09 March, 2008

Undur Lah, Pak Lah!

Abdullah should resign, former Premier Mahathir Mohamad told reporters today. Mahathir, 82, handpicked the prime minister as his successor in 2003.

"I made the wrong choice,'' he said.

`You can't lead a coalition that loses this badly and stay in power,'' said Ooi Kee Beng, an analyst at Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ``He should resign. The coalition is in crisis because it can no longer claim it represents all the races.''

BN denied two-thirds majority, it did, however, win a simple majority, taking 139 out of 219 seats, with three more seats yet to declare.

Though it had managed to secure a simple majority in parliament, the loose opposition alliance of the DAP, Pas and PKR managed to take control of Penang, Kedah, Selangor, Perak and retained Kelantan comfortably.

Opposition has won unprecedented control of five of Malaysia's 13 states in general elections.

Adding to the BN's woes this time, three of its component parties -- the MCA, Gerakan and MIC were almost routed while MCA only won 15 of its 40 parliamentary seats.

MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and PPP President Datuk M. Kayveas were trounced.

"We will start building a brighter future...This is a new dawn for Malaysia," Anwar, de facto leader of opposition party Parti Keadilan Rakyat said.

Malaysian PM's future looks bleak

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's future looks bleak after a stunning setback in weekend polls that reversed his landslide victory of four years ago, analysts said.

Asked if the results were a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which has been criticised as weak and ineffective, Abdullah responded: "Maybe. There are a lot of messages from the people."

Former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim who has emerged as the opposition figurehead said the results defeated the "myth" that Abdullah's United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party was invincible.

"I can see some leadership turmoil happening in UMNO. They will have to reinvent by focusing on leadership change," he said.

These were the only words which Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi could muster when quizzed on the ruling coalition’s shocking defeat in five states.

Abdullah was posed with the question during a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur. He was accompanied by his wife Jeanne, deputy Najib Abdul Razak and other BN leaders.

The prime minister added that he will make a media statement after analysing the results in detail.

Without a two-thirds parliamentary majority, Barisan can no longer change the constitution or make some key appointments and could struggle to alter electoral boundaries, powers that the opposition have long maintained were abused by Barisan.

MIC in shambles with no leader in the wings

It was Samy Vellu’s final swan song. Except for Dr S. Subramaniam , S. Saravanan and K. Devamani, the other MIC candidates were all wiped out in an unprecedented wave of anger, opening up a new era in politics for Indians.

With most of the MIC bigwigs wiped out, the internal power equation in the party has gone haywire and only time will tell how it is going to unravel.

After such a beating it is also inconceivable that Samy Vellu should continue as party president. Sadly, he does not have a winner in a number two or three to hand over the party to.

The larger question is of course Indian representation in the government, which would be lesser with so many casualties. The government will have to find new ways to fill the vacancies and not just promote losers into senators and then ministers.

Because of the defeat in some states, Indian representation is nil, making it a challenging task for the Barisan Nasional power-sharing formula to work.

BN was also shocked with losses of several bigwigs - MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu in Sungai Siput and PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas in Taiping. Samy Vellu was reported to have lost to Dr D. Jeyakumar by a majority of 1,821 votes while Kayveas was defeated by DAP's Nga Kor Ming with a majority of 11,298 votes.

Undur Lah, Pak Lah!

Any other political leader whose party had been so humiliated as UMNO was at this election would by now have tendered his or her resignation. Abdullah Badawi however, is slow on the uptake. He does not respond to subtle signals, even though there was nothing subtle about voters’ rejection of his leadership. The only way to get his attention would be to hit his thick skull with a two-by-four lumber, metaphorically speaking of course.

At a press conference early this morning he declared, “I don’t know who is being pressured (to step down), I’m not resigning.” At best, that reflects a leader totally out of touch with the harsh reality; at worse, the bravado of an idiot. With Abdullah, it is both.

If UMNO members do not complete what the voters had set out to do in this election – that is, get rid of Abdullah – then the next elections would be even uglier. If former UMNO leader and Prime Minister Mahathir was accurate in his assessment that the party can no longer be reformed from within ( a sentiment I share), then we are indeed watching the beginning of the end for UMNO. The implosion has begun.....more

Makkal sakti! It's a TSUNAMI result for Penang.

Stay calm. No victory parade. Don't give any party the reason to declare an emergency.

Stay calm. Stay cool. Stay home.

Congratulations Jeff!

More uudates from Malaysiakini here, or go to its minor site here.


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