Are the thinking of PAS leadership under Hadi so fixed and frozen that they are immune to arguments, facts and truth as illustrated by PAS leadership’s continued opposition to local government elections and support of Najib’s global kleptocracy?
I am taken aback to read of the speech by the PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in London where he told a Malaysian audience that he opposed local government elections because local elections must be inclusive so that the cities are not dominated by just one race.
"When an election is contested only by residents (and does not include those who serve the residents), it is certain that big cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang, Seremban, and Johor Bahru would be dominated by DAP Chinese…
"If only one race is in power, then a situation like in (May 13) 1969 may arise again, we don't want that."
I am taken aback because I had an exchange with Hadi on the very issue of local government elections three years ago, where I asked him why he was parroting the line that DAP was being chauvinist in wanting to have local government elections.
In my response to Hadi’s press conference in Batu Pahat where he was quoted as calling the DAP “chauvinist” for trying to restore local council elections, I expressed in Ipoh on 13th July 2015 my “amazement” at Hadi’s lack of “originality and creativity” over the issue.
I gave four reasons to debunk Hadi’s puerile and baseless allegation, viz:
Firstly, that it was a blatant lie to insinuate that DAP wanted to seek full control of the country through the restoration of the third vote, suggesting that it was a post-13GE grab for political power by the Chinese at the expense of the Malays on the ground that 60 per cent of the state assembly seats in the country were already under the DAP control.
Such lies were most preposterous and utter nonsense for three reasons:
(i) DAP did not control 60% of the state assembly seats in the 13GE, as all the three Pakatan Rakyat parties of DAP, PKR and PAS (until PR was killed at the PAS Muktamar on June 3, 2015) did not even win 50% of the total state assembly seats in the 13th General Election. The total number and percentage of state assembly seats won by the three PR parties in the 13GE were 229 seats or 45% of the total of 505 state assembly seats in the country.
(ii) The DAP had never been a party for the Chinese or any one race or religion, as right from our establishment in 1966, DAP had been committed to the goal of being a party for Malaysians of all races and religions. In fact, DAP was the first Pan-Malaysian political party in Malaysia, with branches in all the states in the country.
(iii) Restoration of local government had been the objective of DAP ever since its formation in 1966. I made at least two major speeches in Parliament on the restoration of local government during the three-year resumption of Parliament from 1971-1974 – my first term as an elected MP.
Secondly, it was utterly misleading and irresponsible to suggest that restoration of local council elections would benefit the Chinese at the expense of the Malays. This was ignoring the local government restructuring and the process of Malay urbanization in the past five decades, resulting in Malaysia having 148 local authorities, about 90% of which have Malay majorities of over 50% of the population, while only two per cent or three of the 148 local authorities have Chinese majorities, leaving a balance of 13 with plurality of races, seven of which are Chinese-dominant and six Malay-dominant.
Thirdly, support of local government elections did not make one a “communist” or “chauvinist” as local government elections were also held in Indonesia, Turkey and Iran. Was Hadi suggesting that Presidents Jokowi and Erdogan and former Iranian President Ahmadnejad or Indonesia, Turkey and Iran were “communist” or “chauvinist”?
Fourthly, the allegation DAP had unilaterally and arbitrarily sought the restoration of the third vote in violation of Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework was baseless. In actual fact, the restoration of local government elections was in both the Pakatan Rakyat national manifesto and the Selangor PR state manifesto for the 13th General Elections.
I had said then that PAS and DAP had parted ways in Pakatan Rakyat because of the repeated violation of the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework and Hadi’s contempt for the PR consensus operational principle, wanting to exercise a veto power over decisions adopted unanimously by the PR Leadership although PAS was attended by the then PAS Deputy President, Mohamad Sabu.
There was no answer or response from Hadi for the simple reason that I was speaking facts and the truth, and Hadi could not counter any of my arguments.
This is why I am shocked that Hadi has gone to London to trot out the very same arguments which I had debunked three years ago.
In fact, the argument that the restoration of local council elections would benefit the Chinese at the expense of the Malays is even more untenable today.
As I had said three years ago, based on the 2010 Census, out of the 148 local authorities in Malaysia (comprising three City Halls, nine City Councils, 37 Municipal Councils and 99 District Councils), only two per cent or three of the local authorities have Chinese majorities, namely Sibu (Chinese 63.4% Malay/bumiputra 35.7% Indians 0.4% Others 0.5%); Kuching Selatan (Chinese 62.5% Malay/bumiputra 36.4% Indians 0.6% Others 0.5%) and Pulau Pinang (Chinese 56.4% Malays 33.7%; Indians 9.5% Others 0.4%).
Local authorities with Malay majorities of over 50% of the population number 132 or 89.2% of the 148 local authorities, with the balance of 13 having a plurality of races with seven Chinese dominant and six Malay dominant.
In the 2020 Census to be held in about a year’s time, there would be further changes in the racial composition of the demography of the local authorities in favour of the Malays, because of the higher birth rates among the Malays compared to the non-Malays.
The restoration of the 53-year suspension of local government elections is an important building block not only for democracy but also for plural nation-building in Malaysia.
It has nothing to do whatsoever with the 3Rs of race, religion or rulers, but is concerned with the 3Rs of “Rates, Roads and Rubbish” although the scope of local government responsibility has now expanded by leaps and bounds worldwide, such as including community services like libraries and parks, tourism, urban renewal, community health services, accessible transport and pollution control.
Elected local government is to empower citizens with the democratic right to participate in the third tier of democratic governance to take ownership of the decision-making process about their immediate environs – serving as a training ground for citizens in the direct experience of democratic governance at the grassroots level.
Will the Hadi PAS leadership stop looking at local government elections from the lens of toxic and vicious politics of lies, hatred, fear, race and religion and from the point of view of local government democracy?
Or are the thinking of the Had PAS leadership so fixed and frozen that they are immune to arguments, facts and truth as illustrated by PAS’ continued opposition to local government elections and support of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s global kleptocracy?
Has the Hadi PAS leadership such a paralysing effect on the freedom of thought of the million PAS members that they could impose their views on the PAS membership, even with fallacious arguments which run counter to the facts or the truth – whether on continued opposition to local government elections and in aiding and abetting Najib in the international 1MDB corruption and money-laundering scandal and global kleptocracy?