is this Malay man who lives in the upper-class Kuala Lumpur
suburb of Bangsar. Bangsar is not Malaysia. Bangsar is the
Independent Republic of Bangsar. It has a life of its own.
It has its own unique culture. It is the place you hang out
if you want to psych yourself into believing you no longer
live in 'Islamic' Malaysia.
does have its Islamic side as well, of course. You can sip
your beer and eyeball the sweet young things in their mini-skirts
to the sounds of the Azan, the Muslim call for prayer,
reverberating through the air. Muslim men and women would
rush to make up the congregation at the only mosque in the
neighbourhood, the Masjid Abu Bakar Sidiqque, named after
the First Caliph of Islam immediately after the death of the
most revered Prophet of Islam, Muhammad S.A.W.
this congregation is a man who could easily be mistaken for
Osama Bin Laden judging by his long Arab robe and turban.
This Arab wannabe who imagines himself a Prophet Muhammad
lookalike is none other than Rashid, the Chairman of Malaysia's
now world-infamous Elections Commission.
judge a pious Muslim by his attire and by the number of times
a day he or she rushes to the mosque. Once or twice a day
is not enough. Muslims pray five times a day. Waking up at
5 am to make the early dawn prayers is mandatory if one wants
to impress fellow Muslims that one is a member of heaven (ahli
shurga). Sitting cross-legged on the floor of the mosque
chanting praises to Allah and the Prophet in-between prayers
would be the mark of a good Muslim.
however, can't fool the Bangsar mosque congregation in spite
of his Bedouin fancy dress. In fact, the congregation sniggers
behind his back and jokes about this Arab-looking member of
the mosque who even the malaikat (angels) despise.
Chua Soi Lek would probably gain more respect if he had somehow
accidentally strayed into the mosque. We will have to wait
until Rashid dies to gauge what Muslims think of him. The
mark of how much respect a Muslim has gained would rest on
the numbers who send him to his grave. And it is expected
that Rashid's death would not create severe traffic jams in
can't abolish postal votes. If we do, then not a single Cabinet
member would be able to retain his or her seat," argued Rashid
during one meeting that was held to discuss how to reform
Malaysia's election system.
voting was introduced at the time the soldiers spent nine
months on end deep in the Malaysian jungles at the height
of the Communist insurgency known as The Emergency.
Of course, The Emergency has since ended with the signing
of the Peace Treaty between the Malaysian government and the
Communist Party of Malaya. But the postal voting system remains.
assembly was taken aback and flabbergasted that such a bold
admission would come out from the mouth of the head-honcho
of the Elections Commission. At least lie. At least pretend.
But to tell the assembly direct to its face that postal voting
is not about allowing the security forces to exercise their
right to vote but about ensuring that Ministers stay in office
is like telling you to your face '**** you'.
can't abolish postal votes. If we do, then not a single
Cabinet member would be able to retain his or her seat,"
argued Rashid during one meeting that was held to discuss
how to reform Malaysia's election system... The assembly
was taken aback and flabbergasted that such a bold admission
would come out from the mouth of the head-honcho of
the Elections Commission.
it not the job of the Elections Commission to run a free and
fair election? No, said Rashid. The job of the Elections Commission
is to ensure that the Malays do not lose political domination.
With that second '**** you' to your face there was no point
in continuing with the meeting. The assembly of opposition
politicians just stood up and walked out of the room. It was
clear that not only was the job of the Elections Commission
to rig the elections and ensure that the ruling coalition
stays in office, but they will do so boldly and will admit
it to your face while telling you to shove off and go *****
is what this Arab wannabe, the Muhammad lookalike, this scum
who hides in the mosque in an attempt to present himself as
an ahli shurga is all about. And, just like all 'good'
Muslims, he probably never eats pork or drinks brandy as well.
But then pork is haram. Brandy is haram. Cheating
26 million Malaysians and denying them their right to a government
of their choice is not haram. This is national duty.
This is serving one's race, the Malay race. And one can always
spend hours in the mosque every day to cleanse oneself and
receive blessings from God, no matter what sin one may have
the Menteri Besar of Kelantan, too prays five times a day
and many times in between. But he will switch off the lights
when he prays because his prayers have nothing to do with
matters of state. So he does not want the rakyat (people)
to pay the cost of his prayers. The electricity consumed during
those few minutes he prays is cheaper than the cost of a cigarette.
Nevertheless, it is still the rakyat's money so the
lights must be switched off.
police are in a dilemma. Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers
need to be escorted by a retinue of police outriders and bodyguards.
Even Khairy Jamaluddin is flying around in a helicopter while
campaigning in Rembau. And Khairy is just the son-in-law of
the Prime Minister and holds no government post. But still
he is surrounded by 50 Mat Rempit (motorcycle gang)
who will not allow anyone close lest their boss gets in harm's
way. Nik Aziz, however, refuses a police escort because it
will be the rakyat that pays for it. At times, he walks
around the kampong (village) all alone, unescorted.
can't do this," lamented the Kelantan Police Chief. "You are
endangering yourself. Someone might harm you."
just laughs it off and replies, "Who would want to kill an
old man like me? What would they gain?"
Besar of Kelantan is allowed an official residence and a government
car. But Niz Aziz refuses to live in what he considers a lavish
abode though the home of Raja Petra Kamarudin puts the home
of the CEO of Kelantan to shame. He will, however, use it
whenever he needs to entertain any guest that wishes to meet
him. But this is more so that his guest can be comfortable
than for his own comfort.
And if they insist he drives around in a government car instead
of taking a bus to work then he insists it must be the cheapest
and oldest car. Only when they managed to convince him that
the oldest and cheapest car constantly breaks down and he
would be keeping his guest waiting while they wait for a tow-truck
would he consent to a new car. He would certainly not want
to keep his guest waiting lest they think he had overslept
like the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
times require desperate measures. All is fair in love
and war. And general elections - tantamount to war -
so there is no such thing as fair or foul means. By
hook or by crook Barisan Nasional needs to retain power.
And they will do so, by hook or by crook.
is the character of the man who has ruled over Kelantan for
18 years. Even the gangsters love him. "Tok Guru will always
remain in office as long as even people like us support him,"
declared one kaki gedebeh. These are men who for the
price of a cigarette would 'send a message' to your enemy
via the infamous Kelantan kapak kecik or small axe.
Yes, Kelantan is very much a replica of the Old Wild West,
but when even the 'gunslingers' support you, then you can't
go wrong. Sure, the kaki gedebeh don't pray. Mother
Theresa was probably a better 'Muslim' than these people.
But they still love their Tok Guru nevertheless and the 'Islamisation'
of the state has not stopped those who live by the sword and
die by the sword from showering Tok Guru Nik Aziz with love
opposite extreme is Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Since taking office five years ago he flies overseas every
two weeks or so. He now even has his own RM200 million private
Airbus so that he can increase his entourage to 100 close
friends, cronies and family members. One such trip costs the
taxpayers more than the cost of Nik Aziz praying five times
a day for 1,000 years with the lights on. Nik Aziz would have
to live to 1,000 to equal what Abdullah spends on one overseas
trip. But Nik Aziz prefers to pray in the dark to save the
hours or so from now we will know who is going to form the
next government. Malaysia's intelligence agencies say that
the opposition would probably take five states; Kelantan,
Terengganu, Perlis, Kedah, and Penang. They feel that Selangor
and Perak would see the ruling coalition's two-thirds majority
in the State Assembly disappear. They fear that unless the
ruling coalition bucks up, Perak might be the sixth state
to fall to the opposition.
needs 75 seats to deny the ruling coalition its two-thirds
majority in Parliament. At last count,
the opposition has a good chance of securing 90. This is unsettling
to those who walk in the corridors of power and the ruling
coalition can no longer rest on its laurels. Desperate times
require desperate measures. All is fair in love and war. And
general elections - tantamount to war - so there is no such
thing as fair or foul means. By hook or by crook Barisan Nasional
needs to retain power. And they will do so, by hook or by
than 200,000 postal votes are already in. The military personnel
and police can in fact vote twice - once using their 'service'
card and again using their 'civilian' identity card. So assume
that the ruling coalition has already won around 500,000 votes
has published a list of one million 'phantom voters' complete
with names, addresses and identity card numbers. The encyclopaedia-size
book is available at RM200 a copy. Chinese and Indians who
have been in this country for more than 150 years are still
second-class citizens while these new immigrants are Bumiputeras
by status and enjoy the rights and special privileges accorded
to them via the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
than 200,000 postal votes are already in. The military
personnel and police can in fact vote twice - once using
their 'service' card and again using their 'civilian'
identity card. So assume that the ruling coalition has
already won around 500,000 votes or so.
'extra' ballot papers were discovered. In 2004, Dr Syed Azman
and Raja Kamaruddin a.k.a Raja Komando were defeated when
the voter turnout in their constituencies exceeded 125 per
cent. In many countries all over the world, voter turnout
can be as low as 50 per cent, or even less. Malaysia sees
up to 75 per cent voter turnout, sometimes more. But anything
above 80 per cent would certainly be suspect. In Malaysia,
however, a 130 per cent voter turnout is considered normal
and is still not enough to get the elections declared null.
is cheating. And the government knows that the opposition
knows it is cheating. The government is not being open about
its cheating because it wishes to be honest about the cheating.
It is open about the cheating because it wants to provoke
the opposition into retaliating.
are on standby in Kelantan. Riot police are everywhere. In
Terengganu, opposition posters and flags are being torn down
in full view of the public. All this is being done with the
hope that the opposition will take to the streets. Then the
government can act, declare an emergency, and abort the general
elections while for the next six months Malaysia comes under
martial law. Then Operasi Lalang 2 will be launched and 45
Malaysians whose names are on the ISA list can be detained
without trial and sent to the Kamunting Detention Centre to
join the HINDRAF 5 for an indefinite period of time.
opposition leaders have appealed for calm and called for mass
prayers. The opposition supporters are being pushed to the
limit but they must not retaliate, warn the opposition leaders.
Yes, this election is going to be the dirtiest in the history
of this country. But this election must almost be the most
peaceful in the history of this country.
skirmishes may erupt in the Malay heartland of Kelantan and
Terengganu. Sure, the skirmishes may involve only Malays and
it is Malays against Malays. But any outbreak of violence
the next 24 hours will send the Chinese running back to the
ruling coalition and dash any hopes of Kedah, Penang, Perak
and Selangor falling to the opposition, or at the very least
of being able to deny the ruling coalition its two-thirds
majority in the State Assembly.
before have the Malays been pushed to the limit. And never
before have the Malays demonstrated such calm and restrain.
It would be so easy to retaliate. But revenge and violence
is not on the Malay agenda. The Malay agenda is to take five
or six states and deny the ruling coalition its two-thirds
majority in Parliament. And this target is achievable. This
target is within grasp.
will not be achievable through bloodshed. Bloodshed would
in fact have the reverse affect. It can only be achieved with
the support of the Chinese and Indian voters and bloodshed
would result in the Chinese and Indians abandoning the opposition
out of fear.
(Malaysian Indian Congress) has placed full-page advertisements
in all the newspapers telling the Indians that if they
vote against the MIC they will have to 'pay the price'.
Malays are not stupid. They know that Malays alone cannot
bring about changes. The Chinese and Indians too must clamour
for change and support the move for change. So the Malays
are making sure that nothing which will frighten the Chinese
and Indians and sabotage the solidarity that has been built
amongst the Malays, Chinese and Indians since November last
(Malaysian Indian Congress) has placed full-page advertisements
in all the newspapers telling the Indians that if they vote
against the MIC they will have to 'pay the price'. This is
no veiled threat. This is a promise. But the MIC has made
many promises in the past. Poor Indians have parted with RM110
million with the promise of riches. That was 20 years ago.
RM110 million 20 years ago is worth five times that today.
Everything 20 years ago is worth five times that today. But
the promise of riches was never delivered. Instead, the money
disappeared into the pockets of the MIC leaders and the Indians
are poorer today than they were 20 years ago.
HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force) was triggered by the Hindu
temple demolishing. But that was merely the trigger, not the
cause. The reason for HINDRAF is the Indians have been given
a raw deal ever since they came to this country in 1850. But
HINDRAF is no longer just about the Indians. HINDRAF is now
a Malaysian movement. There are as many Malays and Chinese
who support HINDRAF as there are Indians. And this has frightened
are telling the Malays in Kelantan and Terengganu that HINDRAF
is dangerous. HINDRAF is about Ketuanan Hindu. HINDRAF
is about the Indians linking up with the Tamil Tigers of Sri
Lanka. HINDRAF is about the Indians wanting to rise up and
slaughter the Malays.
not all Malays access the internet, in particular rural Malays
and those in the FELDA land settlements. So some are troubled
by this so-called 'revelation'. Some are concerned that there
will soon emerge an army of Hindu suicide bombers who will
blow up Muslims praying in the mosques. This has put the Malays
in Kelantan and Terengganu in a dilemma. Do they support the
opposition and which would in turn mean they are supporting
is certainly a very clever move on the part of the ruling
coalition. Clever, yes, but also dangerous. The ruling coalition
might yet succeed in 'uniting' the Malays under Umno. But
in doing so they will also increase the Muslim-Hindu divide.
Is an election victory more important that racial and religious
stability? Apparently so, as far as Umno is concerned.
opposition leaders must work overtime in convincing the Malays
in the Malay heartland that the Indians are not the enemy.
The Indians are in fact brothers and sisters. Those who are
the enemy are the leaders in the ruling coalition who are
attempting to divide us in the usual divide-and-rule race-based
is a safe state. Therefore, Pahang being his home state, Deputy
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will emerge a wira melayu
(Malay hero). He will also win hands down and with a comfortable
majority in his own constituency. The same can't be said for
Abdullah though. Not only is his home state, Penang, expected
to fall, but he may win in his Kepala Batas constituency with
only 2,500 votes from 9,000 in 1999 and 18,000 in 2004. And
that will open a new can of worms for Abdullah.
2008 general election is not really the big deal as far as
Umno is concerned. This is merely the testing ground for the
main battle, the more important fight, the August 2008 Umno
party elections. If Abdullah does miserably in his constituency
plus loses Penang in the process, not to mention a few other
states and the ruling coalition's two-thirds majority in Parliament
as well, then Najib can make his move to oust Abdullah. But
Najib will need a team-mate. And this team-mate could be Tengku
Razaleigh Hamzah. Ku Li is past 70 and could probably last
another term at the most. So it would make sense that Najib
teams up with Ku Li and lay the ground to challenge Abdullah
for the party presidency.
2008 general election is not about forming the next
government. It is about determining whether Abdullah
(Badawi) stays in office and who is going to replace
Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants Abdullah out. And he does not care
how and who does it. Mahathir is quite prepared to support
Ku Li in the move to challenge Abdullah just as long as Ku
Li stays one term or so and hands over to Najib thereafter,
like what he had planned when he appointed Abdullah his successor.
the 2008 general election is not about forming the next government.
It is about determining whether Abdullah stays in office and
who is going to replace him. And Umno too wants Abdullah out.
Of course, they do not want Abdullah out because he is weak
or corrupt. They want Abdullah out because they know, as long
as Abdullah stays on, the future of Umno will be very bleak.
It is a matter of personal survival. Abdullah will sink the
ship. So Abdullah must be jettisoned just so that the ship
does not sink bringing them down with it.
within Umno, therefore, are leaving no stone unturned in the
effort to undermine Abdullah. There are those within Umno
itself who want a couple of states to fall. They also hope
that the opposition gets at least 60 Parliament seats, not
enough to deny the ruling coalition its two-thirds majority
in Parliament but enough to embarrass Abdullah and send him
a strong message that it is time to go.
son, Mukhriz, will be defeated in Jerlun. Of course, they
have nothing against Mukhriz. But they want to make sure that
Mahathir will have no reason not to back the move to oust
Abdullah. And if Mukhriz gets into Parliament that may hold
him back out of fear of jeopardising his son's career. So
Mahathir must have nothing to lose. And if his son loses then
he would certainly have nothing to lose. On the other hand,
if Mukhriz wins, then he will be well-poised to challenge
Khairy for the post of Umno Youth Leader. Either way a fight
is in the cards.
will be allowed to win of course. If Khairy wins and Mukhriz
loses, that would definitely give Mahathir all the more reason
to oust Abdullah. Many of Abdullah's 'strongmen' too will
be allowed to win. But those who will be allowed to win would
be people like the Finance Minister 2 who do not have any
grassroots support and therefore pose no danger.
Their win would, in fact, antagonise those who have been dropped
and those who have been defeated in the elections. These people
are warlords who have strong grassroots support and who can
mobilise an 'army' against Abdullah. Abdullah will soon see
a powerful resistance movement emerging that will have nothing
to lose and everything to gain in removing Abdullah as party
president and, in that same process, as Prime Minister of
need to understand that at best the opposition can grab a
few states and maybe deny Barisan Nasional its two-thirds
majority in Parliament. Certainly Barisan Nasional will still
form the government and Abdullah will still be Prime Minister.
But that will be temporary because such a scenario would mean
that Abdullah's days would be numbered. Umno can't afford
a lame duck. And a president who does not have the voters'
support is certainly a lame duck.
2,500 Malaysians decide who becomes the President of Umno.
These 2,500 Malaysians are Umno members and delegates to the
Umno General Assembly. But 10 million Malaysians will be able
to 'assist' these 2,500 Umno delegates in arriving at that
decision and 'assist' in the removal of the Prime Minister
who is bringing Malaysia down a slippery slope. And that 'assistance'
will be delivered tomorrow when 10 million Malaysians go to
can't directly change the government. Yes, they will cheat
like hell to ensure that the government does not fall. But
we can cut this win to the bone and give Abdullah a black
eye which will prompt Umno to remove the albatross around
is what the 2008 general election is all about. It is about
'helping' Umno remove the Prime Minister. And that can never
happen if the ruling coalition captures all the states and
repeats its 2004 election performance. No, don't vote with
intent to put the opposition into office. If that can happen
then well and good. But that must be the bonus, not the agenda,
and with how they are rigging the elections it is becoming
The agenda is to get rid of Abdullah and to get Umno to do
that. That has to be clear in everyone's mind. Putting the
opposition into office is of course ideal. But if we can't
get first prize, then second prize will do. And second prize
would be seeing the end of Abdullah's rule, or rather misrule.
The above article was posted on www.malaysia-today.net (Your
source of independent news). Raja Petra Kamarudin started
the Malaysia Today website and his blog to facilitate open
discussion on Malaysia's political and social scenes. A relative
of a former Malaysian King from Selangor and known for his
hard-hitting commentaries, which are often infused with humour,
Raja Petra is also the author of When
Time Stood Still and From
Prince To Prisoner.
Guarding An Empty Field, by Raja Petra Kamarudin