Thursday, November 24, 2022

Are they different - PH, PN or BN in terms of position/principles/ideology? Only difference are personalities involved or...? Parties need be clear on what they are fighting for specifically...?

What exactly are the differences that are keeping the different coalitions coming together, to simply choose a Prime Minister in Malaysia? Really, just expressing confidence in one MP to be able to play the role of PM, noting that thereafter there is nothing stopping any MP from objecting, supporting or even amending proposals relating to laws that are tabled in Parliament. Remember, all MPs are FREE to speak out and vote as per their own conscience, principles and values - provided they FREE themselves from the 'feudalistic-type mentality' of having to follow the decision of their party leaders or leadership. MPs represent the people, and Malaysians chose persons, not parties, to be their peoples' representative.

Common features of most existing coalitions in Malaysia - PH, PN, BN and GPS

ALL are multi-ethnic and multi-religious, and seek not to exclude any Malaysians

PH - well it includes PKR(a party that is open to all peoples of Malaysia irrespective of ethnicity or religion), DAP (is the same - but reality sadly saw it drawing more members from particular ethnic groups) and Amanah(well, this is a party that its membership is open to Muslim only, I believe).

PN - well there is PAS( a party whose membership is only for Muslims, but it has made room for non-Muslims through its PAS Supporters Club, and have historically also placed non-Muslim persons as PAS candidates for elections), BERSATU (again a party not open to all ethnic groups), and then there is GERAKAN( a multi-racial, multi-religious party - but like DAP has had the 'misfortune' of attracting mostly non-Malay membership)

BN - well, UMNO is a party open to only Malays(now to only 'Bumiputras') - but is still seen very much as a Malay Muslim dominant party, MCA ( a party that is still open to only Chinese Malaysians), MIC (a party that is open to only Indian Malaysians - but ended up sadly being 'dominated' by one Indian ethnicity - the Tamil)

GPS - in Sarawak, at current the last Christian majority state(over 60%), and with a variety of different ethnicities like Iban, Kenyah, Melanau, Penan, etc > making it really simply a Sarawakian peoples' coalition of parties.

So, all in all, are major coalitions that won in GE15 are essentially multi-ethnic and multi-religious in nature. 

Sadly, in Malaysia ethic and religious differences are still used to divide Malaysians, and one reason for this is the continued existence of political parties in Malaysia that is OPEN only to persons from certain ethnic or religious groups > and the BLAME at the end of the should really lie with the BRITISH colonial government, who elected the 'divide and rule' policy in the governing of Malaysia.

Post-MERDEKA policy of the ruling government seem to have been to maintain that ethnic differences, but who can blame when power was handed over to essentially 3 ethnic based parties - UMNO + MCA + MIC who chose to remain so. There is nothing wrong with political parties based on membership of any single ethnic group, religion or even regions - that is the Freedom of Association.

Many have forgotten that the struggle for freedom and independence of the Malaysian people against the British Colonial government rule has been long on-going, by different groups of persons for a long time, who did use both peaceful and non-peaceful means. Mat Kilau, the movie, reminds us of this reality - but at the end of the day, British elected to hand-over power to the 3 ethnic based parties. Some, involved in the struggle saw this as not TRUE Merdeka, as they saw it as a handing over of power to 'cronies', who compromised by agreeing to protect British interest - TRUE or not true is for every Malaysian to determine. Of course, as the saying goes, the VICTOR writes the HISTORY... In the History that Malaysian students have been taught, there is a lack of acknowledgement of the different parties/persons that played in the struggle for independence - which, I hope will be corrected in the near future. YES - some of us are for peaceful methods to getting power - like through elections, as we did in GE15.

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, the plurality of the different coalitions that emerged victors is settled - so, the next question is really what then are the differences that are standing in the way of even choosing a Prime Minister, or even setting up a UNITY government or a Coalition Government. Of course, if MPs can decide on a Prime Minister ONLY - they can also elect to stay out of the EXECUTIVE(government) that the said PM sets up > a position adopted by BN, which I think is healthy and maybe the best option for many a political party or coalition that is looking forward to upcoming elections.(See earlier post - I am having problems in this BLOG now, and so I cannot even 'cut and paste' links to earlier posts of relevance, as previously done).

IDEOLOGY (based more on actions) - most coalitions have failed to declare this, save to take the normal obvious like Uphold the Constitution, blah..blah..

Well, after MERDEKA, the Malaysian government did not take a pure Neo-liberalism(or capitalism) or a socialist approach in government. It saw a bit of both coming into play - education and healthcare was basically by the government and the provision was for ALL people at very very minimal charges(basically free), which is part of socialism. 

Of course, there has been growing worry that the BN government was pushing towards privatization of healthcare. Heart Healthcare, for instance, was placed under IJN, is no longer FREE or affordable - only preference seems to be for 'public servants' - but for others, even the POOR, you either pay a large amount of monies, of wait your turn if you are poor. Health tourism got greater attention, where government was going 'neo-liberal', where emphasis was to generate INCOME from foreign nationals. It was dangerous as healthcare for all in Malaysia was still lacking. The privatisation of healthcare saw the non-building of government hospitals even in Klang Valley area when there was some other private health hospital in the vicinity. Unlike Thailand, where the government put in place access to universal healthcare(at the payment of 30Baht only) even when people use private hospitals - in Malaysia, use private health facilities, pay private hospital rates.

DEMOCRACY - Well BN, PH or PN have similar stance of not extending democracy beyond MP and ADUN(State Legislature) election. No clear commitment or promise to restore LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS - meaning Malaysians continue to be deprived of a democratically elected Mayors and Local Councillors. So, we still have only 2 out of 3 levels of government that are democratically elected. The preference of all 3 coalitions seems to be the continuation of POLITICALLY APPOINTED reps of Local Government. There is also no talk about democratically elected by the people of Senators.

BN or the UMNO-led Coalition before that was not interested in allowing local communities at the Kampung, Kampung Baru, Tamans, etc have democratically elected leaders - preferring rather for the government responsible for States/Federal appointing these local community leaders. At first, we thought that this only happened in Orang Asli Kampungs - but it happens at even kampungs, kampung barus, Tamans, etc {Comparatively, in Thailand there are elections every 3 years for the local community leaders - who are also consulted in terms of development, etc...) Malaysian coalitions still prefer governments that rule States to appoint normally their party members to these positions. The only exception was during the reign of PR Menteri Besar of Perak Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin when there was elections at kampung and kampung baru levels - but then this positive return to democracy was not continued on even by other States under PR or later PH?

GLCs and Government related Agencies and their corporations > well, here again BN,PH and PN seems to still believe in political appointments, usually party members or those that failed in elections. They are 'gifts' of power and money to sometimes persons lacking on needed qualifications/skills in business, etc. Even the allowance given to Directors and Upper Management is simply too high - much higher at times that even the Prime Minister. These are monies wasted that could have better utilized by the people. Would these GLCs finally be subject to annual audits by the Auditor General?    

HEALTHCARE and EDUCATION - Who of the 3 coalitions have committed to UNIVERSAL Healthcare - or government ensured free healthcare? BN has been moving to the privatization of health care? Promotion of private healthcare insurance, rather than government assured healthcare for all? Education - will there be commitment to FREE education for all until higher education > BN has been privatizing or corporatizing universities, Note private entities are interested in profits, whilst government are interested to easy access to education?

WORKERS - Which of the 3 Coalitions have committed to the abolition of short term contract employment in favour of REGULAR employment. A worker's wages and rights increase with the number of years with the same employer. Rights like retrenchment benefits are only the entitled by workers that have been in employment for more than 1 year. The use of short-term contracts, usually a year long, has seriously affected Malaysian workers - and the Minister by law can insist that all workers are employed as a REGULAR employee until retirement > which still allows termination by reason of serious misconduct, or retrenchment by reason of changing worker needs, etc ...Somehow, the Malaysian coalitions and parties are not talking about this.

BASIC FOOD SUBSIDY - there was subsidy provided by law for certain food items, but then the law was amended, and now the subsidy comes in as and when needed - usually during festive seasons. Is it not time to bring back subsidy for basic food items permanently - Rice, Eggs, Cooking Oil, Cooking Gas, Chicken?, etc. We are still on continuous subsidy for petrol for cars/motorbikes - is not subsidy for food more important?

One thing that was sure with PH and PN was that were against abuse of powers by those in power, corruption and money laundering > and that they will certainly NOT INTERFERE with the investigations of law enforcement, prosecution and the court processes even if it involves a politician within their own coalition...BN, on the other hand, seems to say that even Najib was a victim of selective political targeting/prosecution - a stance that undermine the Malaysian Judiciary, and the prosecution. [Note PH also did at times take a similar position with Anwar and some of the politicians - which meant that at the end of day, PN came out 'purest' of them all]

RETALIATION AGAINST PEOPLE THAT VOTED AGAINST THEM -it is sad, but that is really undemocratic. After voting, the winners should not retaliate against those who voted against them. BN started this by, amongst others, the different financial allocation to MPs for use for the welfare of their constituents. Then PH followed the same bad practice. Not sure also whether PN (after Sheraton move) - did the PN Plus MPs get much much more that the Opposition MPs. Has any Coalition came out with the position that such DISCRIMINATORY or retaliatory practices will be ended? In this matter, I believe that all MPs should be given financial allocations simply to maintain their offices/service centres and support staff needed to assist an MP in carrying out their duties > Maybe Parliament should pay for this, and all support staff of a Parliamentarian should become contractual public employees paid by Parliament(or the Federal Government) directly. There should be no monies paid to MPs to do work that is already the responsibility of certain Federal Ministries or State Departments, as budgets have already been provided for. [If additional financial provisions are to provided to MPs to use for 'other' work in the constituency, there should be a formula, maybe RM1 X The number of constituents per month]

ALLOCATION of Tenders/Projects - OPEN TENDER and no more direct offer to any company. 

A National Government Pension Scheme for every Malaysian - to ensure that every Malaysian, after retirement age receives a monthly pension by government until their demise. We know the EPF scheme will fail to fulfill that - so, maybe another government(not private sector) run pension scheme needs to be set up for the welfare and security of the growing number of old persons. Like in UK, a minimum monthly contribution may be imposed on all Malaysian from the moment they start working until they retire...Did any Coalition even have a position on the growing number of old persons and their welfare (the public servants are covered now, but a Government owes a responsibilities to all, including those not in public sector)

National DEBT situation - the growing debt is a major problem. Past governments have simply BORROWED to do things and gave people the impression that all is well - and hey, we are a good caring government? Will the Coalitions also do the same, and not bother the impact of these LOANS that will most likely be felt the most by future generations?  

What about position of Abolition of COMPOUNDS for crimes of corruption, money laundering, etc - as this is a decision of Ministers(or the Executive) - they should all be charged, and if they plead guilty - then lesser sentence. The use of compounds can avoid a 'guilty' MP to avoid disqualification, as provided for in the Federal Constitution who punishes those convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced above a certain limit. So, for politicians and even public servants, compounds should not be available - and the determination of suspected offenders should be justly dealt by courts. NO DEALS to avoid trial, conviction or sentences to any politician. What is the position of the various coalitions?

There is MUCH UNKNOWN of what parties/coalitions are really committed to > Election Manifestos alone is not enough, as we need to confirm whether the same is confirmed in the public positions taken by political parties themselves, who are part of the Coalitions.

Without stands on such basic issues, how can we even expect the various coalitions to come together - in fact, on the face of it, the position adopted by most is the same - uphold the Federal Constitution and the principles therein contained.

Our coalitions have also taken stance that the support Capitalism, or they support Socialism...

They have certainly not taken the position on FREE TRADE - an impossibility when our constitution provides for special preferences for certain identified ethnic groups. So, the only position may be that we support Free Trade provided that it is not in violation of Malaysian Federal Constitution --

As it stands, it looks that most coalitions are the same - based on past actions. Their manifestos are vague, and really not binding - and what is in manifestos are not clear present party positions.

PAS - well, they have run State Governments > is there any substantial difference in their method of governing from States governed by BN and PH? Remember, they all have also spoken out against corruption and abuse of power - they all say BERSIH, CEKAP and AMANAH...

End of the day, what really is the problem of these Coalitions being part of a UNITY government or a Coalition government? Maybe it just problems between personalities Anwar, Muhyiddin, Hadi, Guan Eng .... well, if the problem is individual personality related issues...can we not overcome this?






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