Now, everyone wants to be a YB

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | If you pause and think for a moment, you wouldn’t swallow Air Asia’s famous slogan, “Now, everyone can fly”, hook, line and sinker.

Considering the airline’s hidden charges, no refund policy, priority seating and baggage charges and exorbitant prices for food and drinks on board, you still have to dig out from your pocket quite a bit if you want to fly.

But let’s give it to Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes; the airline boss is successful because his budget and “no frills” concept have made it generally affordable for many to fly and see places.

As we approach yet another election, we can borrow from Fernandes and Air Asia because it’s true that “Now, everyone wants to be a YB”.

The honest person who makes a serious entry into politics will admit that he or she harbours ambition of being a “somebody” one day. And that means seeking elected office.

In Malaysia, as the first step towards achieving that goal, you have to become a YB (meaning Yang Berhormat; Yang Berkhidmat).

If you lack the stamina to fight, you can cry.

Just review the scene at the Federal Territory (FT) Amanah meeting the other night. It was reported that some FT Amanah leaders were weeping (yes, in tears) because they were not given an FT seat to contest in GE14.

Amanah president Mohamad Sabu was there to pacify his members and offered them a shoulder to cry on.

What’s going on here?

While I think I can understand their outburst at being left out, I would also describe their emotional display as most childish, pathetic and unbecoming of aspiring politicians.

What does FT Amanah really want? Either Setiawangsa or Titiwangsa to contest. And what does this mean? It simply means fulfilling one ambitious leader’s desire to be a YB. Isn’t this the case?

This is a classic example of a “Now, everyone wants to be a YB” case. I apologise to FT Amanah for using them as an example on this subject. But it so happens that it is the most glaring case which was widely reported.

The same is true elsewhere. Johor Amanah was also grumbling about Pakatan Harapan’s seat distribution.

In Selangor PKR, expect some fireworks, possibly internal sabotage as well, as the two warring camps jostle for safe seats for their candidates.

Penang DAP is also said to be having some internal issues, arising mainly from Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s corruption case.

In my home state of Sarawak, a senior PKR leader grumbled to me last week that Sarawak DAP recently admitted some of his party’s former Dayak members into the DAP.

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Ismail Mina, many will gladly leave for Sarawak

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | For a moment, I was taken aback by the fiery statement by Ismail Mina Ahmad, leader of Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah Defenders Movement, Ummah) telling those who don’t agree with the Federal Constitution to leave the country.

“So whoever doesn’t agree with the Federal Constitution, they can go find a country that suits them and go live there,” Ismail Mina said in his keynote address at the Ummah Uprising Convention in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 13.

However, it took me less than a minute later to brush off Ismail Mina’s outburst as one of those ‘normal’ occurrences, whereby some holier-than-thou and strangely abnormal characters would tell their fellow Malaysians to leave the country.

You see, some people could wake up on the wrong side of the bed and suddenly imagine that they dreamt of God asking them to be His holy messengers.

As they set out to pursue their imaginary divine roles, they made fools of themselves along the way, not realising it, of course.

How many times have we heard such mentally deranged remarks, challenging Malaysians to leave the country if they are not happy with this or that?

I’m used to it by now, as many too probably are. So I won’t bother about Ismail Mina’s outburst. Continue reading

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Let ‘Captain Mahathir’ win in a safe FT seat

By Francis Paul Siah 

COMMENT | In my previous article, I ruled out the Langkawi and Putrajaya seats for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to contest in GE14 because they are considered ‘unsafe’.

His third and most probable choice of Kubang Pasu is a ‘touch and go’ case. As I’ve pointed out, a three-way contest with PAS in the picture creates an element of uncertainty for a Mahathir victory.

That being the case, where can the prime ministerial candidate of Pakatan Harapan go to?

In response to my article, a friend from Ipoh commented on Facebook: ‘If Mahathir cannot win the seat he contests in, what chance has Harapan have of winning Putrajaya?’

That is very true. So Mahathir, as the captain of Harapan, must win at all costs.

By the way, I’ve just read a Washington Post online report describing Mahathir’s comeback at 92 as a reflection of how badly and sharply Malaysia has fallen under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The world is now watching Malaysia like never before and Malaysians must step up and play the game right.

Bersatu and Harapan leaders and strategists must start the ball rolling by getting it right – their top priority must be to ensure that Mahathir wins. Continue reading

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Any guarantee Mahathir will win a seat?

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | The battle lines have been drawn and they are clear – it will be Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on the BN side versus the grand old man of politics, who will be spearheading Pakatan Harapan.

The 14th general election could play out to be the tragic tale of an unpopular prime minister who refuses to step down and his 92-year-old mentor who is adamant that he goes.

If BN wins, Najib will remain the prime minister. If there is an upset, Dr Mahathir Mohamad will create history by being the only leader to become prime minister twice.

Not only that, he will be the oldest prime minister in Malaysian history at 92, and possibly in the world too.

According to the Guinness World Records, India’s Morarji Desai was the oldest person to be appointed the prime minister, at the age of 81.

Leading an opposition coalition, Desai prevailed in the 1977 elections, ending Indira Gandhi’s emergency rule. He served as prime minister until 1979, when the coalition broke apart.

Back to the present day. Never mind the voices of discontent within the opposition coalition. Mahathir himself has conceded, “It is difficult for some to accept me; not everybody will be happy with this decision.”

For a man who has seen and done it all, nothing in politics should surprise Mahathir. Indeed, no political decision can satisfy everybody.

But one thing is clear. For many Malaysians who are not affiliated to any political party and who yearn for a change of government, they must be satisfied and happy with the decisions made at the Harapan convention last weekend.

However, before you can become prime minister, you have to win a seat.

Hence, the all-important question – is there any guarantee that Mahathir will win a seat in GE14 to enable him to become PM again?

So far, three possible seats have been mentioned by Mahathir himself – Langkawi, Kubang Pasu and Putrajaya. Continue reading

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‘Hidup Tun’ and ‘Reformasi’ ring out as Harapan leaders turn emotional


Cries of “Hidup Tun!” (Long live, Mahathir!) rang out in the hall of Ideal Convention Centre in Shah Alam where the Pakatan Harapan convention was held after Bersatu chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad was formally named the coalitions’ prime ministerial candidate.

The crowd immediately jumped to their feet as soon as Harapan chief secretary Saifuddin Abdullah made the annoucement.

The chants steadily grew louder as the crowd applauded him. Other Harapan leaders were also seen surrounding Mahathir as they joined in the applause.

Mahathir, clad in his red Bersatu uniform with a burgundy jacket and seated in the front row, initially remained seated but soon stood to face the crowd. He then took a bow at them.

His wife Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali turned teary and held a tissue up to her nose.

She was seen looking down in an apparent attempt to hide her emotional reaction. Continue reading

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Mahathir apologises for past mistakes, says ‘only human’

Published:     Modified:

Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has apologised for the mistakes he had made throughout his political career.

In his speech opening Bersatu’s first annual general meeting today, he said he was only human, and was not immune to making mistakes.

“Before I end my speech, I wish to apologise if I had misspoken and hurt anyone’s feelings.

“I, like any other human being, can’t be alone in making mistakes not just today, but throughout my involvement in politics.

“I apologise for any mistakes I had made all this while,” said the 92-year old Bersatu chairperson.

However, the veteran politician did not specify any particular incident.

When asked by the media later if his apology applied to the conviction of his former deputy Anwar Ibrahim for the latter’s first sodomy case, Mahathir merely said, “You can translate it to anything you want.”

Hours later at a press conference following the Bersatu general assembly, the party chairperson explained that his apology was only customary. – Malaysiakini

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Najib’s ‘two conditions’ for Sarawak are beyond the pale

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | So Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has set two conditions for Sarawakians if they want their rights returned.

In a report appearing in The Star on Dec 24, the prime minister was quoted as saying that Putrajaya had no problem discussing devolution of power and returning all eroded constitutional rights to Sarawak, provided that those in the state met two conditions.

“Firstly, there should be no talk of secession. The second red line is that the people must support BN.

“If you support BN, why shouldn’t I give back those rights, which have been knowingly or unknowingly taken from Sarawak?” Najib told a Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) delegates conference.

As a Sarawakian patriot, let me make this declaration here: much as I respect you as the prime minister, Najib, I am unable to accept your two conditions.

This is a simple reason why.

I think it is very wrong, if not downright absurd, to set terms and conditions to return what belongs to Sarawak in the first place.

Hey, we have an agreement in place, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). The terms of the agreement should have been respected and honoured. Who “stole” them from Sarawakians in the first place?

In a court of law, a thief caught and found guilty would be punished accordingly. Here, we have a condition where the thief has the gumption to set conditions for the return of what was stolen.

It doesn’t take a genius to sense that something is simply not right here.
Continue reading

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