April 26, 2010

The Hulu Selangor Saga

Posted in Malaysia, Reflections, The Cause at 12:22 am by egalitaria

A congratulatory note is owed to Barisan Nasional and its candidate, now Hulu Selangor Member of Parliament, Kamalanathan for their victory at today’s momentous by-election. Pakatan Rakyat and its candidate, Zaid Ibrahim, lost by 1,725 votes in the final count. Political scientists are now doing the number crunching, to emerge with analyses on which areas each coalition lost or gained respectively in comparison with the 2008 12th General Election. Long pieces will emerge in tomorrow’s portals and sites, stating reasons – from both sides – for the outcome. Central theme was without a doubt: “buy-election”. Enough said. 

I write as a Pakatan Rakyat supporter, which is clear since I work for, and therefore support, a Pakatan Rakyat government. I also therefore make no apologies for the dejection and disappointment reverberating across all such similar supporters at the moment, those who have been inspired by the cause to better Malaysia directly or indirectly. I write on behalf of those who have spent a significant amount of time and energy, both mentally and emotionally, placing their belief in the possibility of an alternative system and one in place of a Federal coalition government we know to be corrupt and unscrupulous in its thought and practice. 

Where does this dejection stem from? Its source is deeper than just the loss of an important Parliamentary seat and a by-election. It emerges from the sense that not all is well with the solution we thought we had figured out. That, put simply, Pakatan Rakyat would have been the alternative coalition government that would prove no one government (namely, Barisan) could wield such omnipotence with such unapologetic means of outright bribery and childish antics – and worse, get away with it. This, we thought, was easy enough to achieve: Get people to support an alternative, and voila! We obtain a two-party political system. This way, neither coalition can claim to have ultimate say since it is the people who place them into positions of power. 

What we failed to recognise was the possibility of numerous challenges within and without, all of which have threatened this one golden opportunity we had to produce a two-party system. I am not saying this is no longer possible, nor probable, but that perhaps it is time to remind ourselves of why we – all of us – are in this in the first place. Before that, let me add a caveat that I believe some bi-partisanship needs to be activated if either side desires to move forward in the project that is Malaysia. This means people interested in policy and planning from both coalitions agreeing on some common denominator and pushing those forward. I am sure (and I hope) this does happen at the Parliamentary front, but more must flourish: Brainstorming on education policy; youth policy; utilities; local government. 

Why does it matter that Zaid Ibrahim lost? Because it means that Malaysians are still culprit to the mass bribery of cash handouts, announcements of goodies (Najib’s RM3 million for Chinese schools in Rasa “only if BN wins” sticks out like a sore thumb) and under-the-belt (and rather stupid, in my opinion) doctored images of beer-clutching. It tells me that as long as the Big Boss has the world of resources to draw from, and has no hesitation in using, whatever else wrong that is being perpetrated by the government will not count a drop. 

Where do we go from here? Apart from the usual droning on that one could do (have better campaign financing and political funding laws; fairer media exposure; allow independent election monitoring), I believe that Pakatan Rakyat will need to do two things. First, to remind itself of the original cause for which they strive, and second, to act upon this belief and demonstrating to its electorate the same. 

Pakatan is where it is today because of its ability to convince people of its being an alternative to a corrupt, inefficient, unfair system. We must remind ourselves that at no point in our administration can we tolerate behaviour that departs from adherence to a transparent, fair and just system. Demonstrating this equals proactively working towards these ends, even if it means a radical shift from the way in which any part of government and administration run. This requires boldness. Berani kerana benar. This we are indeed doing, and we must continue to do, despite the obstacles that come our way. 

The most common lament, even amongst those who were starry-eyed about the tsunami of the March 8th 2008 election is this: that there is over-politicking, and that neither side is giving them what they expected. This we have to recognise and acknowledge (despite our arguments of justification), for fear that even a greater number of already apathetic youth disengage themselves from political participation. This becomes a failure of both the Barisan and Pakatan, because, in order to propel the country forward (yes, into a high-income nation ala the New Economic Model), you need young people, and you need them physically present to contribute. Hence many plea for some semblance of sanity and temporary suspension of political expediency. 

I am painfully aware of the many issues involved, such as a non-level playing field, and neither am I doing justice not covering them all in this short post. However, for the sake of proving that it is indeed possible to break the backbone of a power-obsessed Federal government (any one such government, for that matter), we must learn to dance to a different tune, and not one which has been provided to us thus far. We are a different animal altogether, and this we must prove. Here’s to Hulu Selangor, all who were involved and those who followed it from afar. Till the next round, and it is back to work – and hope – we go.



  1. TOKY said,

    No need to WRITE & TALK so much RUBBISH.

    Bottom line is that BN had WON. Writing EXCUSES & COMPLAINTS will NOT turn back time & will also NOT change the facts.

    No need to act as if one is a Political Analyst trying to conduct a POST-MORTEM of the results. The reason why BN won is becos’ ‘the rakyat’ in HULU SELANGOR REJECTED Pakatan Rakyat.

    Stop BLAMING others for ya own DEFEAT. Stop behaving like SORE LOSERS & take defeat like a MAN, ok???

    After all, Pakatan Rakyat should start getting use to DEFEAT as this is just the BEGINNING. The worse is yet to come.

    The BN WARRIORS are now marching to SIBU next. Sibu will be an easier TASK though.

    • egalitaria said,

      Thank you for visiting and for your comment. I believe if you read the post correctly, I was indeed taking the defeat as much as possibly “like a man” I can, given that I am, indeed, not a man. All the best in Sibu! How much will BN spend over there? I’m sure they need it.

      • TOKY said,

        Oopps sorry that you’re actually NOT a man. Thus, I forgive you acting like a SORE LOSER for NOT being able to accept defeat. It’s OK…I understand.

        As for how much BN is going to spend in SIBU…..Hmmm…..SORE LOSERS will blame it on $$$. So, I’ll let you have it ya way this time round.

        Frankly, if you really wanna know the answer…I dare say slightly less than RM 0.90. Why so little??? Becos’ PAKATAN RAKYAT is BASHING PARTY in East Malaysia.

        Pakatan Rakyat CAN’t even win in their won TERRITORY (Selangor) & do they actually expect to win in Sarawak of which is a BN STRONGHOLD???

        Well, it’s certainly OK to have DREAMS. At least this will help you overcome the SORROW of tonite’s DEFEAT.

        Cheer up!!! More DEFEATS is coming ya way. BN is MARCHING ON!!!

  2. Kian Ye said,

    Anyone who are WISE in Politics will tell you $$$ wins elections. In another words… No $$$, No VICTORY.

    Does anyone here really do believe that People’s Power or whatever crap DEMOCRACY will bring VICTORY???

    Come on!!! People’s CRAP Power & Democracy are just for show. The core still lies with $$$.

    Ask any experienced Politicians & they will agree with this.

    As BOB MARLEY once said…”No Money, No Vote”

    Get real !!! This is my message to all those NAIVE (edited out by egalitaria) who really think Pakatan Rakyat could win Hulu Selangor.

    Now pack-up & drown in ya own sorrows, will ya???

    ZAID IBRAHIM is drowning his SORROWS with several bottles of SINGLE MALT WHISKEY.

    • egalitaria said,

      Thanks for your comment. You are right that without money, there is no campaign to speak of. However, there should be limits to the amounts permitted, which is practised in other countries. I just hope you know that this vote-buying is actually being done with your tax-paying money.

  3. bennyloh said,


  4. michaelloo said,

    welcome back to writing. all the best in persevering

  5. ongohing said,

    Thank you for your well-thought out post on an important issue and your thoughtful and courteous reply even to rude and male chauvinistic comments. There can be no advancement for either winners or losers without proper analysis. People who knock analysis have no long-term view. They speak and think only in a given moment, expressing themselves as they feel now. The nation’s future lies with people like you, female and male, who care enough about all Malaysians to do the hard work of thinking deeper into things, neither trying to justify anything nor simply accepting things as they are or appear to be. Please keep up the good work and know that you and your important work is appreciated.

  6. We may not always win, but we will fight nonetheless.
    Let the best loser wins.

  7. wildkarrd3 said,

    shame on u to pick on a woman *however capable she is in holding her ground* who do u think u r? gandhi? u r nobody.. we all r nobody. so, stop acting like mr. bigshot. pls tok fact with fact, or else just suffice to keep your silent and also, oh yeah, your understanding *however limited it is*.

    lol, l wonder is there such a word as sore winner!? must b hard to win with spending so much eh!? good lor, at least the money goes back to rakyat which should have been the case without buy-elections anyway. :p

    yeah, looking forward for bn to stream roll everyone while throwing money n empty promises around. something u wouldnt heard of, say 3 yrs back? 🙂
    good luck!! *n pick a fight with someone your size*


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