Muhyiddin is a surrogate for Mahathir now Hishammuddin join them to kick Najib out
Jokes apart, would this help make more meaningful, let alone create a healthier society?Incredulous as it may seem, such could well be an absurdist interpretation of the Alienation technique in theatre. Bertolt Brecht, the German poet, playwright and director, who developed this style, sought to “distance” his audience from getting involved in the drama. Often, his plays had characters literally move out of their acting space and intone a message, summarize the plot or hold placards bearing propagandist statements.Defeat is the distance between a bedtime story and a wake-up call. The former starts with ‘Once upon a time…’ and lulls the voter to sleep. The second is an energiser that addresses a fresh dawn Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin .become victims of their own success: his narrative has run its course, and they have not been able to find a further chapter to their saga.
More urgent to Prime Najib Abdul Razak than picking a suitable date for the country’s general election would be deciding whether his cousin, Hishammuddin Hussein, deserves to be in his cabinet of ministers – one equipped to carry out his so-called reform agenda.
The Home Minister, already notorious over the last six years for foot-in-the-mouth statements and public exhibitions of ethnic chauvinism like the waving of a ‘keris’, has now topped his record in bizarre conduct and statement.
This grandson of UMNO’s distinguished and redoubtable founder (Onn Jaafar), and son of Tun Hussein Onn who is regarded as an exemplar of leadership as a form of honest stewardship, was quoted yesterday as saying something that is a flagrant abdication of a Home Minister’s fiduciary duty.
As one of the more crucial exponents of the rule of law, and at a time when a dysfunctional wing of his Ministry – the Police Force – is besieged by the perception that it is palpably remiss in its law enforcement and crime prevention functions, the Home Minister delivered himself of another outlandish statement.
Hishammuddin said there was no need to guarantee the safety of the campaign bus used by the opposition leader on an electioneering tour of the country, already stoned once and daubed with red paint twice.
Menaced three times already in the past two weeks of its tour of the peninsula, leaders of Pakatan Rakyat appealed to the police to ensure the safety of the bus and its personnel in the run-up to the 13th general election.
“No need for guarantees,” the Home Minister was quoted yesterday as saying in response. “It is decided by the people of Johor themselves,” the country’s overseer of his Ministry’s law enforcement role unhelpfully added, as the bus tour began its Johor run yesterday in a state regarded as an invulnerable UMNO bastion.
Barely had the Minister finished speaking then the bus was splashed with red paint in Tangkak in the afternoon, on the first stop of its tour in the southern state.
Mammoth dinner crowd
Sundry other incidents of a threatening tenor also occurred on the bus’s Johor sojourn yesterday, but PKR and its supremo remained unfazed by the menace though Hishamuddin’s dereliction came in for caustic comment by a slew of speakers at a sold-out dinner organised by the party in Skudai last night.
Attended by 8,000 people – the largest subscription-paying crowd to turn up for an opposition party-organised function in the state ever – the speakers told the crowd that their size was an augury of the altered balance of political power to come at the general election.
“I have heard it on good authority,” hollered Chua Jui Meng, the PKR state chief, “that UMNO expects the opposition to win nine to 10 parliamentary seats here.”
“This is an UMNO bastion but it will soon be its burial ground,” asserted the former MCA-appointed minister with what, from the size and enthusiasm of the crowd, was understandable hyperbole.
Johor has 26 parliamentary and 56 state seats. The opposition bagged one federal seat (DAP took Bakri) and five state seats (DAP, four and PAS, one).
Those figures are set for inflation at the polls in which Hishammuddin is expected to move from his Sembrong bailiwick to Kota Tinggi, a move that of itself is a sign of his and his party’s vulnerability.
In mortal peril of electoral rejection
The second point – there is no loyalty in UMNO: While UMNO is often described as a feudal party where loyalty is measured on deference to leaders, it is — at the end of the day– a party driven by greed. Just ask Anwar. Once heir apparent, his “loyal friends” in UMNO treat him today in ways that no politician in Malaysia has ever been treated. This however is a common trend in UMNO. Onn Jaafar and Tunku Abdul Rahman — founding fathers of UMNO and Malaysia respectively — were totally discredited by UMNO once they disagreed with the directions UMNO were taking. The key message, once outside UMNO, one has no means to dispense patronage and therefore deserve no respect from UMNO members.
UMNO has grown into a powerful patronage dispensing machine. Members of this “elite group” are not about to give-up their power. UMNO is so rotten that even one of its most senior members, Tengku Razaleigh, has criticised the party and what it is doing to the country (read here).
In the 2004 election, UMNO – as a party – had a simple majority in Parliament – as BN decimated the opposition. In the process, non-Malay BN component parties were marginalised – unleashing unprecedented racial and religious bigotry against non-Malay/Muslims (you know the stories). In the 2008 election, the reverse happened; BN lost its two-third majority. However, UMNO’s percentage of the vote remained intact (reduced by about 5%) but its non-Malay component parties on the peninsular were nearly wiped out with non-Malay votes swinging by about 35% among Chinese and by about 50% among Indians away from BN.
Herein lies Najib’s immediate problem. The non-Malay/Muslim BN component parties have blamed UMNO for its disappointing performance while UMNO has blamed its partners for not delivering on their part of the bargain. Najib has decided to go at it alone in reaching out to the various communities directly as his BN partners are all in disarray (every single one of them have leadership crises). It is within this context that the tussle between Najib and Muhyiddin should be examined. Najib wants to extend a hand to the other communities (e.g. 1 Malaysia) which would require some economic, social and political reforms and concessions, while Muhyiddin wants to go the other way, become increasingly extreme in response to the perception that the Malay votes (in general) will be sufficient to tide UMNO through on the peninsular and gain an overall majority with support from East Malaysia.
There were suggestions that Najib and Muhyiddin are playing good cop – bad cop. This is highly unlikely: Muhyiddin‘s bad cop totally destroys Najib’s 1Malaysia and also BN’s long held power sharing concept. Furthermore, in Malaysian history there has never been a sitting Deputy Prime Minister that acts in such blatant ways.
With non-Malays deserting BN at the 12th General Elections and further alienated through recent events, Najib is left vulnerable to the threats from fundamentalists. Najib will definitely not last a term unless he tames the greedy warlords within his party, Malay fundamentalists and address issues raised in the PERC report.
Every vote counts
No one knows the importance of one vote than Rajasthan Congress president C P Joshi who lost the election in Nathdwara constituency by a single vote, defeated by BJP rival Kalyan Singh Chouhan. C P Joshi not only missed the chance to become an MLA but also lost his chance to become chief minister as he was the main contender for the post.
In India, voting percentage has been on decline and this has worried politicians and intellectuals alike. Rural India has larger share in total percentage of votes. Educated, urban middle class only likes to give opinions about sad state of country, corruption and immoral politics. But when it comes to act even in form of voting, they fail miserably. Worst terrorist attack, water logging and numerous other problems failed to move residents of Mumbai. Mumbai recorded only 45.98% in 2009 assembly election despite the fact that film stars and celebrities campaigned hard to promote voting and came out to vote in large numbers. Colaba area that witnessed terror at Taj Mahal Hotel, Nariman House and Cafe Leopold during the 26/11 attacks recorded dismal 36 percent voting. Nearly 11 months after the attack in and around Nariman House, the turnout was dismal.
Muslim backwardness is now well known and documented fact. In spite of all the problems and issues Muslim participation in election is always below the average. Low turnout of Muslim voters is one of the reasons for drop in Muslim representation in Lok Sabha and in assemblies. The last general election saw Muslim representation dropping from 37 to 30, whereas there are around 80 constituencies with sizeable Muslim population.
More or less similar situation is present in state assemblies. Bihar, which is going to poll in few days time, has only 15 Muslim MLAs. Out total 243 seats, 54 seats have sizeable Muslim population. Thirty seats of them have Muslim population between 20 to 30 percent and remaining seats have more than 30 percent.
The seats with 20-30 percent Muslim population have 16 BJP MLAs in the outgoing Assembly and in the 30 to 40 percent range, BJP has managed to win 5 seats. In seats having 40 percent and above Muslim population BJP has 2 MLAs. Araria with 59 percent Muslim population is represented by Pradeep Kumar Singh of BJP and Kasba seat with 45 percent Muslim population is represented by Pradip Kumar Das of BJP. Muslim apathy toward BJP is well know but still BJP comfortably winning Muslim dominated seats is something to ponder on.
BJP candidates defeated Afaque Alam of RJD in Kasba and Moidure Rahman of Congress in Araria by 6009 and 3151 votes respectively in the October 2005 Assembly poll.
BJP win from Muslim dominated seats is often attributed to the fact that many Muslim candidates jump in fray and this leads to division of votes. Parties will give tickets to Muslims in these seats either to attract Muslim votes or to spoil chances of other Muslim candidates. It will be Muslims duty to understand the motive of parties and choose the right candidate. Muslims are themselves to blame if BJP is able to snatch these seats from Muslims.
This time too, Shahnawaz Alam of LJP and Md. Afaque Alam of Congress are in fray from Kasba. In Araria, Zakir Hussain Khan of LJP and Moidure Rahman of Congress are in the fray. To take the advantage of division of votes, BJP has fielded Narayan Jha from Araria and sitting MLA Pradip Das from Kasba.
Effect of division of votes can be minimised by voting sensibly and heavily. It should be every Muslim priority to increase Muslim representation. Muslim representation has reached alarming level. Common man’s anger against elected representative is justified due to fact that majority of them just disappear after winning and lack of constructive work in their area. It is possible that Muslim MLAs will not do much for community after getting elected but their mere presence does make difference at local level administration.
Muslims should vote in large number not only to increase representation but also to keep the importance of their vote intact. BJP star campaigner Narendra Modi was refused entry in Bihar by Nitish Kumar as this could have polarised Muslim votes. Another star campaigner and hero of Ram Mandir movement L K Advani is not campaigning in the first phase where majority of seats are having large Muslim population. During campaigning leaders like Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav, Lalu Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan are accompanied by person sporting beard and skull cap like Abu Talib Rahmani and Ghulam Rasool Baliavi, just to show their pro Muslim image. It is different matter that many Muslims will not consider them as their leader. In this battle for survival, RJD-LJP alliance has realized the importance of Muslim votes and offered Deputy Chief Ministership and 15 percent reservation to Muslims. Even BJP has joined this race for Muslim votes when its state president C P Thakur appealed to Muslims.
It is unfortunate that everyone except Muslims realizes the importance of votes. In democracy, number only matters and counts. If Muslims, even with number on their side, are failing then they are themselves to be blamed. Right to complain comes with right to vote. One act of voting has affect on everyone’s life for next five years. It is too important to miss. Every vote counts and if you do not believe it, ask Mr. C P Joshi.
If you want to lead a middle-class lifestyle, you need to be rich.
The middle class is dying.Americans’ incomes have been stagnant for decades as companies squeeze workers, the global economy becomes more competitive, and the government does little to help. The U.S. is being split into a collection of islands for the rich and a vast land mass for the poor. Just as in third-world countries, if you want to lead a comfortable life, you have to be rich.
A middle-class lifestyle requires making a lot of money. Traditionally, it’s perceived that a typical middle-class family owns a home with two cars in the driveway. The family raises two kids that go to good schools. Saving for college and retirement isn’t a luxury.
In today’s America — where we can barely afford to have kids — this middle-class lifestyle has become out of reach for a growing number of Americans.
The median annual wage was roughly $26,000 in 2010, and the median U.S. householdmade just $50,000 last year. What’s more, the median wage and income have been falling. If you want to afford a middle-class lifestyle, your household needs to make six figures, and that means being in the top 20 percent. That’s upper-class.
The current economic climate and poorly crafted government policies are squeezing the middle class. Many formerly middle-class jobs have been outsourced to other countries or eliminated because of technological change. But the government also is letting the unemployment rate stay high, as it refuses to pursue a second stimulus. The government actually has laid off many middle-class workers, and it has not protected collective bargaining. As a result, many companies have laid off middle-class workers anddowngraded other middle-class jobs to lower pay.
The middle class has been getting hollowed out for decades. Worker productivity has grown 11 times more quickly than median hourly compensation since 1979, and the rich have captured most of the gains. The top one percent seized 60 percent of all income gains between 1979 and 2007, while the bottom 90 percent was left with just 9 percent of total income growth. We are making more money for our employers than ever — but as long asthe unemployment rate stays so high, employers are likely to keep paying their workers as little as possible.
Moreover, Americans’ chances of getting a good-paying job are falling. Most jobs lost during the recession paid middle-class wages, and most jobs created during the economic recovery pay little. There still are fewer high-wage jobs now than before the recession.
If you want to lead a middle-class lifestyle, you have to secure a high-paying job — for instance, as a corporate executive, doctor, lawyer, engineer or investor — and not let yourself get shoved into a low-paying job as a store clerk or waiter. This requires a good education, hard work, connections, luck, and possibly choosing money over job satisfaction. There isn’t much room in between.
If you want to pursue your dream career in a lower-paying field, there is a high chance that you’ll be poor for the rest of your life. The median annual pay for high school teachers is $53,000; for journalists, it’s $36,000. You might be good at your job because you love what you’re doing, but you probably won’t get compensated well for it.
You’ll also have to pay up if you want to make sure that your kids don’t struggle for the rest of their lives. These days, since some skills are in high demand, a quality educationusually is the difference between having a high-paying job or being unemployed or stuck in a low-paying job.
A good education is an excellent but expensive investment. Homes near high-achieving public schools cost an average $205,000 more than houses near bad public schools, and the average nonsectarian private school costs roughly $18,000 per year. Meanwhile,college and grad school on average cost more than $20,000 per year.
Today, you either gain admission into the land of the rich or have to settle for being broke for the rest of your life. There is not much room in between.