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Pak Lah, you're missing the point
Published:  Mar 26, 2008 10:49 AM
Updated: 4:21 AM

vox populi big thumbnail ‘It was not the cyber-campaign that led to BN’s disastrous results in the recent elections. The reason for BN’s defeats lies simply in the frustration of being a Malaysian.’

On Abdullah: Big mistake to ignore cyber-campaign

Meng: With the above statement and with the reappointment of Muhammad Muhd Taib to the cabinet, it only shows that Pak Lah has not heard the rakyat . He still doesn’t get it. I am not sure if he is ill-advised.

It was not the cyber-campaign that led to BN’s disastrous results as the Internet only gave an avenue for the rakyat to release some tension and to vent their frustrations. Cyberspace helped each Malaysian realise that they were not the only ones who felt distressed but there were others who were equally frustrated.

Perhaps Pak Lah needs to know that the reason for BN’s fall is the frustration of being a Malaysian. From doing business to dealing with government civil servants; there is not an occasion when corruption and graft is absent. It is so rampant. Then in the backdrop, you have overt racist remarks spoken carelessly and without thought. There are difficulties in making ends meet with the rising costs of everything.

The call for the rakyat to change their lifestyle is matched with the extravagant lifestyles of our leaders. There is arrogance and a lack of sensitivity on the part of the government. This, dear prime minister is the reason for the rakyat ’s anger and if you still cannot get it then I do not know how else to get this message across.

Fifty-something: Our PM and BN miss the mark again. I’m in my 50s. I read the online alternative media, various blogs and the international news sites. I do not read the local print media or watch the local TV news. It’s not only the young who have switched to the alternative media - it’s almost everyone!

The truth is that our PM and BN refuse to acknowledge that the rakyat are no longer sheep, that the world has changed, and that the old propagandist ways don’t work in today’s world. Until they do, they’ll continue to miss the mark with the rakyat .

Peter Yew: The prime minister is missing the point. Even if BN has campaigned in cyberspace it would still lose many seats because the people are fed-up with the lies and corruption they hear. The Internet just made it easier for people to get information that mainstream media had suppressed all these years. It is to the credit of the online alternative media that they helped bring BN to its knees.

It is Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's misfortune that the Internet has come of age in Malaysia during his first term in office as PM. Mahathir would not have been able to fight it even if he had stayed on as PM instead of resigning in 2003.

Such is the power of information and truth that has now, in the hands of the people, become effective weapons to keep the nation well-governed from now on.

Ravi Chitty: It was not that the Internet or cyber-war against the government linked MSM. Rest assured that truth prevailed over lies or mere propaganda and threats. BN could have used the Internet and cyber-network to the maximum and would still have performed disastrously.

Please give credit to the rakyat who can differentiate right from wrong and truth from lies. Whilst the Internet and cyber-network did not really topple the government of the day, they certainly aided the opposition to uncover and expose the blatant lies and scandals which were the main reasons BN performed badly

Remember that it was not the cyber-campaign that turned the tide. Rather it was the lack of truth and accountability that did.

Leon Chan: I believe our dear PM is still ignorant over what had hit him and BN. Even if they had put up a strong cyber campaign, similar in line with their print media, tv and radio, the result of the election would still have been the same.

BN lost because of their arrogance and blatant unfairness - not because they did not engage in cyber campaigning. The young people are looking at both the print media and the alternative media. Mr Prime Minister, didn't the voice of 'change' waken you?

On Idris apologises to sultan

Arianna: The appointment of a prime minister or menteri besar should not be made simply on the dictation of a political party which won a general election. Rather it should be made on whether the person is trustworthy, capable, clean, efficient and has the people's interests at heart.

If the candidate has been proven to have fall short of the criteria and yet his party insists on his appointment, then the head of state or ruler concerned should exercise his discretion to appoint one whom he thinks could be better entrusted with the responsibility.

The question of obeying the Rukun Negara is a non-issue in the appointment of PM, MB or CM. The party which won the election should appoint a PM, MB or CM who can do the job and not re-appoint the same person who cannot perform and has been proven inefficient.

If the party leadership fails to see this, then the ruler or head of states should step in and exercise their role to redress the situation. After all, we are not talking about the interests of political parties or its leaders but that of the people and the nation.

San: As a Malaysian, I must say that I am sad that the matter has been allowed to deteriorate to this stage. It appears that there has not been adequate dialogue between the palace and the PM on this appointment. The names given by the PM must be recognised and if not acceptable to the palace than a dialogue should have been held between the PM and the palace to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, the damage has been done and now needs to be undone.

On Terengganu's constitution clear: MB at Sultan's discretion

Rule of Law: The writer says the Sultan may forego the criteria spelled out in Article 10 of the Terengganu constitution in that 'in appointing a mentri besar, His Royal Highness may, in his discretion, dispense with any provision in Article 10 restricting his choice of a mentri besar, if, in his opinion, it is necessary to do so in order to comply with the provisions of this article’

It would be helpful if Academia can point out precisely what was it that was in the Sultan's views, necessary to forego Article 10 and what provisions of Article 14 the Sultan was, in exercising his discretion, attempting to comply? That is the only saving provision for the Sultan to intervene. If there are no grounds upon which to base his opinion, it is wholly inappropriate for a constitutional monarch to interfere in the political process.

On We serve all - says Perak PAS MP

Colour Blind: Isn’t it sad that people are still going on and one with blinkered views that only exco members of their race can serve them best? Certain quarters in Perak are lobbying for more Malays in the state exco to reflect the racial composition of the state. Similarly in Selangor, some people are demanding for more Indians in the exco line up.

Doesn’t competence count? Shouldn’t we be looking for the best men or women to take up these positions? Are we saying that only Malays can protect the interests of Malays or only Chinese can only represent the interests of Chinese, etc? Haven’t we seen enough cases where people such as Samy Vellu and Kayveas did absolutely nothing for thousands of Indians who needed help?

Similarly, lots of impoverished Malays were also not given any help by their Malay MPs. Are we prepared to sacrifice very capable people and put in place mediocre candidates just to satisfy the race ratio?

On Malay NGOs worried about non-Malay excos

A New Malay: Requiring the composition of the state exco to reflect the racial composition of that state is again back to the old BN mentality. If this is the case, then we are back to square one again. The opposition coalition governments will not be any better than the former BN government. We should discard the BN mentality. The appointment to any position in a government should be based on the capability and quality of an individual, not his or her race.

Peter Ooi: Ever since the opposition won a few states in the last general elections, there were so many problems created just to derail the smooth takeover of the administrations. There was the demonstration at Komtar by mostly Umno members, there was protest against the appointing of a non-Malay as deputy MB. Now we have the NGOs mostly made up of professionals expressing their worries about non-Malay excos.

The NGOs should be the last be express such fear. Bearing in mind that they are professionals and should be more liberal in their outlook. I am sure most of them understood the manifestos of the opposition. One of them is to ensure that the interests of all races would be taken care of. With the MB being a Malay himself, I doubt very much that he would allow Malays to be marginalised.

Just let the new state governments rule their states freely. If they do not perform to your satisfaction, just vote them out in the next general election.

HL Ooi: These Perak NGOs that are worried about non-Malay excos seem to live in the racist mould that has characterised Umno’s statements and actions. Their claim to being non-partisan is not very convincing. Shouldn’t we be more concerned about the competence of the Perak state exco members than their ethnicity? Will we be hearing enlightened Malay voices educating these dinosaurs (since these guys might not want to listen to others)?

On Gov't mulls law to stop MPs defecting

Lasung Lukas: The katak culture is nothing new. Malaysians in Sabah have lots of experience of this phenomenon. Remember when we cried ‘Injustice!’ and ‘Betrayal!' more than 10 years ago? Few even bothered to listen to their fellow Malaysians' plea. Now that there is a very real possibility of the katak culture happening in other parts of the country, almost everyone on both sides of the fence wants to enact an anti-hop law! Well, well. Sabah had an anti-hop law. And what happened to it?

Let's face the facts - any one can join any political party at any time. That's democratic freedom. However, an elected representative gets into office by virtue of the people's trust in the candidate's promises, platform and professed political principles. There is thus an unwritten contract to fulfil that pledge and to honour that trust. When that contract is broken by crossing party lines, he/she should vacate the seat and allow a fresh by-election. The people's trust must not be held to ransom to the shifting winds of political convenience.

On PKR Youth: 16 BN MPs ready to jump ship

Vijay: Please understand that any way you cut it, hopping from one party to another is nothing short of shameful and what makes it even more contemptible is that some of the hoppers expect ministerial posts should the Barisan government fall. Khairul Annuar's statement is as hypocritical as that of Umno secretary-general's accusation that the possible cross-overs would be the result of bribery.

Hello, where were the concerns for honesty and honour when in the past Barisan gladly welcomed ‘frogs’ into their fold? Was it not bribery then? If Barisan assembly persons or members of parliament are now convinced of the virtues of Barisan Rakyat, by all means join the opposition forces but before that, resign from your post and stand again under the aegis of Barisan Rakyat. If you then win, good for you and good for us.

On Thoughts on the elections

Peter Yew: I could not agree more. The issue at stake is not the party but the quality of governance. The Barisan Rakyat will be subject to the same, if not a higher standard of governance than before. Malaysian politics has until recently been a case of mass bribery. Bribery may work if there are good results to show and I believe Malaysians have been very tolerant thus far.

The decision not to vote for BN or its component parties is not the same as saying they are unqualified to govern. It is a wake-up call to them to turn back from their erring ways. The current infighting and squabbles within Umno make me think that the leadership has not really learned from the lesson of their election failures. Listen to what the people want. Stop the power struggles and no more hidden agendas.

On Param: Seek accountability, not apology

Honourable Malaysian: All honourable Malaysians should staunchly support Zaid's proposals on the judiciary, starting with an apology to all the judges who were dismissed and suspended in 1988. He should also urge the PM and the government to hold a royal tribunal to get to the bottom of the injustice committed against the judges and based on its findings, take appropriate court action against Mahathir for making the judiciary in Malaysia what it is today.

On Will Muhd Muhd Taib declare Aussie properties?

Anak Bay-Gong: It is laudable of the PM to state that his cabinet ministers must declare their assets. This is not a novel requirement. But the fact that the ex-Selangor MB had been reported to own six premium properties in Australia and NewZealand under his wife's name and has been included in the latest line-up makes nonsense of everything the PM stated. It is an old trick that you can vest your assets in any of your family members' names.

Declaration of assets should not pertain to the ministers alone. It should include their spouses. Even that is not foolproof enough.

On Where are the ink smugglers?

S Vijay: The tiny kingdom of Bhutan recently had its first election in its history. TV news footage of the election brought a wry smile to my face. The voters had their fingernails marked with indelible ink!

This coming from a country who has never knows what elections are and where democracy was widely seen as being forced upon its citizens by the country’s royals rather than being demanded for by the subjects.

I hope our Election Commission and its chief are utterly embarrassed that a small, isolated country can have free and fair elections where indelible ink did not pose any security threats.