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Thread: Politics: PKR's Lee Chin Cheh vacates Kajang DUN seat

   
   
       
  1. #21
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    Conviction of Malaysian opposition leader draws UN rights office concern



    Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UN Photo



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    7 March 2014 – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed serious concern today over the conviction of Malaysian opposition leader, Karpal Singh, who was found guilty of sedition late last month and is due to be sentenced on 11 March.

    Under Malaysia’s 1948 Sedition Act, Mr. Singh was charged “after suggesting at a press conference in 2009 that it was possible to bring a legal challenge against a decision by the Sultan of the Malaysian state of Perak to dismiss the then Chief Minister,” explainedOHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville in Geneva.

    “The prosecution in the case argued that Mr. Singh’s words had the tendency to create hatred towards the Sultan,” he said.

    “Lawyers must be able to discharge their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance or improper interference of any sort and should be entitled to express views in their professional capacities on matters concerning the law,” Mr. Colville continued.

    In addition to being a prominent lawyer and a Member of Parliament, Mr. Singh is also the chairperson of Malaysia’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Action Party.

    He faces a fine of up to 5,000 Malaysian Ringgit (approximately $1,500) and/or three years’ imprisonment. If he is fined more than 2,000 Malaysian Ringgit or sentenced to more than a year behind bars, he could lose his parliamentary membership.

    “The 1948 Sedition Act is not in conformity with international human rights law. Using this law to limit freedom of expression and opinion could stifle enjoyment of these rights in Malaysia,” said Rupert Colville. “We urge the Government of Malaysia to review Mr. Singh’s conviction and to repeal the Sedition Act – something which the Prime Minister had, in 2012, publicly undertaken to do.”


    News Tracker: past stories on this issue

    Malaysia: UN rights office urges Government to rethink ban of civil society group
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  2. #22
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    Even if it is not making headlines any more, Kajang still matters to some


    BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA

    MARCH 13, 2014

    Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (centre) is now contesting the Kajang by-election after her husband, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was sentenced to four years' jail for sodomy. – The Malaysian Insider pic, March 13, 2014.

    Huge posters of a smiling Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail dominate strategic traffic intersections in Kajang. Below the PKR candidate’s profile is written: “Dari Kajang ke Putrajaya”.


    This is the script that PKR is sticking to as it tries to spark flagging interest in a by-election that now does not seem as important as it was first made out to be.


    That message is that the by-election is part of its larger campaign to gain federal power or the so-called “Kajang move”.


    The scorching weather, haze, national attention on the missing MH370 and the Appeals Court ruling on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has sapped the energy from the by-election itself.


    Dr Wan Azizah will go head to head with Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun in Kajang.


    After all, there was attention on Kajang because it was Anwar’s vehicle into the state administration, and most probably into the menteri besar’s post.


    It was something that PKR talked up as the “Kajang move” and which according to a Universiti Malaya survey and The Malaysian Insider’s own interviews with voters, sparked a lot of interest.


    But despite the lukewarm appetite for the by-election, it is still seriously being pursued by both PKR and Barisan Nasional which hope to turn it into referendums on each other.


    And at the centre of it is none other than Anwar himself, who despite being elsewhere other than in Kajang, still dominates the conversation just like how his wife dominates roadside posters.


    In Dr Wan Azizah’s separate interviews with the media and in PKR press conferences, the topic of Anwar continues to crop up. This is also the case when talking to BN leaders and activists.


    Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is spearheading BN’s whole by-election machinery, admitted that the Appeals Court ruling disqualifying Anwar was being made into an issue to get votes.


    “These people have no other ideas. It is all about their accusations that we manipulated the courts. Our judiciary is independent,” Muhyiddin said recently after visiting the Taman Mesra BN operations centre in Kajang.


    A BN activist met the same centre later said: “You should ask PKR. Don’t they have any other candidates? Why are they putting up recycled personalities?
    “If the Federal Court frees Anwar and his wife is ADUN (member of the state legislature), is she going to resign so that he can contest again?”



    Anwar can seek to overturn the Appeal Court ruling by filling a case at the Federal Court. If the Federal Court declares that he is ultimately not guilty, he would be eligible to contest again.


    Muhyiddi also ran down the whole justification for PKR’s “Kajang move”.


    “Now that Anwar can’t contest, the ‘Kajang move’ is pointless. Why did they even do this in the first place? This is something we want the rakyat to think about.”


    PKR, on the other hand, hopes to reignite the 1998-99 reformasi spirit when Anwar was found guilty in his first sodomy case.


    “When people see my face, they think of Anwar,” said Dr Wan Azizah in an interview yesterday.


    “I want people to remember the injustice that we are fighting against,” she said, adding that the ruling could attract more Malay Muslim support to PKR.


    Yet at the same time, both sides realise that it cannot just bank on how voters feel about the Appeal Court decision.


    Dr Wan Azizah and PKR have drawn up an election manifesto that concentrates on four areas of concern for residents: crime, job opportunities, traffic congestion and municipal services.


    These areas had also been identified as the top-most issues among voters by a Universti Malaya Centre for Elections and Democracy Studies (UMCEDEL) survey published on February 20.


    The hope, said PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli, was that the manifesto and the eventual delivery of its pledges would be seen as a model of PKR’s brand of good governance.


    On the BN side, Chew has been busy making her rounds in the constituency ever since she was announced as candidate on February 21.


    In her meetings with various groups, Chew has reportedly promised to take their grouses up to the state government when she was elected as their state representative.


    She also uses her experience as a former deputy minister and two-term MP to sell herself as a committed public servant.


    So while both BN and Pakatan’s political operators work overtime to inject their own national narratives of either injustice or abuse of the democratic process, the by-election itself may just pivot on who has the best plan to ease traffic congestion or rubbish collection.


    At the end of the day, national tragedies may pass. But for Kajang residents this by-election could affect how safe their neighbourhoods are, the quality of their roads and whether the rubbish is picked up daily. – March 13, 2014.
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  3. #23
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    6:23PM Mar 23, 2014 PKR retains Kajang with reduced majority

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    The tallying of votes for the Kajang by-election is currently underway and Malaysiakini is reporting the total number of votes received by BN and PKR according to their unofficial count.

    The voter turnout today stands at 72 percent, which is significantly lower than the 88 percent recorded during the general election in May 5, 2013.

    LIVE reports

    9.10pm: Returning officer Hassan Nawawi announces Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the new Kajang assemblyperson.

    9.01pm - OFFICIAL RESULTS

    PKR - 16,741
    BN - 11,362

    Majority - 5,379

    9.05pm: Kampung Bukit Angkat - While MCA hails its increase in Chinese votes, party's Wanita chief Heng Seai Kie concedes BN lost Malay votes and speculated that some voters could have voted along racial lines.

    Meanwhile, MCA president Liow Tiong Lai also conceded that the party has also lost ground among young voters and pledged to work harder to win them over.

    "MCA promises transformation so as to strengthen the party. The support we received (from Chinese voters) has given us the spirit to continue our work," he says.

    PM Najib Razak, who was scheduled to meet BN supporters in Kajang, has cancelled his plan at the last minute.

    9pm: MCA operation centre - MCA candidate Chew Mei Fun, who has somehow accepted her defeat in by-election, congratulates PKR party president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

    Despite the defeat, Chew reveals that MCA has actually achieved two targets - reduce PKR majority votes and increase Chinese votes up to 25 percent.

    She says the unofficial results show that the total Chinese vote for MCA has gone up from the previous 18 percent in last year's general election to 24.8 percent.

    "We didn't manage to win this by-election, but in terms of unity of MCA, we have proven that...

    "As the new leadership took over the party only two to three months ago, we have increased Chinese votes near to 25 percent - this is considered quite a good result," she enthuses.

    One possible explanation to the increase of Chinese votes for MCA and a similar increase of Malay votes for PKR could be perhaps some of the Chinese and Malays voted along racial lines.

    8.56pm: PKR operations headquarters - PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil provides a quick analysis on the results:

    PKR won in two of Umno strongholds and reduced its rival's majority in two more.


    According to him, PKR won Sungai Sekamat by 45 votes and Taman Delima by three votes compared to the last general election where it lost both areas by 239 votes and 123 votes respectively.

    "At Sungai Kantan, we lost by 420 votes last time but it has reduced to 225 votes while at Batu 10 Cheras, it has similarly been reduced to 151 votes.

    8.55pm: Anwar accompanies Wan Azizah arrive to the tallying centre. Also present are Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin and a host of other PKR, PAS and DAP leaders.

    There are no BN leaders around so Pakatan leaders occupy seats allocated for both parties.


    8.53pm: A victorious Wan Azizah Wan Ismail arrives at the MPKJ stadium.
    The returning officer will announce the official results soon. Tenaga Nasional has send some workers to ensure that there are no blackouts at the tallying centre.
    8.38pm: Some 150 people including BN supporters and journalists have converged at Kampung Bukit Angkat to await Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's arrival while also enjoying the local satay and nasi lemak.
    Najib is expected to turn up and greet supporters but it is unclear if there will be any changes to the plan.

    8.42pm: Unofficial final results:

    PKR - 16,770
    BN - 11,401

    Majority - 5,369

    Its winning majority is reduced by 1,455 votes on lower voter turnout of 72 percent.

    At the 13th general election last year, PKR's Lim Chin Cheh won with a 6,824-vote majority. The voter turnout was 88 percent.

    Both PKR and BN have increased the percentage of the votes.

    PKR

    2013 - 19,571/33,749 = 57.99%*

    2014 - 16,770/28,171 = 59.53%

    Increased by 1.54%


    BN

    2013 - 12,747/33,749 = 37.77%*


    2014 - 11,401/28,171 = 40.47%

    Increased by 2.7%


    *six-cornered fight. Note: Spoilt votes not factored in



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  4. #24
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    7:22AM Mar 24, 2014 A bittersweet victory in Kajang?

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    COMMENT As expected, the opposition PKR won the Kajang by-election. It did so with a smaller majority in number of voters, 5,379, but a larger share of the overall vote, up from 56.8 percent to 59.1 percent.

    This was an important win for the opposition. Yet, the results did not send the decisive signal of a growing groundswell of support for Pakatan Rakyat nor did it send a signal of gains for the incumbent BN government, which ordinarily in a time of national crisis would have won stronger support.

    Rather it points to minor shifts in voting behaviour that suggest both sides need to improve their strategies of engagement with voters.

    Disjointed campaign

    Kajang is a constituency with a long history of political activism. Close to Kuala Lumpur and one of Malaysia's national universities, the roots of political activity run deep. In fact one of the striking features of this seat is how few fence-sitters there were, with both sides trying hard to convert the converted.

    The campaign evolved from a focus on the 'Kajang Move' resulting from tensions over the state leadership in PKR to the sentencing of party’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim. It changed from disadvantaging the opposition to placing the government on the defensive.

    There was an element of stepping back in time to a period where outrage over a politically motivated conviction moved voters. Based on focus group discussions and interviews, the sentencing of Anwar over a decade ago was the number one issue that influenced voting behaviour.

    In this rerun, there was less anger and more resignation. The majority of voters nevertheless sent a clear signal that the methods used by the BN towards the opposition were not acceptable.

    Despite the core issue, the two-month campaign was filled the conflicting and confusing messaging. The mantra of ‘Wan Azizah to Putrajaya’ just did not make sense to many voters, who were not sure whether she was running for the state leadership or national power. It was also not clear if they were voting for her or her husband, Anwar.

    If confusion clouded the votes for Pakatan, then contradictions were paramount in the BN messaging. BN moved from highlighting division in the opposition to promoting a racially divisive message calling for the Chinese to vote along ethnic lines.

    The messaging was all over the place, as both the BN and Pakatan used every play in the book to win voters with limited results. Neither side evoked the 'spirit' as it was not clear who was more tired - the campaigners or the voters.

    Indeed, both sides relied on the old playbook in their campaigning. BR1M 3.0, transportation allowances and 'gifts' of food were the dominant mode of BN engagement, with efforts focused on maintaining their political base - although comparatively less money was spent on this 'buy'-election than others.

    This vote buying was buttressed by grassroots mobilisation of both the Umno and MCA political base with appeals along racial lines. MCA was more explicit in its call to vote for a Chinese representative, although race and religion were a major undertone on all sides.

    For Pakatan, the 'Putrajaya' song was replayed but it seemed out of tune with this by-election. With political infighting within the opposition over the Selangor government and jockeying for positions within PKR for its May party polls close to the surface, the dance steps to the music seemed unclear, with the campaign itself highly decentralised, uneven and disjointed.

    In terms of coordination, there was a flashback to the Hulu Selangor by-election, where PKR contenders did not appear to be helping each other. The overall focus seemed on winning power rather than representing people, with a campaign heavily personality based.

    The opposition appeared to be replaying Reformasi 2.0 without a clear programme and plan on what the revised reform programme would be.

    Lackluster turnout

    The end result is that the campaign relied on negative messaging on both sides, alienating those in the middle. The level of inspiration was overall missing. Those aligned came out to vote, with those less connected staying at home.

    Beyond the messaging and campaigning, four factors help us understand why fewer voters came to the polls.

    Foremost is the impact of MH370 which overshadowed the campaign. For many Malaysians this crisis, this period of loss for the families and commitment to finding the plane was far more important that the continued saga of BN-Pakatan political contestation.

    Frankly, many voters could not be bothered with what some saw as the persistent petty squabbling of politicians. Elites across the political spectrum do not appreciate that many in the public are tired of the fighting and focus on winning power rather than governance. MH370 brought this home, eclipsing the campaign.

    An estimated quarter of voters lived outside of Kajang, disproportionately Chinese and younger voters. With the Ching Ming festival beginning next weekend, many Chinese voters did not return for the polls. The timing of the by-election appeared to be set carefully to make it less viable for more opposition-inclined voters to come back and vote.

    Along with timing, the incentive to vote was not as strong. This involved, for some voters, financial incentives, with fewer goodies distributed. But the main deterrent was that this vote was a 'sure win' for the opposition and many voters did not think their vote was needed.

    Finally, this election was not seen as making a difference. While the opposition touted the election's symbolic value, there was little doubt who would win and whether it would matter.

    In addition, many voters are losing faith in elections - not helped by yet another 'blackout' during counting in this by-election reported in Sungai Chua. Doubts were also centred on what would happen after the elections with regard to the Selangor government.

    The impact on political power at the national or state level was not clear. The reasons to come out to vote beyond Anwar did not resonate with voters. It is thus no wonder that 16 percent less turnout was recorded.

    Shifts in voting behaviour

    In spite of this, there are important shifts in the voting behaviour. The results were affected by the straight-fight (no independent candidates) dynamic, but not completely so.

    There are small changes to the status quo in voting. Already reported are swings among Chinese and Malay voters, ranging from seven to 10 percent.

    Let's take the Chinese voters first. This swing towards BN needs to be treated with caution as it is the Chinese youth primarily who did not return to vote, and if they had, the outcome would have looked very similar to the 2013 results. At best, the MCA held onto its political base, especially older and female voters.

    Its focus on local issues kept many of its loyal voters, and its appeal to racial representation reinforced traditional affinities. A closer look shows that the MCA gains were not substantive, although to keep its base in the current context showed some resilience among its voters where they have had decades of grassroots support.

    What stands out however is that MCA continues to have very minor level of support among the constituency it claims to represent, reinforcing its persistent legitimacy crisis and weakness within the Umno-led government.

    The Malay swing towards the opposition is more meaningful. There were fewer Malay voters living outside the constituency, and interviews pointed to some shifts in loyalties. These were concentrated among Malay women and younger Malay voters.

    The connection to PKR’s Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and the sympathy she invoked resonated, along with increasing frustration with higher costs of living. For the first time since 1999, a plurality of Malays appeared to have voted for the opposition in this constituency, revealing a decline in support in the Umno base.

    Part of this can be explained by the Umno campaign, less spending and the fact that the PKR candidate was a Malay. The results however reveal the main challenge ahead for Umno lies with the disconnect between its promises and governance in the post-GE13 environment, especially in managing the economy.

    Prime Minister Najib Razak's political legitimacy is dwindling as it appears that he is losing ground among the group his party touts itself to represent.

    While race still is the dominant paradigm to interpret the results, the meaningful fault lines in this election were generation and gender divides. PKR did capture the majority of youth, as it did in 2008 and 1999, with the BN relying heavily on older voters.

    BN on its part continued to win over women, although not to the same extent as before, especially among younger women.

    With two women in the campaign, the mobilisation of women was evident, and this helps us to understand the persistent Chinese base for MCA (disproportionately female and connected with Chew Mei Fun's style) and the decline of support for BN among Malays, who are more connected to Wan Azizah.

    If there are any implications evident in this by-election from voting behavior, it is that women and youth still hold the future trajectory of electoral victory for either side.

    Rocky path ahead

    This by-election is just one of the many battles for Malaysia's continued polarised political contestation.

    This 'sure win' will be followed by what will likely be a decisive victory for BN in Balingian, Sarawak. What makes Kajang more impactful is its multiethnic composition and the effects on the opposition leadership.

    For Najib's government, the post-GE13 climate is much harder to navigate as the policies of cutting back subsidies and the resultant higher cost of living are hurting its base particularly hard.

    The prominent use of racial politics narrows its ability to reach out to the non-Malays. Najib as a leader has been weakened and has less electoral appeal. Infighting within his own party continues to percolate, as the PM continues to face discontent within Umno. The by-election results, especially the changes in Malay votes, will place additional pressure on Najib.

    For the opposition, the battle will be inside Pakatan. The fulcrum will move back to the reasons for the 'Kajang Move' in the first place and disagreements over leadership. The struggle for power in Selangor will continue and infighting within the opposition will persist until it is resolved, likely with the PKR May polls.

    Voters will have to deal with both sides focusing on internal politicking rather than governance. Kajang may seem sweet for both sides giving it a reduced majority and victory respectively, but the bitterness is coming.

    Given the distractions from attention to the problems of ordinary citizens, both sides need to keep in mind that the real bitterness they have to worry about is further alienation from a public who would like less focus on politics and more attention to people.



    DR BRIDGET WELSH is associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University. She can be reached atbwelsh@smu.edu.sg.
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    How many more Kajang moves must the public endure?

    BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA
    MARCH 24, 2014

    PKR leaders (from left) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim celebrating Dr Wan Azizah's victory in the Kajang by-election last night. The victory does not resolve the Selangor menteri besar question. – The Malaysian Insider pic, March 24, 2014.
    So is Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail going to be menteri besar now?


    That question seems like pouring cold water on all the cheering and back-slapping that was going on last night after PKR’s Dr Wan Azizah was declared the winner in the Kajang by-election.


    Yet, that was the question and it was asked repeatedly by the media because it was the reason behind the by-election in the first place.



    Going by the party leaders’ replies, no concrete answer will be forthcoming any time soon. There is speculation, however, that she will not be taking over from Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim but will instead hold a senior post in his administration.


    Pakatan’s critics have said the vagueness about this whole exercise and why it was done represents a bigger problem of leadership in Pakatan Selangor.


    Others argue that it is valid strategy in the face of the imperfections of Malaysia’s democratic system.


    Public but sensitive


    “Let us concentrate on Kajang first. We want to implement what was promised in our manifesto for the Kajang folk,” Dr Wan Azizah told reporters yesterday.


    “We want to improve our administrative performance. This is not a question of any individual,” said Selangor PKR chief Azmin Ali when asked the same question.


    The “menteri besar issue” was a ghost that followed Dr Wan Azizah and the Pakatan machinery throughout the campaign and its sensitivity is seen in how quickly the question is deflected whenever it was brought up.


    PKR leaders have admitted that the Kajang by-election was triggered so that party supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim could replace Khalid.


    Anwar was supposed to contest in Kajang until an Appeal Court verdict upholding his earlier conviction for sodomy disqualified him from contesting.


    PKR justified the exercise, dubbed the “Kajang move”, as a way to bolster the Selangor government’s ability to deal with political crises and attacks from Umno.


    It was to also solve an internal feud between Khalid and party Selangor chief Azmin Ali.


    “Let us win the election first then we’ll figure those things out” was the standard answer, given by PKR leaders and Dr Wan Azizah herself when asked about it during the campaign.


    But the issue was a potent weapon in the psychological war that was waged for the hearts and minds of fence-sitters up until voting day yesterday.


    PKR claimed to have stopped a lorry in Sungai Kantan which carried posters that copied the iconic design of Dr Wan Azizah’s profile with the slogan “From Kajang to Putrajaya”.
    Instead, the slogan had been replaced with “Vote for Wan Azizah, the Selangor menteri besar candidate”.


    No one has claimed responsibility for the posters but the aim can be guessed at.


    They were targeted at the sizeable number of PAS members and supporters in the Malay Muslim enclave of Sungai Kantan.


    The Islamist party has gone on record as saying that the question of who is the menteri besar, or who replaces Khalid was a separate matter from the by-election.


    It other words, it does not buy into PKR’s justification that Anwar needs to replace Khalid. Or that it Khalid is replaced, it should be someone from PKR and not from PAS.
    The posters then, it is speculated, were designed to sow distrust among PAS supporters so that they would not come out and vote.




    If voters think it is ok, then is it wrong?


    The touchiness of the issue, even while the party has made it public, is why observers such as political analyst Khoo Kay Peng still feel that the by election was a waste of time.


    If the logic is to replace Khalid with someone else, why should that person have a court case hanging over his head which could disqualify him at the last minute? asked Khoo.


    “Also, is Pakatan saying that their solution to problems is Anwar? That without Anwar, you cannot solve problems? So instead of institutions, we get personality politics from Pakatan. This does not bode well,” said Khoo.


    On the other hand, PKR itself feels that Dr Wan Azizah’s victory and the increased percentage of popular votes the party received meant that voters did not have a problem with the “Kajang move”.


    “The polemics surrounding the ‘Kajang move’ did not affect our chances,” said PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli.


    Another view is that the whole exercise was necessary because of Malaysia’s imperfect parliamentary system that is heavily tilted to whoever holds administrative power.


    “Pakatan can win 49 per cent of all seats in Malaysia but that counts for nothing,” said political analyst Dr Wong Chin Huat.


    “A federal opposition leader has no respect and no power compared with even a menteri besar of the smallest state. Its only when you have power that you enact real reform.”


    In parliamentary systems, Wong said, the party leader must become the government leader so that government policy paralleled party ideology and principles.


    Wong said it was an imperfect solution, but one that suited our imperfect system.


    So perhaps the question should be not whether Wan Azizah is going to be menteri besar. But how many more “Kajang moves” must the public endure and would they be worth it? –

    March 24, 2014.
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    Chinese not returning to BN, they just didn’t return to vote, says DAP

    BY EILEEN NG
    MARCH 24, 2014

    MCA says more Chinese voted for its candidate Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun (right) in the Kajang by-election. – The Malaysian Insider pic, March 24, 2014.DAP poured cold water on MCA's claims that Chinese voters were returning to the Barisan Nasional, and said it was due to outstation Chinese voters who did not come back to vote.


    DAP strategist Dr Ong Kian Ming, conceding there was a decrease of support for PKR in yesterday's poll, said this was due to the lower turnout, which included many of the 2,400 outstation voters who did not return to vote.


    He attributed it to the fact that PKR was expected to retain the seat as well as the timing of the by-election, held 1½ months after the Chinese New Year celebrations.





    "Many of them are living outside Kajang and the majority are Chinese working in Johor and Singapore. They won't come back again, especially when the outcome is not in doubt.


    "If I was MCA, I would not be so confident because these outstation voters are young and tend to vote for Pakatan," he told The Malaysian Insider last night.


    Ong (pic, left), who is the Serdang MP, estimated that turnout among the 16,000 Chinese voters was less than 70%, as opposed to GE13 where it was over 85%.


    Although MCA, a senior partner in the ruling Barisan Nasional pact, failed to wrest the seat back from PKR, it was happy that it managed to reduce PKR's majority and more importantly, boost its Chinese vote share from 18% in the May national polls to 25% in the by-election.


    PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail easily won the urban mixed seat against BN's Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, but with a majority of 5,379, less than the 6,824 vote majority PKR received in last year's general election.


    PKR had been expected to win the seat, but after voting closed at 5pm with 72% turnout, party campaigners conceded that they would not be able to match the majority it got in the 13th general election.


    In May last year, PKR's Lee Chin Cheh won the seat by obtaining 19,571 votes, defeating BN's Lee Ban Seng who got 12,747 votes, on the back of a 88% voter turnout.


    Lee resigned in January, triggering the by-election.


    The by-election result is a shot in the arm for MCA after six years of falling support.


    Since the 2008 general election, the party has been deserted by the minority Chinese community, who were drawn to Pakatan Rakyat's pledge to tackle corruption and end affirmative action policies that many said only benefitted a small group of people.


    The Chinese party has also been mired in numerous internal crisis that saw several leadership changes.


    Suffering from the perception that it is unable to check its big brother Umno, its image was dealt a further blow when it decided to go back on its decision not to take up government posts after GE13.


    MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai conceded his party had lost ground among young voters but pledged that it will work harder to woo them.


    He expressed hopes that the increase in support among the Chinese voters will continue.


    "The support we received from the Chinese voters have strenghtened our spirits and given us the impetus to work harder," he said. – March 24, 2014.
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    4:58PM Mar 24, 2014 Tee Keat: Face it MCA, Kajang a severe defeat

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    Despite MCA's efforts to portray yesterday's by-election as a small victory in gaining Chinese support, its former chief says party leaders should drop their "denial syndrome" and face the fact it was a "severe defeat".

    "We are one week away from 100 days in power for the current leadership of MCA.

    "My personal assessment is that they have little to show for it other than a costly extraordinary general meeting (EGM) and a severe defeat in a by-election," said Ong Tee Keat in a statement today.

    "Most importantly we need to ask ourselves why a MCA vice president heavily favoured by the MCA president, managed to lose 14 out of 16 PDM (polling districts), including those won in GE13 and other previously 'stronghold' areas," he said.

    Ong (left) called for an end to the "denial syndrome" over Kajang candidate Chew Mei Fun's defeat at the hands of PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, saying "a serious postmortem into the performance of MCA" at the poll is needed.

    "It is no point to harp on a negligible change in voter sentiment from a particular community," he said.

    Despite heavy backing from the BN government, Chew lost to Wan Azizah by 5,379 out of a total 28,103 votes cast.

    While PKR saw a reduced majority in real terms due to the lower turnout, in percentage terms it gained an additional 2.2 percent from GE13.

    MCA however trumpeted its apparent 7 percent gain in Chinese votes as a minor victory for a party struggling to regain the community's support.
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    3:23PM Mar 24, 2014
    'Tense atmosphere may have caused low turnout'

    30 13
    A combination of heavy riot police presence, over-enthusiastic supporters and poor polling station arrangements by the Election Commission (EC) may have contributed to the low turnout for the Kajang by-election, election watchdog Malaysians for Free and Fair Election (Mafrel) says.

    Mafrel chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said observation at two polling stations, Sekolah Rendah Agama Batu 10 and Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Sekamat, saw party supporters attempting to court voters, even though the campaigning period was over.

    "As emotions ran high under the hot sun, I observed a few scuffles between party supporters of contesting candidates, prompting the presence of Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) trucks," Syed Ibrahim said in a statement today.

    He added that heavy police presence may have also discouraged voters from coming out.

    "I observed that at 3.15pm, suddenly a convoy of buses and trucks carrying FRU and Light Strike Force men entered the polling stations (in Sungai Chua).

    "Was it preventive action by the security forces or was it an attempt to intimidate voters, especially in a Chinese majority area?" he said.

    Syed Ibrahim (left) said the poor arrangement of polling stations in Sungai Chua also resulted in bad traffic congestion.

    "Four voting stations (in Sungai Chua) were placed in a one kilometre radius using the same narrow access road that is only suitable for light vehicles," he said.

    He added that EC's intention may have been good to make it convenient for voters but placing so many polling stations close to each other could have the opposite effect.

    Pollster Ilham Centre in a survey released yesterday also acknowledged Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's conviction and missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which grabbed headlines had distracted voters from the by-election.

    It said these events had caused the attention of Malaysians and particularly Kajang residents, to shift day by day throughout the Kajang by-election period
    py

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,385
    11:58AM Mar 24, 2014 Lessons from Kajang polls - winners and losers

    The results of the just-concluded Kajang by-election will subsequently be reduced to a diagnostic, academic exercise as arguments, justifications and interpretations keep hogging the mediascape.

    BN has already started presenting its viewpoints along race-based analysis consistent with its long years of race-based politics. Some others within Pakatan would also fall into the same gutter as they share their seemingly learned viewpoints on the winning.

    But here are some lessons for both winners and losers. The bottom-line is pay attention to common sense and logic. Look at the outcomes through the lenses of the rakyat allowing humility and commitment to take precedence and priority.

    Lesson One: On learning about BN losing, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak should not have changed his mind. He should have appeared in Kajang as was reported he would, earlier.

    By not appearing before the rakyat there, he has sent two very strong messages. First, that he is more a president of partisan politics rather than a prime minister for all people irrespective of who or which party they voted for.

    Second, it clearly drives home the perception that the president of the BN political party does not even honour the thousands who still voted for his party. That is a letdown. The people who still cast their precious vote will in all likelihood take this into cognisance the next time around. Malaysians ‘mudah lupa’ is being already proven as a fallacy.

    In fact, if the prime minister had turned up and went about to congratulate the winning party and candidate, he certainly would have won greater admiration even amongst those who cast a vote for his opponents.

    Lesson Two: BN losing the by-election was a forgone conclusion from day one. That, BN would have known from the very start. Hence the knee jerk reactions as soon as news got around that Anwar Ibrahim would be contesting the forced-vacant seat.

    When you know you are contesting against all odds, your campaign strategies cannot hinge on the unrelenting, battering and humiliating tactics targeted at your opponents.

    Instead you should have seized upon a positive and ‘healing-touch’ approach where you showcase your success stories in the constituency even though you lost badly in the last elections here. It is all about the power of magnanimity.

    But it takes courage and conviction to show a humane, principle-centred approach in your campaign trail. That can only happen if you have a track record of above-the-belt party politics.

    Lesson Three: The fact that the tallying centre saw a significant absence of BN leaders whereas the entire machinery of leadership from the opposition congregated, is a lost opportunity for BN. Therefore the BN leadership has only itself to blame for the future.

    As much as you tried to muscle your presence by sending military artillery to be stationed at the Kajang Stadium, you have also bazooka-blown your reputation with your total absence at the centre.

    A woman of hope

    Lesson Four: This lesson is for the winning team. While congratulations and blessings of hope are rightfully showered upon Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, she needs to know that the countdown of her coalition’s march to the MB’s office or to Putrajaya has begun.

    And she is at the forefront of this potentially and highly possible defining moment-of-truth in the history of this nation.

    Therefore, Wan Azizah needs to recognise that she needs to be seen more in the constituency. She needs to walk the talk more. She must recognise that she is perceived as a woman of hope and as the wife of a man who is brutalised by his opponents.

    As such she has every opportunity to keep increasing the winning of the hearts and minds of the whole nation.

    By appearing and participating more frequently amongst the local Kajang folk at public places like markets, shopping centres, community functions, etc, she will garner a national image of a caring, concerned woman, mother, wife, sister - a capacity-leader with a face, a heart and total presence.

    Although it is easier said then done; although arguments will keep popping up that there are more important things to do as an elected representative, do not discount the Malaysian mindset and human behaviour.

    Do not make the same mistakes that BN so often finds itself entrenched in.

    Lesson Five: Pakatan must take inventory of yet another crucial fact. Each time its coalition draws to an election date, that which spills out in the public foyer is talk of divisiveness within its barracks.

    From now on, if Pakatan is serious about Putrajaya, it must have zero-tolerance policy and action on divisive, internal bickering politics. It cannot discount that crucial need to put up a truly united front. Otherwise be prepared for another 52 percent winnings in the next general election.

    It better be a ‘Walk the Talk’ and ‘Talk the Walk’ crusade within Pakatan.

    Lesson Six: Both BN and Pakatan need to accept that unwritten rule that at the end of the day winning an election is not about statistics. It is about perceptions that lead to action.

    What is significant in the just concluded election is that Malaysians are marching beyond the borders of race and religious prejudices, hatred and blinkered visions. What is driving the fast-growing awareness amongst the voting population is that this nation is for all citizens.

    People as a result of the increasing economic and financial hardships are beginning to recognise that here is a nation that need not be poor. As such, they will seek out leadership that thrives on principle-centred thinking and actions.

    The old school that promotes gerrymandering will not hold water in next general election. If the practice continues, then the nation must be prepared for greater chaos. Guns and gunpowder, or muscles and fists will not gain support from the voting population.

    As in the song of Bob Dylan, the times they are a changin.

    Once again syabas to the winner; and shame on you losers for not being a sport but choosing partisan politics.
    py

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