The MALAYSIAN
justice, progress, unity

Issue No. 21 – 20 August 1999

How many phantom voters are there?

Who knows? But that they exist was confirmed on Tuesday by no less an authority than the Elections Commission itself. In a briefing for editors-in-chief, Bernama reported the Commission said that 560,000 names had been removed from the electoral rolls since 1990. The Star, however, reported that these 560,000 names had been "cleansed" since 1995.

What was not reported, however, was the response to a query about the use of temporary ICs in the creation of ‘phantom voters’ -- the subject of an election petition in Sabah, where it is alleged, and widely believed, that such ‘phantom voters’ have influenced results. The response was that the matter was sub judice.

The China trip and the Malaysian Chinese

Bernama, the supposed mouth-piece of Malaysia, carried an article on August 13 suggesting that Dr Mahathir’s China trip was as much directed towards Malaysian Chinese as to improve bilateral trade ties. This, too, was the approach adopted by a leading English daily.

Such an approach is mischievous, dangerous and misleading. It contributes to misunderstanding between the major ethnic groups in this country, especially at a time when so many Malays are so openly contemptuous of the BN leadership.

The Bernama article of 13th August concluded:

"The close ties between Malaysia and China would give the BN the added advantage in the coming election, especially among the Chinese voters, some of whom may have been swayed by the opposition parties which are calling on the people to choose an alternative government in response to the "reformation" calls of the Anwar supporters.

Like Mahathir, the Chinese voters are pragmatic in the national political chess game, more so when it involves the economic well-being of the country on which they underpin their livelihood.

With a population of more than one billion people, China is seen by the Chinese business community as a huge market for trade and investment."

Dangerous Chinese Stereotypes

In these three paragraphs, we see all the stereotypes about Malaysian Chinese played to the full: they are ‘pragmatic’, meaning they care mainly about economics, and not about democracy and rights; they still look to China, and China is one huge market.

The truth is, of course, quite different, as is increasingly clear from the various stands taken by Malaysian Chinese associations. It is evident that Malaysian Chinese have as the focus of their attention the rights and wrongs in Malaysia.

If indeed this trip is part of the campaign to woo Chinese votes, then it is an insult to the Chinese in this country. Why should Malaysian Chinese be moved one way or another because Dr M goes to Beijing?

China’s interests and Malaysia’s interests, including those of Malaysian Chinese, are not always in harmony. On some things, for instance, opposition to American control of the region and the need for global financial reform, we are in harmony.

On others, such as democracy and human rights, Malaysian Chinese are as concerned about the state of human rights in China as in Malaysia. On yet other matters, such as when China devalued the yuan in 1994, Malaysia and China have different interests. Finally, Malaysian Chinese are well aware that the promise of China’s huge market is hardly the easiest nut to crack.

China Visit Welcome, PR Ploy Won’t Work

A visit to China is welcomed, if only because China is the largest country in Asia and good relations with China are important to our interests and the BN government has previously put up so many unnecessary obstacles to easier people-to-people contacts. But Malaysian Chinese are too sensible to let the obvious PR ploy influence their voting decisions.

China does not evoke a knee-jerk reaction from Malaysian Chinese. China, at best, is an ancestral cultural homeland, not a place which Malaysian Chinese look to for guidance. Indeed, with increased travel, Malaysian Chinese, today, are acutely aware of their differences from their co-ethnics in China as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan or the US.

If Dr M should even think that his trip is going to woo Malaysian Chinese voters, it says more about him than about Malaysian Chinese. It says that Dr M still thinks of Malaysian Chinese as sojourners, as (in the words of an earlier period) of 'questionable, or divided, loyalties'.

Instead, Malaysian Chinese take their cue from the issues and problems confronting Malaysians today, issues which have been so succinctly summarised in the Malaysian Chinese associations’ election demands of August 16 or in the "People are the boss" declaration.

They take their cue from the damage that corruption, nepotism and cronyism has caused this country, from the abuse of affirmative action to benefit a small clique, from the apparently politically directed bank mergers, from the threats of violence should the BN lose its two-thirds majority, and so on.

*****

NO! to S A, O S A, I S A

The hoppers are back to plague us. No, not real, environmentally-friendly, insect-feeding frogs, but the political katak, the true pests of our political landscape.

The Kelantanese know one of them very well: Super Katak a k a Ibrahim Ali. While there was Semangat 46, Ibrahim Ali couldn’t cut it as an opposition politician. That was when he traded in his colours for a katak’s skin, and shamelessly hopped back to UMNO(Baru). In UMNO, he still couldn’t get into Parliament the legitimate way. So, he had to be inserted through the back door, or was it the back orifice, as would befit him.

He became Senator. Then, he became Deputy Minister. Of course, in the PM’s (‘Dirty Tricks’) Department. That’s why he wants to pass a T A. Nothing to do with T A Securities, but a Treason Act to protect his boss’s and his boss’s cronies’ security.

Ask any Kelantanese you like, UMNO, Pas, KeADILan, whoever, wherever. They’ll tell you this katak is as relevant to Kelantanese politics as truth is to some august persons.

Poor Ku Li Becomes Kuli Mahathir

Best, check with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah of Gua Musang a k a Ku Li of Team B, Semangat 46, Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah, Gagasan Rakyat. Lama-lama lompat ke UMNO Mahathir. Need one say more?

All is forgiven. Kiss and make up. Mahathir kissed his prince and Ku Li turned into a katak. You’d better believe it because Ku Li also wants tighter enforcement of the OSA (Official Secrets Act), which he once correctly condemned as designed to cover up the Mahathir-Daim clique’s political business abuses. He’s competing with Ibrahim Ali to see who can cheer louder for the Treason Act (not yet passed, so we must fight it now).

Riddle: Why are kataks obsessed with treason?

Answer: They know Mahathir rewards treachery.

Don’t reward their treason.

NO! to S A (Sedition Act)

NO! to O S A (Official Secrets Act)

NO! to I S A (Internal Security Act)

Save the frogs. Dump the katak!

YES to B A (Barisan Alternatif)!

END

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