The People’s Message
[A lot of my close acquaintances had sent me messages either through text messages or emails and some had called on me directly asking me to write a detail analysis on Malaysia’s recent election results. After a conscionable thought on the subject matter, I decided to write this sole article which renders on where the National Front had gone wrong in their final analysis before forge the 2008 election thus impulsively transpired shocking results for the National Front itself. This is my personal opinion after a careful study on the subject matter for six days post-election time period and this article do not carry any personal motives, another individual views or any relations to my desk job and political alignment]
The People’s Remark of 8th March 2008
National Front is the longest serving legitimate party administering Malaysia for more than fifty years starting with the Municipal Elections in 1955 in the town area of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bharu where UMNO (United Malay National Organization-Malay based party) and MCA (Malayan Chinese Associations-Chinese based party) had agreed on certain terms cooperating with each other to grab seats in the Members Committee formed by the British government as an accord and test whether the Malays can unite with the other main races (Chinese and Hindus) thus paving the way for Malaya independence in 1957.
After the triumph of the 1955 Municipal Elections, then MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress-Indian based party) had agreed to band wagon the alliance of UMNO-MCA thus forming an Alliance party inadvertently close the doors for Dato’ Onn to be the first Malaya Chief Minister with his non-communal party of Independence Malayan Party (IMF). Along the way, the Alliance had achieved great successes in building Malaysia as a great economic powerhouse and filling its independence. The party itself had experienced a lot of ups and downs and internal contradictions such as in 1969, thus transforming it into National Front party and again endured an internal and external crisis such had happened in 1989 (UMNO was declared illegal), Sabah political crisis and the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim in 1999 (just to name a few).
But for all the momentous outlining that National Front had endured and experienced, nothing can be compared with the elections result of the year 2008. For all the bad records of Alliance party or National Front setbacks, 2008 election results is the worst ever results which had been experienced by the National Front and such factors that contributes towards this worst defeat came from an internal factor within UMNO itself and an external factors which were dealt wrongly by the incumbent government thus precipitating a protest vote by all the three main races (Malay, Chinese and Hindus) against the National Front.
Differences between 1969 and 2008 election
If the year 1969 had showed how much the wealth gap between the Malays and the Chinese race had spark the racial violence which was transposed through the race riot of 1969. Plus the divide and rule policy of the British government for more than 200 years which was later inflamed by the uneven treatment by the Japanese government during the three years and eight months of the World War II, this factors had contributed by the uprising of the existing grudges by the two main races of Malaysia. This problem was later dealt with the understanding that the government with the need to reform the racial wealth balances by not extricate the wealth of the Chinese and give it to the Malays, but by creating a larger economic cake and bringing back the sidetrack Malay race after 200 years of isolations by the British government through the implementations of the New Economic Policy. I don’t wish to delve deep the differences of the economic wealth pre-1969 elections as my topic is concentrating on the 2008 election results.
The Worst Election Ever for National Front
2008 is a whole different matter for National Front. None of the factors which contribute towards the defeat of that party in 1969 anymore contributes towards the defeat in 2008. In 2008, the opposition’s party only reaping the benefits of sheer ignorance of the incumbent government in settling issues arises which affecting the Malaysian peoples. Here I underline the reasons and factors which contribute to the worst defeat ever since 1957 in a chronology manner:-
Bad advisers – Prime Minister Abdullah had been getting bad advices from the beginning of his tenure as the fifth Prime Minister. Such advices had lead to numerous bad decisions by the executive power such as:-
The bad formations of the cabinet portfolios in 2004 (after the 11th elections) which sees redundant responsibilities of the government ministries that impedes the executive branch from executing efficient order or task and confused the government apparatus with their mechanism in catering the needs of the Malaysian citizens such cases can be seen in areas concerns:-
1) Ministry of Home Affairs vs Ministry of Internal Security;
2) Ministry of Regional (Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan) vs Ministry of Rural Areas and Regional (Kementerian Luar Bandar dan Wilayah) vs Local Council vs Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Kementerian Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan);
3) Ministry of National Heritage and Culture vs Ministry of Tourism ;
The cancellations of the Malaysian bidding for Asia’s Games in 2006 which shows that Malaysia unwilling to challenge human ingenuity of making the games succeed on Malaysia’s soil despite having the first class facilities after the success of 1998 Commonwealth games;
The Foreign Office blunder of apologizing to the Chinese government on the video case of allegedly Chinese citizens squatting despite the true identity of the women after detail investigations which shows that it was a Malaysian lady. The failure of PR to explain the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for such accused individual to squat aim to force any foreign object in accused body or in that particular case drugs substance to voluntarily push out from her vagina;
The terminations of PROTON’s CEO (Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff), despite his achievement in accumulating PROTON’s cash savings and with the building of the Tanjung Malim Proton’s City at the costing of 1.3 billion using PROTON’s own funds without borrowing any single cents form the government;
The cancellations of the double railway electric trains projects along the West coast lines (16 trains/ a day) at 160kmph which will see the integrations of rural area into big cities of Johor Bharu - Kuala Lumpur – Ipoh – Penang – Padang Besar and all the cities along the proposed lines;
The selling of the MV Agusta companies at the price of 1 Euro far outweigh its real market price despite buying the coveted high-tech Italian motorcycle company at the 400 million dollars on the intentions of small engine technology transfer to PROTON to built its own small engine consuming less fuel in parallel with the market demand;
The cancellations of the Scenic Bridge on the Johore Causeway after the projects had been undertaken on the views that such structure development had interfered on the sovereignty of Singapore and the cancellations reimbursement which cost higher than building the bridge itself to Gerbang Perdana that was in charge on the project development;
The desertion of Multimedia Super Corridor project and it’s lost of exclusiveness when areas concerns are unable to be determined lucidly and land that was neglect unproductively. The unproductive e-village projects and un-enthusiast investment on such areas even though such potentials is still high where Infosys that was set up in India at the same time amounting to more than 40 billion dollars;
The stagnations of Putrajaya development projects with the cancellations of its monorail intercity projects and slow pace of Putrajaya development itself.
Tun Dr. Mahathir’s character assassinations by the media – After the Prime Minister Abdullah took over the helm from his predecessor; the media’s had launched a character assassinations campaign non-stop by portraying a very bad image of the former Prime Minister. The public especially the Chinese community feel discontented because they revered the former Prime Minister as their saviour in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the Malays community themselves who remembered Tun Dr. Mahathir as one of the great statesmen Malaysia had offered before feel dissatisfied and disgruntled seeing the unjust treatment of the media towards their national hero.
Tun Dr. Mahathir open critics towards his successor – This factor played a major part when Tun Dr. Mahathir failed to advise Prime Minister Abdullah in his decision making process on certain matters and launched an open critics on how Prime Minister Abdullah decision’s was decided. Seeing such an act by the former Prime Minister, Malaysian especially the Chinese community that was far economic aware feel such critics must at least be heard and understood in an intellectual manner. But again Prime Minister Abdullah failed to understand such critics and advice.
Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar factor - Perhaps one of the major factors which contribute to the worst defeat ever of the National Front party is the ambitious young man named Khairy Jamaluddin. Being cropped up from nowhere, most Malaysian believes this young man is the main factor behind every government decision making process. His relationship with Prime Minister Abdullah as the Abdullah’s son in law and even though denied by Prime Minister Abdullah that this man had influenced him on every government decision making process, but the public perceptions is high that he is the man behind all the bad government decisions. In politics, where perceptions is much more important than reality, Khairy Jamaluddin perhaps is the most hated man in Malaysia of all time but with his powerful connections and daily image boost through the media put him on the post of UMNO Youth Deputy and he often talks on government policies where the cabinet ministers themselves shunned talking about it. The scandals behind Khairy Jamaluddin is numerous as underline below (just to name a few):-
i. Khairy Jamaluddin was first seen above the rules and regulations or the law by the public when he was officially involved in the politics despite holding professional governmental post in the Prime Minister department which according to the rules he had to let go his governmental post to get involved actively in politics;
ii. ECM-Libra Avenue scandal;
iii. Pantai Holdings sell out to Singapore owned GLC’s;
iv. The cancellations of Scenic Bridge projects;
v. The personal passing hand to hand of Former Deputy Prime Minister passport when Anwar Ibrahim was freed by the Malaysian court;
vi. Much publicised his MyTeam football team which was sponsored by Scomi;
vii. Peoples perceptions on his personal influences and involvement in any government decisions and contracts awards;
viii. Peoples perceptions on his personal involvement in the naming of the 2008 National Fronts UMNO elections candidates;
ix. The usage of UMNO owned media companies to boost Khairy’s own image through daily exposure of his personal activities and views regarding governmental policies and decisions despite no cabinet post portfolio vested when he is only holding the political post of UMNO Youth Deputy;
x. Khairy’s numerous blunder’s remarks against the oppositions leaders such as to PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat challenging him to take back particular views regarding certain matters or law action will taken but at the end nothing happens;
xi. Khairy’s personal racist sentiments remarks against the Chinese community when there is no issues to be raised so that he will be seen as the saviour of the Malay based community;
xii. Khairy’s incorrect remarks on the New Economic Policy whereas such policies had already over in 1990 and was replaced by the New Development Policy and Vision 2020 policy. Such remarks on the New Economic Policy was seen by the public as to only boost his image as the championing of the Malay based community;
xiii. Khairy’s personal involvement in building Putera UMNO brigade consisting members from “Mat Rempits/ Illegal street racers” to be the action arms of UMNO Youth despite bad records from Malaysian Royal Police that such an act will only worsen the illegal racing in Malaysia;
xiv. Royal Malaysian Police staffs perceptions towards Khairy’s personal involvement in the formations of IPCMC (Independent Police Commissions of Conduct) which was seen by the Police as unnecessary check and balance apparatus;
xv. The conduct of Khairy in leading the UMNO members gathering during Condoleezza Rice visits to Malaysia on the issues of Palestinian treatment by the Israelis where such gathering was seen by the public as double standard measures by the local authorities and Malaysian Police in awarding permits and treatment on the rioting of UMNO members;
xvi. Khairy’s purposelessness and un-bearings personal vendetta against the former Prime Minister Mahathir which was seen by the public as a rash act and foolhardy on the comparative basis that this young man without any achievement went against an old and revered statesman.
Unclear answers on certain issues by the particular Cabinet Ministers of Prime Minister Abdullah on the issues of Approved Permits (AP’s);
Immature remarks by some Cabinet Ministers of many issues answered in a childish manner on public media such as by Minister Nazri Aziz, Minister Zainuddin Maidin and Deputy Minister Shaziman;
Unclear scandal and grudges arises between the Minister of Internal Security and the Malaysian Inspector General of Police on the issues of the release of convicts by the Minister himself whereas the bloggers who revealed such scandal haven’t been found yet and no progress report on the investigations case;
The performance of National Front Members of Parliament in explaining and debating issues in the lower house whereas National Front’s MPs were more prone to raise personal issues such as personal applications of AP’s, grudges towards the bloggers, and dull remarks on the issues of bloggers and women in Malaysia (proved one point of raised by Thomas Friedman in his book The World is Flat);
The waving of the “Keris” (Malay’s traditional weapons) during the UMNO General Assembly thus depicting an unnecessary act of rocking the racial boat of understanding between the Malays and the Chinese. It was seen by the critics that such act as a deviations by the UMNO Youth to be seen as the champion of the Malays race on the reality basis there are no real issues to be debated (the status quo remains unchallenged);
The increasing price of the world crude oil which exceeds 60 dollar per barrel thus affecting every products price within the Malaysian market. Such inflations problems or the increase of product prices was seen by the public are not dealt correctly where big companies are allowed to reap the profits while Malaysian consumers had to deal with the spiralling inflations plus the increase of the toll hike;
Basic necessities of the Malaysian daily products such as flour, cooking oil, sugar that was lost in the daily market seen by the Malaysian peoples as obsolete third world economic problems and the handling of such crisis are sure to be doom where the government took the approach of suppressing the market forces thus ensuring the losing the products necessities in the market;
Unwise handling of the HINDRAF issues by the security analyst which failed to advise Prime Minister Abdullah to act fast on the dire allegations made by the HINDRAF members which escalate the situations thus bent the support of the Hindus vote for the National Front completely during the 2008 elections;
Complete utilization of the media as a propaganda tools for National Front in putting Prime Minister Abdullah and boosting his personal image more than it should had inculcate a reverse psychology message to the Malaysian that they fed up with such cheap publicity.
The peoples of Malaysia had cast a very clear message to Prime Minister Abdullah to act in a rightful manner. Whether Prime Minister Abdullah will do the right thing to rectify back on what National Front had gone wrong, only he and himself have the answer. The longer he delayed on the right decision, UMNO and National Front will pay the price of such ignorance.
Clearly one factors doesn’t chip in to the National Front worst defeat in 2008 elections. But with the build up of wrong decisions after another, and the appointment of wrong advisers who advice Prime Minister on what he wants to hear, National Front had to endure its worst embarrassment. For the performance and factors which contributes to the worst defeat of the National Front, I have underline clearly as above details. For that I rest my case.