Saturday, March 08, 2008

Shamsul Akmar's back?

Now, a writer who doesn't dance with wolves. It's been a while since Shamsul Akmar's byline had appeared in the mainstream media. He was a "star" political columnist in the NST before the current regime wolfed down everything good about the paper.

Shamsul's byline appeared in the Star on the eve of the 12th General Election. [The same day an NST writer tried to shaft shit down this blogger's throat.]

Patron-client nexus in politics

THE mixed fortunes of two bloggers – Ooi Chuan Aun (Jeff Ooi) and Badrul Hisham Shaharin (Chegu Bard) – who are contesting in the general election, tell many a tale.

Both have gone online to solicit funds for their election campaign and the response they got were poles apart.

Jeff Ooi who will be contesting the Jelutong parliamentary seat on a DAP ticket collected more than RM100,000 to date while Chegu Bard managed just over RM20,000.

It can be argued that Jeff Ooi received a better response, as he is a big name among the blogging community compared with Chegu Bard.

But others argued that Chegu Bard, vying for the Rembau parliamentary seat against the Prime Minister’s son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin should be getting bigger support.

Yet, a blogger who is close to both the contestants pointed out that the manner the funds are stacking up for the two are almost a reflection of the nation’s political reality.

He said the voters in Jelutong, the majority of them Chinese, were very proactive in their political participation while Rembau’s, the majority being Malays, tend to be retroactive.

It may be true but more than that is the fact that Malay voters are unfamiliar with the idea of contributing to candidates during an election. The concept they understand is the other way round.

All these years, be it in general elections or by-elections, Malay voters have learnt to expect something, goodies, promises of more goodies and in many instances, cash.

As such, to expect them to be the ones giving is asking a bit too much of them.

Of course it can be argued that PAS have been on donation drives in all their ceramah and have received substantial contributions from their supporters. But their supporters are driven by the party’s Islamic label, almost parallel to an ideological struggle.

The problem for Chegu Bard is that he is from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), much perceived as a splinter of Umno or that it has evolved to be an urban-based party with middle-class characteristics. The Malays may support their cause but not to the extent of contributing cash.

Much as PKR is styling itself as a multi-racial entity, most of its Malay supporters are former Umno fans. No doubt, there are new Malays, young, fresh and idealistic coming from a middle-class background but they have yet to become an integral part of the party.

Its supporters, especially those from rural constituencies were also former Umno members or supporters and their expectations of a political party have not changed much from the days when they were voting for Umno.

The 1999 general election cannot be used as a yardstick of the Malay voting psyche as it was at a period of major emotional convulsion that was devoid of rationale and instead displaced by anger or even rage.

Post-1999 has seen the anger and emotional factors subside and the Malay voting equation returned to what it was – a political duality represented by Umno and PAS.

For the Malay political parties, especially Umno, the patron-client co-existence ensured a captive audience.

But it has not always been like that, even for Umno supporters. In the early days, when Umno started taking the lead in the fight for independence, the supporters parted with their gold and jewellery to finance party leaders in their quest to break away from the imperial shackles.

But today, the Malay voters seem to be trapped in the patron-client environment.

For as long as Umno can continue to provide the patronage, the dependent Malay voters would continue to be a captive audience.

Of course there are the resentful middle-class Malays who have broken from their dependency on Umno. These Malays may have attained their fortune from the Malay policies espoused and realised by Umno.

However, their resentment arose from their awareness, perceived or real, that what they had benefited from the privileges were peanuts compared with what the Umno men and leaders had reaped.

To make matters worse , the middle-class Malays would never find any satisfaction from their achievements, as they are forever being chided or questioned by their non-Malay friends for their privileges.

To add insult to injury, some of the present-day Umno stalwarts seem unable to articulate the wisdom of the policies and at times, having abused the privileges, end up being the very source of embarrassment for the policies.

In some ways, the patron-client relations is quite feudal – as long as the candidate gets re-elected, the voters are taken care of and it works very well in the more rural areas where the needs of the constituents are still wanting.

As long as this is in place, any attempts to inject an ideological struggle to the political equation would not go far.

And the feudal nature has not only been a barrier for an ideological injection to the party but has resulted in some instances during nomination when certain candidates from Umno replaced their disgraced kin. It was done with impunity and could only have been done nonchalantly by a feudal mind.

It is such acts that have not endeared Umno with certain segments of the Malay middle-class that are quite confused in deciding their political affiliation.

For them, PAS and its hard-line Islamic credentials is not exactly an attractive alternative while PKR, which in itself seems confused in determining its agenda, has yet to be truly appealing.

While Jeff Ooi attempts to convince the voters that he is their man for Jelutong, Chegu Bard and other Malay opposition candidates have to decide how they are offering themselves to their electorate – as a representative or a patron?

Or maybe as a bigger patron?


Anonymous said...

It hasn't said what we don't already know. The Star is just as bad as NST in covering the GE. Fair they definitely are not. Bringing in Akhmar just tells us they are hiring starving wolves to look fair.

the indie story said...


Foto-Foto Perhimpunan Malam Terakhir BARISAN ALTERNATIF Sebelum Hari Mengundi Esok ( Lokasi : TAMAN PERMATA, LEMBAH KERAMAT / Masa : 9.30pm - 12am )

Foto-Foto Eksklusif Hanya Daripada:


Anonymous said...

Well, my fellow countrymen & Sabahans

The Time is NOW!

Stick it to them & Musa Aman!


It's my country and yours and we want it back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't succumb to BN Blackmail.

It's a small step for you, but it sure is a GIANT STEP for Sabah & Malaysia!

REMEMBER: those who compliment "Aman Crap" are the ones who will benefit through government projects.

Ask yourself this: What's in it for you?

Unshackle yourself from 50 years of BN Enslavement- Emancipation Now!!!!!!!!!

Cast your vote TODAY to reclaim the ownership of your country!

U gotta help yourself before others can help U


Go forth Malaysians & Sabahans- matching towards a better, harmonious and brighter future for you and and your chilldren!

I salute you all, brave pioneers of a new Malaysia!

Anonymous said...

Sdr Rocky,

Setelah meninjau kawasan pilihanraya Parlimen Rembau, saya sangat yakin yang KJ akan mendapat kemenangan besar.

Walaupun saya simpati dengan CekguBard tapi apalah yang dapat dia buat dengan RM20,000 manakala KJ ada bapa mertua dan seluruh jentera BN dan kerajaan di belakangnya.

Saya sedikit pun tidak hairan kalau majoriti KJ lebih besar daripada yang diperoleh Firdaus Mohd Rom bin Harun sebelum ini dalam pilihanraya 2004.

Keyakinan saya ini adalah berasaskan kepada faktor berikut:

1. Ketokohan KJ.
2. Kedudukan KJ sebagai menantu Perdana Menteri.
3. Kedudukan KJ yang ditakuti kakitangan awam, termasuk kakitangan pejabat daerah Rembau.
4. Jentera pilihanraya BN yang canggih,ampuh dan berwibawa.

Adalah di luar jangkaan saya bahawa calon yang begitu terkenal kerana hubungannya dengan PM selaku menantu tidak boleh mengatasi jumlah undi yang diperoleh calon BN dalam pilihanraya 2004, Firdaus Mohd Rom bin Harun yang menang dengan majoriti 18,656 undi.

Ani Jasmin, budak Cengkau

Anonymous said...

The fact that Shamsul's byline has not been 'wolfed down' by the Star's editorial says something about the 'implied interest' of the write-up. I couldn't agree more with some of his obeservations and the corresponding conclusions pertaining to the feudalist psyche tendency of the Malays... complex issue to resolve... and the results in Rembau will shed further lights on this, I'm sure... interesting area for research?


Sdr Rocky's Bru,

I agree mostly with Sdr Shamsul.But I also believe that the Malays are capable of changing.

I am counting on Cikgu Bard, a pleasant and committed young man, giving KJ the run for his money.

Of course Cikgu Bard's RM20,000 is chicken feed compared to his opponent's unlimited resources.

I was told that even the local district officials are rooting for him, considering him "sebahagian daripada kerajaan" and refusing Cikgu Bard even venue to hold rallies.

This is a fight between a raging bull elephant (gajah tumpah minyak) and a tiny pelanduk (mousedeer).

All that Cukgu Bard has to do is to the BN's majority. In the 2004, the BN's candidate majority was around 18,000.

The cikgu represents the aspiration of everyday men and women.

His opponent represents political, financial and family power.

He represents himself as much as his Prime Minister father-in-law.

In my 40 over years of watching, reporting and analysing politics, I have seen many surprises.

I am not surprise if some big names are humbled by this evening.

My swing through Kelantan and Terengganu with fellow blogger Pahit Manis was instructive.

I love KB, which I first visited in 1977, to cover the Kelantan Crisis. KB has changed but its rustic charm remains.

The grassroot politics is very much different from what we told by the mainstream media.

I am betting on some pretty interesting surprises in the two Malay heartland states, as well as in Kedah and Perlis.

Happy voting (in Perak) Bru. I am Serdang-bound.

Thank you.

Pak Zawi said...

Tried to donate some money to Chegu Bard using Maybank2u but was unable to go thru as the system requires Chegu's ID in the form of IC number which was not available. Tried to obtain the ID via SMS to his aide but receive no response. Since there is no HLB in my place, it was a difficult effort to donate. Bard should have provided the info together with the bank acccount number and beneficiary which was suppled. Better still provide a maybank account which was requested by many readers.
Need to learn a lesson from this experience.
Despite the financial handicap, we hope Chegu Bard will do well against the might of the rich jobless opponent he has to fight with today. My prayers is for Chegu Bard.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps all or some of your visitors would like to make a sojourn at to take a look at the famous Son-in-Law in one of his stark naked pursuits.

He easily possesses a keris of his own albeit the flesh and blood type that measures longer than Hisham's metal equivalent. That keris of his is not meant for Chinese blood but for Siti Nurhalizah and other Malay beauties in Rembau. Guys, please take a good look.


Mr. Smith said...

I very realistic piece of writing. How true. Every UMNO worker must be paid and paid well - for sitting in the operation's room, for putting up posters, for checking voters' voting centres and for their votes.
I know of lady, well heeled, too proudly proclaimed that was paid RM 200 per day for her services at the UMNO operations centre.
But she is going to vote Opposition!
Ideological struggle, corruption, judiciary, leaders morality are non issues when casting their votes.

Anonymous said...

Out of topic Bro, but permit me to raise:

1. Doesn't Wong Chun Wai cares two hoods about corruption, wastage and inefficincies in the present govt?

2. BN list all so-called "achievements" - aren't all those something any responsible govt shuold do for the people? After all it's the country's money they are using, including the blood sucking tax money

Pasquale said...

There seems to be more panache in Shamsul's writing now. I detect a much more controlled maturity in his style since his successful stint in England doing his Masters program, you know as they say experience can make you see much much more deeper into issues. My recommendation?! Well Wong Chun Wai and Thde Star should retain him as a columnist.


Anonymous said...

just gor report from terengganu, total chaos at every poling station, pas barricade stations, police move in with tear gas and water canon to clear barricades.
This is at ALL poling stations in Terengganu....

Anonymous said...

This is a timely article for all Malaysians, especially the Malays to digest. Perhaps the Malays are at the crossroad to think back whether is there any truth in 'Ketuanan Melayu' make famous by Umno. Whether they have benefited from NEP in the 'true sense' and whether they can still trust Umno.

To me, many Malays 'fall victim' to Umno's ideology and policies, to the extent they become a 'weaker' race. Sort of without 'privileges' accorded, they cannot survive or become well-to-do. As for the Chinese, such ideology and policies make them even stronger as they have to fight for survival, not with the Malays, but among Chinese and other races. Such ideology and policies resulting in social illness of 'marginalisation' and 'polarisation' of all races, the Malays inclusive.

There is one article in Malaysiakini titled 'Malays versue malaise' which conclude that 'Only the Malays can cure Malaysia of the Umno/BN malaise. And with so many Malay leaders and opinion-makers emerging in opposition, we may not have to wait for too many elections after this one before they finally up and do it'.

I fully agree with the conclusion and of the view that the Malays should take the lead to end Umno's dominance. Without this Malay's initiative, Chinese and Indian are not able to do this, the most we can have is to have a strong opposition but not a government which emphasise on meritocracy.

Anonymous said...

"Abdullah urges Chinese to vote BN" - report from The Star, reprinted in the Spore Straits Times, Mar 8.

The PM's message: if the Chinese did not have representation in the Cabinet, their requests would not be heard.

"We do not want to have a government that does not have representation of all ethnic groups in the Cabinet.

"We want to be the best and I want to do the best for the rakyat...

"When the MCA lost its voice (in 1990, when the MCA lost every state seat it contested in Penang), the people felt it. I hope they will think very carefully. This is important in the interest of all races."

Is the PM resorting to the "politics of fear"?

And would the PM care to clarify certain remarks attributed to his son-in-law, as carried in a Bloomberg report in the Spore Business Times, Mar 7, under the heading "Bumiputra privileges must be retained, says Khairy"?

The report quoted Khairy as having said in an interview on Wednesday:

"The constitutional special rights are part and parcel of the whole social contract in this country".

"It's (Malaysia's affirmative action policy introduced in 1971 after the racial clashes in 1969) about empowering those who need help the most and merit help the most...not about cronyism and giving privileges to people who have connections."

As per the Bloomberg report: 'Khairy said that privileges for ethnic Malays in Malaysia must be retained'.

'He rejected suggestions that Chinese and Indian Malaysians are second-class citizens because of the policies including reserved jobs, scholarships and university places for Malays'.

I am surprised that no one, least of all the opposition, called him out on these statements.

Anonymous said...

Spore Straits Times' South-east Asia correspondent Leslie Lopez gave his take on possible post-election scenarios and their implications (Straits Times, Mar 8).



"WORST-CASE SCENARIOS (this is where the Lopez's analysis gets interesting):

- BAD. The BN keeps its two-thirds majority but the opposition secures more than 50 seats in Parliament, retains Kelantan, and makes huge inroads in Terengganu and Penang, together with scattered victories in parliamentary seats in Malay-belt states.

- VERY BAD. The BN barely retains its two-thirds majority, with the opposition keeping Kelantan, recapturing Terengganu, and wresting control of Datuk Seri Abdullah's home state of Penang. Umno also suffers serious setbacks in the Malay-dominated states such as Kedah and Perlis, because of internal party strife.

Anonymous said...

I find this discovery amazing and flabbergasted. The fraud that is being conducted by the SPR is therefore true ! Click on the above image to enlarge. I have been cloned into a 81 year old Chinaman, with a name Yap Fook Sang. How did I do this? I keyed in my old sevice number here which is 3002553. I keyed in some more numbers within or somewhere around my batch of officers, which were 3002555, 3002557 and 3001617. All the guys are above the age of 70! These guys should be around 45-50 years old. In my case I got my service number late, as I was a ranker. This is what I call fraud. So why not we question the integrity of the SPR? This is what I got.

Kad Pengenalan
271123715175 / 3002553
Tahun Lahir
163 / 52 / 04 / 001 - BATU 19 KULAI
Daerah Mengundi
163 / 52 / 04 - KULAI
163 / 52 - SENAI
163 - KULAI
Pusat Mengundi
Masa Mengundi
08.00 PAGI - 05.00 PETANG
No Siri
Untuk sebarang maklumat, sila emel :
Hakcipta Terpelihara 2008 © Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya MalaysiaTEL : 03-8885 6500 FAKS : 03-8888 9112

Anonymous said...

Salam bro rookie :)

Lembah Pantai "pwndZ".. All base belongs to BA.

Congrats NuruL.

Anonymous said...

hey Shamsul

Welcome back man! how about coming back to NST when we have a new PM and that guy with the initial K is put out to pasture hehehahahehehaha