Don’t brush aside the goodwill, Mahathir !


Fruitful friendship: National carmaker Proton
was given a boost when Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group
came to its rescue last year.

A graphic being circulated on social media has the Chinese flag planted all over a map of Peninsular Malaysia, suggesting that Red China has taken over our land. The political message is clear: the Najib Administration is hawking the country.

Framed against the backdrop of a heated general election, everything is fair game, with no sacred cows, but the anti-China campaign is detrimental to the country and people.

Besides reeking of racism, it will drive Chinese investors away from Malaysia if the country is perceived as being hostile.

The reality is that many other countries will roll the red carpet for China, inviting the eastern giant to pour money into their countries, but in an emotional elections campaign, rhetoric seems to have prevailed above rationale and logic.

It didn’t help that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in a recent interview with Reuters, warned that Chinese investors in Malaysia will face more scrutiny if he regained power in the upcoming election.

He reportedly said that Chinese investment was welcome if companies which set up ope­rations in Malaysia employed locals and brought in capital and technology to the country, but “this wasn’t the case now.”

“Lots of people don’t like Chinese investments,” the former prime minister claims, saying “we are for Malaysians. We want to defend the rights of Malaysians. We don’t want to sell chunks of this country to foreign companies who will develop whole towns”.

Last week, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will stop borrowing from China, adding he would review Chinese investments if his political coalition was put in charge.

He told the Associated Press that “in the case of projects, we may have to study whether we would continue, or slow down or negotiate the terms”.

However, China is Malaysia’s top source of foreign direct investment, contributing 7% of the total RM54.7bil it received last year. That’s not a revenue stream to dismiss flippantly.

Recently, the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian, gave a firm reassurance that the republic would import more Malaysian palm oil and palm-based products, stressing there would be no cap on its imports.

He said: “We will not set any limit”, and “there will be no ‘glass ceiling’ for the import of Malaysian palm oil and related products”.

In the first six months of 2017, the total export of palm oil and palm oil products to China grew 9.8% to RM8.52bil, up from RM7.76bil a year ago.

As for the export of rubber and its products to China, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong revealed that China has overtaken the United States and the European Union to become the top export destination for Malaysia. The total export of rubber and related products to China in the first 11 months last year jumped by 76% year on year to RM7.45bil, compared to RM4.23bil in the same period in 2016.

These are real facts and figures. This is not fake news.

All these huge imports by China will directly benefit Felda settlers.

Surely we need to treat our No. 1 customer well, and not kick them in their derriere or allow ourselves to be viewed with fear and ridiculed in election rallies, which we seem to be adept at.

Palm oil is straining under the weight of huge challenges from unfriendly EU countries, which are dead against the industry.

In a move to lift oil seed prices and encou­rage domestic supply of soybean and grapeseed, even India has raised its import tax on crude and refined palm oil to its highest level in more than a decade.

As one news article reported, “over the last 30 years, China’s economic growth has been phenomenal. A country of 1.3 billion with the biggest number of poor people, has propelled more than 600 million into the middle class.

“She is adding 30 million (incidentally, Malaysia’s total population) to this number every year. Most respectable studies are predicting the Chinese economy will be bigger than the US’ before 2030. Bloomberg says this will happen in 2026.”

As commentator John Lo correctly wrote in Free Malaysia Today: “President Donald Trump’s inward-looking policy is hastening the decline of the US. The US and her allies have ruled the world and imposed their will on other countries in the name of democracy and promise of prosperity for a few hundred years.

“Very few countries have benefited, and many have suffered by adopting or submitting to the US’ will. China’s economic growth model has shown to be better than that of the West’s.

“The US’ presence in Malaysia has helped little to build up our economy. They have been pumping our oil for years but have not given us an oil industry. They have invested a lot more, I really mean a lot more, in Singapore’s oil industry.”

In June 2017, trade with China totalled RM22.75bil, up by 8.7% from RM20.92bil – and the cash registers will ring louder as China’s wealth increases.

Of course, then there’s Proton Holdings, which registered losses of up to RM1bil in 2017. No one dared touch the national car maker, which, to put it politely, was well past the ICU stage. Even a defibrillator was useless.

For decades, Malaysians had to pay so much for imported cars, having to put up with protectionist measures and the obligatory national pride. No one was prepared to tell Dr Mahathir that the business model wasn’t workable anymore.

Then, China stepped in. Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group came to the rescue and took up a 49% stake in Proton. Geely is also the owner of Volvo, Boyue and the London Taxi Company, which produces the city’s iconic cab.

After Proton was sold to Geely, Dr Mahathir said he was saddened, but in 2014, it was he who travelled to China to meet the manufacturer to seek a Proton partnership, a bid which ultimately fell through.

On the tourism front, Malaysia is expected to hit the four million mark for inbound tourists from China this year. This is a trickle from the Chinese point of view, but with a fast-expanding middle class, the figures will surely spike.

One report said that Chinese investments in Malaysia “have continued to be on an uptrend despite the stringent capital control introduced by the Chinese government last year, signalling China’s commitment to pursue long-term investments in Malaysia. Among the projects that have seen significant Chinese investments in recent years are the Forest City in Iskandar Malaysia (RM405bil), the East Coast Rail Link (RM55bil) and Melaka Gateway (RM29bil).

“While the outlook for China’s ODI (overseas direct investments) appears to have dimmed, Malaysia has become the fourth largest recipient of China’s ODI globally this year.

“In the latest China Going Global Investment Index 2017 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Malaysia has jumped to fourth position in 2017, compared with 20th in 2015.”

“The significant improvement is mainly a result of Malaysia’s important participation in BRI-related projects, apart from the welcoming attitude towards Chinese investment.”

The stakes are simply too high for politicians to turn China into a bogeyman and instil fear in the voters’ minds, particularly in the Malay heartland.

“I am willing to take a bet that should the Opposition take over the government, they will run to Beijing first for investment. The reason is simple, the US will not invest much here. Europe is down.

“Japan has been in the doldrums for more than 20 years. They need investments more than Malaysia does. It is not wise to run down China’s investment for the sake of political campaigning,” Lo wrote.

He added that “the proper way to address any issue on China’s investments is not to blame the Chinese. They have come because the Government has lobbied hard for China’s investments.

“If the Opposition has any reservations, they should direct their criticism at the Government and not implicate China. To say that China is giving kickbacks is in bad taste and shows insensitivity and crudeness.”

Another favourite China-bashing target concerns Johor’s Forest City project. Claims abound about the loss of sovereignty when, in fact, the properties were constructed on reclaimed land, and not on existing plots in the state. The sprawling property will be built on land that never existed prior.

The developer, Country Garden Holdings, isn’t a fly by night operation. Instead, it is China’s sixth most successful property developer in terms of sales, and has a market capitalisation of US$61.87bil (RM241bil). The owner, Yang Guoqiang, has family assets worth 45.5 billion yuan (RM28bil).

Another bit of nonsense implicating China is the claim that the Government had granted tax exemption to federal projects, such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) built by the Chinese, a move designed to anger the Malays. But during Dr Mahathir’s time, under the Sales and Services Tax (SST) system in the 1980s, exemption was given to several mega projects, including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Express Rail Link, Smart Tunnel, Bukit Jalil Stadium, as well as to independent power producers.

If GST relief was not offered to China Communications Construction (CCC) Sdn Bhd for the ECRL project, it would have cost a lot more, thus increasing the country’s debt and incurring huge losses.

But leading up to the elections, rhyme or reason get thrown out the window, and facts and figures take a back seat. For some people, in their anger, truths are brushed aside at the expense of damaging the goodwill extended by China.

Those who have dealt with China will tell you they value friendship. They remember their friends – and their foes, too.

Source: Wong Chun Wai

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.

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Video: //players.brightcove.net/4405352761001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5774368636001

 

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Long ties: As one of the earliest countries supporting the Belt and Road Initiative, Malaysia’s collaboration with China takes the front row among Asean countries, says the writer, who has visited various development sites since he arrived here including the Exchange 106 in the Tun Razak Exchange (left) and the Iskandar Regional Development Authority office in Johor . China’s executive recruitment market growing fast as demand rises …

 

Embracing for common development – Nation

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MUP, a Penang grassroots party joins the fray this GE14


MUP president Tan Gin Theam said the party now has over 20,000 members
who are always on the ground, offering assistance to the public. —
Picture via Facebook

GEORGE TOWN — The Malaysian United Party (MUP) might only be three years old, but over the past year, its members have been working hard on the ground, from offering free health screenings to giving free haircuts.

Usually recognisable by their bright red-and-yellow vests, MUP members often visit coffee shops and wet markets, handing out calendars and flyers of their events.

As a new party, its funds are limited, but MUP said it made up for its lack of funds by offering community service to the public.

MUP president Tan Gin Theam said the party now has over 20,000 members who are always on the ground, offering assistance to the public.

“We are strictly a grassroots party that focuses on serving the people, nothing else. We don’t have any other agenda,” he said in an interview with Malay Mail.

Distancing the party from other new political parties in the state, Tan said they are not “friendly” allies to either Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Harapan (PH).

“If you look at the other so-called independent parties in Penang, they are either BN-friendly or PH-friendly. We are neither,” he said, referring to Penang Front Party, Parti Cinta Malaysia, People’s Alternative Party and Parti Rakyat Malaysia.

The MUP was formed in 2015 and officially registered with the Registrar of Societies in 2016.

Tan, who founded the party, used to be a staunch DAP, and then Pakatan Rakyat supporter prior to 2015.

He used to attend ceramahs organised by DAP and supported the Ubah movement by the federal Opposition.

“The late Karpal Singh was my idol. He was the reason why I became so interested in politics, and he was the reason why I supported DAP,” he said, referring to the party’s late national chairman.

He said he became disillusioned with DAP after Karpal passed away in 2014.

“Without Karpal, the party was not the same and after supporting them for so many years, I realised they did not fulfil their promises made during the elections,” he said.

He said there does not seem to be an alternative to PH or BN so he decided to form his own party and do what he said political parties are supposed to do: Serve the public.

“That’s why from the start, we don’t take any sides. We only take the people’s side to help them in any way we can,” he said.

MUP has organised various community activities over the past year and in recent months, stepped up their approach by holding small kopitiam ceramahs.

They are often met with bemused and curious stares, but Tan said no one has been openly hostile to them.

“What we are doing now is educating the public, to tell them what is going on and to make sure they go to the polls with their eyes open,” he said.

MUP has opened seven operations centres in Kebun Bunga, Padang Kota, Pantai Jerejak, Datuk Keramat, Jawi, Air Itam and Tanjung.

“We hope to open at least one operations centre in each constituency in Penang,” Tan said.

The party also hopes to contest more than 30 state seats out of the total 40 state constituencies in Penang.

“We know it will be multi-cornered fights in most seats in Penang but we want to give the people a grassroots party that will always be on their side,” he said.- By Opalyn Mok MalayMail

Related Articles

MUP throws hat in the ring in Penang ⋆ The Malaysian Times

Full list of MUP’s candidates:

PARLIAMENT:

1.Bagan – Koay Xing Boon)

2.Jelutong- Tan Sim Bee)

3.Bukit Gelugor – Lai Xue Ching)

4. Bayan Baru – Yim Boon Leong)

5. Bukit Bendera – Tan Gim Theam

STATE:

1.Bagan Jermal (Hari Devydrai)

2. Bagan Dalam (Teoh Uat Lye)

3. Sungai Puyu (Neoh Bok Keng)

4.Datuk Keramat (Lim Boo Chang)

5. Sungai Pinang (Tan Sim Bee)

6. Batu Lanchang (Kee Lean Ee)

7. Paya Terubong (Kuan Aun Wan)

8. Air Itam (Kang Teik Woi)

9. Seri Delima (Tan Yang Yung)

10. Batu Uban (Teoh Kok Siang)

11. Pantai Jerejak (Yim Boon Leong)

12. Kebun Bunga (Wu Kai Min)

13. Air Putih (Tan Gim Theam)

14. Pulau Tikus (Wee Kean Wai)

15. Tanjong Bunga (Lee Zheng Yong)

16. Machang Bubuk (Lim Jhun Hou)

17. Jawi (Koay Xin Boon)

18. Padang Kota (Goh Saik Wei)

19. Pengkalan Kota (Koay Teng Lye)

20. Komtar (Ong Chun Jiet)

— Bernama

 

Penang’s eight transport plans unfulfilled, Not even one commenced work, says Teng


https://youtu.be/GL2DRy_6PpU

 

Hard questions: Teng holding up leaflets highlighting ‘51 Empty Promises’ of the state government.

GEORGE TOWN: From a monorail over Penang Bridge to the undersea tunnel project, the state has not delivered any of them, said Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow.

“Between 2008 and 2016, there were public transport proposals from a tram, a monorail, Penang Sky Cab, aerobus between the island and mainland, light railway transit, cable car and underground subway to underground mass rapid transit.

“Eight promises made but until today, not even one has commenced work,” Teng told a press conference yesterday.

In November 2008, a few months after helming the state, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state was considering adding a hanging monorail along Penang Bridge, among other transport projects.

Teng brought up these unfulfilled transport projects yesterday.

He also maintained that the state could cancel the Penang undersea tunnel project because there was no clause in the agreement to pay compensation for cancellation.

“I am shocked that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said I should pay compensation if the project is cancelled.

“The question is why the state government still refuses to cancel the contract.

“With so many missed deadlines and no construction after five years and the tunnel feasibility studies not completed, we wonder why the state government still refuses to cancel the project.”

Teng was responding to Lim who said on Wednesday that when a signed contract was cancelled, there must be some sort of compensation – The Star

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Penang Tunnel project to be scrapped, flood mitigation plans among BN manifesto


 

‘Tunnel project to be scrapped’

BUTTERWORTH: Six pledges and 60 initiatives – that’s what the Barisan Nasional will be armed with as it attempts to wrest Penang from the clasp of the Opposition.

In its “Save Penang” manifesto launched yesterday, the coalition listed resolving flooding, overcoming traffic congestion and halting hillside development as the top priorities.

State Barisan chairman Teng Chang Yeow said if it regained power in the state, the controversial undersea tunnel project to link the island to the mainland would be scrapped.

He said further land reclamation at Permatang Damar Laut and Gurney Drive would also be barred.

Teng also announced that areas 76m above sea-level would be declared permanent forest reserves to protect the hills.

On flooding, he said the Barisan would resolve the problem within three-and-a-half years, by installing water pumps and floodgates and implementing a Penang Flood Mitigation Plan.

Another priority was to build 65,000 affordable houses within five years, introduce rent-to-own housing scheme, set the price of a low-cost home to RM40,000 (including a free carpark) and between RM80,000 and RM120,000 for medium-cost units (including free carpark).

The other priorities were listed as economic development, people’s welfare, and tourism and heritage.

Among others, the Barisan pledged to remove toll charges for motorcycles, abolish the water surcharge, provide a special fund of RM2,000 to couples who tie the knot for the first time, provide school bus subsidy to eligible families, provide free parking at council roadsides and residential areas, and allocate RM15mil annually for national-type, religious and private Chinese schools.

The Barisan also pledged to abolish postage charges and other charges for bill payments, provide free water to hardcore poor, reintroduce traffic wardens in school areas, and not to increase water tariff for residential areas within five years.

Thousands of Barisan leaders and members who attended the launch cheered when Teng fired salvos at the DAP-led state government, claiming its leaders made 51 false promises over the last 10 years.

Also present were state Umno chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman, state MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng, state MIC deputy chairman Datuk M. Nyanasegaran and leaders of Barisan-friendly parties.

Teng (middle) getting waves of support as he launches the Penang Barisan Nasional manifesto at The Light Hotel in Seberang Jaya, Penang. With him are Penang Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman (on Teng’s right) and Penang MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star
Teng (middle) getting waves of support as he launches the Penang Barisan Nasional manifesto at The Light Hotel in Seberang Jaya, Penang. With him are Penang Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman (on Teng’s right) and Penang MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

Flood Mitigation plans among BN manifesto

BARISAN Nasional will get allocation from the Federal Government to alleviate flooding woes in Penang within three and a half years if it secures the mandate from the people.

Penang Barisan chairman Teng Chang Yeow, a former state exco member, said detailed infographics would be required to come up with an action plan as well as a drainage masterplan to resolve the problem.

“We have experience in formulating flood mitigation plans in the past.

“From there, we will take the matter up to the Federal Government to negotiate for the amount of funds needed.

“We also have an emergency manual outlining standard operating procedures for a state to manage when struck by floods, and this goes in tandem with the Federal  Government’s guidelines to create a clear chain of command. “We noticed that in recent years, places in Penang that had never been flooded suddenly experienced floods.

“This is due to poor planning, lack of drainage and failure to identify hotspots.

“The people have suffered because of poor coordination and help could not reach them in time,” he said at a press conference after unveiling Barisan’s manifesto at a hotel in Seberang Jaya.

Commenting on the pledge for 50% of Penang island city councillors and Seberang Prai municipal councillors to be appointed from independent bodies, he said the  representatives could join the planning committee to give their ideas.

Teng said that although landowners had the right to plan projects, those staying next door could voice their views including objecting to the projects if they were affected.

“But today, planners are not planning.

“Instead, politicians are doing the planning,” he said.

Teng said planning should be left to planners with expertise while politicians should only make policies.

‘Can fulfil promises’

Teng: Penang will receive more allocation if voted into power

 

//players.brightcove.net/4405352761001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5770690231001

DESPITE being an Opposition state, Penang has received RM2.08bil as allocation from the Federal Government between 2013 and 2017.

Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow said the amount was the highest among the northern states.

He said Kedah received RM1.76bil followed by Perak (RM1.25bil) and Perlis (RM360mil) during the same period.

“We can fulfil all our promises in the manifesto. The state will receive more allocation if we win the state from Pakatan Harapan,” he told reporters after launching the Penang Barisan manifesto at a hotel in Seberang Jaya yesterday.

Asked why the monorail and LRT projects which were in the 2013 manifesto were missing from the present one, Teng said the people in the state had rejected both projects as Penang Barisan was not voted into power then.

“However, we are open to consultation with the people and those from the civil movements to revive such projects if we are voted into power in the upcoming general election,” he said.

On another matter, Teng said Penang never had it easy during the 22-year tenure of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Penang was bypassed most of the time when it came to development projects.

“It was difficult for then Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon to get allocation for projects in Penang as the funds would not come.

“Dr Mahathir, for reasons best known to himself, did not allocate sufficient funds for Penang and most of the time we were bypassed,” said Teng, who was once a state executive councillor.

Click to view details

 

– By K. Suthakar, Lo Tern Chern, and R. Sekaran, The Star

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Aye to Barisan’s manifesto

Barisan Nasional Youth volunteers posing for a group photo at the recent Penang Barisan Nasional manifesto launching ceremony at The Light Hotel in Seberang Jaya, Penang. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star
Barisan Nasional Youth volunteers posing for a group photo at the recent Penang Barisan Nasional manifesto launching ceremony at The Light Hotel in Seberang Jaya, Penang. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

 

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Malay & bumiputra rural voters will determine the winners or losers of coming Malaysia’s GE14


Down the wire with the Malays

– With urbanites caught up in social media debates, it will be the quiet rural folks who determine the winners (and losers) of GE14

IF you haven’t already heard this one before, it will be the Malay and bumiputra voters, mainly in rural areas, who will determine what the next government looks like.

Despite the racket from urbanites, be it in private discussions or from the many irate postings on social media, it will come down to the relatively quiet rural folks who make up the decisive voices.

Out of the 222 parliamentary seats, there are now 117 rural Malay seats in Peninsular Malaysia, following the delineation exercise – up from the previous 114 Malay majority seats in the previous general election. There are 19 seats each in Sabah and Sarawak, with predominantly bumiputra voters.

These 117 seats include the 52 constituencies in Felda settlements regarded the heartland of the Malays, where the primary concerns are racial and religious in nature.

Another election monitoring group, Tindak Malaysia, reportedly estimated the Malay majority seats at 115 – up one seat from the previous 114, before the delineation.

To form the government, all that’s needed is a simple majority of 112 seats. Prior to the dissolution of Parliament, the Barisan Nasional had 130.

Donald Trump won the United States presidency firmly backed by the rural areas, and not from that of New York, Los Angeles or Washington DC. In fact, he lost the popular vote by a bigger margin than any other US president in history, but he won, via the country’s electoral system, which saw each state assigned several votes that go to the candidate who wins the public vote in that state.

His Republican party won in what is regarded as swing states, such as North Carolina and Ohio, with huge rural votes. In fact, he won 67% of the rural American votes.

In Malaysia, our voting system is much simpler with its “first past the post” format, based after the British electoral system. Again, popular votes don’t count. But like in the United States, it will be the rural folks who will be the determinants. In Malaysia, it won’t be the traditionally anti-establishment Chinese voters in cities.

In the 2013 elections, there were 30 Chinese majority seats or 13.5% of the parliamentary seats, according to a recent news report, quoting social media analytics firm Politweet.

“The proportion of ethnic Chinese voters in these seats ranged from 52.27% (Beruas) to as high as 90.94% in Bandar Kuching.

“These seats can be found in Penang (7), Perak (5), Kuala Lumpur (5), Selangor (1), Melaka (1), Johor (3), Sarawak (6) and Sabah (2),” it said. From the 30 Chinese majority seats, the DAP won 29 and PKR one.

But Tindak Malaysia has claimed that the number of Chinese majority seats has dropped to 24. There is also another stark fact; even without the delineation exercise, the number of Chinese voters has continued to shrink sharply.

According to Malay Mail Online, despite blaming Chinese voters for the decline in votes for Barisan, they, in fact, only formed about four million of the total 13.3 million registered voters. It quoted Politweet founder Ahmed Kamal Nava as saying that the Chinese vote “is going to become less relevant to both Barisan/Pakatan Harapan over time because the Chinese majority seats are going to become mixed seats and eventually, Malay majority seats”.

The report also said that a comparison between the GE13 electoral roll and the electoral roll for 2017’s first quarter showed that the Chinese voters’ projection has already fallen by over one percentage point in seven states and in 79 of the 165 seats in the peninsula.

Going by current trends, the projection is that the number of non-Malays will continue to drop further, with some saying that by 2050, there could be 80% bumiputras and just 15% Chinese and about 5% Indians.

In 2014, 75.5% from the live birth total were bumiputras, followed by Chinese, at only 14% with Indians 4.5%, and others 6%.

Based on calculations, the Chinese birth rate at 1.4 babies per family in 2015 from 7.4% in 1957 means that their position in Malaysia will fall from 24.6% in 2010, 21.4% in 2015 to 18.4% or less in 2040.

In the 2013 elections, realising that it is the majority Malay votes that will tip the scale, the DAP readily tied up with PAS, hoping they would be able to capture Putrajaya. The DAP aggressively pushed the Chinese to vote for PAS, and many did willingly, but the pact failed to materialise. PAS paid a heavy price for sleeping with the enemy, because the rural Malays simply couldn’t accept the Rocket.

A random survey on PAS’ core voter base – rural Malays – by online portal FMT, found that many viewed its alliance with the “kafir” party DAP suspiciously.

PAS emerged a major loser in the 13th general election, managing to grab only 21 of the 73 parliamentary seats it contested. It even lost Kedah. In the 2008 polls, it secured 23 parliamentary seats.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang must have found his dabbling with danger a painful one. It didn’t help that the relationship between the DAP and PAS had soured following the elections.

Fast forward to 2018. The DAP, again, is explicitly aware the Chinese cannot hope to dump Umno without the Malays, so a new pact with PKR, Parti Pribumi Malaysia and Parti Amanah Negara has been forged.

It is even prepared to drop its iconic Rocket symbol, its organising secretary Anthony Loke admitting the Malays are wary of it.

The test now is whether the Malays in the rural areas will accept the idea of having Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Lim Kit Siang, whom the former had demonised the past 30 years of his political life, as emblems of a party taking care of their interest.

If no Malay tsunami materialises, and if the Chinese, again, place their chips on the Opposition – which seems to be the sentiment currently in urban areas – then, it will be the third consecutive elections in which the Chinese would have bet on the losing side.

The implications will be far-reaching for the community, especially if the Chinese representation in the government is weakened or non-existent when it involves legislation with religious overtones. It will also mean the possibility of being cut off from the mainstream involvement in crucial policy making and areas of development.

More so with whispers of a tie up between Umno and PAS, in some form, after the general election.

If the Barisan continues to get the mandate, as expected, DAP could end up occupying the biggest seats on the opposition bench since the rest of the Malay parties are generally untested, with PKR the exception.

Not many city folk, with the rising political temperature, want to hear or accept that this is simply a fight in the rural Malay heartland. Reality check: it will be the Malays and bumiputras who will have our fate in their hands.


By Wong Chun Wai, who began his career as a journalist
in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various
capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief
executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the  occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.
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Penang Forum Planning for Penang’s Future


NGO draws up own manifesto to assist the next state government

(From left) Anil, Ben, Dr Chee, Khoo Salma, Dr Anwar and Dr Kam at the press conference to launch the Penang Forum Agenda 2018 at Penang Heritage Trust in Church Street.
(From left) Anil, Ben, Dr Chee, Khoo Salma, Dr Anwar and Dr Kam at the press conference to launch the Penang Forum Agenda 2018 at Penang Heritage Trust in Church Street. 

PENANG Forum, a loose coalition of non-political civil society groups, has come up with its own ‘manifesto’ with emphasis on three principles namely good governance, social inclusion and sustainable development.

Dubbed the ‘Penang Forum Agenda 2018’, six members shared insights into various areas that could be improved by the new state government.

The agenda, supporting transit-oriented development, walkable downtowns, mixed-income housing, public green open spaces and social inclusion was discussed by forum members comprising of activist Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal, scientist Dr Kam Suan Pheng, social activists Dr Chee Heng Leng, Khoo Salma Nasution, Anil Netto and Ben Wismen.

Khoo Salma said in the past 10 years, the state made progress on some fronts but it was over dependent on growth driven by the property sector and tourism.

“A far-sighted vision for Penang requires a paradigm shift to new urbanism, sustainable transport and environmental resilience.

“We are willing to work with the next state government to come up with different economic strategies so that we are not over reliant on the construction sector and mass tourism,” she told newsmen at the Penang Heritage Trust in Church Street after the event yesterday.

Khoo Salma urged the new government to look into making public buildings, spaces and transport accessible for people with disabilities.

“Employment and housing quotas should be fulfilled for them as well.

“Public facilities at council and state flats need to be updated to an elderly-friendly design,” she said.

Khoo Salma also urged for the new state government to adopt a comprehensive approach to the housing policy, prioritising social housing for the low-income category.

Anil said that affordable housing should be not more than three times the annual income for the middle-income group.

“It does not mean we need to stop building but we need to look at the needs of the population, we should look for property development for the two categories rather than high-end development.”

Scientist Dr Kam shared that the agenda was not only to give ideas to political parties but to survive beyond the campaigning period.

“If they like certain things or better still all of our recommendations, it would be great.

“I hope that the next state government will take a look at our manifesto and incorporate some of the ideas,” she said.

Dr Anwar said the Penang Forum Agenda would be shared with all concerned parties as well as posted online for the public to view.

For further details on the agenda visit https://penangforum.net/  by N. Trisha The Star

Penang Forum has a list of demands which it calls on Penang’s newly
elected officials of 2018 to act upon and deliver. These demands are
related to the three principles of good governance, social inclusion and
sustainable development. Read More

MCA launches its general election manifesto – a plan for better future


KUALA LUMPUR: MCA has unveiled the party’s manifesto for the general election, just some 12 hours after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak revealed Barisan Nasional’s manifesto on Saturday (April 7) night.

Party president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai outlined MCA’s 10 promises and 10 initiatives for the next five years, which will complement Barisan’s manifesto.

He said MCA will become the key driver of various initiatives targeting the masses with its main pillar being youth empowerment.

Liow also stressed on the party’s commitment towards transforming MCA-established education institutions into a global education hub, the second pillar of MCA’s 14th General Election manifesto.

“As MCA’s roots still rest with the lower income groups, we must also continue to look after the well being of the people requiring assistance. This is the third pillar, social economic well-being.

“In order for this agenda to succeed, a multi-racial approach must be adopted to tackle various issues that confront the community.

“The party will continue to reach out to understand their needs through active stakeholder engagements,” Liow said during the unveiling ceremony at Wisma MCA here on Sunday morning.

This is the first time MCA is having its own manifesto for the general election.

MCA’s 10 promises are:

1. Safeguard moderation

– Uphold the Federal Constitution and Rukun Negara

2. Ensure checks and balances

– Represent the constitutional rights of Malaysian Chinese and other communities

3. Youth and women empowerment

– New businesses, jobs and training opportunities

– Appoint

youth and women into key positions

– Reskilling youths for digital revolution

4. Enhance the quality of Chinese education

– Committed towards recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC)

– Systematic approach in construction of new SJK(C)s and allocations

5. Setting forth education in the world stage

– Modernise and globalise education through UTAR, TARUC and Vtar

6. Harnessing the Belt and Road Initiative

– Connectivity with China and Asean

– Open up trade opportunities in China

7. Digital economy and innovation

– Help SMEs ride on wave of e-commerce

8. Quantum leap in business and finance

– Establish the Kojadi Co-operative Bank

– Enhance the functions of the Secretariat For the Advancement Of Malaysian Entrepreneurs (SAME)

9. Neo-urbanised townships

– Transforming new villages

10. Accessible healthcare

– Establish UTAR Hospital with Western and complementary medicine

MCA’s 10 initiatives are: 

 

1. Establish a Central Monitoring Unit

– monitor fair and effective implementation of government policies

2. Global and regional connectivity

– MCA Belt and Road Centre to strengthen ties with China

– make Malaysia a gateway to China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Asean

3. Establish a Digital Economy and Innovation Council

– gather feedback for formulation of policies and legislation

4. World class tertiary education

– UTAR to set up teaching hospital in Kampar

5. Developing the next generation

– transform TARUC into full-fledged technical university

6. Technical and vocational education training

– expand Vtar Institute into a well-equipped TVET development and training institution

7. Wealth generation for SMEs and lower and middle income groups

– introduce an investment scheme for Malaysian Chinese

8. Neo-urbanised townships

– stimulate and modernise new villages

9. Protecting welfare of women, children and the elderly

– champion the progress of women in Malaysia

– help stateless Malaysians get citizenship

– ensure enforcement of legislation against paedophiles

10. Continue outreach services for the community through the:

– Public Services and Complaints Bureau

– Chang Ming Thien Foundation

– 1MCA Medical Foundation

– Legal Advisory and Women’s Aid Centre

A plan for better future

Manifesto aims to lessen burdens the community faces now

KUALA LUMPUR: The rising cost of living and the widening income gap are what the public is most concerned about these days, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The MCA president said the urgency of the situation prompted MCA to come out with specific actions to address it in the next five years.

These actions are listed out in MCA’s 14th General Election Manifesto with 10 promises and 10 initiatives which the party must implement, he added.

Ready for battle: Liow, MCA deputy
president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and other senior party leaders at
the launch of the manifesto at Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur. — SAM THAM/The
Star

“This also needs the support of the Government, including allocations for execution.

“The MCA’s performance in this election will have a direct impact on the party’s efforts to help the people,” Liow said when launching the manifesto at Wisma MCA here yesterday.

On GE14, Liow said voters aged between 21 and 35 made up 45% of total voters.

“The youth play an important role in the country’s economic development and democracy,” he said when outlining the manifesto, which focuses on steps to help the people, especially youth, to progress.

Full turnout: MCA members listening to
Liow’s presentation of the manifesto for GE14 during the launch at the
Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur.

 

It spans education, training, jobs, business and investment opportunities.

Saying that the MCA’s political struggle is for the long haul, Liow assured the people that the party would not make empty promises to fish for votes.

On that note, Liow said it was important to not only address current issues but also to create favourable conditions for the Chinese community’s youth to face new challenges.

“There will be major changes in the global economy, labour market and business.

“The digital revolution will not only encourage the growth of a new economy but also change the lifestyle of future generations.

“The youth of today will dominate in this major change,” he said.

Saying that education is the foundation of every nation, he pointed out that the 69-year-old MCA’s role in the sector has evolved to meet changing times, from pre-school to primary school, vocational training to tertiary education.

Liow and MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (left) with the manifesto booklet.

Singling out the party’s 16-year-old Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), which is ranked second in Malaysia after Universiti Malaya by Times Higher Education, he said it is in the process of setting up its teaching hospital in Kampar, Perak.

“UTAR Hospital is set to be a premier healthcare institution that combines modern and complementary medicine like traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda,” he said of the party’s promise to provide accessible and quality healthcare to the rakyat.

In confronting global competition and pressure from the rising cost of living, Liow said MCA promises to open up more economic opportunities, including setting up Kojadi Co-operative Bank with branches in various states to provide financing for young entrepreneurs and small to medium enterprises.

“Times have changed. While we face more challenges, we also encounter more development opportunities,” he said of how the party consistently works hard to help the community brave the changing times.

On the country’s 465 new villages set up by the British colonial government with MCA’s help during the Emergency (1948-1960) to cut contacts between the Chinese community and communists of the era, Liow said those “barbed-wire” settlements have evolved over the decades.

He said MCA has drawn up plans for a digital revolution in these villages to rejuvenate them.

 

Sources: The Star, by foong pek yee, tho xin yi, and royce tan

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