Category Archives: Democratization

Selangor report on Local Government Elections

Both the Selangor and Penang PR state governments have commissioned studies on the revival of local governments, resulting in very different reports.

The Penang report holds that the power is in the hand of the federal government and the state can do nothing.

The Selangor report, commissioned to the Coalition of Good Governance (CGG) and submitted in July, listed three solutions to reintroduce local elections, two of which do not require federal consent.

While the report has been made public soon after its submission to the state government, it was widely reported in the media and few have read it. Feel free to share this pdf copy with your friend. LCE paper_final_23Dec2009


Malaysia needs two more by-elections, in Perak!

It’s Najib who needs no more by-elections, not even for the PR-held seats which offer a chance for BN to recover lost ground. Why?  He does not have confidence of his own chance.

Money politics no longer works. Threat no longer works.

But Malaysia needs two more by-elections. To be precise, two by-elections for BN-held state seats in Perak. Here are the list of the seats that you can choose for:

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The King Breaker!

Forget about who are the King Makers.

The King Breaker has declared his arrival.

“I am no old newspaper!”

Even his boy Matthias has just issued a warning to Najib.

For the first time, I feel pity even for Najib.

Now I wonder if Muhyiddin’s ultra-Malay stunts, echoed by Utusan, are directed by the God Father.

Balik Mengundi / Go home to vote – April 7 2009!


“I  still remember that day. We can really bring about change.”

Post this link on your blog. Email it to everyone you know. It’s a battle for the most precious thing in public life – our ability to bring about change.

The Zambry syndicate stole it from us in Perak. His partners-in-crime tried in vain in Selangor and Kedah. We must get the message loud and clear to them: We will crush you in poll, traitor of democracy! criminal

Bukit Gantang: A referendum on more coups

A key to democracy is the loser’s willingness to concede defeat.

The outgoing PM Abdullah and the ousted Penang CM Koh Tzu Koon will therefore be forever remembered as democrats for they did not attempt riots or palace coups as some of the lowlife creatures in their parties would or had.

The challenge for Malaysia is that we may soon face another trial moment like March 8, not least because of UMNO and BN’s own work.

By fanning Malay ultra-nationalism, UMNO may be able to recover some lost grounds in the Malay heartland but it is also destroying fast whatever remaining goodwill UMNO and BN still enjoy amongst the non-Malay and liberal Malay electorate.

What if come next elections UMNO and BN win 55% of Peninsular Malay votes but only 20% of the non-Malay support? Compared to the 2008 result (see chart below), this may well mean a slight improvement of BN’s victory in Malay super-majority seats from 45 to 55 but also a reduction of BN’s mixed seats from 25 to 20 and a complete wipe-out in the non-Malay majority seat.

This means a total of UMNO’s 75 seats against Pakatan Rakyat’s 90 seats in Peninsula.

Would UMNO be willing to concede defeat? Or will it insist to dominate the government because it enjoys the bare majority of Peninsula Malay support?

If UMNO Sabah and PBB manage to keep their 28 seats, while PR grabs the rest or orchestrates the defection of other component parties, PR will be leading UMNO and PBB at a smaller ratio of 117:105.

Would UMNO be willing to hand over the power peacefully? Or would it take whatever means to “restore the Malay dominance”, the first and foremost justification of the coup in Perak for UMNO members?

The Bukit Gantang by-election is therefore about democracy or more coups. It’s not about Najib’s new job. It’s about our jobs and if we want to find them in a democratic and economic ruin.

It is a referendum. Would you choose to punish the coup-plotters? Or would you vote for more coups?

See the full and non-technical version of this article in later this morning.

One year after March 8


A year ago this time, I was at PJ DAP office keeping my eyes on the TV and computer screens with a bunch of journalists, party workers and voters. By then, we already knew that BN had lost its two-third parliamentary majority. What we were still not sure was that how many states would fall into the opposition’s hands.

In an ironical way, we are not far from there a year later. BN still has its two-third parliamentary majority denied. And we are still not sure that how many states will remain in PR’s hand.

A big difference lies between last and this March 8. Then, it was the verdict of electorate. Today, if any PR state changes hand – like the “constitutional kidnapping” in Perak – it would be the denial of electoral verdict by unelected institutions: the palace, the bureaucracy, the police, the judiciary, and even the MACC.

This is a trend we must stop before even the military is courted. But how do we stop it? Can we stop it?

I believe we can. If most Malaysians would tell the politicians that we will not tolerate any attempt to rape democracy, they would not attempt it.

But have you seen any business groups, professional groups other than the Bar, religious groups, community groups, sport clubs coming up to condemn the mutation, mutiny and muscle-flexing of the unelected institutions?

Is a future coup in their interests? Clearly no. But why don’t they protest?

We have not done enough to get the message through. This is the challenge before us while we commemorating March 8.

My views on the Perak Coup

These are my views on the Perak coup and the related issues:

1. Elected representative has every right to change his/her affiliation, but no right to bring the voters’ mandate with him. Political parties should make commitment to repeal Article 48A (6) – and similar clauses in state constitutions – which bars an elected representative to re-contest  in election for five years after resignation. Instead, a clause can be inserted to Article 51 “Resignation of Members” to the effect that a parliamentarian will be deemed as resigning if s/he changes his/her party affliation without the consent of the party on whose ticket s/he had won the seat.

2. A motion of no-confidence must be passed in the legislative assembly to topple a government. If a major government bill is defeated, which implies an effective no-confidence vote, the incumbent government must be allowed to seek a motion of confidence if it so wishes and is considered to have been ousted after losing such vote.  (This is to prevent the defection/partisan act of the speaker who may deny the incumbent government its last chance to prove its viability.)

3. When a motion of no-confidence is passed, the royal consent should not be withheld on the request by the PM/MB/CM to dissolve the Parliament/Assembly. Any exception must be of extraordinary circumstances and well justified. This is to ensure the check-and-balance mechanisms between the Executive and Legislative branches in a parliamentary system – vote of no-confidence and dissolution of the legislature – must not be subverted. An artibrary withholding of the royal consent on this issue effectively renders the Executive powerless before the Legislature.

On Perak, specifically,

1. the swearing-in of the new MB is a coup.

2. the only legitimate government is that headed by Mohd Nizar and supported by others.

3. the best way to solve this crisis is to dissolve assembly dissolution and let the voters decide whom to punish.

My related articles on

Feb 2 – BN will not win from Perak defections

Feb  5 – Snap poll best bet

Feb  6 – Perak must not fail

1st Anniversary of the Invasion of Malaysian Parliament House by the Police

[Correction: the invasion happened on Dec 11, so the anniversary was mistakenly thought to be one day earlier. Forgive my poor memory.]

Time flies. It’s one year now from the day when the Parliamentary House was invaded by police, when seven persons including were arrested in the compound of the august house after appearing in a press conference in the Parliament lobby condemning the constitutional amendment to extend the service of Tan Sri Rashid and his fellow commissioners at the Election Commision to one year. Sixteen others of BERSIH leaders and supporters were arrested at the gate of the Parliament House. And another citizen arrested later at the police station.

A year is now gone. The country has changed. Even Rashid is gone now. Malaysians have become bolder. Many are coming out condemning ISA. Peaceful assembly is now held every Sunday at least in PJ.

But have we changed fundamentally? I have been a party spoiler since March 8.

When a speaker in the PJ gathering last Sunday passionately lashed out at Malaysians who did not turn up because of their alleged fear for ISA, I felt compelled to pour some cold water – ISA exists because Malaysia needs it. Read my piece at at 9am later.

22 NGOs calling for a PR Shadow Cabinet Latest by March

Civil Society Organizations Joint Statement: 28 November 2008

Time for a PR Shadow Cabinet

We, the undersigned civil society groups call upon the Pakatan Rakyat to set up a shadow cabinet as soon as possible. Positioning himself as the prime minister-in-waiting, Anwar Ibrahim must present his team of ministers-in-waiting not later than his rival Najib Razak announces his line-up in March.

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PR’s Shadow Cabinet: Why opposition supporters cannot treat politics like gamble

A misperception common amongst many opposition supporters is that democracy is actually a luxury, not a necessity. This view sees democracy as a fragile china that needs to be protected, rather than a sharp spear to attack.

When the supposed democrats have little faith in democracy, is there any wonder why democracy had failed to take off before March 8 and remain slow even afterward?

Unwittingly, we have become the slave of BN indoctrination. By not believing in the enabling potential democracy, we are believing in BN’s propaganda and disarming ourselves.

It’s time to examine our value system now before we talk more about regime change. Taking on the case against a PR shadow cabinet, I hope we can have a good and honest debate here.

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