How to Win General Elections?


I have been away from the country on work assignment but hardly a day passes by without me checking into the latest happenings in the country.

Criminal gangs have now turned to grenades for turf war in Bukit Bintang and at least 1 innocent person have been killed. A politician who earns more than RM21,000 comes around and says that as a Member of Parliament, he had to make do with insufficient money (he had to “ikat perut“) and even complained that MPs in Uganda are paid twice and this comment came after Najib decided to reduce the petrol subsidies causes the petrol price to go up 20 cents. Somehow that made it easy to predict where the savings from subsidies is going to end up. And speaking about taxpayers’ money, it seems like more money is splashed on Rosmah’s pet projects (Najib had announced RM711 million in the recent budget but how much of it is for Permata remains unclear for the moment).

And to add the problems & the rising cost that the common man is facing on daily basis, we still had to content with this kind of news:-

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today that the Chinese could not make demands on Barisan Nasional (BN) if they continued to support Pakatan Rakyat (PR). Speaking at the MCA’s 61st annual general assembly, Najib said BN would only be fair to the Chinese if they supported the ruling coalition instead of PR.

However, Najib conceded that he did still “try” to be fair to the Chinese community now, despite the fact that there were only two MCA ministers in the Cabinet.

(Source)

The PM may be misquoted or he may have say this in light of another situation but then again, it was clear that he was not happy with the Chinese community after the elections and asked what else the Chinese wants. Doesn’t the Chinese who had voted for Pakatan Rakyat also pay taxes, participated in the development of the country and some had even paid the highest sacrifice for this country? If a Prime Minister of a country can do things for a community only based the votes given to his political party, then what’s the point of having elections in this country? What’s the point of having oppositions in this country? Why not he just disband democracy in this country and just rule the nation as a ruthless dictator?

Anyway, what was more interesting on what the PM had said previously:-

Suitable candidates, strong machinery and a united Barisan Nasional are key factors to ensure victory for the coalition in the 14th general election, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

Najib, who is Barisan chairman, said the combination of the three factors was proven with the big win for Barisan in the Pengkalan Kubor state by-election on Sept 25.

(Source)

It is laughable indeed.

This shows that the PM had not learned anything from the last 2 general elections where it saw the number of votes in favour of BN dwindled. More than 50% of the country voted against BN in the last general elections. He still sticks to a formula that does nothing to regain voters’ confidence in the government.

The PM speaks about of having the suitable candidates as a key factor to win the general elections. That is true indeed but the fact is BN does not really have suitable candidates to offer – at lower levels, perhaps there is still some hope but forget the same at Federal level. What BN could possibly offer that is so new compared to the dumb, sick line-up of politicians that it has given us in the last 2 general elections?

The same politicians who are quick to ask Malaysians to leave the country to leave if they are not happy with the Government or makes seditious statements but quick to act on others who makes non seditious statements (one even asked suggested arrests to those who oppose to draconian laws) or embroiled in corruption scandals continues to be in the limelight and running the show. Dumb statements have been far too many when one had expected to be more intelligent and courteous.

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(Are these politicians qualify as suitable candidates for winning the elections? Image source: http://malaysiaflipflop.blogspot.hk)

What about Najib himself? After all, he is the leader of the pack and have all the powers to engage and sack and to determine and overrule. He alone can make a huge difference on how the people sees the Government.

Najib, I am sorry to say, is definitely is not one of the better Prime Minister that this country have seen. Only history will tell whether he is better or worst that the sleepy Pak Lah. His performance todate as the Prime Minister that not been that impressive either.

How many times he and his wife have taken lavish overseas trips at taxpayer’s expense since becoming the Prime Minister? How many times he had failed to step in and eliminates any seeds of disunity among fellow Malaysians? How many times he has kept his silence and let the radicals & extremists of race & religion in the country to have their say? Far too many times.

And as the Finance Minister, how many times he has come across strongly against the mismanagement of funds in this country and taken strong action to curtail them? For example, despite all the red flags going off, he has only kept his silence on some of the potential economic time bombs such as this:-

Lurking beneath Malaysia’s solid investment-grade sovereign rating is a risk posed by a $14 billion investment fund that is not even generating enough cash from operations to cover interest costs.

Regarded as a cross between a sovereign wealth fund and a private investment vehicle, with Prime Minister Najib Razak chairing its advisory board, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is struggling under the burden of $11 billion in borrowed money.

The government says it only guarantees around 14 percent of the debt. The investment community assumes it would provide more if needed, and it is the potential strain on Malaysia’s debt position from these contingent liabilities that raises concern.

“We don’t know how well 1MDB is doing,” said Christian de Guzman, senior analyst of sovereign risk group at ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service. “It does pose a risk in terms of the amount of borrowing they have made over the past few years.”

Controversy has dogged 1MDB almost since it was first set up months after Najib came to power in 2009, and used for funding projects that form part of his Economic Transformation Program.

Critics have questioned its investment choices, the size of its debt, $2.25 billion parked in a Cayman Island fund, hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue earned by Goldman Sachs for handling its bond issues, delays in its accounts, changes of auditors, and a perceived lack of transparency.

(Source)

One thing that is going very strongly for BN is a strong election machinery – there is no secret about this. It has the money, support and more importantly the control of the media. But for how long he expects to rely on this to get the crucial votes to keep his Government in place? Information is at the finger tips these days and when the Government tries to spin the truth, the more truth comes up in the open.

And let’s not even go to the aspect of an united Barisan Nasional – it is a mirage. We all know that UMNO runs the show and the rest are just there to manage their own influence on their own community. We are just sick of a race based country. Everything that one touches has to be determined based on race. And notion of race divides the country even more – one race pitched against another and sometimes allocation of national resources & time spent on one race is often questioned and deemed unfair. This is not the way the country should be heading. Najib brought the concept of 1Malaysia but it too proved to be nothing but another illusion and tactic to rein in the votes.

So, to say that having suitable candidates, strong machinery and a united Barisan Nasional are the key factors to ensure victory for the coalition in the 14th general election is incorrect. What is more important to have greater transparency, responsibility and commitment to the people. We all know what it takes to regain the voters confidence in the Government. Najib and his people knows this well too. If he chooses to ignore it and insist to keep his own personal politics, ignore to mismanagement of funds in this country and leaves racial & religions fanatics unchecked, then there is no point even talking about suitable candidates, strong machinery and a united Barisan Nasional.

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Dump the Dumb Politicians


(Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious. – George Orwell)

Read these first:-

(The conceptual video relating to Google’s recent announcement of their revolutionary Project Glass – assuming that nothing tragic happens in December 2012 and things goes on as usual thereafter, we must recognize that the future is all about information at finger tips and on how it gets distributed and used in our daily lives. It will be a very technological and intelligent world – will we have the right smart leaders to lead us then?)

We all know what we expect from people who want to run for public office and we usually expect them to live by the highest standards. And one standard we need to impress on all “winnable” candidates from now onwards (other than able to stay clear from dirty politics, corruption, racial preference, misuse of tax-payers money and lack of credibility & integrity) is to have a reasonable sense of intelligence.

Just read this statement from a politician recently:-

The armed forces will not support the opposition if the latter attacks the purchase of military equipment.

Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad said that those politicising military matters risked hurting the feelings of Malaysia’s soldiers.

Though he did not specifically label the opposition, he told the Dewan Rakyat: “When it is politicised, our soldiers feel hurt. It doesn’t matter if (they’re) from the navy, ground (forces) or from the air (force).”

“Each time the government makes a decision to procure new assets, they (the military) are very happy, because they are trained to be a professional army. “So if that party… the more they condemn these assets, the more support the Barisan Nasional federal government gets,” he said.

(Source)

The Minister may think he is saying some important but all he does is exhibit a clear absent of intelligence. Read it again – the Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad said that those politicizing military matters risked hurting the feelings of Malaysia’s soldiers and the more they condemn these assets, the more support the Barisan Nasional federal government gets.

Huh?

If the soldiers are really pissed off and because of this, they are going to vote more for the BN government (hmm, not that their postal votes have not been “sodomised” in past elections), what the Minister babbling about? Does this works rather nicely to him and his political party? So, what he is complaining about? Ok, ok, say what, let’s leave that obvious question aside. Let’s assume he has a point (by stretching our imagination, of course).

Let’s ask whether it is what the opposition politicians have been harping on all this time – on the question why we are buying new military assets? Is it that or is it on the question why we are paying through our noses for the much needed military assets when the same or better assets could be bought at a cheaper price?

Is it that or on the question on why we have to pay millions ringgit of “commission” to crony linked companies or dubious individuals with no proper track record (err, sorry I meant clean track record in military industry, not the history of getting commissions for nothing) for additional contracts that the military can manage on their own. Which of these the soldiers really want – the opposition keeping quiet and end up having taxpayer’s money paid (in millions) to some politician linked individuals for dubious military contracts (with more for bailouts later) or the opposition making plenty of noise so much so the Government is topped at their tracks and is forced to think twice and forced to tighten the procurement procedures and then reuse the money saved for other beneficial things (like ex-serviceman welfare or perhaps modernization of other aging military assets)? Read this for a response from the ex-servicemen.

Abdul Latiff fellow is just one example of mainstream politician making “dumb statements” in recent times – with elections around the corner, please expect more unknown, dumb politicians from both sides, making plenty of “not-so-intelligent” statements in public. They have to – this is the only way for them to promote themselves so that they still deemed relevant when the calls for “winnable candidates” comes crunching. As usual, some will try to be heroes (there is always 1 or 2) and will go one step ahead – they not only speak dumb but they will act dumb as well.

The point is if we can’t see their intelligence in handling trivial and domestic politics, how we expect them to handle greater things like the economy (with dwindling oil reserves), environment and education? Still remember the elected clowns wasting time in the Parliament talking about the cost of teh tarik and roti canai before they got whacked in 2008? Moving forward, we do not want similar clowns roaming around the Parliament wasting time on trivial matters.

The call for intelligent politicians is nothing new.

In 2011, Ali Kadir wrote this in the Malaysian Insider:-

Muhyiddin Yassin and Shafie Apdal (among Umno’s best and brightest judging by fact that one is the second in line to govern the country and the other is the third in line) need not apply. The two senior ministers are evidence of how hollow the ranks of leaders in Umno are.

Today, Shafie Apdal gave credence to the line that it is best to keep silent and keep up the illusion of competence rather than open your mouth and shatter it. He says that the government knows that the Bersih rally is all about politics. Wow, this is really enlightening.

And stuffing the ballot box, phantom voters and widening the base of postal voters is about what, exactly. Is it about keeping Muhyiddin, Shafie, Noh Omar, Hishammuddin Hussein, Khaled Nordin, Kong Chong Ha, Ng Yen Yen, Palanivel, Nazri Aziz employed?

The fact that is shocking is that not only do we have to deal with corruption, abuse of power. But we are asked to suffer fools. We would not tolerate some of these people as our subordinates. Why are we letting them govern us?

(Source)

In the first case, if I was Abdul Latiff, I would have just keep my mouth shut and just focus on what I suppose to do in the best interest of those under my Ministry. And a large chunk of it would have been on how military assets could be procured without incurring additional cost and without quality of the said assets short-changed. That would be the smarter thing to do. That would be the right thing to do. But if he can’t do that – given how corrupt the system has been, the least he could do is just keep his mouth shut.

I am not sure if we can ever make a positive dent in the political arena in Malaysia with the current range of politicians (some of them are Neanderthals in form of Homo sapiens and deserved to be locked away in museums) but we need to make sure that with every general elections that comes along, there must be evolution for the better. The world is changing – it is getting smaller, faster and wiser. We need the right quality of people that can lead the nation in this ever-changing world. They may not be like the intelligence, revolutionary Thomas Jefferson but at the very minimum, they must be intelligent enough to embrace new way of thinking and doing things. They must have the ability to make wise decisions in challenging times. They must have the ability to accept criticisms and instead replying with dirty politics, response admirably with short term and long term solutions.

And as we head towards another general election, let’s review back on how that all politicians (both from BN and PR and some of the independents – excluding the Perkasa moron, of course) have behaved in the past and how intelligent they has talked and acted on the constituency, state and national issues. Those who have failed have no place whatsoever in public office in the near future. The question is – are we intelligent enough to do that in the up coming general elections?

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