Tag: elections

Najib and the PSYchology of BN persuasion

Unspun mudik-ed to his kampung in Malaysia for the Chinese New Year and was tickled pink by the desperate efforts of the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s attempt to shore up his support among the Chinese community for the upcoming national elections that must be held  in the first half of this year.

The context to this desperation is that Najib, who heads the Barisan Nasional, a coalition of race-based parties, that has ruled Malaysia in one form or another since Independence in 1958, has been losing popularity.

In the early days when Malaysians were easier to be duped the party, particularly under Mahathir on, played the nationalist card and fears of mayhem if the coalition lost their two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The formula for electoral victory was simple and effective. Gerrymeander the electoral districts so that a party that had the support of the Malays as a solid voting bloc would always win. The calculation was that if most Malays voted for the Barisan Nasional or BN, and the votes of the Chinese or Indians living in the electoral districts were split, the Barisan Nasional would win.

They then spiced up the electioneering by playing on the fears of the populace by spreading rumours that an opposition victory would destabilise the country and cause racial riots, ad hominem attacks and lots of money and a smooth-running electoral machine.

This all worked when the economic pie was working for Malaysia. But somewhere in the early 2000s the growth of Malaysia began to slow down. The pie shrunk and the inner circles within Umno (the Malay-based dominant partner in the coalition) began to scramble for the limited resources. Corruption escalated.

The fortunes of the Barisan Nasional began to slide even further after Mahathir stepped down and was replaced by Abdullah Badawi, who did not have the vision and the ruthlessness of Mahathir to drive the country forward and keep the Umno elite from their rapacious scramble for mollah.

Badawi, predictably, did not last and was quickly replaced by Najib, son of second the late Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Razak. Like many scions of the elite Najib grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth, went to the best schools in the UK and had no clue about the rough and tumble of realpolitik.

The feeling that Malaysians have about Najib is that he’s smart enough to figure out that corruption is eroding the support of Umno and the Barisan Nasional, and ruining the country. But he’s so hemmed in by the Umno elite whose main preoccupation these days is to rake in as much as they can while the ship sinks that he’s helpless to do anything.

Their rapacity has resulted in even the Malays withdrawing their support for the Barisan Nasional ruining the age-old formula of victory that the BN had relied on through gerrymeandering and social engineering.

Which leads us to the extent of desperation that Najib is showing in courting not only the Malays but also the Chinese, the second largest ethnic group in Malaysia, a task usually outsourced to their junior BN partner the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). The probem with the MCA, however, is that it can’t deliver any votes because it has lost all credibility with the Chinese. The president of the MCA, for instance, is Choi Soo Lek a 60 plus Chinese whose most notable claim to fame was to star in a leaked video of him and a prostitute in a cheesy hotel.

So Najib now has to court the Chinese themselves. Unspun doesn’t know who’s advising him but it would make a Public Relations professional cringe at the bad advice that he’s getting and the horrible execution of events.

For a joke Unspun’s friends gave him this “any pow” (literally Red Packets containing money  that Chinese give to their juniors during Chinese New Year). Najib’s answer?

Image

An “Ang Pow” with his face on the cover (the moustache and weak mouth is a turnoff to most Malaysian). But the juxtapositioning of his face and the year of the snake (they couldn’t get their English right even then) seems to suggest that Najib is a snake. Doesn’t his PR people pay attention to things like that?

Serperntine travails aside Najib also tried a different beat in his new year TVC to the Chinese. So you have here a so called Malay leader whose record has been one of championing the rights of Malays (against the Chinese who would swamp them with their economic prowess if their rights are not protected) doing something very Chinese-y, some would say cheesy. Notice the bad editing where the weak mouth and moustache gets a cameo role.

As if that was not enough, the BN sought to cash in on the popularity of PSY and his Ganggnam Style that has take the world and Malaysians by storm. But Najib forgot that while you can bring the horse to water you can’t make it drink (no pun intended). It resulted in this embarrassing what they hoped to be the rallying of the troops.

 

All goes to show: you can fool some of the people all the time; all the people some of the time; but never all the people all the time.

Najib should change image consultants. Better still, he should just resign and enjoy retirement and no amount of image making can help him increase his and BN’s electoral chances in the short span of time they have left before the next elections.

 

How the Foke solves traffic problems

Unspun thinks that critics are unnecessarily unkind to Jakarta Governor and gubernatorial candidate Fauzi Bowo, aka The Foke.

The man is beleaguered by the problems of a huge megapolis that are not easy to solve but when confronted by a problem he wastes no time to rise to the occassion. Take, for instance, his resourcefulness when confronted by a massive traffic jam in Cilincing, Jakarta, some time ago (but revived in social media recently).

Lesser men like Menteri BUMN Dahlan Iskan would have thrown a tantrum and tried to get the traffic moving, or fumed impotently in his car. Not The Foke though. With lightning reflexes he solved the problem of the traffic jam, or at least the problem of him being stuck in the traffic jam, right away.

His solution: get his outriders to clear the way on the other side of the road. Stop oncoming traffic so he could get to where he wanted in quick time.

Of course, churlish critics may whine, that The Foke caused an even greater traffic jam, broke the law and showed a bad example to other motorists. But such are the considerations of lesser mortals, not the likes of someone as brilliant and resourceful of the incumbent mayor.

So right on Foke! Vote for Foke and witness the brilliance of his traffic-busting solutions! And yes, The Foke wins a shit-for-brains tag for his ingenuity as well.

(Thanks Harry for the Alert)

Therefore vote Fauzi Bowo

Because his political party, The Democrats, are as unimaginative and uncreative in problem solving as him

Because under them the traffic jams in Jakarta would get worse since it is an inevitably

Because they have no vision and no determination to improve living conditions in Jakarta beyond their own greed

And they get surprised when Jokowi and Ah Hok beats the shit out of Fauzi in the first round gubernatorial elections? Which City Kool Aid fountin are they drinking from?

Jakarta’s Traffic Jams Are ‘Inevitable:’ Democratic Party Official

A senior member of the Democratic Party defending Jakarta’s incumbent governor Fauzi Bowo said on Thursday that traffic jams in JakartaJakarta’s Traffic Jams Are ‘Inevitable:’ Democratic Party Official are something that cannot not be prevented.

Herman Khaeron, chairman of the Democrat’s regional board and deputy head of House Commission IV, said traffic jams are simply a consequence of the growing number of people using the streets.

“I can compare this condition with the condition abroad,” Herman said. “Traffic jams in capital cities are an inevitably.”

Fauzi has been widely and regularly blamed for his inability to solve two of Jakarta’s most endemic problems: Flooding, and traffic. While Sutiyoso, Jakarta’s previous governor, created the TransJakarta busway to ease traffic, Fauzi has been characterized as failing to adequately tackle the problem.

Traffic jams, or macet, occur regularly at peak hours, but congestion seems to be choking the streets with increasing vigor, especial on Fridays and during rain.

Herman made sure to say that Fauzi, Jakarta’s first governor from the Democratic Party, has successfully managed the city.

Regarding flooding, Herman said Fauzi has reduced problems with the east flood-canal, which has saved 2.5 million people from the agony of seasonal floods. Herman also said the city government has “normalized” river flows that pass through Jakarta.

“What I have found instead is the fact that Fauzi, as Jakarta’s governor, has worked well for his people,” Herman said.

The difference between the court of law and court of public opinion

In a court of law Democrat Party Chief Anas Urbaningrum’s argument that he should be presumed innocent until found guilty of corruption allegations makes sense. As he says he’s not even been indicted and as such there is no need for him to step down from helping the Democrats.

Then there is the court of public opinion in which Anas has been virtually tried, judged and convicted as guilty as sin when it comes to corruption. That this is so is seen in the fast deteriorating confidence that Indonesian voters have in the Democrat Party, as attested to by several political polls. It now looks that unless the Democrats have a house keeping they will continue to lose support just in time to be trounced in the 2014 general elections.

Sooner rather than later Anas will, because of his conviction in the Court of Public Opinion, become such an embarrassment that he would be forced to step down.

What’s funny here is that Anas and his supporters have only themselves to blame as they virtually pleaded no contest to all the charges leveled at them in the Court of Public Opinion. There was no attempt at all to plead his case before the public, to convince the public that he was unfairly accused and that he is innocent.

All this is indicative of the elite politics mindset that Indonesia’s politicians embrace. Theirs is a world where what matters are the intrigues of palace politics, political patronage and the backdrop deals. These practices have no place in a democracy where, sooner or later, public opinion will assert itself.

So. What are the Democrats going to do? Make lame noises about how Ana’s should go and then wring their hands in hopelessness and do nothing? Or take decisive steps and, if nothing else, suspend Ana’s from all positions and power until it all blows over. The former course is to court certain defeat at the upcoming polls. The latter at least gives them a chance to repair the damage before the polling starts.

detikNews : Bukan Tersangka, Anas Tak Akan Mundur

Makassar – Ketua Umum DPP Partai Demokrat Anas Urbaningrum menanggapi sambil lalu desakan mundur dari internal Partai Demokrat seperti yang diserukan Ruhut Sitompul. Anas menegaskan dia tidak berstatus terdakwa atau tersangka.

“Anda semua tahu, ini obyektif sekali, saya bukan terdakwa, bukan tersangka, saksi saja tidak, statusnya jelas seperti itu,” ujar Anas saat ditanya detikcom soal desakan mundur dari internal partainya, usai melantik Pengurus DPC Demokrat Kabupaten Gowa, di Gedung Haji Bate, Sungguminasa, Sulsel, Rabu (8/2/2012).

Anas menambahkan, partainya memiliki mekanisme yang dijalankan berdasarkan AD/ART, etika dan peraturan organisasi. Terkait permintaan mundur, Anas menyerahkan semuanya pada mekanisme partainya.

“Menyangkut proses hukum, pendirian kami jelas, kami menghormati proses hukum, kami menyerahkan sepenuhnya pada aparat hukum untuk memproses secara adil dan obyektif, berdasarkan prinsip-prinsip penegakan hukum yang adil, bukan berdasarkan desakan-desakan atau tekanan opini,” pungkas Anas.

Sebelumnya, Ruhut Sitompul meminta Ketua Umum PD Anas Urbaningrum mundur demi masa depan PD yang lebih baik. Apalagi jika dikaitkan dengan pemilu 2014 mendatang. Kasus-kasus yang berkaitan pengurus PD, dimungkinkan membuat citra dan perolehan suara partai jeblok.

The movement to support sexy dangdut star Julia Perez

Today Unspun checked his Facebook invitations and found one by an old friend, an ex-journalist turned consultant. The invite was to join the 1 million Facebookers in support of sexy dangdut star Julia Perez’s electroral bid for the Bupati’s post of Pacitan (Gerakan 1.000.000 Facebookers Dukung Julia Perez Calon Bupati Pacitan).

Unspun knows of many friends and acquaintances who frown on Jupe’s candidacy, righteously dismissing her as an airhead and having a demeanor not unbecoming of a Bupati. Unspun’s also  heard the unkind jibes at the poor girl, saying that if she was elected the name of the Bupati’s office would have to be changed to Boopati, a reference to Jupe’s ample…ahem…asses. For the record Unspun thinks that these jibes are spread by Jupe’s rivals who are rather flat out of ammunition and have become Boobists, people who discriminate others merely on the size of their boobs. There is nothing wrong with big boobs, IMHO, although Unspun lives with the UN-esque adage that anything more than a hanful is wasteful, anything less than a handful is poverty.

Personally Unspun’s been arguing that its not such a bad thing that Jupe is standing for elections. For one she brings interest to the electoral process that can be only be good for the development of democracy. People who would not normally pay attention to the elections are now firmly glued to their TV sets to watch Jupe’s next electoral appearance.Besides, she’s not necessarily worse than any one else standing for the Bupati’s post (What’s the name of her electoral rival? Don’t know? Precisely my point). Jupe can also be good for tourism. Whoever heard of Pacitan before this? And watch this video of Jupe – not only can she bring new vim and vitality to the older folks, she can also promote durians.

But Unspun digresses. Back to the Facebook movement.

What is it with Indonesia that when someone stumbles on a new idea, everyone else follows by doing the ame thing without even an attempt at variation?

The Gerakan 1,000,000 Facebookers idea was a good one when it first came out for, if memory serves Unspun right, either Prita Mulyaai or Chandra & Bibit. It was new, it was fresh and it was a novel way for thousands of Indonesians to send a message to the authorities and power holders.

After that, however, like the dozens of jagung bakar stalls  that line up the main road on Puncak, they began to look boring as they are all alike. No originality. No attempt to be different. A mere case of the blind following the blind.

The poor imitation attempts have become so ridiculous that you have even gerakans to support gerakans (which was at least original)

The rest, however, was pathetic, like tile maker Granito’s attempt to shore up  1 million supporters. It had two fans. Back to the bathroom with them! And there should be a movement to send the next Facebooker to start another “Gerakan 1,000,000 Facebookers untuk…” to a toilet adorned with bright green Granito tiles.

Prolonging the death throes of a party

This in The Jakarta Globe online today:

Taufik Kiemas, chief of the PDI-P’s consultative board, right, talking to Prabowo Subianto as chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri looks on at the party’s national meeting. (Antara Photo)

Taufik Kiemas, chief of the PDI-P’s consultative board, right, talking to Prabowo Subianto as chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri looks on at the party’s national meeting. (Antara Photo)

Megawati Gets PDI-P Green Light

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle gave its chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri full power during its national leadership meeting in Jakarta on Wednesday to decide whether or not to accept the results of the presidential election.

PDI-P secretary general Pramono Anung on Wednesday said that the meeting resulted in six recommendations that effectively gave the former president complete power over the party, also known as the PDI-P.

“The national meeting decided to give up all decisions to our chairwoman, who was also our presidential candidate, to take strategic steps in dealing with any political situations and our party’s policies in the future,” Pramono said.

Question: And if Megawati decides not to accept the election results, what can she do? What strategic steps can she take? Is this a question of the blind asking to be led by the blind?

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Blog ban a sign of a more deperate Malaysian government?

They say if all you have is a hammer then all your problems start to look like nails.

So it is with the Malaysian government. With Anwar Ibrahim now beating at the gates the Badawi government has gotten more desperate.

First some low ranking lackey called Saiful was asked to try to frame Anwar by filing a police report of alleged sodomy. Then they tried all ways to win over Permatang Pauh, and failed. Now the Malaysian Government, through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has asked Malaysia’s internet service providers to block access to Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s blog, Malaysia Today.

It is an ill-calculated move because the messagethis move sends out is that the Malaysian Government is desperate and that it is now clutching at straws to try to regain control of the political situation. It is ill-calculated because in this day and age you can’t really ban blogs without having egg on your face. Even then it is so easy for bloggers to set up mirror sites, such as this one, that it makes the move an exercise in total folly.

So why is the Malaysian government so steadfast in their own Long march of Folly?

The reason, IMHO, is that they have been in power so long and created an incestuous system of patronage and servility that they know of no other way to handle dissent.

If they had any brains they would get in some really smart advisors and take on Raja Petra Kamaruddin rather than block his site and make a martyr out of him. It is not that hard to do. RPK is passionate but he is also given to exaggerations, overstatements and a cavalier treatement of facts.

It would not take much from a professional to debunk what he says. And if the government can do that they would have merely a discredited discontent on their hands, rather than the martyred blogger, angry and a symbol of defiance against a government unable to restore control in their own country.

Wake up UMNO. The bells are tolling and they toll for you.

Anwar’s victory or Umno’s defeat?

Some would say that there is no difference. What matters is that Anwar Ibrahim won the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat with a resounding majority. And since elections are a zero sum gam, the Umno candidate lost the seat with an abysmal minority of votes. Either way you slice it Anwar wins.

Not true. If Anwar won the seat because the electorate supported his policies and his leadership, then he has a legitimate claim to being the rightful future Prime Minister of Malaysia. The victory would be an endorsement of the man and his politics.

However, if Anwar won because the voters hated the Umno leadership so much that they wanted to punish them with a humiliating defeat then Anwar’s victory has to be looked at in a different light because what the by-election means is that merely the electorate does not want Umno, or at least the Umno led by Badawi and Najib, to govern them. But just as not wanting one thing does not necessarily translate into wanting its opposite, the electorate’s rejection of Umno cannot then be interpreted to mean an endorsement of Anwar’s leadership and policies.

So which is it?

Answering this one question may change the game for Anwar’s bid for the country leadership.

What role did bloggers play in Malaysian polls?

The Barisan Nasional has suffered its most serious setback and humiliation in 50 years at Saturday’s general election.The opposition has triumphed with unqualified success, capturing 5 key states and confining the BN win to a simple majority instead of its traditional two-thirds plus in Parliament.There is no question that bloggers played a part in the BN’s debacle. They have been vocal, defiant and exposed matters that would otherwise have been swept under the carpet by the mainstream media. and Jeff Ooi made history of sorts by bcoming the first Malaysian politician to have come up from the bogosphere.The bloggers, understandably, have begun congratulating themselves. Marina Mahathir’s posting, clipped below is one example.
clipped from rantingsbymm.blogspot.com

The Day After…

And how the mighty have fallen…! Could anyone have predicted the fall would be this far?
I’m so tired right now from staying up watching the extremely slow results. So won’t say much right now til my head is clear.

But bloggers and netizens, you can pat yourselves on the back because anyone who says the Net and blogs would have no effect on this election obviously didn’t know what they were talking about! 😀

  blog it

Another comes from Rocky’s Bru who posted about how even Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged the contribution by bloggers:

Dr M: Thank you, bloggers

This morning, after telling Pak Lah to take responsibility for the BN’s heavy losses in yesterday’s general election, Dr Mahathir said while we shook hands: “Someone told me that we should thank bloggers … I don’t know for what.” He said it with a cheeky smile.

A lady blogger behind me managed, “You’re welcomed”.

All this is understandable but does not quite answer the question of what was the actual contribution of bloggers to the extent of the BN defeat. Answering this question is important because it helps resolve the debate on whether blogging is confined only to the chattering masses (as the BN contended) or that it goes beyond the internet, through word of mouth and other social interaction.

This is a job perhaps for some enterprising social scientist but since Unspun is in the habit of throwing his two sen worth unsolicited, here goes some postulating:

The real influence of bloggers was in giving voice, for the first time, to dissenting voices on racial issues and rage against the status quo, two traditionally taboo subjects in the mainstream media.

Blogs allowed malaysians, for the first time, to discuss openly about racial issues. And gueswhat happened? A lot of Malays and non-Malays fund that they weren’t so different in their viewpoints. Unspun remembers the time when the Malay psyche was held as something mysterious and inaccessible to non-Malays. Non-Malays had the impression that almost all Malays were sensitive to this topic and did not want to talk about it. The blogosphere allowed conversations to happen on racial issues and what they found was that they were Malaysians at heart and many of th Malays are actually against affirmative action, even though it benefits their race (actually ethnic group).

The other important effect of blogging, IMHO, is that for the first time it allowed Malaysians to talk back and take on the Ministers and the powers that be. For the first time, Malaysians had a forum to criticize their Ministers and confront them in a no-holds barred conversation on thier actions and words.

This became very important because the Ministers, so cocooned by years of being in power, were totally inapt to confront this development. They were so used to controling what were until now the only means of mass communications, the mainstream media, that they made thing worse for themselves by overreacting or acting inappropriately when faced with this new strange beast. The result is that they increased their unlikeability factor.

Information Minister Zainudin Maidin’s YouTube videos of his interview with Al Jazeera TV after the Hindraf rally made him the laughing stock of the country.

All this, however, applies to blogs influencing those with access to the internet. Unspun is really interested to hear from those on the ground how the influence of the blogosphere spreads to those without internet access in the rural areas. Do blog postings get printed and spread as photocopies? Are videos downloaded onto handphones and shown around in the kampungs?