Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another day on the Farm

If all this news about Pak Lah’s ‘secret’ meetings with PAS members on Malay unity and Islam seem like a clever political strategy, smart-alecky UMNO types should think again. It has once again revealed the hollowness in the PM’s post-March 8 announcement that he has ‘heard’ what the rakyat was saying. Instead it has only confirmed that UMNO is still in denial or is bankrupt of ideas, or both. Sure, Malaysian politics is coloured by racial and religious sentiments, but the whinging sounds painfully like a broken record and it's high time we change it.

What does the ordinary person make of all these?
  • BN is not serious about reforms or moving the nation forward. They’re simply moving furniture.
  • UMNO still calls the shots and everyone else better call them ‘Uncle.’ Or else.
  • UMNO isn’t really interested in seeing a united Malaysia nor the emergence of Bangsa Malaysia. Neither are the component parties.
  • The Islamists in UMNO (and certainly in PAS) still hold the trump card, so watch what they do and not what they say.
  • There is no spin more damning than the one that says Bumiputra ‘rights’ will not disadvantage other races.
  • There can be no unity without equality.
I have read Animal Farm.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Case 1: Saiful makes a shock allegation against Anwar in a swirl of frontpage publicity. It appears there have been homosexual trysts in upscale condominiums and overseas involving the 23-year old former “aide” and the 60-year old former DPM with a bad back. Amidst photos of young Saiful hobnobbing with BN types – including a private meeting with DPM Najib - Anwar stridently refutes the well-timed bombshell as “fabrication” and “conspiracy.”

Accuser Saiful is holed up somewhere for his own protection, and Anwar is unceremoniously hauled away, detained on suspicion of sodomy. He is freed on bail, and will report back to the police in August.

Case 2: Raja Petra, that incorrigible editor of Malaysia Today, posts volumes implicating DPM Najib and his wife Rosmah in the murder of Altantuya. Raja Petra followed up on his very public campaign with an earth-shattering statutory declaration that places Rosmah at the scene of the crime. Following what must be the oddest trial of a sensational murder, mired in controversy and finger-pointing by both prosecution and defense counsels beginning in June 2007, the public is no longer holding its collective breath. And lets not talk about the statutory declarations by PI-in-hiding, P. Balasubramaniam.

Meanwhile, Raja Petra is arrested and charged in the magistrate court for criminal defamation.

<I just wanted to make sure no one misses the irony>.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Malaysia adrift

I didn’t think I’d enjoy Redang as much as I did, but I surely did! This, in spite my not being a beach person.

We were at Pelangi (thanks to the Hous for the introduction!), a rustic no-frills resort that served forgettable 'chap fan' buffet style, but then it does not pretend to be a 5-star destination. Relatively clean too. Whatever it lacks is well compensated by our snorkeling trips twice daily out in the azure waters that Redang is deservedly famous for. I do hope it stays that way – the beach I mean. Pelangi’s got the best beach I reckon – wave-lapped white sandy stretches, unlike other sites that are carpeted by broken shells and corals (for instance the Marine Park).

Back after that sun-drenched vacation, reality reasserted itself: we found Malaysia embroiled in another round of mudslinging of comedic proportion.

Here’s my belated two-sens:

Pakatan or BN, what we want is for leaders or those in power to come clean and stop their cat-and-mouse political one-upmanship. Maybe there’s some kind of political mileage or advantage in keeping cards close to the chest, but all these allusions to “evidence” and exposes “at the right time” demonstrate a total lack of consideration for the people at a time as critical as now.

The protracted rhetoric and finger-pointing is a pain in the butt and it is no longer funny.

We need statesmen, not hustlers and rabble-rousing shit-stirrers, to use an impolite word. We have elected people into power, PR and BN. Lead. Govern. Inspire. The easiest thing to do is to rally crowds together and spew bile. Show us your plans for taking the country forward.

What is the BN government's plan in the face of dwindling FDIs and impending downsizing and retrenchments? Is it underestimating the current extent of inflation? Confidence in our national institutions is at an all-time low and they need urgent reforms, while credibility of the arms of government is diminishing by the day. Pray tell, is UMNO’s interest more paramount than the state of the nation?

Why isn’t Pakatan telling us how it’s addressing the recession? Anyone can say they can bring fuel prices down. But is it not imperative to tell us how that's really going to benefit the nation and not postpone disaster? How do fuel subsidies gel with the macro-view in the long-term? Daniel Gross for instance believes the global fallout is not going to be pretty and it’s not going to end soon. Is it not time for serious numbers-crunching?

Malaysia is floundering, like a ship tragically listing. No amount of flying SDs and Quran-swearing will steer a rudderless nation. Malaysia needs men and women who can read the times, who’ve got a grasp of the big picture.

Malaysia needs leaders. Now.