Saturday, April 10, 2010

No more Thatcherist policies!

I have a single-mother friend who works hard to earn RM3,000 a month. She rents a tiny apartment for RM550 and doesn't own any vehicles. Her monthly traveling expenses fluctuate between RM150-220. On top of her own household expenditure she pays her 70-year-old mother a monthly allowance of RM350. She also has to repay an old credit card debt dating back years, which leaves her with just enough to scrape by each month.

Doesn't her mother qualify for welfare, I ask her. Yes, but the amount on offer is RM100 a year. That might have been worth something 50 years ago.

My friend is just one among millions of working Malaysians who can barely make ends meet in a world of shrinking job opportunities and ballooning inflation. There's absolutely no way she could ever aspire to become a BN minister and gain access to virtually unlimited unofficial "commissions."

This is essentially how a feudalistic rightwing economy is structured. The greatest number support with their blood, sweat and tears a tiny, privileged and utterly spoilt handful who think nothing of squandering millions just to boost their own inflated egos and play the ketuanan game to the hilt.

Mahathir turned Umno into an ultra-racist party driven by arrogance and greed. He created and befriended tycoons and developers while completely overlooking ordinary citizens. In England this kind of economic policy was dubbed Thatcherism.

It's time for a radical swing to the left. We desperately need an economic policy that truly serves the public - not just private capital interests. The longer Umno remains in power, the harder life will get for the majority of the working class.

Extravagant monuments to megalomaniacal egos - coupled with unabashed looting of the public purse by the ruling elite and their capitalist cronies - have brought Malaysia close to moral and financial bankruptcy.

The only route to salvation lies in banishing Umno/BN from power. Next week, the campaign for Ulu Selangor begins in earnest. A defeat for Pakatan Rakyat would mean almost certain doom for the rakyat's aspirations. A triumphant BN will continue working around the clock to sabotage, undermine and buy over weak elements from the political opposition - until it regains its two-thirds majority in parliament.

If that happens, Umno/BN will be in a position to ensure that a tsunami like the one on 8 March 2008 will never again happen. They will risk worldwide criticism and ostracism by imprisoning key opposition leaders and silencing the critics. Malaysia will become an undisguised police state and potential wealth-generators will migrate in droves, leaving the rest of us to fester in a political backwater akin to Burma and Zimbabwe.

Voters of Ulu Selangor, it's our sacred duty to whack the shit out of Umno/BN on April 25th.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Courtesy of MediaRakyat (18 March 2010)



Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will probably have observed that I haven't been addressing political issues - at least not in my characteristic swashbuckling style - since I returned from an unplanned pilgrimage to the Sungai Buloh hospital in early January.

This isn't because I fear for my personal safety at the hands of an enraged Rais Yatim (right) - the irascible Information, Communications and Culture with a reputation for threatening bloggers with "stern action" - (which makes him sound like a closet pederast, if you happen to be familiar with nautical terminology).

Nor is it because I have given up the battle against BN's 53-year misrule. On the contrary, I'm as determined as ever that before too long all decent folk will be celebrating the installation of a Pakatan Rakyat federal government; the abolition of archaic oppressive laws; an exhaustive reform of the deformed police force, judiciary and civil service; and the flowering of a more democratic, more open and far more just new era in the nation's evolution.

The real reason I've taken a break from writing acerbic commentaries on the political scene is that I was enjoying a period of expanded consciousness that afforded me an eagle's eyeview of events occurring on multiple levels on this planet - and beyond. In effect, my focus was on the macro rather than the micro - and, besides, there are already enough political commentaries appearing on a daily basis on various blogs and news portals.

Unlike Raja Petra Kamarudin (left) - arguably the best-informed, most audacious political analyst and catalyst Malaysia has ever produced - I have little or no access to juicy gossip from within the corridors of power. At this juncture I can only repeat what I've been saying for the past few years (in fact, my entire adult life): Banish Umno/BN from power... or migrate!

I'm too long in the teeth to start all over again in a different country. So I have no option but to dig my heels in and contribute what I can towards the political sea and sky change that's long overdue.

I keep bumping into friends with rightwing views who stubbornly cling to the spurious notion that it's safer to support the devil you know - rather than risk an unknown quantity like Pakatan Rakyat taking over the reins of power. Such unimaginative perceptions are so tedious and tiresome to my ears I can hardly be bothered to argue with them.

However, all those who endorse the status quo are invariably from the comfortable upper middle class who made their pile during the Mahathir era. They were very much part of the rapid material growth Mahathir envisaged as crucial to his ambition to be leader of a "developed" nation and founder of a powerful political dynasty. For this segment of society, authoritarian and repressive governments are acceptable simply because they can maintain, by force if necessary, a degree of political stability. They know that obnoxious laws like the ISA and the Police Act against "illegal assembly" do not apply to them - only to rabble-rousing idealists and the long-suffering underclass.

Well, I am neither a rabble-rousing idealist nor a member of the oppressed underclass - but I cannot lend my support to authoritarianism of any stripe, especially when it's heavily laced with the grossly insensitive patriarchal bias that invariably accompanies a rapacious ecocidal agenda.

Najib's regime, taking a cue from the cynical and Machiavellian Dr Mahathir, is undeniably an authoritarian one with a patriarchal underbelly. It attempts to pump itself up through systematic propaganda (courtesy of public relations consultant APCO Worldwide) combined with brute force (courtesy of the Royal Malaysian Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission). It's above all an irredeemably corrupt and cynical rightwing fascist regime bereft of ideas and utterly indifferent to the population at large - except when elections are called and they need to go around buying votes and bribing constituents with baubles and instant projects.

(Pic by Ginie Lim)

On March 26th Anwar Ibrahim was the star speaker at a rally in Kuala Kubu Bharu to inaugurate the "Save Malaysia" campaign. There may have been as many as 10,000 people from as far away as Rawang and Tanjong Malim filling the KKB mini-stadium - and a tangible excitement rippled through the crowd when Anwar arrived, just before 11pm. It was the sort of thrill you might expect to feel at a rock concert just before the band takes its position on stage and the show's about to kick off.

Note the unsmiling guy on the right. Is he SB or Umno? (Pic by Ginie Lim)
Earlier the crowd had shown mentri besar Khalid Ibrahim a very warm welcome. It was obvious that the people genuinely like the new chief minister; their applause was spontaneous and wholehearted.

The moment Anwar took his place at the lectern he had the crowd eating out of his hand. He was in great comedic form as he took swipes at Najib's bungling attempts to continue pulling the wool over the sheeple's eyes.

It was impossible not to wish that I could fast-forward to a much more open-ended and promising future with Anwar Ibrahim securely installed as a prime minister we can sincerely love and respect - and Pakatan Rakyat forming the federal government with a comfortable majority in parliament.

Meanwhile, there's a significant by-election coming up in Ulu Selangor and I shall be forced to stick my nose back into the political stew and ensure that those Nazi wannabes in Umno/BN lose this one big time.

'Save Malaysia': unprecedented turnout at the KKB Mini-Stadium (pic by Ginie Lim)