Why Pakatan is freaking out over #UndiRosak

By Hafidz Baharom

There have been so many parables over Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional that I have pretty much lost track of which one actually tells the tale properly.

Initially, it was a mere story of Pepsi versus Coke, and both of hem might trigger diabetes and make you lose your leg. And from there it has moved on to fruits A versus B, Bakery A versus Bakery B and even McDonald’s versus Ramli burger selling stalls and food trucks.

To myself personally, I’d rather look at it now and see Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional more akin to Samsung and Apple – and I’m sure tech enthusiasts might see this and experience a lightbulb effect.

The parable is simple, Apple runs on Samsung chips. And both models using the same batch of chips burst into flames due to a defect. Both have sued each other for copyright infringement, both openly mock each other in ads, and both evolve over time.

Except as the parable states, we are experiencing both BN and Pakatan blowing up in our faces, and both having the same faulty chips. While PPBM has come out and said their not disaffected Umno voters like Semangat 46, let’s face it – they are exactly disaffected Umno voters like Semangat 46.

And Pakatan decided to give them the most seats and the prime minister post, just like putting a faulty Samsung CPU into an Apple phone.

Thus, the #UndiRosak movement are the consumers skipping this year’s offer of models, to wait for one that actually won’t blow up in our faces – particularly because this one doesn’t have a refund or recall policy.

So is spoiling our vote irrational and emotional as some analysts point out? No. It’s most rational choice there is when both models blow up in your face. You wait for the next one which fixes the problem.

And in the case of general elections, the next model will take 5 more years to build up.

And so, out of desperation for keeping their market share, Pakatan decides there is a need to somehow keep selling their product pretty much using any tactic necessary from derision, mockery – even having a Parti Amanah Negara Vice President go out and ask the police and the Election Commission to investigate those wanting to spoil their votes.

Some go so far as to accuse that the spoiled vote movements is caused by BN , yet another Amanah ranking fellow and many Pakatan supporters. In fact, analysts and activists aplenty trying to say that not voting will benefit BN.

Well, here’s a newsflash – they don’t care. They’ve seen beyond propaganda of fear being marketed by Pakatan.

Sound bytes like “this is our last chance” raises the question why is this the last chance? Is Pakatan going to die before the later general election?

Or “this is the last chance to save the country” raises the same questions. Save the country from what? Is there a nuclear missile somewhere targeting us, just waiting if Pakatan loses?

Or sarcastically, how exactly is introducing EPL on RTM even related to saving the nation?

Like I said, they’re beyond the propaganda of fear which just triggers more questions that even Pakatan supporters cannot answer honestly or truthfully, resorting to name calling.

Subsequently, the continuing highlight of this issue of spoiled voters who don’t like what either side is marketing is being so forcible it borders irrationality.

It’s like McDonald’s and Ramly Burger trying to force vegans and vegetarians to shove beef burgers down their throats. It’s like forcing the diabetic to continue drinking Coke and Pepsi even If they want plain water.

Last parable – it’s like asking a guy who doesn’t smoke to light up a Marlboro or a Dunhill even if they don’t want to.

So why is Pakatan worried?

Well first, because this current group wanting to spoil their votes are mostly those who were pro-Pakatan volunteers in their campaigns since 2008. And second, they spoiled vote movement is really, really loud about pointing it out on social media, which is Pakatan’s main propaganda playground.

And because social media is now getting more and more expensive to sponsor to reach the masses and is permeated with select pockets of people spoiling their votes who are experts at social media marketing, it becomes a credible threat.

This has led Pakatan to the need to play defence on the online front, while trying to organise enough groundswell for their their campaigns into the rural Malay heartland and also praying that the spoiled voting population are just the loud ones and not the silent voters waiting for the general election.

Do spoiled votes ruin elections? Yes, they do. It happened in Ketereh and Kuala Selangor.

Does it teach parties to change?

Depends. If they don’t change, they can wait another election to see if it changes. If not, then obviously something has to, even if it means realising the need for a more credible opposition party beyond the Pakatan coalition.



Letter to the Media – Analysis or propaganda?


By Hafidz Baharom

I read the letter from Liew Chin Tong lambasting analysts as being biased and justifying a Barisan Nasional victory with a main question – who is he trying to convince?

He is correct by saying that if Pakatan Harapan should win over 50 percent of the Malay vote, they would win the next general election. Yet, herein lies the problem – Pakatan Harapan does not have that vote.

And here is something he is perhaps less keen to admit, his side lost a lot of Malay votes when it dumped PAS, while their replacements PPBM and Amanah are not yet gelled together nor gained the momentum of membership to take on both PAS and Umno.

Thus, if anything, his analysis is biased towards not counting the fact that PAS supporters will be the kingmakers in the next general election.

And we saw this immensely during two showpiece gatherings by the Opposition supporters, both Bersih and the Anti-Kleptocracy rally – both of which did not have the numbers to impress even if you had compared it to the lesser Blackout 505 rally.

The word on the ground is that the Malays are now divided three ways between PAS, Umno and Pakatan. Even giving each an equal share of the Malay votes, it would be a 33 percent split among them.

Yet, Liew believes Pakatan can secure an additional 17 percent from PAS or Umno, while somehow maintaining the waning non-Malay vote, which is also another concern.

He has forgotten that there is also fatigue enough to end up stopping people from voting altogether due to the teaming up with PPBM, mostly due to the disapproval of Tun Mahathir Mohamad being the leading voice in this campaign.

While media was keen enough to point out that this has affected mainly Chinese voters to the point of forming Facebook groups, it may in fact be symptomatic among all Malaysians, especially the youth population.

This can be seen by how 40 percent of youth voters are not keen to even register themselves. Thus, Pakatan hosting voter registration rallies on a monthly basis if not weekly, focusing on malls and markets, hopefully nationwide.

But more to the point, it is the hypocrisy of lambasting analysts for having a point of view. Are things so dire in the outlook that Pakatan and Liew need to convince voters by hitting out at any analyst who says otherwise?

Has this become the new propaganda tactic by the Pakatan coalition, to the point that any analysis giving a contrary viewpoint to what is done by their own internal polling and sponsored research institutes must be discredited to stop voters from leaving them?

Isn’t that interestingly desperate?

Yes, people are unhappy with the way things are run, but if Pakatan was so convinced that they had the 50 percent Malay votes, it certainly doesn’t show. In fact, I would say that the Malay vote will be fractured between two major parties – PAS and Umno.

This is because Umno managed to secure the Malay voters more recently for standing up for Jerusalem and Palestine, while DAP supporters discredited the move by laughing at the thought of us leading a peacekeeping mission by insinuating it was a military challenge against Israel.

At the same time, PAS inching their promise to strengthen sharia law through RUU355 further consolidated their support base and even some of Umno’s own fence sitters. Additionally, the recent headscarf row in both hotels and stewardesses, are also infiltrating the Malay voters.

If Liew was serious about somehow winning the Malay vote, these are issues of support among the group of voters he’s trying to cater to – shifting further right religious conservatives. Which is perhaps why Amanah’s women decided to support a ban on “Despacito” on public radio.

Liew once predicted a Malay tsunami which would happen in the next general election. The major problem with his viewpoint is that he believes that the voters from PAS are still in his corner. Either that, or he believes that PPBM and Amanah has managed to retain those votes given in GE13.

Both assumptions are very, very misleading. Therefore, if Liew and Pakatan believes that he can somehow secure 50 percent of the vote without the oldest Malay Opposition party in the country that brought them the crowd in all their gatherings, the rural votes and even stopped them from voting the Budget bill in parliament, then perhaps it is not the analysts who are blindly justifying their points.

Perhaps it is instead, Liew and Pakatan itself.

Hannah Yeoh and Christianity

This column was published Sunday May 21, 2017, on The Malaysian Insight

I’M actually surprised Hannah Yeoh is getting into trouble for talking about her devout Christianity. I remember watching her Facebook video where she talks of referring to the Bible to settle family arguments, during the 2013 campaign or earlier.

But the flak she is getting over her book is this; if anyone who reads her book is a Muslim, it is a constitutional breach because some consider it propagation. Yet at the same time, if those who read her book are non-Muslim, it’s fine. Continue reading “Hannah Yeoh and Christianity”

How will the “hudud bill” play out?

For those not in the know, there is a private members bill called RUU 355 currently brought up by the Islamic conservative party (PAS) in Malaysia’s parliament.

It raises the stature of the Sharia Court to be on the same level as the Malaysian civil courts with regards to the level of punishment it is able to dole out. 100 lashes, RM500,000 fine, and also 30 years in jail.

This bill, raised by PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, has now been deferred from being debated to the next parliamentary session in March 2017.

The bill has faced brickbats from both government and opposition lawmakers – in particular, the non-Muslim lawmakers whereas Muslim lawmakers have hedged themselves into being non-committal on direct answer to the point that Schrödinger would be proud.

Continue reading “How will the “hudud bill” play out?”

Lawmakers, government are also a wastage in public resources, Nur Jazlan

I refer to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Nur Jazlan’s words that using the authorities to maintain public order in a street protest is a waste of funds. 

It is rather ironic, considering the number of ridiculous investigations being conducted by the authorities which includes how raising a middle finger is now being investigated for “outraging someone’s modesty”. 
But more to the point, if we are talking about a waste of funds in governance and such, there is a lot to talk about in terms of both public and private institutions. Let us start with the most obvious.
According to the compilation published on iMoney.my, public is paying RM16,000 in salaries, RM1,200 for a drivers allowance, RM1,500 for entertainment allowances, RM1,500 for travel allowances, RM900 for telephone allowances and RM200 a day for each of the 222 lawmakers in our current government. 
The prime minister gets an add-on of close to RM23,000 a month, deputy prime minister gets RM18,000 monthly, and the head of opposition close to an additional RM4,000 respectively. All of which is above and beyond the allowances and salaries they already get. 
Considering the costs above, isn’t it considered a waste of public resources for the obvious redundancies? For example, why does everyone get a RM200 allowance for coming to parliament and doing their jobs? 
Plus, why do they need a car if they’re based in Kuala Lumpur when they can use public transport like the rest of us?
Furthermore, isn’t traveling also part and parcel of a lawmakers duty? On top of that, do we really have to fund MPs phones?
In addition to all of this, parliament sessions in Malaysia have been less than 100 days. This is even highlighted on Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong’s blog, dated November 14, 2014. He had asked for more days for parliamentary debates in 2015, from a mere 61 days to 80 days. 
You read that right, our lawmakers are sitting in parliament and debating less than a third of a year, and God knows what else they do with their high monthly salaries and allowances when they aren’t yelling at each other in the Dewan Rakyat. 
As a result, the entire process of lawmaking has been delayed to the point that even now we have yet to have any amendments regarding anti corruption, the use of the AES system, and even the vaping regulations.
In fact, with only so few days to debate acts of law, how exactly is the government going to amend 18 laws for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by this year end, as mentioned by Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, earlier this year in March?
To cut it short, since lawmakers and ministers are all inefficient and not working to actually make laws as a measure for “wasting public resources”, should we not in the same mindset just shut down our government?
Of course not.
This is because value in having a democratic government, just like the freedom of expression through street protests, that cannot and should not quantified. 
You cannot measure it in man hours, productivity figures, contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) or even the gross national income (GNI).
So if Nur Jazlan truly wishes to talk about the wasting of public funds and start measuring matters relating to governance and efficiency in government, then he should do so to the utmost importance without bias.
And if we do so, then I am certain such a feasibility study will show that our entire lawmaking process, the civil service and even the multiple government agencies would all rationally be said to be wasting public resources, which we can do without. 
Thus, perhaps he should look to his own cabinet ministers and even the government as a whole. Start by cutting the bloat from there while raising the salaries for the cops who have done their duties admirably, instead of looking to stifle democratic rights over cost concerns. 

The Heat Malaysia – A Civil War Imminent For PKR

A civil war imminent for PKR?By Hafidz Baharom

May 23, 2016 8:00 AM

News has now leaked that PKR’s own heralded whistleblower and secretary general Rafizi Ramli is about to expose graft within their own stronghold of Selangor headed by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. Apparently, there have now been allegations that demands of cash and women when dealing with the state government.
At the same time, jailed PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has sent out a letter from prison calling the Citizen’s Declaration “flawed and inconsistent” with his idea of reform – for those who may not recall, PKR’s Azmin and Rafizi both signed the document.
Of course, apparently the letter is now said to have been a “private matter” or an internal one for PKR, even if it involved a declaration that involved every opposition party, a few non-government organisations and even some members from across the political aisle.
At the same time, the declaration has now garnered over a million signatories, right before the letter from Anwar was leaked. Perhaps there is a correlation between the two, perhaps not.
PKR President Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had not signed the document, argued by Rafizi to the media as a “safety valve”, just in case the party suddenly found itself no longer supporting the declaration.
Thus, it needs to be asked; is a civil war brewing between factions within the PKR?
At the same time, there are intra-party issues after what happened between the party and allies DAP in Sarawak which may or may not blow over.
But let’s be frank, the Pakatan Harapan no longer has a leader that could guarantee party unity, which was perhaps why some people went to the Citizen’s Declaration launch with placards asking Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed to be made interim Opposition de facto leader.
There would be too much strife between DAP and PKR, internal politicking within the latter as well as the total lack of recognition for Parti Amanah Negara’s ability to rally the Muslim vote. 
However, if a PKR civil war is true and happening, then there truly is a very likely chance that the Opposition will see itself too fractured to get themselves united towards the common goal of forming a proper functioning shadow cabinet, or even winning a general election in the next two years for that matter.
With all that is happening these days – from floods being dealt with ad hoc policies, national audit reports detailing continued leakages from government agencies and more recently, the blocking of anyone who has been critical of the government to leave the nation – one would have expected some suitable reaction by a united opposition calling for better governance.
Unfortunately, we will be stuck between a rock and a hard place, between a rather impertinent government and an Opposition which is unable to coalesce into finally becoming a single entity which would have a chance to run Putrajaya in give or take the next decade.
Chances are, the impertinent one will live on for another two elections simply because the Opposition is stuck in a see-saw of politics – they are unable to control themselves from spiralling out of control whenever they get too close to power.
You could call it arrogance, a total lack of ability in gelling together or just the fact that each and every individual political party within Pakatan Harapan believes at one point or another that sharing power without the ability to rule by a defining majority would be unacceptable.
So, where do we go from here? Can we still expect a united opposition simply for the fact to take over Putrajaya, regardless of how united they are in the past and the future?
Can we simply settle with them for the simple fact that we want to get rid of Umno and Barisan Nasional, regardless of how they run the Federal Government, even if it includes alleged blatant demands of cash and women with the hypocritical call of ending corruption?
I think the Malaysian public should know exactly what they are voting for thoroughly. 

Why Ali Tinju’s actions were racist

In the last week, Mohd Ali Baharom – better known as Ali Tinju – decided it was necessary to take a stroll down to DAP Headquarters and hand over a memorandum. 

The contents were as he says to ask for Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to go on leave while investigations continue regarding his bungalow purchase. 

Lim is also DAP’s Secretary General. 

Now, the call for Lim going on leave has been brought up by multiple people – within the DAP, Hakam chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan and even those on the opposite political aisle –  heck, even me. 

And yet, only Ali Tinju’s actions are racist for a simple reason. 
On the handing over of the memorandum to the DAP, Ali insisted on only a Chinese accepting the document – because a Malay DAP member was already waiting to greet him on site. 
Thus, if it was a political move by the red shirted morons, then it would’ve been acceptable for Edry Faizal – the Malay DAP guy – to accept the memorandum. 

But no, apparently Ali was adamant that it be accepted only by a Chinese. 

Now, I’m not sure what proper rationale there is in this move. But then again, by Ali’s own actions, there is only one logic. 

Perhaps only a Chinese guy can touch pigs without having to perform a cleansing ritual. 

Well, that would explain it rather well. 

Ali’s actions are racist. They have always been racist against the Chinese Malaysian community since his kicking out of the veterans club which performed their “assinine” show in front of Ambiga’s house ages ago. 

And he was again stoking hatred at the Low Yat riot where videos were taken of his speech which were of even better quality than the one which Loh Gwo Burne took a long time ago. 

You didn’t have a question of “looks like me, sounds like me, but not me”. 

Yet no charges were allowed by the Attorney General then. Why? Lack of evidence. 

Thus now, with Malaysiakini having a video of the event, perhaps our Attorney General will finally take action against Ali not only for inciting racial hatred, but also for threatening to burn down a building. 

Last I checked, arson threats were in fact a serious crime. 

So we leave it to the DAP to file their police reports. And we leave it to the Royal Malaysian Police and also the Attorney General’s Chambers to prove that these institutions are both acting independently and professionally. 

Because if not, there is only so much the Malaysian people can accept. 

And if the rot of political patronage has indeed tampered justice then we will all be looking at a nation that will be in for one hell of a revolution come 2018. 

Leaders, humble pie and lamb stew

In 2014 during the hype over removing Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as Mentri Besar of Selangor, I attended a forum by then Pakatan Rakyat over the need to remove him at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

The panelists were DAP’s Tony Pua, PKR’s Rafizi Ramli, activist Hishamuddin Rais and PAS’ (now Amanah’s) Hanipa Maidin. Continue reading “Leaders, humble pie and lamb stew”