Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Political absurdity in Malaysia had never peaked to such heights as it did from February 6 when in the reach of the Pakatan Rakyat to stop the Sultan of Perak from swearing-in the new Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) some members of the former governing pact demonstrated and slept on the road leading to the palace, after Zambry Abdul Kadir had been driven in.
That began the flourish of frolics which followed the opposition pact’s downfall in the state.
Pakatan Rakyat, not to be undone, then willfully shot itself in the head by scuttling the new Perak Menteri Besar and six others using the Speaker’s power to suspend the assemblymen, a move popularly perceived as wild.
Former Menteri Besar, Nizar Jamaluddin, going to court on 13 Feb. to challenge the legitimacy of Zambry’s appointment should have been action enough.
But in the rush to force a state re-election following the decision of the Perak Sultan to advise Nizar to resign, state assembly Speaker, V. Sivakumar, found it opportune to slumdog the whole state government by suspending Zambry and six State Executive Councilors for more than a year from Feb 18.
The Speaker’s privilege is beyond judicial review, meaning he effectively scuttled the state government, altering the face of politics in Malaysia to something hideous.
But for the fact the Pakatan Rakyat is now perceived as being frivolous and devoid of political responsibility, the Barisan Nasional (BN) can do likewise where the Coalition rules.
The Pakatan Rakyat has and is losing a lot of popular support by self-infliction. Malaysia has no stable pact in it and there is no two-party system in the making.
Nizar Lightning Struck?
Nizar had not been struck down by a bolt from the blue. Having merely 31 in an assembly of 59, he should have swiftly moved to dissolve the state assembly after two of his state councilors accepted sexual gratification from a businessman and were believed filmed by the ACA (now Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission).
Nizar failed to act, saying instead the duo were not guilty until proven in court, last words that could not be less than awesomely absurd since by then the two had confessed.
The disease struck another PKR member next, for alleged bigamy, him hurriedly vacating his constituency and his position as Kedah State Executive Councilor two days before Sivakumar lunged for the state’s jugular in a quixotic display of extra-judicial force.
What followed was hilarious.
After one Umno state-assemblyman had leapt to the PKR, the sexy PKR duo changed sides while the Umno hero made a successful back-flip that was worthy of a place in Barnaby’s Circus.
The three bringing with them one from the DAP, the table was neatly turned upside-down, giving the BN side 31 after the three from the Pakatan Rakyat pledged their support to the ruling coalition.
Even as Nizar ran to contest in court the lost of his job, it is the arithmetic of the frantic frolic that shaped public perception.
To all and sundry it was a simple sum. However witty the Pakatan Rakyat could have been to some of its sympathizers, there is little doubt the pact has lost a lot of respect it had gained before and is now popularly seen as a hurriedly grouped motley bunch of untested political meat with little moral functionality or worth.
Like bad cheques, they bounced. Like clowns, they colored themselves vividly and stumbling awkwardly, they boldly tumbled for the laughter from the gallery, not for any sense of dignity as alternatives to the BN blunderers under Pak Lah.
Whatever remained of democratic dignity and sense of honor was forcibly wrenched.
If there had been any charisma in the making of the Pakatan Rakyat, that charisma must be lying limp, spent like a gossamer after the tricks of the three were sumptuously seasoned by a set of peek-a-boo pictures sent through the mail of Elizabeth Wong from the PKR in Selangor.
It is true the BN is now quite disconnected from the people and under Pak Lah is now nearly meaningless.
But Pak Lah is on his way out, making that sorry story of Dr. Mahathir’s hasty choice of a successor finally reaching an end.
It was him that caused the Opposition’s ballot boxes to bulk into the surprising winning numbers on 8 March 2008.
But crouching in the foreground now and requiring critical attention is a self-mauled Pakatan Rakyat that has become incredible.
Will the Pakatan Rakyat weed its political distorts out? If so, how long will it take for the parties in the pact to do that?
The pact must admit its errors or its pretense to being an alternative at this point merits laughter. It has rotted and is distinctly self-disabled before reaching puberty and badly needs re-invention.
Karpal had asked someone to taubat (repent). Could it be possible Pakatan Rakyat actually is in need of exorcism too?
Other than Anwar Ibrahim and the immensely amusing Nik Aziz Nik Mat in Kelantan (he insists it was an “intruder” who took the pictures of Elizabeth Wong), it is likely the Pakatan Rakyat leaders did not want to become the government. They would have been happy as a strong Opposition.
Since it was Pak Lah that caused the popular over-vote and he is soon leaving, the Pakatan Rakyat had better accept to face the inevitable return to sanity, not totally a dead-ringer of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, but still a reckoning.
The agonizing birth and decay of the pact is over for now. It’s a map-work that was missing from the first. ---a. ghani ismail, 25 February 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Wreaths do not express the widespread grief of Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) supporters. Tombstones and graves do.
The bad joss of State Executive Councilor, Elizabeth Wong, captured nude in self-described “intimate positions” has stripped the party of the remaining moral tolerance.
This episode follows the gripping tale of two PKR’s men accepting sexual gratification paid for by a land applicant in Perak soon after the duo became state executive councilors.
Another was struck down in Kedah by bigamy, a beginning of a contagion that may not stop soon enough for the Pakatan Rakyat to breathe easy for months yet. Many were selected without due diligence to hold public offices.
It’s a lesson in the corruption of power that has, in this case, led to the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak.
The new BN Menteri Besar (Chief Minister), Zambry Abdul Kadir, was sworn in on Feb. 6 in the midst of a failed demonstration to foil the ceremony at the palace in Kuala Kangsar, a bad choice of a means to control the damage.
Pakatan Rakyat hasn’t accepted the moral debility, rising to a high level of noise instead to cast doubt over the legitimacy of the ruler’s decision to admit a new state government.
On Friday 13th Feb, while former Menteri Besar, Nizar, was filing a suit in Kuala Lumpur to challenge the legality of his removal from office, journalists from the Malay Mail prepared to call Elizabeth Wong to inform her of the photographs/video the newspaper had received showing her in her entirety.
She could do nothing other than to admit she was the “victim” in the pictures/video.
Even with a grand attempt launched to control the damage, the actual offence is appearing to reside in the lifestyle Wong had led before becoming State Executive Councilor.
She admitted in an interview after her appointment she was a hippie.
The nudity thus popularly associated with her lifestyle, the case against her looks well-done, the pictures believed taken by a boyfriend making some people say she was a victim of indiscretion or of self-indulgence.
The litmus is easy. Will PKR accept to make her resign and field her again in Bukit Lanjang?
Elizabeth Wong will have to go but the event is no longer about her. She is politically a featherweight, more useful to society as a spokesperson of a leading NGO, Suaram.
The build-up of antipathy against the PKR and the Pakatan Rakyat has usefully secured the two by-elections on April 7 for the BN.
When Elizabeth vacates Bukit Lanjan (they have named it Bukit Telanjang), it will also be the BN that will take the seat, a popular assumption that is a thumbs-down primarily for the PKR and the DAP.
People from the two parties are blaming the Pas for the removal of the rot in the pact, bothering little about the fact the PKR is supposed to be led by a husband-wife team that had cast a long shadow on the Islamic landscape in Malaysia and Asia-Pacific.
What, therefore, are the true colors of Anwar Ibrahim and Dr. Wan Azizah, people ask? Are they about the underside of a long coat?
It’s probably more of an obsessive rush for power that had overlooked all other factors, including letting the compradors in the Pakatan to endlessly dribble against Malays and Islam.
It’s easy to see it’s now payback time. The larger number of votes given to the Pakatan on 8 March issuing directly from a widespread distaste for the outgoing Prime Minister, Pak Lah, will believably swing back to the BN.
The single largest casualty in this caper of carpetbaggers is the will to achieve integration.
This is what the Elizabeth-in-the-Nude symbolizes – a clear stripping of the veils to show the end of a bewildering collusion that nearly caused the ruin of Umno and the BN while it took the nation to the brink of bloodshed.
Elizabeth Wong is not important as a politician. She only needs to be strong to weather the bad personal mileage. But in her distress she raises questions we need to answer.
How will Anwar fare after the bad start in the power-sharing of his own? Will he float or will he soon sink? How will people vote the PKR after this? ----a. ghani ismail, 17 Feb 2009
PS. - Elizabeth Wong tendered her resignation from the state government and as state assembly person for Bukit Lanjang today - 17 Feb. 2009. De facto PKR leader, Anwar Ibrahim, was reported to have told her to hold on. - ghani
Friday, February 6, 2009
Perak’s delirious power-tussle is over but it should be worth remembering morale in Umno was at its ebb when Bota Assemblyman, Nasarudin Hashim, leapfrogged to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) on 25 January.
The injury came eight days after the BN failed to retain Kuala Terengganu in the by-election on 17 January.
The scenario was showing the BN’s impending doom when in a sudden change of monsoons a circus of errors ensued in Perak’s Pakatan Rakyat.
Instead of four from Umno joining the PKR and boosting the lean majority of the Pakatan, or so we were told, the twisted for-tune brought two from the PKR and one from the DAP to the side of the BN, giving the coalition a majority of three in the state assembly of 59.
The Pakatan’s fledgling government in the state flipped into a flop on February 4 after the trio resigned from their positions in the state government.
It was all over by the next day. Perak Pakatan Menteri Besar (Chief Minister), Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin, refusing to resign along with his Exco, is merely an episode of the ensuing idiosyncracies of the circus, unless of course he wants an emergency declared in Perak like in Sarawak (1966) and in Kelantan (1978).
But that is unlikely.
The public enchantment is now with the former Pakatan trio who had become king-makers, two going to court soon for accepting sexual gratification by the largesse of a very virtuous businessman.
In the wake of the stupendous series of events the Perak Umno liaisons chief and former Menteri Besar, Tajol Rosli, took the blame for Nasarudin’s big leap.
He resigned, but Nasarudin is back in Umno.
When Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, took over from Tajol it was widely believed the Pakatan would quickly dissolve the state assembly, leading to Najib’s Waterloo.
Najib, already injured for leading the wasted campaign in Kuala Terengganu would be fatally wounded should he lead the BN in a statewide poll in Perak and the BN loses again.
It was touch-and-go for Umno less than a week before. Three other Umno assemblymen were already counted out before the winds suddenly changed course.
Then moods turned inside out, casting Pakatan members from the brief glory to irrecoverable gloom.
In the Internet bloggers sympathetic to the Pakatan mumbled distressingly, condemning the crossovers and clamoring for a state re-election.
But it was their own leader who had been screaming since the 8 March general elections last year for BN law-makers to frog-leap to the PKR so he could be Prime Minister.
Anwar Ibrahim has been telling the world enough BN members would bail out and join PKR to give him power before September 16, 2008, a miserable miscalculation that has already cost him enough and will, indeed, make him pay even more.
The poor man is now facing another charge of sodomy, the case on-going with little public attention.
It is simple to see it is Anwar and his “mind game” that is the biggest casualty of this Pakatan’s circus of errors. He is indispensable in the imaging of the Pakatan as an alternative to the BN.
With Anwar cruelly self-mangled, the PKR cannot make meaning, being as it were, merely Anwar’s vehicle that has been pawning Civil Society and the Asian Renaissance for small political gains.
The PKR and Pakatan are doing badly, some members going on an anti-Malay and anti-Islam spree to draw non-Malay support.
Anwar is apparently unable to exercise effective control over the abuse.
A wild-boar head was found atop the gate of a national school in Malacca and the head of a pig was placed in a mosque at the University of Malaya.
There had been land-grabs in Perak benefiting Chinese, a thrust for Chinese support by the eleven months old Pakatan state government, its hand plunged into the loot before outgrowing its infancy.
The bloggers craving for state re-election in Perak should stop dreaming that the Pakatan will come up with a greater victory. The scenario has altered.
A lot of Pakatan members have successfully driven themselves once again into the gutters. Even if the mood is not as good for the BN as it was in 2004, the March 8 Gloriosa has withered on the vine and the Pakatan sages have become sick.
Six million young voters would be voting from a total of 16.9 million in the next general elections. Had Anwar and the rest of the Pakatan been conducting themselves soberly, almost all observers agree it is the Pakatan that should be forming the next federal government.
That thought is now looking like a grim fairy-tale.
The BN would need only a strong Social Policy and a Corruption Clean-Up to regain the people’s trust and make a strong comeback in Perak.
In Perak BN’s Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir is now Menteri Besar. He has a proven record of efficient leadership.----a. ghani ismail, 6 February 2009