Posted: 06 Oct 2013 09:12 PM PDT
Malays and Muslim bumis today account for 59.7 percent of the population, with non-Muslim bumis comprising another 7.6 percent. That is expected to rise to 67.9 percent by the next election. UMNO strategists believe that if the party can successfully capture this constituency, it would garner enough votes for the Barisan Nasional, or ruling national coalition to continue governing Malaysia into the foreseeable future, simply disregarding Chinese and Indian voters on the Malaysian peninsula, who turned soundly against the Barisan in the May election, delivering a majority to the opposition for the first time since 1969 although gerrymandering kept them in power with a 133-89 seat margin in the Dewan Rakyat, or parliament.
Posted: 06 Oct 2013 04:44 PM PDT
The view that people decide who they vote for is convenient and comforting but totally fictitious, claims the writer.
Selvaraja Somiah, FMT
Democracy as it is generally understood sits uncomfortably in Malaysia. True democrats believe that dissent is an essential part of democracy, and that the country would only be enriched by debate and discussion, even by agitation if that became necessary.
In Malaysia, democracy is linked to feelings of "unease" even as politics and economy slide towards oligarchy.
In the past we had true statesmen such as Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Tun Dr Ismail, Tun Hussein Onn, John Aloysius Thivy, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Stephen Kalong Ningkan, Tun Fuad Donald Stephens, Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, Peter Mojuntin, Tun Mustapha, O K K Sedomon and Ahmad Boestaman who led or were with political parties committed to democracy.
In which case what has since happened to the parties and institutions that these stalwarts built and nurtured?
One facile answer is that political arguments got stronger and power shifts from one group to another when elections are held.
In other words, the people decide who will have the responsibility to manage the state, removing those whom they consider incapable and bringing in those they think can do the job.
This is very convenient and comforting but unfortunately totally fictitious.
The fiction lies in the belief that the "people" remove those who do not perform and bring in those who they think can perform.
'People' don't decide, strategies do
Let's look at this belief.
First, the concept of "people" is simplistic. The vast numbers of individuals in the country are an infinitely complex entity consisting of a vast number of groups and sub-groups.
This enormous mass of individuals do not come together and decide anything.
What actually happens is that a strategy is "formed" aimed at finding acceptance with a "focused" group of individuals and that this plan be better than the rival's.
In the 2008 general election, the Third Front strategy did not work. Most individuals did not trust it.
In a muddle of strategies, five states fell to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat but this was as a result of a plan.
Pakatan had tried to win the federal government, but its plans were wide off the mark. When it won five states and 82 parliamentary seats it was a surprise to them as to others.
Today, both at national and state levels, the structure of democracy is being subjected to forces that may well change it completely over time.
Today the democratic process – at least in Malaysia – is not representing the "people's" will.
Democracy process today is about control and power.
Posted: 06 Oct 2013 11:31 AM PDT
But if the government cannot cut expenditure because it has to give "free dinners" every five years, Woo quipped, then it is basically imposing such taxes to make people "pay for their dinners" after the election is over.
Slowly but surely, across the nation the jitters are rising as the days inch closer towards Oct 25 – when the Prime Minister is expected to announce a new Goods and Services Tax (GST) while tabling Budget 2014.
Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/gst-payment-free-dinners
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