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M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

My Photo
Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Barisan Win No Victory for Malaysia

Deciding Who To Vote For In the Next Election
M. Bakri Musa

A Barisan Win is No Victory for Malaysia
(Second of Four Parts)

There can only be three possible outcomes to the next election:  Barisan to win with a comfortable victory; Pakatan Rakyat to prevail; and a hung parliament. A comfortable victory is one where the expected hopping of a dozen or so successful candidates would not materially affect the political balance. A hung parliament is where the buying or the shifting of allegiance of a handful of elected members would significantly alter the political balance.

            Contrary to the pronouncements of many, the worst possible outcome would not be a hung parliament but a Barisan victory. The best possible outcome would be for Pakatan to secure that majority. A hung parliament is not the worse but then also not the best possible outcome either.

            I begin with Barisan being returned to power, not with a supra majority for not even Najib Razak is predicting that, not in his wildest dream. In his speech dissolving Parliament, he implicitly conceded the possibility of defeat. Only his fanatic supporters are fantasizing big victory, but only after they have been high on their free tapai (fermented rice).

            If you relish precious public funds being squandered through bloated contracts (think of the scandalous “commission” that slimy “Datuk T” secured for the non-existing crooked bridge) and outright pilferage (as with the “cow-gate” scandal and the Scorpene submarines that would not submerge), then expect more of the same with another Barisan victory. Only this time the scale would be even more outrageous both in scope and amount, difficult though that may be to imagine. Barisan, and UMNO specifically, would look upon their victory as approval if not vindication of their corrupt and wasteful ways. That is what Najib meant by not changing horse midway. He and his cronies wish to remain on their gilded saddles.

            With a Barisan victory we would never get to the bottom of the “cow-gate” scandal or the outrageous civil settlement between Khazanah and ex-Malaysian Airlines’ boss Tajuddin Ramli. Consider that had Barisan won Selangor in 2008, that Khir Toyo character would still be its Chief Minister and not the convicted criminal that he is today. There are many Khir Toyos at the federal level; only a Barisan defeat would expose these scumbags. Only with a Pakatan victory could they be held accountable and be prosecuted.

            For those expecting political stability as their reason for voting Barisan, that delusion would quickly be shattered. There is little chance for Najib to better his predecessor’s performance of 2008. If they started to scheme for Abdullah’s downfall before the total votes were tallied in then, this time the power struggle to replace Najib would be even cruder, more vicious, and utterly destructive. Forget about the old Malay budi bahasa (niceties); it would be the Mat Rempits gone amok, complete with the roar and gore.

            After the 2008 electoral fiasco Muhyyiddin unhesitatingly turned on his erstwhile patron, Abdullah Badawi. The temptation for Muhyyiddin to topple Najib post-election 2013 would be irresistible. Being seven years older than Najib, this is the only opportunity for Muhyyiddin to do it. By the time the next general election comes he would over 71 years old, a spent force.

            Muhyyiddin’s body language all along could barely conceal his contempt for Najib, both the man and his policies. So expect Muhyiddin to launch an even more emboldened and naked challenge. I disagree with veteran UMNO observer Abdullah Ahmad who noted that Najib would more likely to be challenged by younger leaders, not Muhydddin. It would only appear that way, at least initially.

            This vicious do-or-die battle between Najib and Muhyyiddin would have all the trappings of classic class rebellion of feudal times, between orang bangsawan (aristocrats) and orang hamba (peasants). Expect the royal class to be actively involved; no marks for guessing which side they would favor.

            At the personal level, it would be a brawl between a street-wise pugilist who has survived many such encounters, versus a soft-cocooned brat long used to having his way by hiring others to do the dirty work for him. The irony this time is that Najib would be at the receiving end of those calculating leaders who weigh things on what they would gain personally, an art Najib had perfected throughout his political career.

            The junior members of Barisan, the Chinese and Indian parties as well as those from East Malaysia, would be reduced to being anxious spectators and helpless prey. Prey because their members would be vulnerable to tempting offers to switch side. There would be no political stability, instead endless scheming and changes of alliances. The ensuing looting of the public treasury to finance such shenanigans would be on an unprecedented scale.

            Najib’s ballyhooed promise of transforming his administration is just that – hot air. He will again field his sclerotic ministers and they will all be back in his cabinet. Nothing would have changed.

            We are already getting a preview of Barisan’s shenanigans during this campaign with Najib furiously bribing voters with our (taxpayers’) money! Make no mistake, after the election he will be expecting and collecting his dues. That would be the ugly scenario that awaits a Barisan victory.

            The RAHMAN prophecy has it that the “N” refers to Najib; he would be the sixth and last UMNO Prime Minister. If Barisan were to return to power this coming election, then that RAHMAN prophecy would have an even more ominous meaning. It would mean the end of Malaysia as we know it. As National Laureate Samad Said put it, this is our only chance to spare Malaysia such an awful fate.
Next:  (Third of Four Parts) Pakatan Victory Best Possible Outcome


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