Monday, January 14, 2008

Election Chairman should Retire.

The present constitution provides specifically for the Election chairman to retire at the age of 65.Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has reached the age of retirement on 31st december,2007.Therefore in accordance with the constitution the EC chairperson should just retire gracefully and let some one else replace him.
What defies logic is for the govt to pursue a most unusual course of action to amend the constitution to extend the retirement age to 66 thus allowing the EC chairperson to extend his tenure for another year
\ The constitution is a sacred document which should not be frivously altered or amended merely for the express purpose of extending the tenure of the election Chairman.The constitution of a country is a living document that should not be manipulated to suit the whims and fancy of the incumbent govt in power.
To amend the constituition in order to retain the EC chairperson for the express purpose of presiding over the impending election conceal a sinster motive of the govt which cannot be construed as honourable.
Why is the govt so adamant in wanting to extend the tenure of Abdul Rashid so that he could preside over the impending election?Even if the reason for the govt to retain him is perfectly legitimate the very act of amending the constitution to extend his tenure would undoubtedly cast aspersion on the impartiality of his role in the election.
His public statement that " no other regime is capable of running the country " is further evidence that his impartiality is questionable.
The disappearance of 140 ballot boxes in the Ijok election should be of some concern and consequence, but the election chairperson dismissed it as inconsequential.How could it be?If each ballot box were to contain a mere 500 electoral votes, the total 140 ballot boxes would have a massive 7000 votes.A figure that could easily sway and swing the result in favour of the opposition party.
Examples of such irregularity has prompted the
birth of Bersih to seek electoral reforms that will eventually ensure a free and fair election.
Many of the outstanding issues such as postal votes, dead people appearing in the electoral rolls,gerrymandering,equal access to media for campaigning and a host of other electoral issues have not been addressed by the current EC chairperson.How could there be free and fair elections when all these electoral reforms have not been implemented to the satisfaction of all parties?
Since Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has not carried out reforms in these controversial issues and the govt has not displayed any urgency in pressing for changes in those areas, perhaps it would be timely that a new independent person be appointed to the post of the EC chairperson.
For that to happen Abdul Abdul Rahman should gracefully exit and opt for retirement rather than seek an extension of his tenure.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Najib, You are wrong.

Yes the tide is turning in Kelantan but certainly not in favour of BN but for PAS. As a kelantanese I can safely tell Najib the true current political situation in Kelantan. How could Zubaidah Abu Bakar speculate in the 6th Jan.2008 NST that “there are many in Kelantan who want to see a change of government”?
This is farthest from the truth. The Malay psyche in Kelantan is vastly different from the psyche of Malays from the other states. The Malays in Kelantan are astute when it comes to politics. That explains why it is the only Malay state where the opposition party other than UMNO has ruled for a substantial period since Merdeka.
During BN’s tenure, pork sellers in the Chinese market were harrassed daily. They were confined to a small inconspicous space where pork could be sold hidden from public view. There was conditional and restricted time when pork could be sold. When PAS took over the government in 1990, they improved the Chinese market and pork was sold without any restrictions. In short they were not harrassed.
Again, during BN’s tenure, Chinese could not buy houses built on Malay reservation land. Since most of the land come under the purview of Malay reservation, most Kelantanese Chinese could not own a home. But all these changed when PAS came to power.
Under the able DUN of Kota Bharu, Dato Annuar Tan, 30% of houses built on Malay reservation land were allocated for sale to the Kelantan Chinese.
Any doubts where the Chinese loyalty lies can easily be dispelled by visiting the Chinese enclave in Jalan Kebun Sultan. Ask any Chinese business community there and they will brazenly tell you that they will vote for PAS. Yes the Chinese votes in Kelantan are solidly behind PAS.
It is also a fact that the Chinese miniority’s vote in Kelantan are insignificant and confined to only few seats where their votes are crucial for victory or loss. But in a state where a lot of seats are won and lost by a handful of votes this becomes immensely important where in the final analysis the fate of the government could merely depend on the margin of one or two seats.
The Malays in Kelantan were generous in giving Pak Lah a resounding victory in 2004. But this was partly due to PAS over-zealous Islamic reforms which persuaded the Malays to vote for Pak Lah’s Islam Hadhari. Further they were captivated by Pak Lah’s assurance of tackling corruption which was beginning to be rampant in all branches of the government. But alas, Pak Lah was a disappointment. Instead he took it as an opportunity for his relatives and family to plunder the nation’s wealth by giving contracts to his son and son-in law.
There is a saying among the Malays in Kelantan that UMNO can fool the Malays in the other states with their rhetoric of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ but they cannot fool the Malays in Kelantan. They are aware that BN has introduced many programmes and development projects.
According to Datuk Annuar Musa “RM2 billion worth of projects are flowing into the state”. But the local malays will ask you who are the beneficiaries of these projects? Yes, its the UMNO cronies and the UMNO connected politicians who will secure all the major contracts.
Of late, the sprinkling of Indians are also behind PAS not due to Hindraf’s effort but because of the awareness that it was under PAS rule that a prominent land in Jalan Hamzah was approved for the Hindus to build a temple when the same approval was rejected by BN four times before.
Because of centuries of close proximity of Kelantan to Thailand and the close rapport between the Chinese and the Kelantanese Malays, the local Malays are not only intelligent and well-versed in commerce but they are very conversant with local and federal politics. This perhaps explain why UMNO with their brand of politics can never fool the Kelantan Malays.
In the coming general election BN will not only lose in Kelantan it will lose as badly as in 1990. This is not only a fact, it is a promise.