eleventh Hour of P36 KT

KT By-election: Will 916 come true after all?
By PYWong

If tomorrow, on 17 Jan 2009, UMNO still loses despite the massive cheating and abuse of power, it will prove to the people that UMNO is no longer invincible. Then the people across the whole nation will wake up and BN will lose the next General Elections. Given this situation, UMNO’s hold on the other component parties in the BN will be broken and they will jump the BN ship to join Pakatan Rakyat.

Maybe 916 will come true after all.

This is the last day for campaigning before polling day on 17th Jan 09. The town is over-flowing with Ministers, leaders and supporters from both sides. As I am typing this article in the Mingstar hotel along the busy Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin, the cars outside are blaring their horns in support of PAS.

The strategies of the two coalitions are clear.

I. BN & UMNO’s Strategies:

A. Pre-election strategy:
1. Pad the Electoral Roll. No time for gerrymandering. Use SPR and National Registration Dept to prepare i/cs for phantom voters, insert them into the electoral rolls, shift known PAS supporters out of the constituency, hide other known PAS supporters from the public rolls to free that vote for phantoms to use later.

2. Adjust or change the i/c nos of voters to confuse election watchers.

SPR had just gazetted a country-wide electoral roll on 28 Nov, 2008. ( Yet a new roll was specially prepared on 5 Dec, 2008 just for this by-election. ( This is a remarkable achievement, considering that in 1999, more than 160,000 young voters were disenfranchised because the cut-off date for registration was set 6 months before the General Elections. Mahathir was quite rightly worried that the voters would vote against him.

This tactic was repeated in Mar 2008.

Has the SPR become so efficient overnight?

In their rush, the SPR has been careless. In the new rolls, phantom voters are strewn all over the place. They have even appeared in the house of the Agung’s uncle. There are other instances of suspicious voters with as many as 92 voters in one house. This time, PAS is prepared and is setting a trap for the phantoms. All that is needed is for one phantom to be caught and the scheme will be blown sky-high.

Malvu has done an excellent job analyzing the new rolls and compared it with the previous ones to look for discrepancies. (

This is UMNO’s ultimate weapon. If despite this advantage, UMNO loses in Kuala Terengganu, UMNO’s hold on the electorate is gone. Likewise UMNO’s hold on the MCA, MIC and Gerakan. If the component parties believe that UMNO cannot give them that advantage in the elections, there is nothing to hold them in the BN. They will leave and that will be the end of BN.

B. Mainstream media:
Blanket the country with UMNO propaganda and demonize Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and PAS.

C. Election Campaign:
Play on the politics of fear, greed and hate – divide-and-rule. These are primordial emotions and have worked for UMNO during the past 50 years.

1. FEAR:

a. Pit the Malays against the Chinese using hate and fear:
In the Malay heartland, tell the Malays that they will lose their special privileges if PAS wins. Promote the idea that if Anwar becomes the Prime Minister, Lim Kit Siang will be the deputy PM. Suggest that PAS and PKR are under the thumb of the DAP. This is such a ridiculous idea when it is obvious to everyone that DAP looks up to Anwar as the leader.

b. Abuse of Govt Machinery:
In official functions with civil servants, tell them to vote for UMNO with the implied threat that their votes can be checked and PAS supporters will be sacked. The KT Mayor was forced to resign as the Returning Officer over this issue.

Similarly, the MCA is going round the Chinese community giving them the same message. The threat is that their business will suffer if they give their support to PAS. Likewise the Temporary Occupation License (TOL) on their houses beside the river bank in Kg Cina will not be renewed. PR countered this by assuring that the ballots are sealed and kept for 6 months before they are destroyed if there is no judicial dispute on the election results.

c. Intimidation:
Bring in 8,000 police to intimidate the locals and to help the phantoms get past the PAS vigilantes.

d. Political Harassment:
DAP operation centre in Kg Cina was forcibly closed.

e. National Threat:
Najib told national television on 6 January, 2009 that the government could not afford to lose this election and still manage the country well – lose one by-election and they become paralyzed?

f. Police Harassment:
Use police to harass PR and their supporters: The police tried to stop PR from going round with a large TV mounted on a truck, although they don’t have the authority to interfere with the election campaign.

They refused to issue permits to PR to conduct ceramahs on 2 days – 9th and 10th Jan 09. PR proceeded with their ceramahs nonetheless. A Police cub bit off more than he could chew when he demanded for RPK’s i/c.

g. Biased SPR:
SPR told DAP and PKR not to hang up their flags as only PAS was contesting. But UMNO was allowed to do so even though it was BN contesting the elections.

h. Frighten the Chinese voters over the Hudud issue:
PR overcame this by signing an agreement that all 3 parties (DAP, PAS and PKR) have to agree before any policy can be implemented.

i. Character assassination:
Using Ezam to attack Anwar Ibrahim.

a. RM 70 million to Class F ContractorsDeputy Prime Minister Najib Razak dished out 583 government contracts (valued between RM30,000 to RM200,000 each) in a “lucky draw” fashion to each and every Class F contractor present at the Wisma Darul Iman in Kuala Terengganu on Jan 10, 2009

b. UMNO Ceramahs:
Offer free food and hampers to audience.

c. Launching of development projects
Federal and State Govt pledges & distribution >RM 12 million to the Chinese community.5 Jan 09, RM 2.7 million: Distribute RM 300 to 9,000 needy & elderly Chinese.13 Jan 09: RM 3.3 million for Bt Kecil Chinese community hall.RM 3 million for KT Chung Hwa Wei Sin (C) school.RM 110,000 for 40 Chinese religious organizations.RM 2.926 million for 10 Chinese schools in Terengganu.RM 205,000 for 2 Chinese temples.

Consider this:
Development is an on-going process. It should be planned and executed progressively, not just during a by-election. This has happened over many by-elections in the past. The behaviour of UMNO all these years is that they believe the nation’s wealth belongs to them to dispense as they wish. And this is reflected in their thinking when speaking to the voters.

Their constant message is:
“Only BN can bring development to their constituency. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” They forget that the food does not belong to the BN or UMNO. It belongs to the State. Maybe it is time to use the Hudud on that hand.

d. Vote Buying:
Offer between RM 200 to RM 400 for their votes. PR countered by encouraging the voters to take the money but vote for PAS.

e. Resurface the roads:
Overnight, the kampong roads are resurfaced. Such attempts to placate the electorate is so transparent and an insult to the intelligence of the people. Yet UMNO never learns.


A. Winning Hearts and Minds:
a. Use the soft-sell: Portray as the underdog fighting a cruel and corrupt regime. Speak softly to the voters asking for a chance to serve them. The PAS candidate, Wahid, is a genuinely friendly person and he is winning over the Chinese.

b. Demonstrate Capability:
Bring the MBs from Selangor, Penang and Kelantan to explain how successfully they have governed and helped the people over the past 9 months. This is very successful.

c. Demonstrate Unity:
Show that all the component parties, their campaign workers and even civil societies can work willingly and happily together as a group. This has worked so well that even Lim Kit Siang’s photograph is hung up in the kampong house, something unimaginable just 2 years ago.

d. Religion:
PAS has successfully used religion to fight against UMNO’s attempts to mislead and bribe the Malays.

e. Demonstrate Malay leadership:
All the component parties in PR has clearly shown that the coalition is led by a Malay leadership.

f. Play on Chinese frustration with UMNO:
The Chinese had it with UMNO’s arrogance, bullying and corruption (Pas now wants details of Terengganu's oil royalty payments to be made public. over the past 51 years and are determined to punish UMNO. UMNO’s blandishments are not working. Neither are the MCA’s not-so-subtle threats. This is clearly shown in the empty MCA Operations Centre in Kg Cina and the poor attendance at the BN ceramahs. As a result, MCA is demoralized.

Ceramah dinners held by DAP and PKR are packed with Chinese who pay to attend and donate generously to the campaign fund.

f. The Barisan Bloggers:
Raja Petra is a one-man vote-getting machine. Everywhere he goes, he is recognized and people keep on asking to take photos with him. The bloggers have been blanketing Kg Cina almost daily until the Barisan Rakyat T-shirt has become a fixture. Indications are that 70% of the Chinese will vote PAS.

g. The Anwar Factor:
Anwar is hugely popular leading to packed ceramahs wherever he goes. He sells the big picture, telling the audience: You will determine where the country is headed. The whole country is looking to you for help to free us from UMNO.

h. The Najib Factor:
The people are asked: Do you want Najib (or worse, Rosmah) to be your Prime Minister? Given Najib's perceived association with Altantuya's murder, the allegations of corruption over the Sukoi submarine commissions paid to his friend and adviser, Abdul Razak Baginda, the answer has been a resounding "No!"

i. The Message of Love:
Promote the idea that we are all Malaysians to be treated equally. Anwar's message is: "Anak Melayu, anak saya. Anak Cina, anak saya. Anak India, anak saya. Anak Iban, anak saya. Anak Kadazan, anak saya. For Malaysians to develop in peace and harmony, we need PR to govern the nation."

Herein, lies the danger for UMNO; If tomorrow, on 17 Jan 2009, UMNO still loses despite the massive cheating and abuse of power, it will prove to the people that UMNO is no longer invincible.

Then the people across the whole nation will wake up and BN will lose the next General Elections. Given this situation, UMNO’s hold on the other component parties in the BN will be broken and they will jump the BN ship to join Pakatan Rakyat.

Maybe 916 will come true after all.

Let's pray for tomorrow

Friday, January 16, 2009

Money In The Right/Wrong Pockets

60:40 or 50:50?
Raja Petra Kamarudin

The soothsayers are divided. Some say that the Kuala Terengganu by-election is a 50:50 situation. Others say it is 60:40, in favour of PAS.

On a level playing field I would tend to agree with the 60:40 prediction. However, seeing that the playing is anything but level, I would tend to go for the 50:50 forecast -- unless PAS is able to plug all the holes.

First of all, Umno is paying up to RM1,000 per vote. And this is how the system works.

A voter goes into the polling station to collect his/her ballot paper. He/she then puts it in his/her pocket. He/she drops a dummy ballot paper into the ballot box. He/she comes out and ‘sells’ the ballot paper to an Umno goon waiting outside. He/she goes home RM1,000 the richer.

The blank ballot paper is marked Barisan Nasional. It is then given to the next voter. He/she collects his/her ballot paper and puts it in his/her pocket. He/she drops the already marked ballot paper into the ballot box. He/she comes out and hands over the blank ballot paper to the Umno goon waiting outside in exchange for RM1,000.

The process is repeated thousands of times all over Kuala Terengganu at the 38 polling stations.

Another method would be: the voter goes into the polling station with his/her hand phone. He/she marks the ballot paper in the Barisan Nasional box and photographs it with his/her hand phone. He/she then drops the ballot paper into the ballot box. He/she comes out and shows the photo in the hand phone to an Umno goon and receives RM1,000.

All this is of course further to the ‘phantom voters’ who will be voting tomorrow. One man closely related to the Agong showed me the electoral roll where four unknown Chinese voters were registered at his house address. He does not know who these four Chinese are and how they got registered at his house address. How many thousands more are ‘registered voters’ in this manner is yet to be known because not all house owners check the electoral role to look for strangers registered at their address. But expect the figure to run into the thousands. And also expect all these strangers to come out to vote tomorrow.

8,000 registered voters live and work outside Kuala Terengganu. This means 10% of the Kuala Terengganu voters are out of town. Will they all come home to vote? If not, then how many will? The lower the voter turnout, the more chance Barisan Nasional will have of padding the ballot box.

The average voter turnout in any general election is roughly 75%. It is sometimes even lower in a by-election. Tomorrow, Kuala Terengganu may see a voter turnout as high as 80% to 85%. In the 2004 general election, the voter turnout in Kuala Terengganu was 130%, as it was in Kuala Selangor and some other places all over Malaysia. After the ‘error’ was pointed out by Malaysiakini, the figure was ‘adjusted’ to 85% or so.

When asked to explain the voter turnout of 130%, the Elections Commission said that the 130% figure was not yet gazetted so it is unofficial. It is not official until it is gazetted. The gazetted figure was then adjusted to make it look more believable.

Invariably, Umno knows it can’t win the Kuala Terengganu by-election tomorrow unless its cheats like hell. In a fair and free election, Pakatan Rakyat is going to win the by-election with a majority of 5,000 votes. They need to ensure that Barisan Nasional wins by at least 1,000 votes. So the vote buying and rigging needs to be maximised like there is no tomorrow.

I have placed a bet on Pakatan Rakyat winning the Kuala Terengganu by-election tomorrow with a 5,000-vote majority. Will Pakatan Rakyat be able to plug all the holes and ensure that this happens? Or am I going to be a slightly poorer person by tomorrow night? Let’s wait and see.

The Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu are very upset. Barisan Nasional has been handing out millions of ringgit to their schools and associations -- plus RM300 Chinese New Year ‘Ang Pows’ to each voter.

“Why are you insulting us by giving us RM300 Ang Pows?” one reasonably rich Chinese asked me. “Do you think we are so bangsat we need this RM300?”

“If the government treats the Chinese better you do not need to bribe us with RM300. If you treat us better we can give the government RM300. RM300 is nothing. It is a small amount.”

“The fact that the government needs to give us RM300 means the government has not treated the Chinese well. That is why they give us RM300 to buy our votes. If not, no need to give us any money. We can give the government money instead.”

I never thought of it that way. And probably neither did Barisan Nasional. I suppose the many dinners thrown over the last two weeks lies testimony to this. The Chinese pay to attend the Pakatan Rakyat dinners. And the hall is not only packed but overflowing as well. The crowd is not just inside the hall. Hundreds more stand outside to listen to the many speeches. And they stay till the very end.

And in spite of everyone having to pay for the dinner, when the collection box is passed around everyone puts in RM50 notes into the box. Tens of thousands are collected every night. And this is further to the dinner that they pay for.

Barisan Nasional invites the Chinese to free diners. However, not only is the hall half empty, the Chinese whack the food and then leave before the speeches start. By the time the speeches start most people have gone home.

Throwing money to the Chinese does not work. For every ringgit Barisan Nasional throws to the Chinese, they throw back double that amount to Pakatan Rakyat. It is ironical that Barisan Nasional is in fact giving Pakatan Rakyat money through the Chinese. The Barisan Nasional money given to the Chinese ends up in the hands of Pakatan Rakyat, plus more.

That is all for now, my brief report this morning. I now have to take Zaid Ibrahim to Chinatown for breakfast and for one last walkabout before Polling Day. Till we speak again, take care and phone all those Kuala Terengganu voters outside the state and convince them to come home to vote tomorrow.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Police Orange Crush

KT voters, we need your help!

If BN wins this time, there will be no change in the Malaysian police system. Everything will stay the same. The voices of the public will continuously be ignored by the government. BN will continue its arrogance in her various policies. What lies ahead will be the same old dirty corrupted political system of the past 51 years.

I reply as BN candidate not Pak Lah's man, says Najib (

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said that “BN was always committed to making changes including for the people's well-being and comfort. The party had learnt its lesson from the 12th general election in March that it should listen to the people's voices and do what they hoped it should do.”

I would like to share a few examples to show that the above statement from Najib is nothing but shameless political rhetoric.

Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act

On Jan 5, five members from PKR's Youth wing were arrested for putting up posters of murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu. Police arrested them under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act. (

How did posting the posters become a seditious act?

The response from Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar was: “You can't breach the law. If they spread criminal defamation, the police should take action. In a democratic system, we should act with responsibility.”

On Jan 11, there were a series of flyers with cartoons attacking the opposition de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim. One of the cartoons, entitled “Jauhi Diri Anda dari Mat Lebong”, portrayed Anwar riding a double-headed donkey with the faces of DAP leader Lim Kit Siang and PAS leader Hadi Awang. Another cartoon, entitled “Welcome to PRK Permatang Pauh” portrayed Hadi Awang and PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz having a conversation on a street surrounded by Chinese road signs and sign boards. (

On Jan 12, a second round of flyers attacking the opposition leaders again appeared in KT. One of the flyers, entitled “Siapa Anwar?” attacks Anwar on his first sodomized charge. (

Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Said later admitted that the flyers were coming from BN. (

My questions are:

Where were the police? Shouldn’t the person handing out the flyers be arrested under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act? Aren’t the claims of “Mat Lebong”, “Welcome to PRK Permatang Pauh”, and “Sodomized Charge” be considered criminal defamation also? Isn’t this an obviously irresponsible and double-standard action taken by the police on the opposition parties?

Illegal Gatherings

On Jan 2, there were 300 Muslims holding a rally on the streets in Penang, condemning the air strikes from Israel against Palestine. Various actions such as kicking, shoeing, and burning effigies of US president George W Bush and Israel PM Ehud Olmert were taking place. However, there was no interruption from the 20 police who were present on the scene. It was reported that the police were just directing the traffic. (

On the same day, an Umno Youth-led protest against Israel’s attack was attended by 200 people, marching to the Palestinian Embassy in Ampang. Again, the group was watched by two dozen policemen who did not take any action to stop the protest. (

On Jan 9, about 5000 protesters gathered near the United States embassy demonstrating the on-going Israeli attack. The demonstration proceeded smoothly with no interruption from the police.

And, about 200 people gathered at the Kampung Baru mosque to protest against the Israeli invasion. Some angry participants even burnt American and Israeli flags. No police personnel were on hand throughout the protest. (

Surprisingly, on Jan 10, 21 out of about 200 attendants of an anti-war vigil at Dataran Merdeka were arrested! Among those held were Parti Sosialis Malaysia leaders Dr Nasir Hashim and S Arutchelvan, PKR's Kuala Langat MP Abdullah Sani and several activists from Suaram and Jerit. About 100 light strike force personnel were present to control and disperse the crowd. The gathering was claimed illegal by the police. (

Several questions for the Malaysian police:

Why were certain groups of citizens not granted the freedom to hold a peaceful gathering? What is the standard for the police arrests? Were all previous rallies legal? Was burning the flags of other nations justified under Malaysian laws? Wouldn’t the action pose a security risk if there were Americans or Israelis present on the scene? Was it ok for a 5000 people rally, but not for a 200 people rally? Was it simply because the 200 people rally was not organized by the pro-BN organization?

Public holidays, come back later

On Jan 10, PKR information chief Tian Chua told a press conference that the police had failed twice to issue the party with a permit to hold a ceramah. Reason given by the police was that “it was not a working day and the office was closed.”

“Can you imagine if you lost your identity card? Will they say ‘Today is a Friday and because it is a holiday, I’m not taking this report’.” Chua said.

“Chua added that under normal circumstances, for example during the Permatang Pauh by-election, party workers merely had to inform the police on the details of the ceramah and did not need to obtain a permit.” (

“Holiday.” Isn’t this the most ridiculous excuse you can find on earth? You were arrested for not applying for a permit. But then, you were refused a permit since it’s a holiday.

There are endless disgraceful stories to share about the Malaysian police system. We have seen numerous insanely odd ways on how the police interrupted various gatherings, e.g. BERSIH, Anti-ISA, HINDRAF, JERIT (just to name a few), and arrested the participants. Tons of resources were utilized to capture the innocent public.

I wonder how many Malaysians, like me, have given up on the police system of the country.

Enough is enough! The citizens desire a police system of justice, not an incompetent one filled with those who know nothing but how to collect money from citizens by any means. The police should never forget on whom they depend for making a living.

BN candidate Wan Ahmad Farid has proclaimed his support with the ISA. And Najib has announced the resumption of Wan Farid to be deputy Home Minister should he win the by-election. (

That being said, if BN wins this time, there will be no change in the Malaysian police system. Everything will stay the same. The voices of the public will continuously be ignored by the government. BN will continue its arrogance in her various policies. What lies ahead will be the same old dirty corrupted political system of the past 51 years.
Based on what has happened all these years, were it not for the by-election, BN would not be so kind as to hand out the various goodies to KT residents.

For a brighter future of Malaysians, and for a better reputation of the Malaysian police system, I urge the KT voters to slap the face of BN by voting for PAS!

Therefore, let’s imitate the calls from Dr Mahathir. Let’s put words into action, let’s fight for a reformed Malaysian police system. Let’s help Malaysians by giving PKR one step forward to become the ruling coalition. Let’s have a true “Malaysia Boleh!”
Lastly, a reply to Najib:

Based on what has happened since March 2008, I have not seen BN’s commitment in “making changes including for the people's well-being and comfort.”

What I have seen is that BN hasn’t “learnt its lesson from the 12th general election in March that it should listen to the people's voices and do what they hoped it should do.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Phantom Of The Election

A second bite at the cherry
By Haris Ibrahim

In the days running up to the last general election, as I traveled with Guan Eng in Penang on the campaign trail, the present MB of Penang who was sitting in the front passenger of the vehicle we were travelling in, turned to me at the back of the car and asked, in a voice hoarse from days and days of speaking at ceramah, how I thought we were faring.

I told Guan Eng that if we could minimise the cheating by BN, we would take seven states.

“Lu gila, lah”, he responded.

“Gila! If we can really stop the cheating, we should be able to form a simple majority federal government”, I retorted back.

On that historic night of 8th March, when it became obvious that BN was in for a drubbing, I sms’d Guan Eng : ‘Congrats, you f****** pessimist’

Malaysiakini, in its report dated 17th March, 2008, reported BERSIH as saying that opposition parties could have won the 12th general election had it been conducted in clean, fair and transparent manner.

10 days before, Malaysiakini reported that 9 buses were stopped in Terengganu by supporters of what must surely have been PAS on suspicion that phantom voters were being ferried into Terengganu for the general election the next day. Police were reported to have rushed to the scene and ‘escorted the convoy to “a safe place”, which Malaysiakini understands was the state government building Wisma Darul Iman in Kuala Terengganu’.

The next day, polling day, there was more trouble in Terengganu.

Malaysiakini reported that in Rusila, Terengganu that morning, police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of 200 to 300 people after they had stopped two buses and several cars which PAS supporters suspected were ferrying phantom voters brought in by BN, ordering at least 76 people in the buses and cars to surrender their identity cards.

The Malaysiakini report has it that when IGP Musa Hassan, who was reported to have said that those on the buses had resumed their journey to carry out casting their ballots, was ‘questioned as to whether or not it had been determined that the voters were genuine voters or phantom voters, Musa said: “If their names are there, they are legal voters. If their names are not there, they cannot vote. They will check with the (Election Commission) EC. There’s no such things as phantom voters. These are outstation voters who are registered to vote there though they are not staying there. They are legal voters,” he added.

There is no such thing as phantom voters?

Ask Rocky Bru who, until the 12th GE had never voted in his life and yet, when he went to register as a voter so that he could vote for the first time last year, was informed that he was already registered as a voter in Bukit Gantang, a place he had never been to in his entire life.

Bussing in phantom voters seems to be the standard modus operandi.

On polling day in the Permatang Pauh by-election on 26th August, last year, Malaysiakini reported that 5 buses were stopped by PKR supporters on suspicion that they were ferrying phantom voters. All the buses were taken to the Seberang Jaya police station. YB Gobalakrishnan, who complained that the police were ‘too busy’ to take down his police report, was, together with his two sons, arrested for stopping the buses.

Was this matter of the alleged phantom voters being bussed into Permatang Pauh ever investigated?

Or was this whole affair brushed aside on the footing that there is no such thing as phantom voters?

I’m still convinced that if the elections had been clean and fraud-free, Perlis and Terengganu as well as the federal government would have fallen to the Pakatan Rakyat parties.

Were the people of Kuala Terengganu cheated of a representative, freely and fairly elected, on 8th March?

Do you, Kuala Terengganu voter, feel that you were cheated last time round?

Or were you one of those who voted for BN, thinking that nothing ever changes in this country, and then was bowled over by the tsunami that hit the country?

Worse, you stayed home and did not vote, thinking, ‘Oh, what’s the point!’?

Would you have voted BN out if you had known that in many other places in the country, a mood of change had captured the imagination of so many, and was about to sweep BN out in another 4 states?

On 9th March, last year, after it became clear how badly BN had fared, were you, Kuala Terengganu voters, left with a ‘Oh, why didn’t we…’ feeling?

Rarely, in life, does one get a second chance.

A second bite at the cherry.

That is what the by-election in Kuala Terengganu on 17th January is.
It’s really up to you.