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All Five Najib's Political Aides 'Under Fire'
- Thursday, 13 June 2013
All five political aides to Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be dropped from office for purportedly putting their interests above the prime minister’s in what is seen as a move to axe the deadwood weighing down his office ahead of Umno elections this year, Barisan Nasional (BN) sources have told.
A big NO to Umno!
- Tuesday, 21 May 2013
- Selena Tay
Of all the three parties in Pakatan Rakyat, PAS has the least impressive performance in the 13th general election although they worked the hardest.
Their less than stellar performance could be attributed to the fact that they had to deal with the most challenging group of voters – the rural Malays who are lacking in truthful information and access to the internet and are solely dependent on the mainstream media.
Taking into account all these obstacles plus a few tactical blunders, it is to their credit that they still managed to win 21 parliamentary seats, two down from the 23 they obtained in 2008.
From the outsiders’ point of view, the worst thing that could have happened to PAS was the defeat of its moderate faction leaders in the parliament seats.
Those who lost were PAS deputy president, Mohamd Sabu who lost in Pendang, Kedah, vice-president Husam Musa who lost in Putrajaya, another vice-president Salahuddin Ayub who lost in Pulai, Johor and Dzulkefly Ahmad who did not manage to defend his Kuala Selangor seat.
Dzulkefly is widely regarded as chief of the moderate faction and his lost is a great blow to this group. However, he holds the post of PAS Research Director and this means that he still has got some clout.
It is a known fact that PAS spiritual advisor, Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat values Dzulkefly’s opinion. He and Salahuddin will be in charge of conducting a post-mortem to analyse PAS’ performance in the hustings.
With Dzulkefly’s loss, it now looks like Khalid Samad, who successfully defended his Shah Alam seat, will have to lead the moderates.
On the ulama side, one of their top leaders, Haron Din lost when he was defeated in the parliament seat of Arau in Perlis. However one of the top moderates, Hanipa Maidin, who is also the PAS legal counsel, won the parliament seat of Sepang by defeating Umno bigwig, Mohd Zin Mohamed. Mohd Zin was one of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s point-man in Selangor.
Some grassroots PAS members doubtless are in favour of PAS joining up with Umno but PAS leaders have firmly rejected this move.
Many outsiders would also think that with the huge defeats suffered by the moderate faction, the ulama faction will now press forward the agenda of joining with Umno but this is definitely not true at all.
Below are comments this columnist have obtained from the ulama faction.
The first comment comes from Ustaz Haron Din who remarked that although PAS bigwigs lost, Umno bigwigs such as former Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam also lost in the battle for the parliament seat of Bukit Katil and former Johor Menteri Besar, Abdul Ghani Othman lost in the parliament seat of Gelang Patah.
Worst of all, MCA and Gerakan, two of BN’s top component parties also suffered terrible losses.
Haron opines that the loss suffered by PAS bigwigs will not cause PAS to stumble in their struggle as losing is nothing unusual for PAS leaders.
PAS Youth chief, Ustaz Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi who contested and won in the parliament seat of Temerloh in Pahang against Umno’s Saifuddin Abdullah (former deputy higher education minister) has said that PAS joining up with Umno is only a joke and those calling for it will not affect PAS.
Nasruddin is of the view that PAS will not join Umno as Umno is still oppressing the Kelantan PAS state government in regard to the payment of the oil royalties and also oppressing the Pakatan-helmed states.
Therefore the issue of unity with Umno should not be brought up as long as the oppression continues.
“Umno is the one who is in difficulty due to the dismal performance of the BN component parties and therefore this unity issue comes up again. Unity will never happen as long as Umno continues with its same policies,” stressed Nasrudin.
Dzulkefly remarked that working with Umno does not mean that Umno will improve its behaviour but rather Umno’s behaviour might affect PAS.
Instead, he suggested that everyone should work together to free this nation from corruption instead of talking about Umno and PAS co-operation.
Ustaz Hadi Awang, the PAS president who successfully defended his parliament seat of Marang and state seat of Rhu Rendang in Terengganu mentioned that if one goes near a drowning man, he too will drown when the drowning man grabs at him.
Ustaz Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, the PAS information chief who lost in the state seat of Jengka in Pahang noted that the unity issue always crops up before and after general elections when Umno is in difficulty.
“PAS will certainly not join Umno because we know Umno well and we know that they have more bad points than good points,” commented Tuan Ibrahim.
The number game
As usual, Tok Guru Nik Aziz rejected the idea outright and this time he labelled it as “an evil intention by those proposing it”.
It must be noted that parliament has a total of 222 seats. Therefore 148 seats is the two third majority.
Thus if PAS joins Umno, BN will have a comfortable two third majority of 154 seats.
This shows clearly that although PAS has the least number of seats in Pakatan Rakyat, PAS holds one of the keys to Umno’s power and therefore PAS is the most powerful in Pakatan – not bad at all for the component party in Pakatan with the fewest seats!
GE13 - BN wins, but did Pakatan lose?
- Tuesday, 07 May 2013
FOR Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat, it's something like this - win some, lose some. Win here, lose there. Pretty much status quo. Sort of.
It was more of relief rather than euphoria for BN although it retained the federal administration, albeit performance worse than in 2008 . Not much excitement either for PR as they had expected to win the federal administration although they overall seats haul was better than five years ago.
No two thirds majority that the BN wanted in parliament. It was the same for the coalition at the state level. Like in Terengganu and Perak, BN kept power with a two and three seat difference, respectively. But even before polling BN's Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah had "predicted" that the "the rakyat didn't seem to want a party to rule with a two third majority".
In short, the days of getting two thirds are gone. But the rakyat did give PR three states with two thirds majority - in Selangor, Kelantan and of course Penang. BN managed two-thirds majority in Melaka.
That's one of the "contradictions" of GE13. (Incidentally, Saifuddin, seen as a reformist in Umno and one of the better young leaders in the party, lost his seat in Temerloh).
Another "contradictory" aspect would surely be on the voting trend itself. BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak blamed the polls results on what he called the "Chinese tsunami", going on to say "such polarised voting trends would be dangerous to the country".
But results also showed BN pulled through because of Malay support for Umno. Should it called a "Malay tsunami" then? I for one don't think so. True there was a big Chinese "swing" to Pakatan. But there was a Malay swing too, one which can be called an "an uneven swing'. "Uneven" because in some places the Malays gave their votes to BN/Umno and in others, their support went to PR.
For instance BN won Kedah with Malay votes as the state itself is Malay majority. Many BN wins elsewhere came from Umno with Malay support. Out of the 133 parliamentary seats won, Umno contributed 109.
But in Malay predominant Lembah Pantai , the majority of the Malays chose PR (Nurul Izzah Anwar). In Wangsa Maju as well where Malays are majority, they threw their weight behind PR's non-Malay candidate, Dr Tan Kee Kwong. Both seats are in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. In other words, urban seats.
Said a researcher with a foreign university, "Chinese voters' trend clearly was to the opposition but Malay voters seem mixed." To some observers the BN support came from what they termed as the "Malay heartland". Another word for "heartland" would be rural, some say.
Hence BN/Umno support as in previous years came from rural Malays while the majority of urban Malays made up of upper middle class, middle class as well as lower income voted for PR. Hence the divide is rural and urban.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek however sadly preferred to paint a picture of a "two race system" being formed by the polls results - one which is a "victory of the Chinese over the Malays".
DAP's Lim Kit Siang took exception and urged Chua "not to racialise the electoral results", adding that Chua's remarks "is a betrayal to the vision of Malaysians as well as the 1Malaysia spirit touted by BN".
According to Lim he would not have obtained a big majority in defeating Datuk Ghani Othman in Gelang Patah without the substantial Malay support. His son Guan Eng also said PR's overwhelming victory in Penang was achieved with the support of the Malays as well, not only Chinese voters .
Without Malay support, said Lim junior, "we could not have the two thirds majority".
To former Melaka CM Datuk Seri Ali Rustam who lost in Bukit Katil, the "Chinese did not appreciate the service and efforts undertaken by the BN government." This and Chua's statement are at odds with Najib's stated concern over "polarisation" and the need to reject "racial politics and extremism".
That would surely be contradiction number three as far as GE 13 goes - for Umno including former PM Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Najib himself had used time and time again the "favourite" campaign line of the "Malays and Islam under threat" and the "danger of Malays losing its identity" should PR come into power.
And Umno had endorsed Perkasa's Datuk Ibrahim Ali and Datuk Zulkifli Noordin, the two men who had hurt the feelings of non-Malays with their remarks seen by many as "racist".
"The good news is people are rejecting Ibrahim and Zulkifli,"said the researcher. The "people" the researcher was referring to are obviously the voters in Pasir Mas and Shah Alam who are predominantly Malays.
Najib has admitted BN will "take some time to absorb the results and its ramifications". Well, one aspect that BN/Umo need to take a hard look at will have to be using the "Malay card".
But the BN win this time is marred by allegations of electoral fraud. PR's Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim listed many of what he sees as irregularities and suspicions. Fact is many Malaysians feel the same. The degree of mistrust towards the Election Commission (EC) was (and still is) so high many ordinary Malaysians became self appointed election watchers in an effort to stop fraud.
The EC has denied everything. So too Najib who said the elections "are clean and fair". But that is still being disputed. And not likely to go away anytime soon.
A victory is a victory they say. Still the BN victory this time seems "hollow" taking into consideration the money and effort spent - not only during the campaign period but since 2009.
Despite all that the scoreboard read BN 133, PR 89. In 2008 it was BN 140, PR 82. And we all know what happened to the then Umno President and Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi because of that.
As far as politics goes, it's still game on.- fz
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