Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where is the unity plan?

So the "slash and burn" drama continues...
The president who is now reunited with the reinstated deputy has combined forces and "slashed and burnt" the vice-president who was supposedly promoted to deputy and his backers.
These backers include the youth and wanita leaders who cried during a press conference, but tears will not repair the damage done to the party.
It was quite revealing that while the president said all these sackings amounted to just reshuffling towards the greater ends of unity, the deputy Prime Minister uttered: "Where is the unity plan?"
In other words, in the eyes of the leaders of the Chinese party, they are indeed working towards unity, but in the eyes of the people at large, they see a party that is getting more and more disunited.
Political leaders must remember that they can make admirable moves by manoeuvring to stay in power, sleeping with the enemy if necessary, but the people they represent - the Chinese community - are frankly tired of all that politicking.
Photos of the president and deputy president, who once upon a time were strangling each other and now are holding hands with fake smiles, are splashed all over the newspapers, but do the readers care?
Seriously, the people are treating the whole political mess as a joke.
Just the other day, I attended a birthday party and I mentioned to a friend that it is always better to have friends than enemies.
My friend quipped: "Yes, but these days enemies can also become your friends." Everybody laughed because they knew immediately what he was referring to.
The political leaders have become the laughing stock of the masses.
They should stop looking awkward shaking hands and maintaining forced smiles and look at the very serious issue of how to win back the hearts of the cynical and much-amused Chinese community.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Winning the battle, losing the war

The president may have won the battle, but many people think he has lost the war.
He may have checkmated his now-demoted vice-president by limiting his options by getting the reinstated deputy to be head of the Greater Unity Plan task force and including all his enemies in it, but he seems to have forgotten about the greatest war - to regain the confidence of the Chinese community.
For the demoted deputy, he has the choice of either taking part in the task force which will make it appear that he is all for it or he can boycott it which will allow the president to accuse him of derailing the plan.
At the same time, the demoted deputy is also leading the group of 16 to call for an EGM to decide whether to hold new party polls.
Advertisements have already been placed in Chinese newspapers - there seems to be no turning back for the demoted deputy. It is all or nothing for him.
But back to the Chinese community. Many Chinese, especially the English-educated ones, are not bothered at all - in fact they are laughing at the fumbles and tumbles of the Chinese politicians - simply because they have already been converted to the Pakatan Rakyat cause.
As for the Chinese-educated Chinese, they are being bombarded with reports from the Chinese press that the president is the worst ever in the history of the party. Will their opinions differ from that of the Chinese press?
The Chinese media are quite influential at moulding the opinions and mindset of the Chinese-speaking community and surely a large portion of them agree with what is written by analysts in the Chinese newspapers.
Thus the president has won the battle by ensuring that he keeps his position of power by sleeping with his old enemy and killing his new enemies (who were former comrades), but the feeling is that he has lost the war - the support of the Chinese at large.
It looks like an uphill task for Barisan Nasional to win the Chinese votes in the next general election.
Pakatan Rakyat will simply exploit the infighting and champion the "Teoh Beng Hock cause" to convince even old Chinese aunties and uncles to vote for, of all parties, PAS.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Getting curiouser and curiouser

The plot thickens. It is getting very exciting. Nobody expected all this to happen - the story has changed so unpredictably that the impossible has become possible.
Today, the Registrar of Societies said the former deputy should be reinstated as deputy.
Therefore the new deputy has to be demoted to vice-president.
But the new deputy does not recognise all these manoeuvres and is likely to take his battle to the courts.
So as far as he is concerned he is still the deputy which means there is one party and two deputy presidents - in the view of a faction of the party.
Four central committee members who were appointed by the president, but who betrayed him by siding with the now-demoted deputy, were sacked by the president.
Three people were appointed CC members, including the son of the formerly-sacked and now-reinstated deputy. Looks like it is a family affair, from the perspective of another faction of the party.
The CC meeting rejected the push for an EGM which was proposed by the disgruntled group of 16 CC members led by the now-demoted deputy.
It looks like the reinstated deputy accepted the offer made by the president and it is very likely that elevating his son to the CC was part of the deal.
Is this the end of the story? Frankly, I don't think so. Strange things have happened and stranger things may happen soon...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Resurrection of the dead duck

Apparently, the former deputy president is holding all the aces.
He is now in the great position of having the swing votes to negotiate with either the president or the new deputy and his "gang of betrayers".
The president knows he cannot control the party without the support of the former deputy, but the former deputy knows he can control the party with the new deputy.
So he can back either in exchange for goodies in the form of seats of power in the States and in the headquarters for his band of loyalists.
The former deputy president will obviously back whoever gives him the better deal.
It looks like he will have the last laugh because his story is that of, in the words of a respected analyst, "a dead duck that became a lame duck that became a live duck".
So indeed there is life after (political) death.
Sixteen central committee members including the new deputy president are in favour of fresh party elections, but they do not have the numbers to force new party elections to be held - that would require the backing of two-thirds of the central committee.
The new deputy and the other "betrayers" desperately need the backing of the former deputy.
Tomorrow, the party's central committee will meet and we will find out which side has offered the better deal.
There are three possible outcomes - two-thirds or the entire central committee resign to force new party polls; the 16 rebels will ask for an EGM to decide whether to call for fresh polls; or the president will table his so-called Greater Unity Plan to be endorsed by his and the former deputy president's supporters.