Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The following is a CHINESE MTV song created by Malaysian to praise about the Anwar effect:
Sometimes I really marvel at the talents shown by individuals in the midst of all the political battles. Songs are written, videos are made, animation done ..etc, all in the name of politics!
And the availability of all these to the masses are made possible by the New Media. I would think that the impact of the New Media would have an added impact when the individuals out there get their brains together to create expressions of various forms in search of a better political development for their country and society.
Goh Meng Seng
Sunday, March 09, 2008
First it was Penang, then Kedak, Kelantan, Selangor and finally unofficial news about Perak falling into Malaysian opposition parties. It is not an exaggeration to say this is truly a Political Tsunami. However, what is more important is the AFTERMATH of such Tsunami.
The main issues that cost Barisan National votes are:
1) High Inflation
2) Racial discrimination and divide
3) Incompetency & Complacency which leads to total neglect of development for some places
4) High Crime Rate
5) Rampant Corruptions
6) The increasing size of middle class and their assertion of political will
7) Natural social Justice prevails over Pork Barrel politics and Political Persecution
8) Lost of credibility of mass media due to manipulation by BN which gives New Media the opportunity to grow
9) Unity among opposition parties that avoided many multi-corners fight.
While many people feel that inflationary pressure due to rising fuel prices may not be the fault of BN, but the lack of concerns and control of prices by the ruling elites. Inflation or hyper inflation will normally widen the income gaps. In a society where the middle class forms the main pillar of the economics, the squeeze on the middle class would inevitably result in protest votes.
Racial discrimination and divide
Racial discrimination and policies that are deemed to marginalize the minorities have existed since Malaysia's independence. This undercurrent of discontent has been suppressed for the past decades by the inclusion of racially based parties like Gerakan, MCA and MIC into the ruling coalition BN. However, over the years, these parties have traded communal interests for their own self prosperity and political appointments which has made their community to believe that they have betrayed them. Such undercurrent has built up over the years but the sparks that blew up such racial sentiments has come from UMNO Youth Wing Chairman Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein who has displayed Malay chauvinism by publicly kiss his Kris. This action is widely interpreted as a direct challenge/warning to other minority races (mainly Chinese and Indians) not to question the unfair racist policies and practices.
Such action has outraged the minority races, particularly Chinese and Indians. Internet bloggers campaign against BN and eventually such wild fire burnt to reality whereby Indians take to the streets to demonstrate their displeasure of the state of marginalization experienced by their community. Interesting enough, we witness star blogger Jeffrey Ooi and an Indian detained (without trial) under Malaysian ISA becoming winners of this election.
This election will be a good lesson to BN or anyone who is to rule Malaysia in future that communal racist politics will not work in modern society filled with more middle class. The minority races cannot be taken for granted anymore and the middle class majority Malays will not be simpletons that will dance with racist fire anymore. This is especially so in urban areas like KL and Penang. It is not surprising for BN to lose almost all seats in these two places where population demographic is mostly made up of the urban middle class. Even PAS has realized this and decided to move towards the centrist secular path in order to win more seats in other states.
Malfunction of Pork Barrel Politics and Political persecutions
In Asian countries, pork barrel politics, gerrymandering and political persecutions are common practices. However, with the growth of size and strength of the middle class, it seems that it will become less and less acceptable for ruling parties to convince the electorates about the legitimacy of such politicking.
The people of Kelantan have shown that pork barrel politics will not win over their hearts, mind and the sense of upright social moral justice. Neither did the fear of pork barrel politics has stopped voters in Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kedah in their determination to vote BN out of the state government. This is something for governments around this region, particularly PAP of Singapore, to ponder about.
The conventional wisdom of boiling water in a kettle is that the longer you resist steam from coming out of the kettle, the bigger potential power will be trapped and when released instantly, will translate into a power push. The political persecution of DAP Chief Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim had turned the tide into a Tsunami. DAP Chief was charged and jailed, deprived of his rights to stand as a candidate for the past two elections. Anwar Ibrahim has been jailed for politically motivated reasons and deprived of standing for the last and present elections.
Such deprivation of political opponents in a direct challenge will only entrench the sense of injustice and unfairness in people's mind. Instead of strengthening BN's own position by enhancing its ruling track record in preparation to face tough challenges from political giants from their opponents, BN has chosen the shortsighted, easier way out of the contest TEMPORARILY. But this will only build up political strength of their opponent rather than remove them from future contests. Even when these politically persecuted opponents could not contest directly, their personal political capital could be used to help their comrades to gain advantages over the ruling parties.
The effectiveness of such political persecution will diminish along with the growth of the more affluent middle class.
The Power of Middle Class
In short, I believe BN has totally ignore the potential power of the middle class in Malaysia. Their core values of social moral justice and fair play cannot be ignored or neglected else the vote swing will be tremendously overwhelming.
The lessons Singapore should learn from this Malaysia Election result is that whoever could empathize with the middle class sentiments and aspiration, will win their hearts, minds and votes.
Goh Meng Seng
Saturday, March 08, 2008
It seems that this Malaysian election has brought the impact of new media in electoral fights to a new height. The speeches made by DAP politicians are very impressive and powerful. However, broadband penetration rate in Malaysia is low as compared to Singapore and the impact of such internet electioneering may be somewhat reduced or deemed marginally effective.
Nevertheless, this new media electoral culture will be a bigger tide in years to come that no political parties in the world could ignore. In Singapore's context, we are still stuck with a very primitive and unfair election rules that ban political films, songs and even music to be used during election time. We are supposed to be a First World country but it seems that we are really stuck with a Fourth World country politics.
The following are the Election Theme Songs from DAP. Please enjoy. While I was watching these, I was wondering whether talents like Martyn See could help us out to make a First World political theme song next time round or not? :)
English Theme Song Video
Chinese Theme Song Video
DAP Election Campaign Video - The Voice of Democracy, Conscience of Parliament
Goh Meng Seng
Thursday, March 06, 2008
The following is the MHA replies on Mas Selamat blunders:
MHA replies on Mas Selamat case
Letter from TOH YONG CHUAN
Director (Corporate Relations),
Ministry of Home Affairs
I THANK Mr P N Balji for sharing his observations in the commentary “Dangers of a Bunker Mentality” (March 3). Mr Balji observed that many, including those who wrote to the press, wondered how the escape could have happened and wanted an explanation. We acknowledge that the public wants to know what happened in the escape of JI detainee Mas Selamat. We do too.
That is why a CID investigation was immediately launched to among other things, uncover whether there has been any criminal wrong-doing.
The Minister has also established a Committee of Inquiry under the Prisons Act, to discover specifically how the escape occurred and to recommend appropriate actions to prevent such an incident from occurring again.
When the incident was discovered, the first priority was to lock-down the Centre, account for all the detainees and launch an immediate and thorough search of the entire site and its vicinity. Security at all our checkpoints and border was also alerted and stepped up. The professional assessment made then was that Mas Selamat had no plan of action or access to resources which would pose an imminent threat to the safety of any target within Singapore or to the public in general; he was on the run, would seek to hide and try to leave the country.
Following the above, the first media statement was issued to raise a public alert. It contained facts that were immediately certain at that point in time. More information was released as could be established with certainty and
which would not compromise any action being undertaken.
Mr Balji wrote that the first media briefing was conducted by the Police four days after the escape. The fact was that even before the briefing by Police Director of Operations on March 2, MHA and police media relations officers had been attending to media queries and addressing them as best as they could.
There was and is also a daily media meeting every morning hosted by the Police Affairs Department at Police Headquarters for security and crime-beat reporters. Police have also since started media briefings chaired by the Police Director of Operations to give a broader update on developments from time to time.
On hindsight, could some of the facts about Mas Selamat been made known earlier than were released? Probably so and for that we agree that we could do better. However, the complete facts and circumstances addressing
fully the question of how Mas Selamat escaped is now the subject of a criminal investigation and more so, an inquiry by a Committee of Inquiry. We should await their findings.
Indeed, we are grateful for the spontaneous community help that we have received from Singaporeans who know that the first priority now must be to find and apprehend Mas Selamat.
The following is the rebuttals by a forummer escobar42:
refer to "MHA replies on Mas Selamat case" in Today 6/3 voices pg (sorry i don't hv the link) by Toh Yong Chuan director of pr for MHA...
this appears to be MHA's first in depth (well slightly) public comment on its performance wrt Mas' escape thus far, and to me it looks pretty weak and unsatisfactory..
1. not unexpectedly MHA appears to try to 'hide' behind the present CID investigation and the COI..."...We acknowledge that the public wants to know what happened in the escape of JI detainee Mas Selamat. We do too...We should await their findings..."...
ok then MHA, u say "the Minister has also established a Committee of Inquiry under the Prisons Act, to discover specifically how the escape occurred and to recommend appropriate actions to prevent such an incident from occurring again..."...1 simple Q, how can the COI just on the face of it, be considered, independent, objective, fair and transparent, when one of its members is the DS in MHA answerable to the very same Minister who has "established" the COI?...
2. MHA says that certain things had to be done before the first media statement was issued to raise public alert...lock down of WDC; account for all detainees; launch immediate and thorough search of the entire site and its vicinity; all checkpoints and borders also alerted and stepped up; professional assessment made that Mas had no plan of action or access to resources which pose an imminent threat to the safety of any target within Singapore or public in general...
once the abv was concluded, then the "first media statement was issued to raise public alert" containing facts that were "immediately certain at that point time...more information was released as could be established with certainity and which would not compromise any action being undertaken..."
ok then MHA, so is 4 hrs a reasonable and satisfactory time frame to make the first public alert media release?...especially taking into consideration that there appear to be very few detainees at WDC in the first place..also why was the info so skimpy and paltry in the first place?...why no profile pictures first off?...why no elaboration on Mas' limp in his left leg and when it becomes apparent?...why no information on the clothes that he had on?...do u mean it takes days to establish wif "certainity" these "facts"? particularly considering the urgency and gravity of this case...
3. MHA says that its pr team were attending to media queries fm the start "as best they could" although the first media briefing was only conductred 4 days after the escape...
ok then MHA but what sort of response do u call this when all it appears to be is a stonewall?...
4. MHA then went on to say..."On hindsight, could some of the facts about Mas Selamat been made known earlier than were revealed? Probably so and for that we agree that we could do better..."
ok then MHA, but u appear to be following yr leader Wong Kan Seng in this regard wif his so called apology in parliament which appeared to be merely a form of regret...why or why is it so hard for you MHA, to make a proper clean and sincere apology instead of coming up wif disingenuous explanations?...
5. not unexpectedly, MHA ends off its letter by trying to distract and digress fm its apparent incompetence and mismanagement of this entire episode thus far fm the very moment that Mas escaped by disingenuously saying "We are grateful for the spontaneous community help that we have received from Singaporeans who know that the first priority now must be to find and apprehend Mas Selamat"...
sorry MHA but no cigar...this is just unacceptable and unsatisfactory...
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Yes, this is about the World Class Joke by a self proclaimed World Class Government in Singapore. And it is indeed a VERY SERIOUS and DANGEROUS WORLD CLASS JOKE ever made in Singapore's history.
It is indeed still fresh from our mind that the ministers had just have their pay raised by more than 14% overall but yet it seems that there are more and more "honest mistakes" made along the way. But never before has such a BIG HONEST MISTAKE has been made in Singapore's short history.
The Home Affairs Ministry has a annual budget of more than 2.4Billions last year (revised, see Budget Link), about $400million more than the Ministry of Health and yet, there are such security lapses for a wanted man for murder just walking across the causeway to Malayisa and the most important LIMPING terrorist detainee making a "World Class Prison Break"!
The terrorist detainee was detained WITHOUT TRIAL for the simple reason that he IS a DANGEROUS man that has planned terrorist attacks on Singapore. How could the minister for Home Affairs says that alarm was not sounded initially because they think this DANGEROUS man poses no "immediate harm" to people living nearby? And the fact that the alarm has only been put up FOUR WHOLE HOURS AFTER he escaped! Didn't they listen to MM Lee that you would only need 20 minutes to travel to anywhere in Singapore?
The ironic thing is that if this man is truly posing NO DANGER to anyone, why would the authorities mobilize a whole battalion of military guardsman to help in the search thereafter? Does the minister of Home Affairs really understand the seriousness of the escape of Mas Selamat Kastari? It is not merely about Singapore's security anymore but the safety of all our neighboring countries! Or rather, the WHOLE World's security and safety is at stake! This is precisely why the Interpol has raise the alert a notch higher after Singapore announced his escape!
I seriously doubt the self proclaim World Class PAP government really understands World Class politics at all. They have already made the grave mistake of letting the man escapes and the most serious mistake is to hold on to this piece of important information for FOUR SOLID HOURS which most probably allows the man to flee the country by the time such information are made available.
We may not fault the minister of Home Affairs directly for the prison break although some bloggers do, but for the crisis management thereafter, the minister of Home Affairs MUST be responsible! Pushing such decision to the "security analyst" or judgment of others, is truly lame indeed! The decision on whether to announce the prison break earlier lies on the minister himself and I think for such bad decision made in view of the seriousness of the issue at hand, I think any minister in the world that is in charge of internal security should and would resign.
For a small island state like Singapore, there are no room for mistakes like this one. This is not China nor USA where escapees would need days before they could reach international borders. You could travel to any coastal area within half an hour. You could even swim across to Malaysia if you want to. It only take less than an hour boat trip to any of the Indonesian islands. For the minister of Home Affairs to take FOUR SOLID HOURS to make that "difficult" decision to make public of such important information, is truly a WORLD CLASS JOKE and this joke is not funny at all!
The most ridiculous thing that is happening right now in Singapore is that the PAP government controlled mass media tries to "soften" the impact of this WORLD CLASS escape. In any normal democracy around the world, many tough questions would be raised against the authorities as well as the minister in question. But instead, they run stories like how this terrorist has attempted many escapes or prison breaks before, thus, subtly "normalized" such escape by Mas Selamat Kastari and implying that if he escapes, its not about the incompetency of our "Home Team" (i.e. police force) but because he is good at it. Such utter rubbish is totally unacceptable because the detention centre that caged Mas Selamat Kastari is no ordinary detention centre but the "Famous" Internal Security Department (ISD) detention centre which has underground dungeons and heavily guarded by Gurkha! We are not "Third World" countries but "First World" country with "World Class " government, for goodness sake! Such apologist stand made in the local media will further dent our international reputation as an island of competency and efficiency! Why? They are comparing and making us look like a third world country!
Some heads must roll from those who are in charge of the ISD detention centre and the Home Affairs minister must go too! We cannot allow a man that cannot make sound and critical decision at the such a high crisis level to stay on as minister of Home Affairs. We cannot allow a man that will only know how to push responsibility to others for such bad decision made to someone else instead of assuming ALL the responsibility, in his capacity as the highest command, for whatever happens in his very own ministry.
Instead of questioning how such escape could be made successful, why the FOUR HOUR delay in the public announcement and questioning the ability of the minister and his ministry's to handle such big crisis, the local mass media goes on to paint the "bright" side of the whole issue. e.g. how Singaporeans responded with good unity...etc.
When a country shows too much leniency to those in power that make such grave mistakes one after another, we will only breed complacency and incompetency. We are MADE to pay WORLD's HIGHEST SALARY to politicians, in the hope that they will make good judgment and decisions, not merely on daily routine management, but also for their ability to handle crisis. It seems that despite of the multi-million annual salary that Singaporeans are paying, we are getting people that could not really understand the bigger picture and handle such crisis well! If we cannot demand or pressure this minister of Home Affairs to resign over such gross display of incompetency, then we could only hope and depend on our citizens making the right choice in voting him out.
For the mean time, I hope that all Singaporeans would raise their awareness and look out for the limping terrorist that has made a joke out of our country. Hope we could catch him before he could do anything harmful to all mankind.
Goh Meng Seng