Monday, March 17, 2008

A Gentleman

It is not easy for any competitor to accept defeat, what more for a politician. But for Dr Koh Tsu Koon it seemed like it came out naturally for him. Nobody expected his party, Gerakan, to lose so badly in the last election. As such, there is no way for him to have prepared for it. But he came out refreshingly magnanimous in defeat. Very early on, he congratulated the DAP for their win and informed the Governor about it. He then showed Lim Guan Eng the Chief Minister’s office and wished the incoming government their best. He even offered his time if the new CM wanted any advice during the transition period.
Compare that to some of his “friends” in his coalition who won their seats but refused to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new CM. After all, this guy is the new CM of Penang not just DAP. Also, compare that to the ex-MBs of other states who even tried to destroy state documents after they lost their right to govern.

Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, I take my hats off to you. You are a true gentleman. I wish you and your family well.

Friday, March 14, 2008

It will never be the same

I've been meaning to blog about a lot of issues regarding the recent election but I've been spending more time reading rather than writing. There are just so many intelligent and refreshing views and comments, unlike the main stream media.

The formation of the government in Perak has still not been resolved at the time of this posting. I was sad, disappointed, angry and ..... I feel there is no need to play politics, right after an election but I guess that is what politicians do, play politics. Anyway, what do I know as I'm no politician.

It seemed settled after the apology and all but, it still hurts...deeply. Sometimes it takes victory to unearth the real person. Now, we know and some people can tell me "I told you so". The only saving grace is that a lot of my friends on the other side of the divide (you see... we now have to divide again) share my very thoughts.


It will never be the same again.

Good luck Malaysia, you need it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Its a pleasant surprise

I've been meaning to write on the election since Saturday, 8th March 2008, the election day itself. I was however taken over by events. I've actually been busy reading the works of others and enjoying them so much that I did not find time to write myself. I realised this is such an important event in my life and as such I must put it on record for my children and grandchildren to savour my feelings of joy.

I started my Saturday early. After breakfast, me, my wife and 3 children set off for the day. First, it was Sultan Abdul Samad in PJ where my wife is to cast her vote. It was for DAP and PKR. We do not even know who the candidates were but it does not matter any more. I know one of them is very active with the residents association but the other I have no idea. My wife? She does not even care as long as it is opposition. How sad, when we reach a stage where we became so fed up. The constant propaganda on the main stream media really pushed us to the limits.

Then we headed for Kg Dato Keramat (Titiwangsa) for me to vote. That was where I registered in the early 80s upon my return from my studies. I was staying with my cousin and his friends who were UTM students when we registered. I'm quite sure if anybody were to check, there maybe 30 names with the same address as me. Most of us do not bother to change our address and continue to come back to this place to vote. I checked my voting number at the BN booth. The line was not too long at my Saluran 3 but I still had to stand for about half an hour. Everybody in line seemed to be very quite as though they were really up to something. I tried to start a conversation with the guy in front of me. Though he responded I feel he was just trying to be courteous. When it was turn, I took my time as though to savour the moment. As I put in my ballot, I even took the opportunity to peek through the transparent ballot box to see what the others had voted. I voted the first name on the ballot.

We then headed for Taiping to attend to my staff's wedding reception. I was quite relaxed all the way. Traffic was rather heavy but still smooth. When we reached the Changkat Jering toll, we meet up with my staff in his full pengantin gear. He was actually waiting for the bride from KL. So, I joined the bride's entourage which was quite small as most of their relatives had gone back to Kelantan to vote. At the recption, me and wife even managed to sit at the main table.

After some time we left the reception and headed to Taiping town. I told my children I want to look at the poster war as I've read that the BN candidate there is going to face a tough time defending his seat. As we drove through Taiping we can see people still voting. It was already 4:00pm. Finally, we checked into Taiping Resort where we will put up the night. After taking a short nap we went out to get some food. Not knowing where to look for food in Taiping, we headed back to Changkat Jering. At the restaurant, we watched one of the TV channels which had a special program on the elctions. There was a panel discussions involving some academics. To me these academics are no better than my office boy who did not even pass his PMR. They are so full of the ruling party's rhetoric that certainly did not do justice to their PhDs. By 7:30 we were already back in the hotel.

What happened during the night was a pleasant surprise. I only managed to sleep at 4:00am. The Malaysian public has finally waken up from their long slumber. There have been so many factors that came into play. Which is the most significant is anybody's guess.

It was FANTASTIC night. The only blemish was that Manchester United lost to Portsmouth in the FA Cup quarter finals, at home. But I would have gladly traded Manchester's Premier League and Championship's challenge for the election result anytime.

I hope to write on this again, sometime.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Man Utd through to quarterfinals

Just to get away from the elections for a while.

Man Utd managed a 1-0 victory over Lyon at Old Trafford in the Champions League early this morning with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring his 30th goal of the season but the team did not play to its true capabilities. The second half was a jittery affair. They were lucky Lyon did not score with a try that hit the post and bounced back into play. The defense did well though, limiting Lyon to long range shots.

The next game is against Portsmouth in the FA Cup quarterfinal this Saturday. It will take place when we are waiting for the elections result. Lets hope that we will have a double celebration.

Irrelevant? defines "irrelevant" as

"having no bearing on or connection with the subject at issue"

Therefore an irrelevant politician is someone that has no bearing on or connection with politics or politicians.

However, in Malaysia, an irrelevant politician is someone that has been derided at least by the following:

1. The Prime Minister who slams him for "misleading people"
2. His friend of 30 years who said that he is a man of many faces
3. The Education Minister and Youth leader who questions his actions when he was Education Minister many years ago
4. The advisor to one main stream newspaper wrote a full page commentary that the nation should not be made to bear his burden
All the above appeared in one newspaper on the same day.

Before that, his "old friend" told Malaysians that if this irrelevant politician becomes Prime Minister the country would face disaster. I wonder how an irrelevant politician who is not even contesting in an election can become Prime Minister and this friend was called an "academic" and "reformist" by the Advisor to the newspaper.

In addition, about every politician worth his salt, even those who have retired, have something bad to say about this irrelevant politician. This include the Deputy Prime Minister, the leaders of all component parties, the ex-Prime Minister et al.

I wonder how a relevant politician would fare.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Coincidence?

Just heard that SPR will not be using the indelible ink in this election after all despite having spent more than RM2 million to buy the inks. It has something to do with security and legality or whatever. SPR must be really shorthanded. They only managed to announce the need to stamp the nomination papers 3 days before Nomination Day (the eve of the weekend in Kelantan, Trengganu and Kedah) and now they only realised that using the indelible ink will be a threat to security (3 days before Election Day).

Coincidently, the IGP also announced that nobody will be allowed to stop buses ferrying voters into Kelantan and Trengganu.

It is my sincere hope that those given the responsibility to serve the people remember that there is God Almighty and they will be answerable for their actions to Him. On my part, I will NEVER forgive these people if their actions were to infringe my rights unless they seek forgiveness from me personally.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Myth of Special Malay Privileges

Since Independence in 1957 but more so since he inception of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970, the issue of Special Malay Rights have been a hot topic of discussion. It attracts the attention of so many people, both the Malays (who are supposed to be the recipients of the rights) and the non-Malays (who are supposed to be discriminated against) love talking about it. However, the government of the day has found it convenient to disallow any open discussion on the subject. As such, the real issues never see the light of day. In their places, there have been assumptions, presumptions, myths and sometimes blatant lies being bandied around.

Before I continue any further let me put the record straight. As far as I can recall I'm a beneficiary of this rights on 3 occasions. First, when I was given a Federal Minor scholarship to study in an English secondary school without having to pay the RM9 monthly fee. Second, when I was offered a scholarship to study overseas by MARA (which I had to repay part of it) and third was when I bought a house in late 80s and got 7% Bumiputra discount.

I offer no apologies for getting the scholarships as I came from a poor family. My father was a policeman in Singapore earning about $400 per month and I lived with my grandfather who toils his 3-acre rubber plantation and I have 8 other siblings. I went to a High School where Malays represent about 30% of the students population and from Form 1 to Form 5, I was always in the best class out of about 8-10 classes per form. I graduated among the top 3% of the graduating class from a university in USA. I will be forever thankful for being given the scholarship by the government failing which I think I would not have been able to afford to pursue my tertiary education.

After working for almost 30 years, dutifully contributing to the growth of the country either through my work or my taxes, how come I'm feeling so disillusioned? When the topic of Special Malay Rights is brought up, how come I'm the one feeling guilty as though I'm part of the group that is monopolizing the wealth of the country at the expense of other deserving citizens just because they are not of the same race as me? And I have many more questions.

>How come I did not get any Bumi shares when I know a few people who repeatedly got them and sold them off after a few months? In fact, I have not even got hold of the famous "pink forms"
>How come I did not get any APs to import cars when some people can have thousands?
>How come I did not receive grants to start a business when I have an Honors degree in Finance when some Malays who knows next to nothing about business get millions but still fail in their business?
>How come I was not given any "direct nego" contracts when I tried going into business a few years ago?
>How come I did not get any "easy" loan from Bank Bumiputra which I heard was the cause of it having to be rescued a few times? The one time I stood guarantee for a friend to buy a lorry to start his business but was unable to pay, I was harrassed by the bank until they put my name in CTOS making it impossible for me to apply for loan even though I'm now paying more than RM2k in income taxes monthly?
>How come there are so many Malays in the villages that are still living in poverty? If you do not believe me, watch the TV program, "Bersama Mu"

There are many more "how comes" that I can come up with but the above should suffice. Frankly, I'm not too concerned about not getting the so-called Malay privileges. By the Grace of God, I think I can now survive in this world on my own accord. After all, I do not need more than 2 cars, more than one terraced house, an overseas holidays every year, etc. So, I am quite contented. But what I cannot stomach is every time the subject of special Malay privileges is brought up I'm looked at as being a beneficiary just because I'm a Malay, a Bumiputra. A non-Malay friend of mine can say that "you Melayu senang lah". My friend, let me tell you the truth, I'm not the Melayu that had it easy. There maybe some Melayus that fall into the category but certainly not me. So, please don't look at me as one of those that had deprived you of your rights. When I get a promotion, it is as though I got it because the company has to promote a Malay not because I have done a good job. Just imagine this, when I do well, it is BECAUSE I am a Malay but when a non-Malay does well he did it DESPITE being non-Malay. How can we continue living like this?

Can we just stop all these crap about special Malay privileges and put in place special privileges for the poor? I'm very sure if we do this, out of the 100 poor people we help, 70% would be Malays the balance will be other races. At least nobody would begrudge us for helping the poor Malays and not the multimillionaire Malays just because they are Malays. Maybe then, nobody can look at me and think that I'm able to get this far just because I'm a Malay.

Before anybody accuse me of being ungrateful for the special Malay privilege that I got before, let me reiterate here that I'm so thankful for it and I thank the government then that helped people like me. But just a reminder, I was so sure that I deserve the help. My parents were poor and I was qualified, so I'm not at all ashamed. In fact those days, the country is not even rich. Oil has not been discovered yet in the country but the leaders then had the vision to help us by giving us the opportunity through education.

I can go on and on but.... it is sickening, Can't we do something? I'm sure we can.