Original Article: Free Malaysia Today
It’s like a televised weekly soap opera, and one only hopes that Kajang residents will not get election fatigue and fail to do their duty on March 23
All of a sudden Kajang in Selangor has become the battleground for people with the name Ibrahim; Anwar Ibrahim, Khalid Ibrahim and Zaid Ibrahim. Much is happening behind the scenes in the Umno Baru camp and in the Pakatan camp, but both parties release the bare minimum of information.
Pakatan politicians have told us that the Kajang Move is strategic and critics are demanding to know the facts. Pakatan politicians are reluctant to reveal the details because the public would never be satiated. Moreover, Pakatan does not want to forewarn Umno Baru of their moves.
When Pakatan laid bare its GE13 manifesto, it was not long before Najib Tun Razak went through the list and told people that he had something similar planned.
We can trust the people of Kajang to do the right thing but will the Election Commission (EC) be prepared to carry out its responsibilities independently of the Umno Baru ruling party? When was the last time a Malaysian election was clean?
For those with short memories, the Bersih movement called for free, fair and clean elections. That has always been the goal, but the aim has not been achieved.
If we had free, fair and clean elections, we would not be ruled by a government which was ‘elected’ by only ’47%’ of the electorate. The EC announced the Kajang by-election long before the event, presumably to give Umno Baru a chance to prepare itself and to dig up dirt to throw at Pakatan. Both sides will doubtless be bombarding the Kajang people with ceramahs.
The town will again be cloaked in wasteful banners. One hopes that the residents of Kajang will not get election fatigue and fail to do their duty on the appointed day.
One must also look out for vote buying in the form of goodie bags. This vote-inducer has been used during the 57 years of Umno Baru canvassing. Why break a bad habit of many years standing?
The long running spat between MB Khalid Ibrahim and his arch rival Azmin Ali is like the televised ‘drama minggu ini’ (weekly soaps) which are beloved of housewives. Others claim that people, who watch these dramas, love the scandals, the plots and the subplots, to indulge in a bit of escapism.
In every happy family there are disagreements between the closest of family members. Khalid and Azmin are like two siblings with the parent caught in the middle; no parent wants to be seen taking sides.
Others disagree and say that blue-eyed boys will always get away with misbehaviour. Khalid has proven himself in Selangor, and he now sits on a treasure chest of around RM3 billion.
He is like the sibling who through his diligence and hard work is jealously guarding his pile of sweets from the brother who desperately wants some sweeties without working for them.
Kick out corruption
People keep harping on about Anwar being an Umno Baru clone and that his guru was former PM Mahathir Mohamad. They question his motives for wanting to be PM and they say that when he was in government, he did nothing to stop Mahathir.
One wonders if the people are blind and cannot see that Anwar is a reformed person after being sent to jail on trumped-up charges and being beaten by the chief of police Abdul Rahim Noor. Were these beatings while he was imprisoned just an illusion?
Anyone questioning Anwar’s motives should answer another question first: Why is Mahathir so afraid of Anwar contesting in Kajang? Answer this question and the overall picture will be all the more clear.
Mahathir’s comment that Malays frequently forget is true. Zaid Ibrahim is a former Umno Baru de facto law minister, a former member of Umno Baru, a former member of PKR and a former member of Kita.
Zaid formed Kita after leaving PKR. People may remember that Kita grabbed the attention of the public with an offer to present a clapped out Rolls-Royce to the person who most resembled the actor in the controversial ‘Anwar’ sex-video.
Just over a year ago Zaid said that he quit politics because he wanted to enter the corporate sector to “do something else”. He should have also said that he was tired of party hopping.
He said, “Yes, I am quitting politics to concentrate on business. But I will continue to write, I will continue to give ideas and suggestions on politics.”
Recently, he wrote on his blog that Malays have too much power and said: “Only people who have too much power will conduct themselves in the way Umno and Utusan have. To them, the idea of being sensible and reasonable is unreasonable and weak.”
On Jan 3, 2014, Zaid wrote in a mainstream paper that Malaysians must “do all we can to help Najib make corruption a thing of the past”.
He said, “…there is no doubt that the prime minister is dead serious in combating corruption. His appointment of an integrity minister specifically in charge of integrity is unprecedented and now many government agencies, departments and GLCs have set up integrity units to make sure all their business decisions and processes are ethical and free from abuse of power and corrupt practices.”
Zaid is correct. We must do all we can to make corruption a thing of the past. The people of Kajang should kick out Umno Baru. It has been given 57 years to eradicate corruption but failed.
No one is saying Pakatan is perfect but hundreds of billions of ringgits into a few Umno Baru politicians’ back pockets should be enough reason to vote them out.
Oh, and we must not forget the fourth Ibrahim. Ibrahim Ali, the Perkasa leader has claimed that he would be 1,000 times better, as a prime minister, than Anwar.
In that case, Ibrahim Ali should put his name up for nomination in Kajang. Malaysians can expect March 23 to be an exciting day!
Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist