Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sketchy thoughts on a Wednesday morning

Following March 8th 2008, many party warlords within the Pakatan Rakyat began clamouring for positions within state and local municipals. Some for noble purposes. Many began asking the party leadership for “returns” after years of laboring; losing jobs and businesses as a result of supporting the Reformasi movement. It is no doubt that party loyals have sacrificed much having been in the opposition. There was a cost to supporting the Reformasi movement and during the Mahathir era, there was a bitter vindictiveness to anyone associated with Anwar Ibrahim.

VP Syed Husin in his closing speech at the PKR General Assembly spoke clearly against this notion of “payback”. The payback is that we now can do business in a level playing field where hopefully there is a more equitable judge of our efficiency and capabilities to deliver what is promised. Cronyism and graft in whatever form is wrong.
If we begin to do the “favours” for businesses and issue the contracts based on contacts and not merit at state and local municipal levels we fall into the same trap Barisan Nasional fell into. It becomes an unhealthy relationship between businesses and politicians. There is no stopping this vicious cycle. It is what has led to the illness of the Barisan Nasional and its eventual death.

There are lessons to be learnt in history. UMNO and the Barisan Nasional began to love the party more than King and Country. The end was party survival and the means was King and Country. Whoever could feed its perpetual grip on power was helped and that meant many businessmen were enriched. Many times to the loss of the rakyat for the sake of crony capitalism. Public funds were used to finance political gains and inevitably enriched both politicans and businessmen aligned to the ruling elite. As the greed increased, the size of the contracts increased.

Love is a funny thing. If you give it away you never know what comes back. If those in authority be it at Federal, state or local municipals serve the people uprightly and justly and hold fast to the principals of integrity; it will be inevitable that the rakyat will return the party to power. PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim coined the phrase “Kepedulian Rakyat” (Concern for the rakyat) before the last General elections as a basis for the party moving forward. It reaped a great reward.

I hope that the love for the party would not become a stumbling block for the party. We will always love King and Country more as the political party is only the means to the end; not the end in itself.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Selangor's State Assembly Select Committee hearing

For the first time in Malaysia and in the Pakatan Rakyat State of Selangor; a Select Committee hearing much like the US Senate Select Committee hearing is in progress.

Accountability & Transparency (SELCAT) of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly is being conducted from March 23rd - 31st 2009.
Among the issues that will be investigated and heard in this session is the conduct of BALKIS (Wives of Selangor Welfare and Assemblymen and MPs Charity Organisation) and other cases of mismanagement of funds.

Notable witnesses that have been summoned to appear before the committee are the former MB, Dato' Seri Dr. Mohamed Khir Bin Toyo; his wife as President of BALKIS, Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik; and other state officials.

The entire proceedings are being broadcasted live online for public's viewing at

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why I joined PKR

I wrote this in January 2008 for my friends whom I invited to a Ceramah Kelompok at my house. Despite the many shortcomings, I still think Parti Keadilan Rakyat is the political party that best reflects the aspiritions and hope of the Malaysian people.

Why I Join and support Keadilan

3 reasons:

1) I joined Keadilan in 1998 at the birth of the Reformasi movement. I felt compelled to support a fellow Malaysian who was unjustly arrested, kidnapped from his house and beaten up while in police custody. This Malaysian man happen to be the DPM, a malay and a muslim neverthless a fellow Malaysian and where a Malaysian is unjustly treated as he was, we should all rally behind. In 1998, we saw the result of the breaking down of the government institutions which were there to protect and defend our rights. It was the beginning of the end of civil society as we knew in Malaysia.

2) I am impressed by the leadership of PKR who tirelessly work this party towards a multi racial party. It is not easy given the culture of fear among the Chinese and Indians to respond towards an opposition party. However, I feel that we Chinese continue to support BN/MCA at our own peril and future. BN is a raced based party. The power is shared in accordance with the ethnic representation of each as reflected in the Malaysian demographics. The voice we have in a race based party is only as strong as the numbers we have. The Chinese population have shrunk from 40% in the 1970s to 32% in the 90s. 2005 Figures have shown a further reduction to 25%. Birth rates among chinese are low while many have sought greener pastures elsewhere. The Chinese have ironically more to gain from a multiracial political party like Keadilan then the malays and yet we are not responding as we should.

3) Democracy. 1 party for 50 years is hardly a democracy! There is no accountability and no fear of getting booted out. There is only arrogance. We must ensure that there is at least another strong party who can be the government for a period and if they do not perform then we kick them out. This is essentially giving power back to the people.
I am convinced that if elections were truly free and fair and the Election Commission served the rakyat rather than the government of the day we would have seen a few different political parties in government already and the country would be in a much better state.

Siew Meng

January 2008

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Malaysiakini -What is BN without their fear tool

My entry to Malaysiakini voxpopuli
Recently Tengku Razaleigh has come out as the lone voice of wisdom from Barisan Nasional. Razaleigh said ‘the BN system has broken down because the negotiated power-sharing arrangement which held the coalition together since independence has stopped working.'The negotiated power-sharing arrangement which Tengku is referring to stopped working when Umno used May 13 as a‘fear tool'.

There is no more a belief that this power-sharing was for the good of the people. Much like Napolean, the pig in Animal Farm who started the revolt but later became a tyrant. Umno has become the Napolean of Malaysia today.May 13 was always used to keep the other animals in check. At every election after 1969, the ghost of May 13 would be raised by BN to haunt Malaysia. Te ethnic Chinese and Indians would then ‘behave' properly to return BN back to power year after year.What is Barisan Nasional without this fear tool? Their magic wand in the form of racial politics finally slid from their hands and they are exposed on March 8, 2008.

In their nakedness, the people saw them for what they were.The emperor may still hold the power, but the people have lost respect for without the coverings, corruption, deceit and desperation are exposed.A unity government may bring back the shadows of racism which we exorcised on March 8. What we need is a new federal government who will concentrate on the economy and on other issues which have been long neglected like education, the infrastructure and controlled development.

Selangor has attained the highest foreign investment in over nine years even during a recession. How much more we could have prospered if the federal government itself was under the hands of a people-friendly government.