Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Samy: Indians can count on MIC

Well, that is what Samy says. But why repeat this and others so frequently these days? Three days ago he was quoted as saying that Indians need to be politically represented in the corridors of power.

Well Samy, fact is we have been for 50 years and see where we are today.

The Indian diaspora that went elsewhere are not politically represented. They have done well for themselves including in some countries like Fiji and some African countries, literally controlling the economy.

Samy, just leave the Indians alone. Abandon them. Let them rise up above themselves and fend for themselves. They will and they can. V.K. Lingam has shown us the way. Despite you and the MIC, by staying out of MIC, he, a Malaysian Indian ruled the Malaysian judiciary for over a decade.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

BN MPs Want To Be Judged. But On What?

The Sunday Star, talking on Kota Melaka MP, Wong Nai Chee, says that he will take a no-nonsense approach when dealing with issues and will rely on facts and figures to back up claims. He is further quoted "“Our strategy remains the same regardless of who the DAP fields as a candidate here. I am more concerned with how the voters judge us.”

Wong said voters were able to see for themselves the changes in the city since it came under Barisan control.

“We have brought about many positive changes over the last four years. For instance, I assisted the state in lobbying for RM128.8mil from the Federal Government to alleviate flash flood problems in the city,” he said.

So Mr Wong has prescribed for himself that the measure of his worth and work as an MP is in what he has been able to obtain for his constituents. And yes I have no argument about that and I applaud him too.

But wait. Is that the measure of an MP's tasks and responsibilities? Remember he is a member of parliament. That is a Federal position. What the hell was he doing looking at whether the drains were clogged or if the roads were properly maintained? Was that what the Kota Melaka voters picked voted for him to do? What ever happened to to all the various State Assembly men whose constituencies are within Kota Melaka? Did they all leave it to Mr Wong here, who of course being MP and all ranks higher than them? And what ever happened to the various local municipalities located within Kota Melaka? Isn't it that Mr Wong here is claiming all the credit for work that these Municiaplities are primarily responsible for in any case?

Completely Side Tracked!

This is the 12th General Election. Yet, I have not for once read any measure of any Member of Parliament or State Assembly men whether by themselves, their party colleagues and peers, or the people, for what is really expected of them. Some how it seems like all and sundry including the elite in society, the Oxford and Harvard educated, the doctors, lawyers and all the various political scientists too as well as the journalists together with the rest of society take the claims of these politicians of what ever assessments of these politicians as measured against their performance within their constituencies as a given without asking if indeed that is a correct measure to gauge the MPs or State Asemblyman or woman's performance.

So what is it that is really expected of them? And why do we vote them in anyway? What really is the correct scale to measure them on?

If one was to rely on Mainstream Media to guide us, it would seem like it would be their ability to deliver on the immediate needs of their constituents. Going by the Kota Melaka MP's description, it would be about physical improvements, better maintenance, a little bit of infrastructure and so on.

But really, is that the job description of Members of Parliaments and State Assemblymen in our country? If one was to write the job specifications of what it takes to be a MP, what is it that one will fill in it?

Maybe I can be of help here. I have searched around and I have found that the labour department in New Zealand has a career help web site where one can go to see details of various jobs. They specify what the tasks and responsibilities are. The knowledge and skills to bring along and other personal requirements. And I found in there the job specification for Politicians and Members of Parliaments.

In the absence of any job specifications, and all and sundry have assumed for themselves a measure that is indeed dubious and irrelevant to their tasks, I reckon the people can take a look at this and see if the MP or State Assemblyman they wish to support indeed meets the mark.

So here goes:

Member of Parliament - Tasks and specialisations

Tasks & duties

Members of parliament may do some or all of the following:
- listen to and act on behalf of individuals or groups
- attend sittings of parliament
- study reports, proposals, complaints and petitions
- present, debate and vote on new laws and changes to existing ones
- sit on select committees to look at bills before they become law
- attend meetings and public events
- make speeches and give interviews to journalists
- be in charge of a ministry or government department
- work with various departments, ministries and ministers to develop policy
- hold a managerial or administrative position in parliament such as junior or senior whip (the person who manages a party's MPs).


Skills & Knowledge

Members of Parliament need to have

- knowledge of political, economic, social and cultural aspects of New Zealand life
- knowledge of the region they are representing
- knowledge of official parliamentary procedures
- excellent communication and listening skills
- public-speaking and debating skills
- decision-making ability
- planning and organisational skills
- negotiating skills
- skill in interpreting and evaluating information.

Personal qualities

Members of parliament must be able to gain people's trust, make good judgements and work well under pressure. They must also be motivated, responsible and able to lead others.

Physical requirements

Members of parliament must have clear speech, a tidy appearance and a good level of stamina.

Member of Parliament - How to get into this job
Entry requirements

To become a member of parliament you must be a New Zealand citizen and at least 18 years of age. You must also be registered in an electorate and voted in by the electorate or through inclusion on a party list.

Tertiary education

There are no specific tertiary educational requirements, but a tertiary qualification in law, public policy or economics may be useful.

Training on the job

Useful experience

Work as a local government representative, a union official or delegate, or work for a political party or pressure group is useful for becoming a member of parliament. Any work in economics, law, education or another specialist field is also useful.

Working conditions

Members of parliament work in offices at parliament, and in their own home or regional office. They visit various businesses and organisations, and travel to meetings, press conferences and promotional events in New Zealand and overseas. They may have to be away from home for days at a time.There is a lot of stress involved, as members of parliament are in a position of high responsibility.


I would like to ask Mr Wong Nai Chee to work out his scorecard based on what has been given above. Maybe it might just prompt him to think otherwise as to why maybe that he might be off his mark by the mile when suggesting to his constituents that he has done well as their MP.

The absence of knowledge of what the job of an MP or a State Assembly man is supposed to be leaves the controlling party to subliminally, indeed overtly suggest into our collective heads that the deliverables of our MPS and State Assemblymen and women should only be those that we are able to see in terms of physical and material benefit to the people. And this the ruling party controls.

There is indeed hope to begin to change the minds of the voters if and when they get to know what it is in our system of government as provided by the constitution is envisaged of our elected representatives, whether in Parliament or in the State Assemblies. It is certainly not by the measures the Prime Minister as well as all the BN leaders ask us to look at. it is not what the MPs and State Assembly men and women ask us to look at. Surely a new candidate has no record of what he can score on his measure. Yet becuase he knows your eyes are only rooted on one scale he can confidently talk about his accesses to the resources that can make things happen.

Unfortunately even those experienced MPs of the opposition only seem to talk about what it is they can do materially for their constituents.

I, on the other hand would say, that nearly all the MPs would fail when measured against the tasks and responsibilities envisaged in the job specifications set out for politicians in New Zealand. In terms of Skills and Knowledge too, I would say most would miserably fail and many would end up being laughing stocks.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Only once, when the ruling party lost its 2/3 majority was there ever a riot.

Winners don’t have a reason to riot. Only losers do! UMNO saw itself losing when together with MCA and MIC it failed to control 2/3s. May 13 was an UMNO initiated riot. They have even stopped denying this accusation of late.

The opposition has lost in all 50 years. As losers they have conducted themselves very well. NO RIOTS! There have also never been any threat of riots or instability should they lose prior to any election.

Supporters of UMNO/BN and fence sitters are generally fully convinced that there will be instability should UMNO/BN lose its sacred 2/3s or, God forbid, the simple majority! Where does that sense of instability come from?

One time, in 1999 when UMNO felt threatened, it threatened May 13, the Chinese fell for it, UMNO got its two-thirds.

The May 13 threat or bogey man has been a useful weapon and excuse for UMNO to assert itself.

The Bersih Rally of 10/11 debunked the bogey man threat. There is far more cohesion between the races now then ever was. This is what is uncomfortable to UMNO. This is what UMNO does not like.

If racial differences do not work, then the next thing to accentuate is the religious differences. This is a more potent powder keg. UMNO needs racial/religious differences to become an issue more than anyone else does in Malaysia.

Fact is, there is no more May 13 threat. What is another loss for the opposition? Winners don’t need to fight. Winners celebrate!

Denying UMNO its two-thirds will be a victory for the people and the opposition. This will be a loss to UMNO.

Is UMNO suggesting that they are such bad losers that they would start another May 13, as they did the first time around, should they lose their sacred two-thirds?

Strangely other members of the Barisan Nasional are scarcely found employing or issuing the May 13 threat or for that matter the threat of instability. Only UMNO seems to quite comfortably and confidently use this threat or for that matter suggest instability should they not obtain their sacred electoral goals.

What is it that UMNO seems to know that others don't? Why do a large number believe and subscribe to the notion of instability should the "opposition" become the ruling party/(s)?

They may all be very educated and much in the know, but all those very clever sounding people who keep assuring themselves as well as others of the threat to national stability and economic progress forget that they too have been caught up by the way, in both Singapore and Malaysia, the ruling parties, PAP and Barisan Nasiaonal, are interchangeably and synonymously used when referring to the government. It is like as if the government is an extension of these ruling parties. Like as if the government's cheque books are legally and legitimately in the name of these parties. Like as if these parties indeed own and have excusive rights over the use of these cheque books.

In that state of mind, do these people envisage a complete collapse of the entire government machinery? Like as if the police force disintergrates maybe? Of that the armed forces will run riot because their salaries are not paid? Maybe they see the entire finacial system collpse or the hospitals and schools shut down because all the government staff get laid off!!

Well, they should know that when the Aparthied white controlled parties of South Africa lost to the African Nasional Congress of Nelson Mandela, we did not see any of these things happen did we? Sure one would argue that South Africa is a mess today. Are they, therefore, suggesting the return of the Aparthied parties?

India has seen 4 changes of government. It is a big country with more differences demographically in race, religion and language and economic well being. We did not see the kind of instability envisaged by many Malaysians. Australia just had a change in the ruling party that governs. And America goes to the polls later this year. I wonder if anyone issuing the kinds of threats issued by UMNO will be laughed out of there.

Yes, friends, we have all bought into that definition laid out and trumpeted by UMNO and PAP. Only they rule and that is the undeniable truth and reality of it. Hence when they say BN government or the PAP government we all only can see the government as being an extension of these parties. Therefore, even the parties who are not part of the ruling party, only see themselves to be "opposition" parties. Reading their manifestoes and all their various hopes and wishes and promises, we only see them seeing themselves as playing the role of a good opposition. If all they seem to hope for is to add to the number of seats they presently hold in parliament, the goal is now only to be able to present a stroger oppositionto the ruling party. Indeed even in their fouding charter and goals it might seemlike they only want to see themelves play the role of opposition.

What is inconceivable to me is that all these "opposition" parties seem to also be quite at home operating under the label "opposition". Indeed that is the only label that seems to stand out on them. The fact that UMNO has experience as an opposition party is lost on everyone. Yes they are the opposition in Kelantan State and they were for one term the opposition in Terengganu. Yet, I might not be too far wrong to suggest that UMNO might have continued to set the pace even as opposition.

Why? Well, when you know yourself to be opposition and sit comfortably with the label opposition pinned on you, it then follows that you wait on someone to propose before you oppose. If there is no proposals before you there is nothing for you to oppose, is there? In otherwards as "opposition" there is nothing to show in terms of contribution towards nation building.

When America goes to the polls, does anyone talk in terms of opposition? What about Australia or New Zealand or Great Britain? Indeed when they go to the polls, there is no opposition. Indeed there is also no ruling government. There are the parties of course. Except that they are all uniformly cast into right or left. Conservative or Liberal, Republican or Democrats. And of course there others that are in between or on the extreme poles. Of course we cannot forget the Greens as well. Everyone knows where exactly in the spectrum each party resides in and as a citizen you know from your own reckoning of yourselve where it is you belong. (And this secret, just for Malaysians. It is not a sin to belong to any one party or any one pole. And it has nothing to do with your professed or chosen religion or race either).

In Malaysia, can anyone really tell if UMNO/BN is right or left? Can anyone really tell if DAP or PAS or Keadilan is rigth or left? Between the component parties of the BN is everyone on the right or left? I would suggest that UMNO/BN is both left as well as right and they also occupy the centre as well. They are all things to all people, so they claim and so they are perceived to be. As for the rest, they all seem to know that they are the opposition. Meaning opposing everything that comes, whether from the right, left or centre.

We have gangsters running this country and it would seem like the people want that and following the Stockholm Syndrome, having been held captive for so long, we actually seem to subscribe to the cause fo our captors, the gangsters.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Badawi-A Blatant Liar!

In less than 24 hours he makes a 180 degree turn. Morning newspapers headlines siad there was not to be any dissolution of parliament. Even if he was only jesting, surely he cannot be so good that all newspapers bought his line hook line and sinker and invested his statement in front page headlines.

Can we trust him when he makes all those promises? He has promised the Indians all kinds of things. Can you trust him? He is a liar.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

In the Malaysiakini report Seven issues affecting the Indians Samy Velu, President of MIC, is quoted as having said "The Indians have very high expectations and are demanding from MIC greater inclusion, access and their rights in the socio-economic development on par with the other communities,"

Maybe it is about time Samy Velu is told "Leave us Indians alone!"

I would like to add and accuse MIC and Samy Velu that if today Malaysian Indians find themselves in an economic and social quagmire, that it is primarily because Malaysian Indians alone amongst all of the Indian Diaspora are politically represented within the political system of the nation.

Can Samy Velu tell us all why it is that with such political representation in the ruling government, unlike the Indian diaspora who have achieved such respect and wealth and control over their own economic condition, has failed to achieve for the Malaysian Indain in Malaysia any respectable economic role?

My own answer to this is that Samy Velu and his predecessors have over the years very successfully conditioned the Malaysian Indian to wait on MIC to deliver. Most are still waiting. Unfortunately it is the politics of patronage that has imprisoned the Malaysian Indian to his present contdition.

But wait. It is indeed not true that there is no hope for the Malaysian Indian. We are always asked to look at Ananda Krishnan and Tony Fernandez. If they can do it, surely the rest of us can.

But much as I keep reminding friends, it is so easy to forget that MIC does not serve either one of them and they are not caught by the waiting the rest of us may have been caught by. Ananda is a Sri Lankan Jaffnese Tamil. Woe be a Jaffnese Tamil who concedes that he is a member of the MIC! Tony Fernandez is a Malayalee. He and his ilk will not understand a word of the goings on in MIC. Only the late Pathmanathan made it in the ranks of MIC. Why he even bothered, I cannot understand.

MIC is a misnomer. It feins representing Malaysian Indians. Yet it only represents Malaysian Indian Tamils from Tamil Nadu. Even then it does not include any Muslim and only the rare Christian goes through. Yet it has hijacked the lives of the entire Malaysian Indian community and kept it at rock bottom with promises.

Unfortunately Samy Velu just does not get it. The recent conference in India that he attended claiming quite mistakenly to representing Malaysian Indians must have been most shameful for him if only he was sensitive enough to sense anything. He would have been the only Indian from amongst the diaspora in attendance who was from the ruling political party, or any political party for that matter, with such an obnoxious claim to leadership of an Indian diaspora community. He should have been a bit of joke to many and a totally misunderstood entity as most of the others would have been questioning the need for any Indian to be politically represented. And what must have been most confounding would have been the fact that those who he claimed to represent were the most in need for economic, social and educational upliftment.

It is not like as if Malaysian Indians are without hope. The Indian Diaspora who have migrated elsewhere have shown us all how it can be done and that we have what it takes. The last thing we need is political representation. Without political representation and each for our own we become King makers as many in the Diaspora find themselves in. MIC is nothing but a subservient servant that leads us to subservience.

It is time Malaysian Indians rise up and tell MIC to stop claiming that we are demanding anything from MIC. How can we demand anything from MIC and expect anything but subservience when MIC itself is nothing but a subservient party to UMNO! Being the champion subservient party it can only make us individually subservient when in fact we can be the master class. Just ask V.K. Lingam!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Malaysian Politics: Its between a Sedan and a Racing Car

In the article Anwar explains his stance to Christian leaders published on 2 February, in Malaysiakini, Anwar is quoted as having said "PKR enjoyed a unique advantage in that it could mediate the middle ground between the secularism of the Democratic Action Party and the Islamism of PAS."

Now that seems to be a sad reflection of what the "spiritual leader" and the raison de-tre of Parti Keadilan Rakyat sees PKR to be. A mediator!

Anwar seems to see the two poles of the opposition parties as setting the "opposition agenda" and PKR sits squarely in the middle!

If the very label "opposition" is so loosely and almost always applied to these parties, then I cannot see how else they see their roles to be other than one that only sees them in opposition. It is like a racing car. It is labeled a racing car. If you drive one you must, therefore, be a racer! It is just not possible for a racer to be driving a family sedan!

A country or a nation, especially like Malaysia, can be likened to a family sedan car. We need a safe driver to not just chart the course, but to also drive us to a destination safely.

The opposition parties and their collective leaders appear to be quite comfortable having the label "opposition" applied to them, as a racer will if he drives a racing car.

The family sedan car has a purpose and an objective. So has the racing car. But surely we are all agreed that the two purposes and objectives, as widely as they defer, have their valid reasons to exist. But which of the two is one that would be needed for a nation?

Anwar seems to think that the objectives of the opposition parties are two fold. DAP is supposedly to be secular. PAS on the other hand is supposed to be Islamist. And of course, by his own admission PKR is the mediator plying the middle ground.

But what are the objectives for the nation for heaven's sake? A racing car just goes round and round a circuit with just one objective. To break the previous circuit record and speed, making a lot of noise as it goes.

A sedan car on the other hand always has as its objectives as taking its occupants forward towards their desination.

This country needs a good sedan car driver. Not a racer. At this moment in time I see only the BN contending to be the sedan car driver whereas all the opposition parties vying to be racers. They all want to be good opposition members of parliament and that is all that they see themselves to be. Of course in the Malaysian context, being the sedan car driver, as you continue to nudge the country forward, the driver and his compatriots shamefully exploit their vested position for their own profit. Meanwhile the racers keep running around their circuits making a lot of noise hoping that by doing so their will somehow move the sedan car more efficiently.

But fact of the matter is, we, the rest of the population, and the voters who decide who will drive us forward only see ourselves in the sedan car. There is no room in the racing car for heaven's sake. Only the BN seems to be vying to be the driver of our sedan car while the rest of those in opposition are vying to drive the racing car. At the end the opposition party members also join the passengers in the sedan car with whom now the driver has to contend with.

This unfortunately is the problem with politics in Malaysia and as long as the opposition see themselves as such there is really no hope of ever seeing a change in stewardship of this country.

So Anwar, you say that the DAP are secularists whereas PAS are Islamists. What ever it is, tell me how does that relate to such things as economic policies of the country, the country's foreign policies, immigration policies, labour policies, health, education, jobs, investment, free press, ISA, internal and external security, housing, NEP, moving the country forward?

What does it matter if the Islamists don't want to call it interest? As long as it is extra cash on my table, you can call it whatever you want. However, there is this assumption here that when the term Islamist is applied, that it conjures up a certain image. Unfortunately that image is not necessarily a comforting one for a lot of people, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

Similarly by secularist, it seems to be loosely connected to the image of a proclivity to debauchery, without a conscience, irreligious, recklessness, unreliability and without Godly restraints. This would seem to be the lot that when applied to DAP's secularism seems to want.

So, it is Anwar who seems to think that PKR plays the middle mediatory role between the two. Like as if we all naturally understand or know what exactly the real "political objectives" of these two parties are in wanting to represent or lead the nation.

How misplaced can this get? Unfortunately the "opposition", when in opposition, seems to have fallen to the trap that has been laid, not so much by design but by default. They have been defined by the BN as an unfortunate contemptuous lot that those driving the sedan car towards our worldly objectives have to contend with. The funny thing is that the "opposition" parties also seem to see themselves in just such a role and no more! In otherwards they also want to get into the same sedan car driven by the BN folks, except, that they want to influence the manner of the driving and maybe the destination. Why? Because they have experience driving racing cars!!

It is about time, if it is not already too late, DAP, PAS and Keadilan, took stock of themselves and look at how they are defining themselves before presenting themselves to us the voters. Unfortunatly, the people desparately need a change in the driver of their family sedan. The only contenders are racing car drivers who have so far only exhibited their familiarity with the racing circuit. And mind you, in all my 52 years, I have never been to the insides of a racing circuit myself!