September 21, 2008
Spooked by political scenario
THE BEAT WITH WONG CHUN WAI
endless politicking has dented our image abroad: Malaysia is no longer seen as
a viable place for serious investment.
IT’S been six months since the March
8 general election but the perception is that many Malaysians just do not know
how to stop politicking, to the point that we are in danger of becoming a
political basket case.
Let’s start with Umno, the backbone
of the Barisan Nasional. Despite being whipped by the Pakatan Rakyat in the
elections, the perception is that it has failed to make serious changes.
Some of the leaders acknowledge the
need to reinvent the party to win back the votes and to assess why it suffered
such massive losses. But if there is any serious remake of the party, it has
not been seen.
Politically, the perception given is
that it believes that the losses would have not happen had the Malay swing to
the opposition not materialised, and it believes that segments of the Malays
now regret the political shift.
Some of the older Umno leaders, who
have lost connection with the younger Malay electorate, cherish the old ways of
politics, believing that if it worked during their time, it would work again.
Some push the race card, preferring
to still talk of race supremacy, refusing to accept that this would only
further alienate Malaysians who have long grown sick of such race politics.
In states under Pakatan Rakyat,
there are Umno leaders who still act as if they are in the government, still
referring to the new state government leaders as opposition.
Many Umno leaders in these
Pakatan-controlled states are unable to function as opposition figures. In
fact, some have not even come to terms with this harsh reality after six
Some in the old schools of politics
are still unable to comprehend the New Media as the new tool of politics.
The newspapers continue to be
scanned for criticism, however mild they may be, while the free-wheeling
comments on the Net are perceived as near anarchy by them.
From indecisive actions to downright
silly responses, some Umno leaders are still wondering why the party has become
unpopular as some continue shooting themselves in the foot.
And instead of regaining the trust
of the people after the March 8 damage, they channel their resources and energy
to their Umno polls €“ as the rakyat watch and shake their heads in disbelief.
By the way, Datuk Seri Anwar
Ibrahim’s gathering in Kelana Jaya last week was broadcast “live” on his blog
with clear visual and sound bites, and surely this must be news for many Umno
And speaking of Anwar, his
impatience has always been his Achilles’ heels, as the manner he has pushed for
the defections of Barisan Nasional elected representatives has raised many
Everything may be fair game in a
war, as his supporters have justified in their efforts to topple the
government. But the result is that the Pakatan is now accused of wooing
backbenchers with offers of government positions and money, which goes against
the principles of what it is supposedly fighting for.
Even if these allegations are
baseless, it is not correct for elected representatives to defect, no matter
how convincing the arguments.
But Sept 16 was never meant to be a
reality. It fired up the imagination of many Malaysians against an unpopular
government but if Anwar truly had the numbers, it would have been game over.
It was merely a clever political
poker tactic, which his critics would call a bluff, but the truth shall
If it were true, these defectors
would have stood behind Anwar at the press conference and declared their new
The biggest losers would be ordinary
Malaysians, not the politicians waiting to reap the rewards, because investors
have become jittery about the Malaysian market.
The Pakatan should just get on with
the task of governing their states, and the perception is that in Penang and
Selangor, the Chief Minister and Mentri Besar are performing reasonably well.
Prove their worth, take the fight in
the next round and they could just finish off the Barisan Nasional this time,
if the coalition still cannot handle themselves well.
The endless, if not mindless,
politicking has dented our image abroad as Malaysia is no longer seen as a
place for serious investment.
Why should investors put up with
speculations over whether the federal government would collapse, the sexual
preferences of our politicians, who would be hauled up under the Internal
Security Act next and whether our Ministers are in their offices to listen to
an investment proposal or out busy campaigning for their party polls.
Malaysians want to see politicians
doing some real work, not taking a trip to Taiwan supposedly to learn about
agriculture or wooing MPs to switch camps.