Ak57\’s Weblog

Thoughts and opinions on Malaysian news, its people and its culture

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

An offer of resignation

cmc_eliz_story2_web

I was surprised by today’s events. At first I was upset because I thought she resigned over such a minor thing. Then upon closer reading of her press statement (link) I saw the key phrase: offer my resignation.

Elizabeth’s offer to resign instead of tendering her resignation could imply that she is being pressured to resign either by the party or by some anonymous person(s). Maybe there are more damaging photos/videos which have not been released to the public. Something that creates a real scandal and brings further shame to her, her family and the party.

Whatever this ‘something’ is, its not strong enough to make her resign immediately.

I am certain she would never voluntarily resign over what has already been released, perhaps that explains today’s compromise where the final decision rests with PKR’s top leaders.

An offer of resignation (which many take as being the same as tendering resignation) appeases the voters who want their politicians to be absolute saints – and the PKR haters too.

If PKR were to refuse to allow her to resign, she retains the benefits of having already offered. Not 100% of course, but from what people tell me the offer alone was like an admission of guilt, which they found acceptable. Then she can announce that she offered, but the party and the voters want her to stay.

If PKR accepted her resignation, she keeps her pride of not allowing these photos to force her to resign. Not allowing the criminals who took them, to control her.

I have no doubt that there are other issues that prompted her action today, its not just photos.

I have my doubts that there will be a good outcome to this, but we will just have to wait and see. Don’t go celebrating or mourning just yet.

References

Nude photos: Wong offers to quit – Malaysiakini (link)

Tearful Wong quits over nude pix – The Malaysian Insider (link)

Written by ak57

February 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm

An act of indecency

cmc_eliz_story_web

By now everyone has succumbed to the latest factoid circulating around – that nude photos/video of Elizabeth Wong have been released to the public, implying some sort of ‘sex scandal’.

This is nothing more than a crime; an invasion of privacy. To paint it as a scandal is the work of a fool.

I don’t see a scandal here.

I read the Malay Mail’s story, which was surprisingly complimentary to Elizabeth and not the usual tabloid trash that I expected. Funny thing is they ran a high-and-mighty editorial claiming its none of their business and condemning the dissemination of the media.

Here’s a quote from their editorial – “In this vicious political environment of bitter rivalry, some will certainly see the opportunity to profit from this disgraceful violation.

Who ran (and tried to profit from) this story? What hypocrits.

I must count Khir Toyo in the company of fools as well. To be photographed nude/partially nude while asleep and unaware – how does that suggest immoral conduct? Its completely daft! Without further evidence to back it up he just comes across as a weak-minded individual.

However after some discussions with certain people I learned that there is a chance that Elizabeth may be forced to resign. It is hard for me to see the logic in that. Yes, we have two by-elections coming up. The photos could be used in the election to portray PKR as a party with immoral politicians. Is that reason enough?

Resignation would only show the voters nationwide that we cave in easily.

There were no indecent acts portrayed in the photos. Yet, there was an act of indecency. The individual(s) responsible for taking the images/footage and spreading it around – they are the ones committing indecent acts. They are the ones we should be cursing and condemning.

Sources

Its none of our business – Malay Mail (link)

Invasion of privacy – Malay Mail (link)

Nude photos: Exco lodges police report – Malaysiakini (link)

Selangor MB stands by embattled exco – Malaysiakini (link)

Factoid (noun) : A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition.

– American Heritage Dictionary

Written by ak57

February 17, 2009 at 3:15 am

Uncertain Times in Perak

crisis_perak_gloves_webOnce again Perak seems to be undergoing a crisis, and I am uncertain where it is headed. Frankly speaking I’m confused exactly when it started as I have not been paying close attention to what is going on outside KL/Selangor/USA. This seems to be the chain of events:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ak57

February 5, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Posted in AK57 Comics, Local News, Politics

Tagged with , , , ,

Making sense of crossovers, Part 5: Parting thoughts


As hard to believe as this sounds, I am both for and against the crossover efforts. In fact the only thing that would make me happy would be mass by-elections or fresh general elections. On September 11th, PKR Vice President Sivarasa Rasiah stated that the Opposition would hold general elections 6-12 months after seizing control of the government, so there is hope that the voters will get a say in who runs their government.

The main reasons the Opposition made any headway at all in the five states was the dissemination of information. The mainstream media has its mouth gagged on many issues, so the Internet and sms was used to great effect to spread the word.

However for states such as Terengganu, Sabah, Sarawak and Pahang where the Internet user base and income level is much lower, spreading information is difficult. It takes time to change people’s minds in these states. By-elections would not result in a big swing towards the Opposition.

The only feasible way for the Opposition to take control of the government is via crossovers. I strongly hope that laws are amended so that the Federal government does not have the kind of control it has now over the State governments. Until those amendments are made our democracy will never mature into a two-party system. A mixed cabinet of BN and Opposition MPs would help too.

The BN government has made full use of their Federal control to make life difficult for the Opposition state governments. Let us hope that the Opposition does not do the same once it takes over.

Since I completed this article we have witnessed the use of the Internal Security Act on Raja Petra, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng. This scare tactic which appears to be initiated independently by the police begs the question of who is pulling their strings. It is legal for them to use ISA to detain people for questioning, but there are many other laws they could use instead of ISA. Someone must have encouraged them to do so.

The ISA is so strongly linked in the minds of the people as ‘government intimidation’ that I seriously doubt the PM or his Cabinet members were responsible in the case of Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng. Those arrests made no sense whatsoever. Raja Petra is a special case because people within BN and PKR view him as too outspoken. While what he has said about Islam makes sense to people like me, it upsets many more. I am curious how much attention Raja Petra’s detention will receive in the form of candlelight vigils, forums and so on now that the other two have been released.

Anwar Ibrahim did not meet his September 16th deadline, citing unrest caused by the ISA. He has tried to arrange a private meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss a handover of government, which the PM rightfully denied. I saw a copy of the letter sent – it was vaguely written and mentioned no list of crossovers. The PM must show strength and not give in to unsubstantiated facts (factoid).

On September 17th SAPP pulled out of BN, yet chose to remain independent. It appears they too wish to see if Anwar has the numbers.

Anwar then asked for an emergency session of Parliament for September 23rd, which I assume won’t happen either. He even stated he would see the Agong to seek intervention.

I am patient enough to wait a few weeks until October 13th when Parliament reconvenes. In my view Anwar fixed a deadline and didn’t finish his preparation work. Private meetings with the PM would be part of this work.

BN MPs finding it difficult to reach the Peninsular is not relevant, because they can submit their resignations in writing. Their lives and their families’ lives were always at risk, the usage of the ISA did not change that. Has some form of protection been given to them, or will they be left to fend for themselves like the private investigator Bala after giving his statutory declaration on Najib?

Anwar said he would take over the government on the 16th and he failed, plain and simple. When meeting the Agong was mentioned I knew that it was an act of desperation to save face. I do not doubt that he will take over the government eventually – I just wish he would be more patient.

To date, there is still no evidence of the 31 BN MPs ready to join the Opposition.


Making sense of crossovers

This series of articles tries to analyse the unending efforts of the Federal Opposition to take over the government by getting BN MPs to join them. Their goal is to get at least 31 BN MPs to change their allegiance on September 16th.

Part 1 looks at how PKR grew and the state it is in now, as they are the prime mover of the crossover ‘operation’.

Part 2 discusses the many justifications heard to support the crossovers.

Part 3 discusses the moral and democratic issues and suggested alternatives.

Part 4 describes ways to prevent and encourage crossovers.

Part 5 offers some parting thoughts and views on recent events

Written by ak57

September 24, 2008 at 7:00 am

Making sense of crossovers, Part 4: Strategies to encourage and prevent


The Opposition wants MPs to cross over to their side, and BN wants to halt their efforts. Both sides will do everything possible to achieve their goals, and this article discusses some strategies.

The factoid approach

Factoid (noun) : A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition.

– American Heritage Dictionary

The usage of factoids by the Opposition is quite obvious – not long after the March ’08 elections Anwar Ibrahim has repeatedly said that he has enough BN MPs willing to crossover. To date he has offered no evidence, but the constant repetition has caused many Opposition supporters to accept his statement as fact.

Due to the lack of evidence, supporters searched desperately for clues and signs that the crossovers were real. The tabling of a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister by SAPP was seen as a silent support of the Opposition, possibly indicative of SAPP crossing over. The various ex-politicians from UMNO and Gerakan joining PKR in the past few months were also seen as a ‘crossover’ of sorts. But no actively serving MP in BN has come out in support of the Opposition.

The power of the factoid lies in how easy it is to repeat to others. Events that are imagined to be evidence are woven into the factoid, further enhancing its credibility. For how many months has the public been subjected to Anwar’s repeated claim that he has the numbers to take control of the government?

In the secret discussions held between the Opposition and the BN MPs, factoids play a role as well. An MP may be told that his compatriots have already ‘signed on’, thereby pressuring him to join the Opposition. In today’s age where phones are tapped, SMS’s traced and the threat of detention without trial looms, the MP may be fearful to confirm the truth about his compatriots. He may even go another route by telling other MPs that certain big names in BN were confirmed to be crossing over, according to ‘reliable sources’, but he himself was not. Whether he is aware of it or not, the MP would be doing the Opposition’s work for them, by spreading the factoid of the signed-on MPs.

Opponents of Anwar Ibrahim tried to use a factoid as well, as can be seen in the allegation by Saiful Bukhari that Anwar sodomised him. To date there has been no evidence that sexual assault of such nature occurred, yet charges were filed and Anwar was forced to undergo a medical examination.

Fans of the sodomy factoid hoped that it would cause Opposition supporters to lose faith in their leader, yet it backfired. Anwar is seen as being under attack once again, as he was previously accused of sodomy in 1998 and served a prison sentence before being acquitted. The factoid served to increase support for Anwar and reduce support for BN, as they are believed to be the masterminds behind the 1998 and 2008 sodomy charges.

The Permatang Pauh by-election spawned another factoid – that the nation completely supports Anwar Ibrahim as the next Prime Minister. As Opposition members put it, “How else does one explain that Anwar won despite BN throwing ‘everything it had’ at the election?”

This flawed argument ignores the fact that it was a safe seat, and that money in elections matters less than the message being spread. On the one hand you have the established leader of the DAP-PAS-PKR coalition promising lower petrol prices and a better economy for all races, and on the other hand you have a man whose campaign focused heavily on pushing their sodomy factoid. Even the most objective would have to say that Anwar’s message was stronger.

All these factoids have helped a great deal in boosting the image of Anwar Ibrahim and the Opposition as being in control of government already, if only the present government would let go. Voters may be influenced to pressure their MP to cross over, and MPs may feel they should so they are not left behind.

Increased funding and power to BN MPs

Sabah and Sarawak are two states that have been publicly targeted by the Opposition for their crossover operation. There is no reason to believe that MPs in other states are not being courted as well, but with the frequently publicised ‘secret meetings’ BN leaders would do well to court their own MPs as well. Increased funding to Sabah and Sarawak, and perhaps some more investment in improving their infrastructure and quality of life would do well to earn their loyalty.

The arrogant attitude shown by BN in the past does imply that they may ignore the Opposition’s claims altogether. By doing so they are missing out an opportunity to secure the loyalty of their MPs.

A public pledge of allegiance

This was attempted by BN in Sabah in August ’08, but was rejected as the Sabah MPs viewed it as insulting. Eventually it took place in early September, with more than 40 MPs from Sabah and Sarawak pledging their loyalty to BN.

It could be argued that such a pledge could easily be revoked by joining the Opposition and saying, ‘I was coerced into pledging’ – so why bother?

Sequestering BN MPs

An agricultural study trip to Taiwan was held in early September for 50 BN MPs. The duration of the trip conveniently put them out of the country on September 16th. The Opposition sent three PKR elected representatives to Taiwan as well, to maintain the ambiguity over the reasons for the trip.

Opposition supporters view this trip as an act of fear by BN, and an opportunity to have secret discussions.

Others saw this as a ploy by BN to see how far the Opposition was willing to go- apparently far enough to send two MPs and a State Exco member over there.

Resignations to the Dewan Rakyat can be submitted in writing. There was nothing stopping the MPs from changing their parties while overseas. However the Opposition had to maintain their factoid by sending people over there, so this action is forgivable.

Removing Anwar from politics

This can be said to be in-progress with the sodomy charges pending a trial. Without Anwar there would be no Pakatan Rakyat and PKR itself would not be as strong.

This is a nation where politicians have been murdered publicly in the past and the results of the investigations were either inconclusive or not publicised – swept under the carpet. Anwar has been a threat to BN since his release from prison, but the lack of harsh action against him indicates he has some form of protection. What that is we will never know.

Replacing the Prime Minister

The people’s faith in the Prime Minister is at an all time low. UMNO could just replace Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with someone else, such as Najib Razak or Muhyiddin Yasin. With a new Prime Minister in charge, perhaps announcing some grand changes such as a reform of the Civil Service or Election Commission, the Opposition would find it more difficult to increase support for their crossover plan.

A major incident

This can take the form of any event that would sway public opinion, and can be used by both sides.

A racial event (riot/hate speech/hate crime) involving Opposition members could cause voters to run back to BN ‘for protection’. BN has always capitalised on the racial divides in our country, and such an event could be engineered or instigated. The same event, if not handled correctly in the media, could benefit the Opposition instead if BN is seen as the cause of it.

Mass arrests could be seen as a clampdown on free speech in this country, and build up tremendous resentment towards the present government. In the present political climate where distrust of BN is high, there is no way for BN to put a positive spin on arrests of Opposition politicians – not without hard evidence.

Opposition supporters are fearful that either of these events would lead to the government declaring a State of Emergency. But they fail to realise that BN is not so foolish as to cripple our economy just to retain their ‘power’. A crippled economy and a drop in foreigners confidence in our government serves no one, not even the purportedly selfish BN politicians.

Back pedalling

The crossovers have a firm date of September 16th set for them. If it does not happen then the Opposition, specifically Anwar, will have to come up with a range of excuses. It could be fear due to a major incident. It could be due to evidence disproving his factoid.

Early on the Opposition stated that all the MPs would crossover at a specific time. If one MP crossed over and some punishment befell him, the others may be too scared. But the problem with the factoid approach is that on September 16th, all the MPs may be waiting to see who takes the first step before committing themselves. If nobody steps forward then we will see the Opposition engage in some face saving exercise. Only time will tell.


Making sense of crossovers

This series of articles tries to analyse the unending efforts of the Federal Opposition to take over the government by getting BN MPs to join them. Their goal is to get at least 31 BN MPs to change their allegiance on September 16th.

Part 1 looks at how PKR grew and the state it is in now, as they are the prime mover of the crossover ‘operation’.

Part 2 discusses the many justifications heard to support the crossovers.

Part 3 discusses the moral and democratic issues and suggested alternatives.

Part 4 describes ways to prevent and encourage crossovers.

Part 5 offers some parting thoughts and views on recent events

Written by ak57

September 24, 2008 at 6:56 am

Making sense of crossovers, Part 3: Moral and democratic issues; Suggested alternatives

It is clear that the pursuit of crossovers by the Opposition has been to gain power. The power to change government policy; to do good for the people; to make Anwar the next Prime Minister. That last reason looks less altruistic than the rest, but serves as a reminder of the cult of personality that is PKR.

There are many Malaysians who are against a change of government taking place by the crossover method. The common argument focuses on morality and democracy.

Subversion of democratic process

Democracy (noun): Government by popular representation; a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but is indirectly exercised through a system of representation and delegated authority periodically renewed; a constitutional representative government; a republic.

– Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary

The Federal Government of Malaysia follows the Westminster system of government inherited from the United Kingdom. Under this system there is a Head of State (our Agong), Head of Government (Prime Minister) and Parliament consisting of lower house (Dewan Rakyat) and upper house (Dewan Negara).

The Prime Minister is appointed based on the Agong’s judgement that he commands the majority of the Dewan Rakyat. In practice this position goes to a representative from the largest political party. The Prime Minister then appoints his Cabinet ministers from either house. It is even legal under our Constitution to have a mixed Cabinet of Opposition and BN members, though that has never happened.

If the members of the Dewan Rakyat lose confidence in the Prime Minister, they can choose to show this lack of confidence by refusing to pass a vital Bill such as the Budget, or take a vote of no confidence. The Prime Minister can then resign his post or call for general elections.

The crossovers being discussed are of members of the Dewan Rakyat – our Members of Parliament (MPs). They are individually elected by voters in their constituencies during the General Elections.

To put it simply, in practice:

  1. Voters vote for their MP in the elections
  2. The total MPs that are elected are tallied up and the majority party is determined
  3. The party that holds the majority is presumed to have control of the government
  4. The Prime Minister is selected from the majority party and appoints his Cabinet members
  5. The MPs may call for a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister
  6. Voters who want change of government vote for the party they support in the next election

The voting process is how the people exercise their power over the government, satisfying the definition of democracy. That is what happened in March ’08 – an unprecedented number of people were tired of BN and voted for the Opposition.

The excuse given by the Opposition is that voters select an individual candidate based on personal capability and character, not party. As such the candidate is free to make independent choices based on what serves the constituency first. So if the candidate feels he is unable to perform his duties by virtue of being in the wrong party, he should feel free to cross over.

This is an academic point of view.

This excuse ignores the fact that not all voters have the luxury of getting to know their candidate. In the fast paced life we live in today, many find it impossible to make time to attend speeches or look at the candidate’s track record. Ideally the voters would get to know all the choices and arrive at an informed decision.

The reality is that countless voters voted based on party, not individual. The rights of these voters need to be respected, and that is why crossovers are viewed as a betrayal of the voter. It is not fair for the academics to point at these voters and say they were wrong to vote based on party.

There are voters who voted for an Opposition candidate solely because they wanted Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister.

There are voters who voted for a BN candidate solely because they wanted the rights of their race to be protected.

There are voters who voted for an Opposition candidate solely because they had lost faith in BN.

There are voters who voted for a BN candidate solely because they did not trust the Opposition.

Do their votes not count? How they choose to vote is their right, and no-one should question their reasoning.

The moral argument

When one talks about morality, it is important to realise that right and wrong depends on the point of view taken. Coming back to the crossovers that are expected to occur:

1. It is immoral because it betrays the voters who voted primarily based on party. It also betrays the party members who supported the MP’s rise to power. The MP is viewed as a representative of the party first.

2. It is moral because by virtue of being elected the MP has the confidence of his constituency and can choose to serve another party so long as it benefits the constituents. The MP is viewed as a representative of the constituents first.

Given that both points of view are true, advocates of either view are not wholly right or wrong. Yet they behave as though they are morally superior to their opponents. Talking about morality is time-wasting at best. If you are a voter and your MP is crossing over, ask yourself these questions:

1. Is the MP’s party that you voted for still the party you wish it to be?

2. Is the party that the MP is crossing over to one that you trust and share ideology with?

3. If the crossover will cause a change of government, do you have faith in the leaders of this new government?

Suggested alternatives

We have seen that the act of getting MPs to switch parties to force a change of government is a subversion of democratic process. Regardless of whether you view it as moral or immoral, the voters did not get a say in it. What follows are a number of suggested alternatives.

Ask MPs to step down and have by-elections

An election is the only way to confirm that voters in a given constituency want change. This is the best alternative because it does not raise any democratic or moral issues and helps legitimise the formation of a new government by the Opposition. However it is not feasible for a number of reasons.

Any MP who steps down is barred from being a member of the Dewan Rakyat for five years (Federal Constitution Article 48 Clause 6). Not only would this be a political setback for some, but their income has to be considered as well. If they have been fulltime career politicians, they may not be able to enjoy the same level of income by seeking employment elsewhere.

So you would be asking the MP to sacrifice their status in their constituency and money. It is true that they would gain goodwill by doing this act of charity ‘for the nation’, but goodwill does not put food on the table and fades altogether very quickly. How many politicians out there would take such a personal loss to serve others?

The Opposition cannot be seen giving them money to make up for the loss, or making them Senators so they can still enjoy their privileges. It would be interpreted immediately as a bribe.

The election process is still viewed by the Opposition as corrupt, so they would not trust any by-election. In the March ’08 elections Sabah and Sarawak voted almost entirely for BN. It was only six months ago, so how much of a swing could be expected? Crossovers are the safest way for the Opposition to seize control of these constituencies.

Get voters to sign petition of endorsement/condemnation

While not as strong as asking MPs to step down, this alternative can show the public whether the crossover is supported by the voters in that constituency. It helps pressure the MP in making a decision on whether to make the leap or publicly state he won’t.

Call for a vote of no-confidence

The Opposition had tried to push a motion of no-confidence for debate in Parliament on July 14th 2008 but it was blocked by the Speaker of the House. Such a motion if passed would not even have resulted in a vote, yet it was blocked. On the day itself the Parliament House and roads surrounding it were put under heavy guard by the police, even to the extent of placing barb wire.

Parliament will reconvene in October, so there is still a chance for a no-confidence motion to be made.

Component parties leaving BN

If component parties such as MCA, MIC and Gerakan left BN they would still retain their independence and not be seen as opportunists jumping to the Opposition. Their supporters could still remain loyal as the party had not joined the ‘hated Opposition’. Once the BN coalition becomes smaller it would no longer command the majority in Parliament and the Prime Minister would be forced to resign.

SAPP would most likely be the first to do this, as they publicly showed a lack of faith in BN in June.

Closing

If it were another country, waiting for the next election would be the norm. However the present government has a history of using existing draconian laws to clamp down on freedom of speech – not to the extent of military rule, but just enough to create fear in the majority. It has made no effort these many decades to foster a strong Opposition.

In practice we live under a one-party system which is in dire need of change. The moral issues with crossovers still remain, and as a nation we will never know how acceptable crossovers are to us until the next election. The power to change the government should always rest with the voters and we must strive to keep it there.


Making sense of crossovers

This series of articles tries to analyse the unending efforts of the Federal Opposition to take over the government by getting BN MPs to join them. Their goal is to get at least 31 BN MPs to change their allegiance on September 16th.

Part 1 looks at how PKR grew and the state it is in now, as they are the prime mover of the crossover ‘operation’.

Part 2 discusses the many justifications heard to support the crossovers.

Part 3 discusses the moral and democratic issues and suggested alternatives.

Part 4 describes ways to prevent and encourage crossovers.

Part 5 offers some parting thoughts and views on recent events

Written by ak57

September 24, 2008 at 6:47 am

Making sense of crossovers, Part 2: Justifications

The March ’08 election results took everybody by surprise. The Opposition never expected to seize control of five states and was totally unprepared. They had been conditioned by events in the past to have no faith in the Electoral Commission and electoral process. But in recent years uncontrolled media such as the Internet helped expose acts of corruption endorsed the ruling party. BN was seen as being corrupt and self-serving.

Voters voted against BN, not for the Opposition. Instead of realising this, the Opposition felt they had the mandate of the people and were it not for the ‘corrupt electoral process’ they would have seized the nation. So they embarked on a quest to seize control by getting BN MPs to switch parties. PKR has been the prime mover of this quest, with PAS and DAP giving silent support of this course of action.

Never mind the fact that these BN MPs are the same MPs that have been hated all these years. Never mind the fact that an overwhelming number of elected representatives in the Opposition are new to politics and unaware of the responsibilities of an MP or ADUN.

When you are part of a group and the leaders do something you disapprove of, you may fall into a state of cognitive dissonance. “I am part of a group of good people and everything we do is right. Yet my leaders are proposing something I know is wrong. Both points of view can’t be right!” To stay in the group one has to believe the leaders are right, and the best way of doing that is by convincing others.

So justifications were needed to ensure that Opposition supporters are still part of the morally superior bloc they claim to be. The diehards repeat it to everyone out of blind devotion, while the fence-sitters repeat it to everyone to convince themselves they are with the right group.

Here are some of the common justifications:

1. To rescue Sabah and Sarawak

Sabah and Sarawak have been suffering economically for decades, despite being our main sources of petroleum exports. Sabah in particular has been accepted as a ‘permanent’ BN state due to the immigrant population outnumbering the locals – immigrants who always vote for BN. The people living there have long been exploited and ignored by their politicians, and the promise of the Opposition to better their lives is an attractive one.

But how would you explain a crossover of Sabah MPs, when come next election the voters will vote BN again? Four years is too short to make the grand sweeping changes that people imagine the Opposition to be capable of.

2. To make it easier/possible to govern the opposition states

Ronnie Liu (DAP – Pandamaran) highlighted this fact in a ceramah. He said that state governments had their hands tied when it came to simple tasks like constructing a hospital or a post office. Too much money and power is concentrated in the Federal Government, so much so that winning the state did not accord that much control after all.

It would seem that our nation has been structured in such a way that a political coalition must control the states and the federal government in order to effectively govern the people. This seems like a good argument, but to what extent is it true and why is this message in particular not widely spread?

It could be because this justification only emerged after a few months of governing, so it could not contest against the earlier, more popular justifications.

3. To fight cronyism and corruption

This caters to the long standing tradition of the Opposition of exposing corruption. However there is a big difference between exposing corruption and fixing it. We are living in a nation saturated with corruption, and too much exposure can cause a serious collapse of systems within the government.

To be effective in the long term, the Opposition has to slowly make changes to the way things are run. But it promises swift change. It is the equivalent of rushing to build a house on a foundation infested with termites.

4. Because the majority of the nation supports it

This justification is used by the diehard haters of the electoral process in the country. Their view is that as long as most of the states support the Opposition, the others should fall suit. Apparently votes belonging to voters in the ‘losing team’ don’t matter.

If the electoral process was as corrupt as they claim, BN would not have allowed five states to fall into Opposition hands.

5. Because UMNO leadership is in disarray since the election

UMNO has had a lot of infighting and finger pointing to try and explain their loss to themselves. They are another victim suffering from cognitive dissonance. For so long they had been unbeatable and now they had lost so much overnight it is almost impossible to accept. This internal conflict shows a weak leadership.

But what about the leadership of the Opposition, is it strong? The Pakatan Rakyat coalition of DAP-PAS-PKR has no constitution, or agreed-upon guidelines for governing the nation. PKR in particular is suffering from its cult behaviour and undefined culture, having a large number of newly elected leaders unclear on what their party ideology is.

6. Because BN might sabotage Pakatan Rakyat

Some members feel that BN may try something drastic in order to hang on to their power. This drastic action may be an assassination, detention without trial, perhaps even a racial riot. Yes, we have draconian laws in this country. But our nation’s public image is a top priority for the ruling government, thus they try their best not to invoke them.

They have used media control to limit the information that reaches the masses, but the Internet has been used to get around this control. BN can’t censor the Internet – that is viewed internationally as the act of a totalitarian regime.

Despite the demonisation of BN they have not initiated mass arrests of Opposition members or shot them. Since Anwar was freed from prison he has been a threat to them, yet no action was taken against him. Since March ‘08 the entire Opposition was a threat, yet still no action was taken. Any drastic action runs the risk of street demonstrations, with the threat of escalation leading to a State of Emergency. In our globalised economy we cannot afford to invoke Emergency Rule, which would cripple our economy for years.

All that BN allegedly has done since the election is create a sodomy case against Anwar and arrest Perak politicians on fake corruption charges. Not the hard-lined action that supporters of this ‘sabotage’ idea are expecting.

How does being in fear of a BN controlled government justify courting BN MPs? To put it another way, it is like telling them, “Please sir, we’re scared you’ll lock us up, why don’t you join us so we can be sure we are all friends?”

Closing

More often than not, the Opposition does not communicate their goals to the people very well. Actions are taken and decisions made but the reasoning is unknown. In explaining and rebuking some of the justifications for crossing over, it is hoped that you have a better understanding of the arguments of the Opposition.


Making sense of crossovers

This series of articles tries to analyse the unending efforts of the Federal Opposition to take over the government by getting BN MPs to join them. Their goal is to get at least 31 BN MPs to change their allegiance on September 16th.

Part 1 looks at how PKR grew and the state it is in now, as they are the prime mover of the crossover ‘operation’.

Part 2 discusses the many justifications heard to support the crossovers.

Part 3 discusses the moral and democratic issues and suggested alternatives.

Part 4 describes ways to prevent and encourage crossovers.

Part 5 offers some parting thoughts and views on recent events

Written by ak57

September 17, 2008 at 12:18 am