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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sabah’s trade with Mindanao suspended as battle escalates

Shipments are put on hold as business community is told to exercise extra caution with the area becoming too risky.
sabah-mindanaoPETALING JAYA: Trading activities between Sabah and Mindanao Island have been suspended following a deadly battle between the Philippine army and radical Islamist militia in the southern Philippines over the last week.

The Sabah-based Daily Express reported today that commercial shipments in the region have been put on hold also due to the imposition of martial law on Mindanao as announced by president Rodrigo Duterte last Tuesday.
It said Sabah traders having business transactions with their counterparts in Zamboanga City in western Mindanao and other nearby areas have adopted a “wait-and-see'” stance in view of the security situation.
It quoted Nordin Ening, chairman of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Transport Cluster, as saying it had become too risky for Sabah traders to continue operating there for now.
Shipments intended for the Mindanao market that have been affected include those of major products like rice, sugar and flour, the report said.
Nordin said the bloody siege at Marawi City in Mindanao which brought about the martial law, has led to a significant negative impact on the business sector in the affected areas.
He said this had also affected traders in Sabah hit by a “domino” effect from the crisis in Mindanao.
“I have advised our members in the BIMP-EAGA community here to exercise extra caution in the meantime until the situation in Mindanao improves,” he was quoted as saying.
The fighting in Marawi has been reported to have taken at least 44 lives, including those of two Malaysians, with tens of thousands of residents joining an exodus from the city.
The Philippine army is weeding out militants from the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) terror movement, who are holed up in the city.
The group is a new radical outfit comprising former Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerrillas and some foreign fighters. - FMT

Blueprint for Indians not political rhetoric, says Sedic

Director-general NS Rajendran says an independent monitoring mechanism will ensure any setbacks in the 10-year action plan are rectified.
NS-RajendranPETALING JAYA: The Unit for the Socio-economic Development of the Indian Community (Sedic) has refuted claims that the government’s new Malaysian Indian Blueprint (MIB) is merely political rhetoric aimed at drawing Indian votes ahead of the 14th general election.

Its director-general NS Rajendran said today the government had opted for a more “responsible approach” with a long-term solution to address the under-representation and under-performance of Indians in education, employment and wealth creation.
“If it was to win votes in GE14, we could have placed a timeline of one to two years to complete delivery of MIB, which would have had the intended effect of increasing Indian votes come GE14,” he said in a statement.
He said Sedic, which comes under the Prime Minister’s Department, will be expanded and provided “sufficient resources, authority and credibility” in the administration to coordinate and oversee the execution of the plan’s deliverables.
A separate and independent monitoring mechanism will also be put in place to ensure setbacks are analysed and rectified, he added.
The yearly targets of the MIB will be annually audited by the monitoring body for tabling to the Cabinet Committee on Indian Participation in Government Programmes and Projects (CCIC) and its executive committee.
“This strategy will effectively combat the longevity issue faced by other initiatives,” he said.
“The outcomes of these deliverables will be published in an annual performance report for your consumption,” he added.
Rajendran was responding to Klang MP Charles Santiago of the DAP and Seri Andalas assemblyman Dr Xavier Jayakumar of PKR, who told a press conference yesterday that the MIB did not address problems faced by hardcore poor Indians.
Santiago said the MIB did not focus on how to move the B40 group, comprising the bottom 40% of households with monthly incomes of RM3,900 and below, up the socio-economic ladder and increase their wealth.
Jayakumar meanwhile questioned why the government needed 10 years to resolve the issue of stateless Indians, saying the opposition would resolve the matter in six months if it took power.
Rajendran said the MIB comprised 38 “dynamic targets” to be reached within the next ten years, with some to be accomplished before 2020.
“Therefore it is misleading to state that the targets will only be realised in the tenth year,” he said.
“These leaders could have approached us to clear any doubts cast on MIB and we could have provided the facts,” he added.
“It was clearly not in the best of intentions to see an improvement within the Malaysian Indian community.”
He thanked Prime Minister Najib Razak for the trust bestowed on him to lead the team in the “unprecedented undertaking” to uplift the socio-economic level of Indians, especially those in the B40 group.
Najib launched the federal government’s ten-year action plan to uplift the socio-economic status of Indians in Malaysia on April 23, with an allocation of more than RM1 billion.
Rajendran also said the MIB was not a “sudden intervention” as claimed by many.
He said that since 2009, government policies and mechanisms had been launched under the CCIC with four new units and organisations set up to deal with business enhancement, Tamil schools, ICBC and overall socio-economic empowerment.
Tags: FMT, Malaysia, KL, Malaysian Indian Blueprint, Sedic, Unit for Socioeconomic Development of Indian Community, NS Rajendran, Charles Santiago, Xavier Jayakumar, GE14 -FMT

CROCODILE TEARS: MAHATHIR AND PROTON


It is better for Malaysia to own 50.1% of a company that has chance to survive and have a market of 1.43 billion people than to own 100% of a company that is on the verge of bankruptcy and losing billions of Ringgit every year in a market of just 30 million people.
(LSS) –1. Proton sales started to decline in the year 2003 while Tun Mahathir was still Prime Minister. Just two years later in 2005, it was overtaken by Perodua in the Malaysia market and overtaken by Honda in 2016.
  
Exports sales to UK and Singapore have now dropped to zero.

In Australia, from Jan to April 2017, Proton only managed to sell 11 cars.


2. Lotus Cars have lost money every single year since Proton bought the company in 1996 - losing a total of an estimated RM6 billion over the past 20 years and RM920 million in 2013 alone.
 

3. Tun Mahathir had asked Volkswagen to take a 50% stake in Proton in the year 2005 but the deal did not happen. Later, Tun Mahathir asked the government to sell all of Proton to DRB-Hicom in 2011.
 
4. Since DRB-Hicom fully took over in 2012, Proton have lost RM4 billion. In the year 2016 alone, Proton lost RM1.4 billion. Proon had also dragged the parent DRB-Hicom group into losses - putting 100,000 jobs at risk.

5. The heavy losses and lack of cash in Proton also caused payments to Proton suppliers and vendors to be unpaid - putting another 40,000 jobs at risk.

Mahathir's son, Mokhzani Mahathir owns the official distributor of Porsche cars in Malaysia and has a long involvement in the local Auto Industry. The situation is so bad that Mokhzani, who had a fortune of RM4.22 billion in the year 2014 and is the second richest Malay tycoon, did not dare to pay the RM1.1 billion to buy up DRB-Hicom's stake to help save Proton

6. Due to the big amount of jobs at risk, the govt had no choice but to give RM1.5 billion in soft loans to Proton in early 2016 which Proton immediately used up to clear off all its debt to its suppliers and vendors. In late 2016, the govt was also forced to give another RM1.7 billion in credit line to Proton to enable it to continue operating.

7. The total assistance given by Govt to Proton in 2016 alone is RM3.2 billion -  This is more than half of the RM5.9 billion that the govt paid in BR1M to 4.7 million households and 2.7 million single individuals for the year 2016.

This would be on top of the RM14 billion assistance that the govt had given Proton since it was founded.

8. After being made Chairman of Proton in Jan 2014, it was Mahathir and Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar who traveled to China in April 2014 to invite Geely to help save Proton. It was Mahathir who first approached Geely for help.



The Govt no longer owns Proton. The sale to Geely was DRB Hicom's decision - not the govt.

As pointed out earlier, it was Mahathir who had asked Govt to sell its stake in Proton to DRB Hicom, a private company, which then sold a stake to Geely.

Therefore, it is strange for Mahathir to suddenly criticize the sale of a stake in Proton to China's Geely and claim he is crying since it was Mahathir who first said that Proton should sell a stake to Germany's Volkswagen in 2005, it was Mahathir who asked Government to sell all its stake in Proton to a private company in 2011 and it was Mahathir who first approached Geely in China in 2014 to ask it to help save Proton.

In fact, just 3 months ago in February 2017, Mahathir said he has no objection with Geely buying a stake in Proton. Suddenly, 3 months later he criticizes the government, blames Najib and he says he wants to cry because his "son" was sold?

Looks more like Mahathir was the one who sold his own son instead. Bapak jual anak!


Even though Mahathir was instrumental in the govt selling off Proton to private companies and in getting Geely to be interested in Proton, this has not stopped Mahathir from going all over Malaysia during the month of Ramadhan to slander and blame Prime Minister Najib over Proton's sale and make low-classed jokes about Najib's wife. This is from two days before Ramadhan started.

   

Of course, Mahathir supporters and fan-pages take their cue from his low-class jibes and proceeds to hit even lower lows with posts such as this - on the first day of Ramadhan too.



9. Proton continues to be 50.1% majority-owned by DRB-Hicom, a Malaysian company while Geely owns 49.9%. Geely has a good track-record. After buying 100% of Volvo from Sweden in 2010, Geely has helped make Volvo a success. Last year, Volvo sold the highest number of cars in its history - it's fourth straight years of record sales.

10. By partnering with Geely, Proton's survival is more assured. Instead of a market of just 30 million people in Malaysia, Proton can now access a market of 1.4 billion people in China.

It is better for Malaysia to own 50.1% of a company that has chance to survive and have a market of 1.43 billion people than to own 100% of a company that is on the verge of bankruptcy and losing billions of Ringgit every year in a market of just 30 million people.

Terengganu not ready to implement hudud, says MB



Terengganu is not prepared to implement hudud law before an in-depth study on it is conducted, says Menteri Besar Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.
He said the decision to implement hudud law could only be determined by the state legislative assembly and after getting the consent of the Terengganu Sultan.
"We are now focusing on Bill 355...once it is approved, only then can we see which Islamic law provisions can be implemented under the bill. We should not rush into this matter."

He said this reporters after distributing about 1,500 packs of savoury rice porridge to the public at Abidin Mosque in Kuala Terengganu today.
Ahmad Razif was commenting on a statement by state Telecommunications, Multimedia and Special Tasks Committee chairperson Ghazali Taib who during the Terengganu Media 'Kembara Dakwah' event in Aceh yesterday said, Terengganu would continue to fight for the implementation of Islamic law in the state.
"That was probably his personal view on the provision which had been passed by the state government earlier," he said.
Bernama

Roaches in your dates? Health Ministry urges caution Read more



The Health Ministry urges consumers to check the food they purchase, following social media postings of dates infested with cockroaches and beetles.
Dates are popular during the month of Ramadan, which starts today, as they are conventionally eaten by Muslims to break their daily fast.
"The Health Ministry takes note of viral social media postings of dates infested with cockroaches and beetles.
"We view this seriously and will heighten monitoring of date products sold locally and at the entry points of these products to ensure they are safe for consumption.
"We also urge consumers to use their rights to ensure their products are clean and safe (by) reading the labels and inspecting, smelling and tasting the foods to avoid purchasing spoilt or unclean items," Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.
He also urged consumers to contact their local health departments if there are concerns over food safety.

In a Facebook posting, which has gone viral, a user urged consumers to check the insides of their dates for cockroach eggs.
The Facebook user showed pictures of dates which had these alleged cockroach eggs, and said it does not matter what brand the dates are.
"I am just sharing this advice so others don't end up eating cockroaches. It is better to eat rice than to each cockroaches," she said.- Mkini

Costly chicken on first day of Ramadan for Alor Setar folk



It's the first day of Ramadan, and the price of chicken in Alor Setar has increased to RM8.50 per kg, up from the previous RM7.80.
A survey at the Alor Setar market found that most traders had no choice but to raise the price saying it was due to an increase in ex-farm prices in the last three days.
A poultry trader, Mohd Lutfi Abdul Ghani, 57, said that he had reduced his daily stockpile of chicken from 100 to 70, for fear they could not be sold.

"There are consumers who complain, but some of them understand as well. We as traders cannot do anything, because the price of chicken at the farm has also gone up.
"Before, the farm price was RM5.90 and it has now gone up to RM6.40. Breeders justify the increase due to rising feed prices as well as the increase in prices for petrol and diesel, leading to higher transportation costs," he told Bernama in Alor Setar today.
Another trader, Wan Ahmad Fauzi Wan Ramli, 46, said the rise in price for chicken at the market was also due to heightened demand from consumers following a price increase for the kembong fish.
- Bernama

Here’s four other times US lobbyists made Malaysian headlines



Once again, US lobbyists have come under the spotlight in Malaysia while working on Malaysian payroll.
This time, it was Pandan MP Mohd Rafizi Ramli who claimed that the Johor-based Godfrey Group Limited is paying The 45 Group LLC in the US US$25,000 per month to strengthen relations between Malaysia and the US.
This, he said, raises questions on whether the lobbyist was involved in lobbying on cases that implicated Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, such as the 1MDB scandal.
Najib had consistently denied wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal, while his aide Tengku Sharifuddin Tengku Ahmad had denied that the government had instructed, appointed, or contracted Godfrey, The 45 Group, or The 45 Group CEO Healy Baumgardner-Nardone.
This is contrary to documents lodged to the US Department of Justice under its Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara).
Nevertheless, Baumgardner-Nardone and The 45 Group was far from the first to come under scrutiny in Malaysia. Here are several others:
Apco Worldwide
In April 2010, the then-Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz revealed that Malaysia had paid over US$24.2 million to Apco Worldwide over the course of a year, or about RM76.8 million at the time.
Apco was hired to improve Malaysia’s image and strengthen relations between Malaysia and the US from 2009 to 2010.
“In US, there is the lobby culture. That is normal, every country who wants to be close to US has to resort to lobbying. You think a local company can do that for us?” he said in justifying the cost.
He added that it was not easy to secure a meeting between Najib and the then-US president Barack Obama, as well as other meetings between Malaysian and US officials.
Later in 2013, it was revealed that Apco Worldwide together with David All Group and FBC Media had paid several opinion writers to run a smear campaign aimed at then-Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
One writer, Joshua Trevino, filed a Fara disclosure that he was paid US$389,724.70 (about RM1.2 million) for his work between May 2008 and April 2011, which includes commissioning 10 other writers.
Asia Pacific Policy Centre
In 2009, Anwar revealed in court that the Prime Minister’s Office and the Malaysian think-tank Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) had established ties with the US lobby group Asia Pacific Policy Centre (APPC).
This was to establish better ties with Asia Pacific leaders, especially the US.
“APPC along with ISIS (was) tasked to invite US congress leaders to come to a series of dialogues here,” he told the Kuala Lumpur High Court, adding that the events would be launched by the then-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and not him.
Anwar said he also knew APPC head Douglas H Paal and consented to him writing a pro-Anwar article following his arrest in 1998.
The case pertained a defamation suit by Anwar against the New Straits Times for linking Anwar to the lobbyist, insinuating that Anwar is a foreign agent, and that he had stashed away RM3 billion in foreign accounts.
Anwar eventually won the case and was awarded RM100,000 in damages. The presiding judge noted that there is nothing sinister in engaging APPC to foster dialogue.
“Looking at it in this light, I do not think members of the community will see anything wrong with the government funding the dialogues. There cannot be anything defamatory about this.
“Certainly, the imputation about the plaintiff (Anwar) being an American agent is quite baseless,” said the then-judicial commissioner judicial commissioner Harminder Singh Dhaliwall.
Jack Abramoff
In 2006, reports emerged that US Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff played a role in arranging a meeting in May 2002 between the then-prime minister Mahathir and then-US President George W Bush.
The Los Angeles Times reported that he had contacted presidential adviser Karl Rove at least on four occasions to arrange the meeting, before he was told Mahathir would soon been getting an official White House invitation.
The Malaysian embassy in Washington DC had paid Abramoff US$1.2 million (RM4.4 million) to arrange the meeting, said a report by the US Senate Committee of Indian Affairs.
The committee had turned up documents regarding Abramoff’s lobbying work for Malaysia while investigating allegations that he was defrauded a number of Native American tribes that had sought his services in establishing their gambling operations. Abramoff had pleaded guilty to the fraud.
Mahathir had previously denied that Malaysia had paid to arrange the meeting.
“I understood some people paid a sum of money to lobbyists in America but I do not know who these people were and it was not the Malaysian government,” Bernama quoted him as saying.

Alexander Strategy Group
There was at least one other Washington lobbying firm involved in arranging the meeting between Mahathir and Bush, and that is the firm Alexander Strategies.
The firm was run by Abramoff’s friend and former chief of staff to then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay - was also paid up to US$1 million (RM3.7 million) during this period for helping boost Malaysia's reputation in Washington.
The firm was also credited for arranging trips for US members of Congress to Malaysia, including for including DeLay and several Democrats.- Mkini

‘MALAY FAMILY OF 5 EATING WHITE RICE & SHARING 2 PIECES OF CHICKEN’? TIME RUNS OUT ON NAJIB – UMNO WILL BE KICKED OUT BY DR M’S GRAND COALITION AFTER OCTOBER BUDGET IS TABLED

For those of you who do not know him, Mr Koon Yew Yin is Malaysia’s version of Warren Buffet.
Warren Buffet was once the richest man in the US. He is still among the Top 3 beside Bill Gates and one more. Warren Buffet is a savvy stock market investor in the US.
Koon Yew Yin is also a very successful stock market investor with a networth that runs into the hundreds of millions of Ringgit (or more).
I saw him in person yesterday at an event at Hotel Istana. Despite being a multi-millionaire (if not a billionaire) Mr Koon arrived by LRT.
Mr Koon also writes a blog and makes very frank and honest comments about things.
Today he has written about the Barisan Nasional’s imminent demise at the next general elections.
Opposition Grand Coalition Can KO Barisan
According to news report on the celebration of UMNO’s 71 anniversary, Prime Minister Najib has teased the UMNO supporters by asking if he should dissolve Parliament as early as the next day.
Well, some observers see it as a sign that he is very confident of a victory and that he may call for an election soon.
However, there are two sayings which he needs to be reminded.
One is the old saying – “Pride goes before a fall”
The other is a quote attributed to Harold Washington, the first African-American elected as Mayor of Chicago. “Let’s not be overconfident, we still have to count the votes.”
BN sponsored analysts who dominate the official media have been saying that BN has more than the required number of votes to win the next election by a comfortable margin. In fact, some are so confident that they are assuring BN of a more than two thirds majority. Because these analysts are tied to the BN money machine, this message of a big BN victory will be drummed into our heads for the next few months.
But is this big BN victory a sure thing?
Going by my knowledge of politics in Ipoh and Perak, I wish to differ.
Tide Turning Against BN
In Perak, most voters have not forgotten that power was stolen from Pakatan by the BN through unconstitutional means by Najib with the assistance of the present MB Zambry.
In the next election, many voters will want to correct the injustice and vote for the opposition.
Included in this group will be most of the civil servants as well as Felda settlers who have been regarded as UMNO’s and BN’s vote banks.
To some extent these voters have also been PAS’s vote banks.
But will the Malay civil servants and Felda settlers continue to allow themselves to be swayed by racial and religious politics; and vote with their hearts rather than with their heads in the next election.
Or will they realize that both UMNO and PAS have let them down badly and are not worth the support that the two parties have been provided with during the past 50 years and more.
Today, everyone except for the elite are suffering from a socio-economic crisis arising from the mismanagement of the economy and pervasive corruption. Food is more expensive, transport prices have soared, education costs have escalated.
According to Ceupacs President, Azih Muda, civil servants have ended up heavily in debt to manage rising living costs, to the point that more than 60,000 of them risk bankruptcy.
“This is a direct effect of the hike in cost of living. Civil servants end up taking up a lot of loans and this is unsustainable and they are unable to manage their finances,” Azih told the foreign news agency Reuters.
Of course, this report was not carried in the mainstream Malay media. Neither have been the numerous reports on the financial mess that UMNO leaders have inflicted on Feilda settlers through the launch of Felda Global Ventures Berhad.
The plight of civil servants and Felda settlers was totally ignored by UMNO during its lavish anniversary celebrations.
Correction: it was not ignored because UMNO dished out freebies such as sweets, candies, biscuits, and Gardenia sponge cakes. Big show but pathetic deal which has gone viral.
I am sure the opposition parties will be using the images of these UMNO freebies in contrast to the 1MDB and other goodies spread the Prime Minister to show around the kampungs when election time comes around.
This publicity stunt by UMNO that it is taking care of Malay welfare is so brainless that I am surprised that it was agreed to by Najib and his team. But then at the same time I am not surprised. It shows the level of disrespect and contempt that UMNO’s leadership has for its grassroots.
Throw them a few goodies and they will be satisfied seems to be the UMNO message.
This time though I am sure the revolt of the Malay masses will take place. And when this revolt led by the civil servants and Felda settlers happens at the polling booth, a new page in our nation’s history will be reached.
Battle for Change Led by Dr. Mahathir
Fittingly, the battle for change will be led by Dr. Mahathir. Several weeks ago, I attended a Parti Pribumi Bersatu meeting at Padang Rengas, Kuala Kangsar where I took the opportunity to renew my friendship with him and gave him a copy of my book,” Road Map for Achieving Vision 2020” which was partly inspired by Dr. Mahathir’s vision for our nation’s future. Dr Mahathir was my business partner before he became the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the function organised by Parti Satu, mostly ex-UMNO members, attended the function.
It is not only the Malay masses who will push for change. Today we have a new opposition coalition which will operate as a single entity against Barisan Nasional. Featuring PPBM, DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara as its component members, the opposition coalition will also include East Malaysian parties. This is an unprecedented grand coalition of Malaysian anti-BN voters which in my opinion can bring about the biggest upset in our political history once it gets its act together.
In the last GE, the opposition secured more than 51 percent of the total votes, but in terms of state and parliamentary seats, the opposition had less than BN because of the gerrymandering.
Although the gerrymandering will continue during the next elections, the significant difference is that Dr. Mahathir’s new party under Tan Sri Muhyiddin will be competing for Malay votes in the small towns and villages.
I believe too that PAS is deeply divided under President Hadi Awang, who is presently very sick and unable to exert much influence. Once it becomes clear that the new grand opposition coalition will win, I expect many Pas leaders and voters to join the opposition and leave BN, the sinking boat.
My comments : When will the elections be held? Its all about making people feel good.
There will be a hype up over Bulan Puasa from May 27 till about June 26th.
The Civil Servants will be treated to makan tak habis type ‘gomen sponsored’ Buka Puasa. Make them feel ‘kenyang’.
The stock market may see a Ramadhan Rally – to make the Chinese happy as well. There are few or no more Malay investors (“punters”) in the Stock Market.
There will be a big boost up over Hari Raya (June 26th). Possibly PLUS will be told to give huge Toll Discounts over the Hari Raya holidays. (Of course they can claim it back from the gomen).
Throughout July, after Hari Raya, there will be one month of Syawal Open Houses (from June 26 till July 25th) to make the Civil Servants happy. This year will see an overflow of feasting in the Month of Syawal at Minister’s and Ministry ‘open houses’.
Come August, there will be more “feel good” for the 60th Merdeka Celebrations. It will be one month of flag waving, chest thumping and butt kissing.
The SEA Games will also be held around this time (19th – 20th August). More opportunities to pump up the “feel good”.
The “feel good” will peak at the Budget 2018 which will be tabled in October. Many goodies will be given out, taxes cut, taxes and duties on cars will be cut (since Proton has been sold to Geely) causing a significant drop in car prices (thank you in advance).
Since “feel good” is very expensive and the “feel good” can disappear very quickly without money, they will likely dissolve Parliament just after the October Budget.
Time is not on their side. As more time passes, things are getting worse for the Malays. The Elders talked about seeing a Malay family of five eating white rice and sharing two pieces of chicken.
Mr Koon Yew Yin is correct. They will be kicked out.
– http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.my

BOMBSHELL – NAJIB TO TABLE NEW BOUNDARIES IN JULY, DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT IN AUGUST, HOLD GE14 SEPT ONWARDS?

Earlier this month, in historic legal victories, BERSIH 2.0 Outreach Officer Chan Tsu Chong along with six others were granted leave and a stay order to challenge the Election Commission’s (EC) delineation proposals in Melaka.
This means the process of re-drawing the election boundaries for Melaka has been suspended until the court case is completed.
This builds upon the work already done in Selangor to challenge the new proposals.
The importance of these legal challenges for the fate of the Fourteenth General Election (GE14) can’t be overstated.
The EC’s motivations for the new boundaries are obvious. The new boundaries are there to shift the balance of seats to secure a strong Barisan Nasional (BN) victory in the next election.
The political motivations behind the EC’s boundaries
According to research by Politweet, BN can win an additional 11 seats in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly with the new boundaries proposed in September 2016. These 11 seats would be won with no changes in votes from GE13 but only through the shifting of voters to strategic seats for BN.
Similarly, in the September 2016 proposals for Melaka, the seat of Bukit Baru, won by Pakatan Rakyat by 48 votes in GE13, would be won by BN with a 1,600-vote majority with the new boundaries. The marginal seat of Telok Mas, won by BN by just 700 votes in GE13, would become a safe seat with a 3,000-vote majority.
Worse still, based on the September 2016 proposal, the Bukit Katil federal seat, won by Pakatan Rakyat in GE13 by nearly 7,000 votes, would now be won by BN with a 4,800 vote majority. This move is especially suspicious, given that in August 2016, one month before the proposal became public, the Melaka Chief Minister called for the EC to change Bukit Katil boundaries to make it easier for BN to win.
The same pattern emerges throughout the country. In Perak, the safe Pakatan Rakyat seats in GE13 of Changkat Jering and Sungai Rapat would be won by BN, with no change in votes. In Kuala Lumpur, Nurul Izzah Anwar would lose the seat of Lembah Pantai.
The legal challenges
For the first time in our history, the EC is being dragged to court over and over again to stop their flagrant cheating through delineation. The rakyat have shown their outrage, with more than 1,000 objections submitted to the EC between September 2016 and April 2017 over their proposals.
The EC has been inundated with legal cases on delineation. So far, 11 cases have been filed in courts across the country, challenging the lack of information provided (yes, the EC doesn’t even want to tell voters how they are affected!), the unconstitutional proposals and the EC’s refusal to hold local inquiries when legally required to do so.
So far, there have been some brave High Court judges willing to take a stand.
Judges Azizul Azmi Adnan and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera for the Selangor and Melaka cases, respectively, have both granted leave to hear the arguments of the case and have put a stay on further action by the EC to re-draw the boundaries in those two states.
The Selangor State Government’s challenge is now being heard in court and we have already heard some startling revelations from the EC, including that the information related to 136,000 addresses on the electoral roll has been destroyed.
I think it is fair to say we can expect more such ludicrous explanations from the EC as the cases progress.
What does this mean for GE14?
Even though the Federal Constitution allows the EC up to two years to complete the delineation exercise, the EC now seems to be desperate to finish the process as soon as possible. We can only wonder why this would be the case.
If the EC cared to follow the Constitution, once the court granted a stay for Selangor, this should have halted the process for the whole of the peninsula. This is because the Constitution says peninsular Malaysia must be treated as a whole unit when drawing constituencies.
However, the EC has decided to continue the delineation process “excluding the state of Selangor”. It is clear the EC is trying to bulldoze their proposal through no matter what the courts say. It shows complete contempt for the rule of law and our Federal Constitution.
On a positive note, it looks like the boundaries to the federal and state seats in Selangor may have been saved from the changes that would have led to a rigged election in a state BN is desperate to win back.
For the rest of the country, we can only speculate what the EC’s plans are.
It is now possible the EC will take the unconstitutional step of presenting their final proposals to the Prime Minister without completing the process for Selangor and Melaka. The Prime Minister can then table the new boundaries in Parliament by the end of July and announce the dissolution of Parliament by August. The election can then be held as early as September.
The EC Up to the Same Old Tricks
We are fully aware of how the process would have been conducted if the EC were not merely a puppet for the ruling party.
The Constitution is clear. Seats in the same state must have “approximately equal” number of voters and the EC must try to follow local ties in drawing the boundaries.
If the EC were fair, we would not have a seat in Selangor with more than 150,000 voters (Petaling Jaya Utara) and another with just 37,000 voters (Sabak Bernam). We would not have boundaries that cut households or communities in half to suit certain voting patterns. Local councils would not be criss-crossed with constituency boundaries, resulting in councillors having to communicate with multiple MPs on local issues.
In the past year, public confidence in the EC has been further eroded. They have refused to supply draft electoral rolls to the public. They have allowed people to register in constituencies they have never lived in. They have restricted voter registration exercises by limiting the number of forms available. Their actions in relation to delineation should be the final nail in the coffin.
While BERSIH 2.0 will continue to fight for reforms and an independent EC before GE14, what matters most now is the people’s power to overcome this cheating and manipulation. The rakyat must once again come out and make their vote count. Only with overwhelming voter turnout on Election Day do we have a chance to override the EC’s underhanded tactics.
Zoƫ Randhawa is Advocacy Officer for BERSIH 2.0.
– Mail Bag