It’s the next phase that counts

on Mar 15, 2011

Malaysia Today is not in the business of entertaining you with stories of sex romps and bonking in the corridors of power. We want to see the success of the ‘Rakyat Reform Agenda’ or RARA. And this can only happen if we see reforms and/or a change of government. So that is the focus of our work from hereon till the next general election.

There are some who comment that Raja Petra Kamarudin or Malaysia Today is no longer the same. In the past, Malaysia Today focused on exposes and revelations. Now there is not much of that. Because of this many no longer readMalaysia Today, say these people.

Yes, I know, many enjoy reading the secrets of others being exposed or revealed. They enjoy it even more when it is stories of the sex lives of VIPs or those who walk in the corridors of power. Spin a good gossip and everyone’s ears will be primed.

But is this what it all boils down to? Is Malaysia Today a ‘rag sheet’ whose job is to entertain our readers with delicious stories of this person bonking that person who in turn bonks another person?

Actually, these types of readers are syiok sendiri (self orgasm). They like to hear about the negative things involving those who walk in the corridors of power and this convinces them that Barisan Nasional is going to be kicked out come the next election and Pakatan Rakyat is going to be the next government.

Sure, Malaysia Today can keep exposing and revealing the wrong-doings, transgressions, crimes, abuse of power, thievery, and so on, of those who are running this country. We have in fact been doing this for 15 years since the Internet first came to Malaysia in the mid-1990s.

I remember, in the mid-1990s -- at that time Anwar Ibrahim was Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s government -- my website (Raja Petra’s Website) exposed and revealed the shenanigans of the government.

And know what? Anwar Ibrahim and his cronies were some of our prime targets. Some of these people are, of course, today, in the opposition. But in the 1990s they were part of the government and Raja Petra’s Websitewhacked them good and proper and revealed all the shit they were involved in.

Then, in 1998, Anwar was sacked, arrested and beaten up and Raja Petra’s Website rallied to his side and supported him. In a way we ‘forgave’ him for the 17 years he was in government, about seven years of that as Dr Mahathir’s number two, and we never raised all the transgressions he and his gang perpetuated when in the government.

In short, we agreed to allow bygones to be bygones and not ungkaik (resurrect) history. What he did in the past is not as crucial as what he is doing now and can do for the country in future.

In 1999, when I joined Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN) to head the media unit, I retired Raja Petra’s Website and set up two websites called The Malaysian (in English) and Kini (in Bahasa Malaysia). That was before the launch of Malaysiakini.

I also started a mailing list and every day I sent out thousands of e-mails (one in English and one in Bahasa Malaysia) to the e-mail addresses on the list. I also started a chat group (what we would call a Yahoogroup today).

So, for more than 15 years, we have been running a media war on the Internet. But it was not until about seven years ago (or four years before the 2008 general election) that it took the country by storm. And the result, of course, was the March 2008 general election where the opposition performed extremely well.

But look at the last few by-elections. Since March 2008, Malaysia has seen 16 by-elections. Initially, the opposition swept these by-elections, even those that were Umno or Barisan Nasional seats. But towards the end, of late, Barisan Nasional has been sweeping the seats -- and with an even bigger majority than before, on top of that.

So what do you expect of Malaysia Today? You want us to continue with these exposes and revelations? Is that going to work? Is the opposition going to win the next general election and form the next government if Malaysia Today keeps revealing all the shit in Putrajaya?

No, we need to do more than that. Revealing more shit of the same shit is not going to help Pakatan Rakyat win the next general election. We need to do more than that. We need to enter into phase two.

So yes, I admit, Malaysia Today, as some of you say, has lost its oomph. Maybe you are no longer getting to read about who is having sex with whom. You would like to hear all the juicy gossip about who has her knickers down and who is blowing whom. But the question is: if I satisfy your lust for such stories, is Pakatan Rakyat going to get to form the next government?

And phase two is to get Pakatan Rakyat to get its act together. The feedback I am receiving is not that encouraging. The people on the ground -- the hawkers, taxi drivers, working man and woman -- are quite happy with the Penang state government. They tell me that Lim Guan Eng is a superb Chief Minister and they have no problems giving Pakatan Rakyat a second term as the state government.

But they are not saying the same thing about the other states -- although many have indicated that they will vote Pakatan Rakyat in Perak in the next general election.

The bottom line is: Penang is safe, Perak has a good chance, and Kelantan, Selangor and Kedah are touch-and go.

In 1999, the opposition won 52 seats in Parliament. The following election in 2004 it dropped to just 20 seats. In the last election in 2008 it increased to 82 seats (but now down to 76 with the exit of six frogs). But what can we expect in the next general election?

Anwar Ibrahim says Pakatan Rakyat is going to march into Putrajaya come the next general election. That means the opposition needs to win an additional 50 or so seats on top of the 76 it already holds (to be safe and so that the frogs can’t bring the new government down). Can this be achieved?

I worry that Pakatan Rakyat can’t win these additional 50 or so seats. In fact, I worry it can’t even hold on to the 76 seats its already owns. What will happen instead is it may drop to just 50 seats, 70 seats or so short to form the next federal government.

The last few by-elections appear to point to this scenario. In spite of all the exposes and revelations and secret documents that we published to prove that corruption is still rife and rampant, Barisan Nasional not only swept all the seats but also did so with an increased majority. Therefore more is needed if Pakatan Rakyat is going to win the next election and form the next federal government.

We need to impress upon Pakatan Rakyat that it should not take the voters for granted. It must not assume that the voters will support it just because they are unhappy with Barisan Nasional. In 2008 it was about ABU (‘Anything But Umno’ or ‘Asal Bukan Umno’). This time around it has to be more than just ABU.

If just by exposing and revealing the transgressions and crimes of the ruling government this can help Pakatan Rakyat march into Putrajaya then we can continue doing that. But we worry that the last few by-elections have proven that this is not enough.

Pakatan Rakyat can’t get to form the next government on the back of the weaknesses of Barisan Nasional. It can only get to form the next federal government if it can convince the voters that it can be a better and more capable government.

And exposing and revealing the wrongdoings of Barisan Nasional does not mean that Pakatan Rakyat can be a better government. It just means that Barisan Nasional is a worse government. And that is not good enough.

Malaysia Today is not in the business of entertaining you with stories of sex romps and bonking in the corridors of power. We want to see the success of the ‘Rakyat Reform Agenda’ or RARA. And this can only happen if we see reforms and/or a change of government. So that is the focus of our work from hereon till the next general election.

Then, depending on the outcome of the next general election, we shall see where we go from there.

Raja Petra Kamarudin



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