Sunday, October 29, 2017

'PM Ringan Beban Suami Isteri', Mingguan Malaysia, 29 Oktober 2017




WhatsApp Image 2017 10 26 at 12.10.30 AM
KUALA LUMPUR, 26 Oktober 2017 - Pensyarah Pusat Pengajian Sains Kemasyarakatan Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Profesor Dr. Sivamurugan Pandian hari ini menerima pengiktirafan dari Kementerian Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM) setelah dilantik sebagai Ikon Patriotik sempena Hari Kebangsaan Malaysia kali ke-60 dan Hari Malaysia 2017 baru-baru ini.
Majlis penyampaian penghargaan disempurnakan oleh Menteri Komunikasi dan Multimedia, Datuk Seri Dr. Salleh Said Keruak, dan Sivamurugan dirai justeru menerima sijil, plak dan wang tunai ketika di Program Pengukuhan Jaringan Strategik Merdeka 2017 yang berlangsung kelmarin.
Sivamurugan menzahirkan perasaan terharu, dan bagi beliau pengiktirafan ini amat besar di peringkat kebangsaan dan beliau berterima kasih kepada Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia, KKMM.
“Pencapaian ini bukan sahaja untuk diri saya tetapi juga untuk Universiti, ibu bapa yang membesarkan saya, dan rakan-rakan pelbagai etnik yang hidup dalam satu keluarga besar atas nama Malaysia.
“Saya akan terus memperjuangkan nilai kenegaraan, patriotisme dan kemerdekaan di mana-mana platform baik penulisan, penyelidikan, jemputan sebagai penceramah/panel dan sebagai sukarelawan untuk mempertahankan nilai-nilai yang telah kita bina sepanjang 60 tahun merdeka,” jelas beliau.
Anak bongsu daripada 6 beradik ini dibesarkan di Tanjong Malim, Perak dalam suasana harmoni serta dididik oleh keluarganya mengenai nilai kenegaraan yang juga telah membuatkannya memiliki ciri dan semangat tinggi patriotisme sejak dari kecil lagi.
Teks: Hafiz Meah Ghouse Meah

'Tolls abolition no silver bullet, for BN or Pakatan', The Malaysian Insight, 29 October 2017


Sheridan Mahavera Low Han Shaun Tolls abolition no silver bullet, for BN or Pakatan
Come January, motorists will no longer have to pay toll at the Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau plazas on the Federal Highway. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Hasnoor Hussain, October 29, 2017.,
THE feel-good sentiment arising from the abolition of toll at selected highways is unlikely to translate into votes in the general election, say political analysts.
In the reading of Budget 2018, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that come January, toll would not longer be collected at the Federal Highway’s Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau plazas, at the northern Bukit Kayu Hitam toll plaza in Kedah en route to Thailand, and on the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) from Tebrau to the Customs and Immigration Complex in Johor Baru.
While Barisan Nasional leaders are positive the goodies packaged in next year’s national budget will tip the scales in their favour in the 14th general election, political observers are less optimistic.
History shows that ruling political parties have abolished tolls only to still get kicked out in elections, says independent pollster Ibrahim Suffian.
Tan Siew Kuan, a daily commuter to Klang who will benefit from the cessation of toll collection, said he was realistic to know that payment would be exacted in one way or another.
"Sure the abolishment of the Batu Tiga toll will help to ease my pocket, but if you extend the terms of the tolls on the other highways, we are already paying for it anyway,” said the crane operator who works in Port Klang.
"I'm not happy about the abolishment of the toll nor am I angry about it. Toll or no toll you still get stuck in a traffic jam anyway.”
Ibrahim said that in the end, whether the discontinuation of selected tolls would have an impact on the polls for BN and even Pakatan Harapan would depend on a host of other factors.
These include party machinery and preparedness,  the electoral boundary redelineation, and race and religious sentiment, he said.
“By itself, it cannot win elections. It is only one tool in a toolbox,”
said Ibrahim, executive director of opinion research firm Merdeka Center.
Battleground states
BN Cabinet ministers have high hopes that the budget would shore up support for the ruling coalition in what many say will be a challenging general election, which must be called by August next year.
“The prime minister himself said the budget was strategic in its focus on different groups and areas,” said political scientist Prof Sivarmurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia.
The new tolls policy goes hand-in-hand with tax breaks for the middle class and both are meant to woo urban voters, he said.
It is no coincidence that the tolls have been abolished in Selangor, Johor, and Kedah – battleground states where BN is anticipating an onslaught by the opposition coalition.
In Selangor and Johor, the highway snakes through Tebrau, Pasir Gudang, Johor Baru, Shah Alam, and Kelana Jaya – urban parliamentary seats that will be hotly contested for in the polls.
In the last election, BN retained Tebrau and Pasir Gudang with
majorities of below 2,000 votes.
Ibrahim does not believe that the termination of tolls will have a large impact on support for BN despite the money it will save for voters.
“At the end of the day, it’s incremental. You’re giving people back RM2 per day. It may bring back some support but is it enough to recoup the support that was lost after the (GST)?”
There is also the historical precedent of the 1999 Terengganu PAS government to consider when it comes to using toll as an election carrot.
“The Terengganu PAS government abolished toll for the Kuala Terengganu bridge. It was an extremely popular move. But in 2004, they still lost the state government due to other issues.”
The Terengganu PAS lesson should be a cautionary tale not just for BN, but also PH.
The opposition pact has been quick to pounce on BN’s promise, claiming that the ruling coalition was yet again copying its policies.
In its alternative budget unveiled two days before BN’s, PH said it aimed to abolish all highway tolls in five years by reviewing and renegotiating concession agreements.
“PH’s promises are coming in at a time when people are tuning out of politics and are sceptical of promises, especially from the opposition because they are not in power,” said Ibrahim.
Tolls and the GST were "big ticket" lures, said Ibrahim, which had voters asking if PH would be able to fulfil its pledges.
Sivamurugan argues there is no guarantee that the overall budget will translate into votes as much still depended on delivery and implementation.
“The election is still a way off and by the time it hits, people will be concerned about other issues. To what extent the budget will translate into votes is hard to say.
“The next five months will determine that.” – October 29, 2017.

Monday, October 23, 2017

'Budget Can Be A Boon For BN', New Straits Times, 23 October 2017

'Youth Disenchanted With Pakatan Harapan, Say Analysts', New Straits Times, 21 October 2017

Curtain Raiser For Amanah National Convention', The Sun Daily, 21 October 2017

ALOR STAR: As some 900 delegates gather for the annual convention of one of the country's youngest political parties, lingering questions have emerged about the durability of Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).
Since its formation in 2015, the splinter party of the Islamist driven - PAS, has raised more doubts rather than conviction about its ability to become a full-fledged party rather than one dependent on their Pakatan Harapan partners of PKR, DAP, and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
The doubts about the ability of Amanah to be a potent force against PAS, are real as they have been tested in recent months, said political scientist Prof Dr. Sivamurugan Pandian.
However, they have failed to rise to the occasion, said the Universiti Sains Malaysia's academician.
He cited the first example at the party's losses at the twin parliamentary by-elections in Sungai Besar (Selangor) and Kuala Kangsar (Perak) last year.
Both seats were won by ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).
"Amanah had a chance to prove its relevance. Instead, it raised more questions on whether the electorate can accept a PAS splinter party."
Secondly, Sivamurugan pointed out that Amanah had failed to garner strong grassroots numbers for the various public rallies that Pakatan has organised in the past two years.
While there are crowd numbers, the figure is not telling as in the era of 2008 to 2013 where BN was seen as backpedaling, he pointed out.
Thirdly, Amanah's political ideology is vague compared to their main rival - PAS, who has clearly outlined that their struggle is for an Islamic state (nation) as well as the larger adoption of the Syariah legislation.
"PAS is all about Islam. It has been their root cause and calling card since their inception. Amanah is neither here nor there when it comes to where they should stand," said Sivamurugan.
Therefore, he sees Amanah's struggle as an uphill task to dislodge PAS.
According to him, Amanah needs to do more to stand up to the adversaries such as PAS.
Or, then many dependent on PKR or Bersatu to contest in the nearing 14th general election.
Many pundits also concurred that if multiple cornered fights surface in Amanah seats, the party may be on the receiving end.
It was reported that Amanah was eyeing up to 40 parliamentary seats.
Kelantan Amanah adviser Datuk Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah, however, believed that change is in the air for the country.
Due to the blunders and perceived corrupt practices of BN, Wan Rahim, who is affectionately referred to as "Cikgu Rahim", believed that Amanah may be able to deliver in Kelantan.
"Kelantanese has proven that they are unafraid of change. In 1959, they voted in PAS; in 1978, they went with BN and in 1990, they went back to PAS. It is not an impossible task for Pakatan to win handsomely."
He said that he was confident that Kelantan Amanah under the leadership of its chairperson Datuk Husam Musa can compete with PAS, especially in view that the latter has leaders, who are unimaginative.
Despite the contention of multiple cornered fights, Cikgu Rahim believed that the voters' maturity will prevail.
They will rather side with those, who have a chance to win rather than based on sentiments.
"When there is an overkill on politics; voters tend to cast aside sentiments and use their wisdom to decide on what is best for them."

'PAS Bimbang Sokongan Rakyat', Sinar Harian, 17 Oktober 2017

Move On, Pundits Tell Pakatan After Apathetic Anti-kleptocracy Rally', The Malay Mail Online, 16 October 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) should offer its alternative policies on living cost issues instead of harping on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in its rallies, political observers said.
Addressing the lukewarm turnout at the Opposition’s anti-kleptocracy rally last Saturday, the analysts suggested the federal Opposition pact would likely gain more traction by switching gears and focus on policy matters rather than continue the blame game.
“[The poor turnout at the rally] signals that the pact cannot ride on 1MDB alone,” Penang Institute’s Ooi Kok Hin told Malay Mail Online.
“They have to offer a coherent alternative, a radical new narrative and paradigm shift,” he added.
Like Ooi, Oh Ei Sun also said PH should talk about things the coalition can offer if it won federal power.
“People are impotent to do anything about 1MDB, hence a sense of resignation sets in. They could instead talk about better times after GST is repealed,” the adjunct senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore said.
But the political analysts also cautioned against using the turnout at rallies as a gauge of public support.
Sivamurugan Pandian, an analyst with Universiti Sains Malaysia, said the lower than expected crowd at the rally might have created a dilemma for PH, but cannot be used as a yardstick of its voter support.
“We cannot generalise or make this as a yardstick to measure support among the Opposition,” he said.
Oh also concurred that a large turnout at rally does not guarantee votes during elections.
“But small turnout usually indicates apathy in general,” he said.
Organisers of the rally had initially projected a turnout of 30,000 people, which they later lowered to 10,000 in the week ahead of the gathering.
Their much-touted evening assembly at Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya, Selangor last Saturday only drew an estimated 5,000 plus people at its peak. Also noticeable then was the number of older people compared to those in their 20s attending the gathering, a stark contrast to previous rallies such as the Bersih protests.
PH chief secretary Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah acknowledged the anti-kleptocracy rally this round had relatively less youths and said his side will “studiously” look into the matter.
Saifuddin said several questions must be raised on this and among others, he added, include the relation between poor youth turnout and the high number of unregistered young voters and whether they preferred streaming the rally from the social medias than going down to the ground.


'Politically Passive': 3.7m Youths Yet To Register As Voters, New Straits Times, 15 October 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: LESS than half of the six million people expected to register as voters after the last election will be on the next electoral roll.
Until July this year, 3.7 million people, mostly youth aged between 21 and 30, have yet to join the ranks of the 14.6 million voters.
The impact may vary in the long run, but the issue needs to be addressed to ensure Malaysia continues to progress as a democratic nation.
Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said there were five factors for them not exercising their democratic right.
These were the belief that the polling system was not in line with religious concepts, ignorance of the importance of voter registration, preference to voice their sentiments through social media or demonstrations instead of the ballot box, political fatigue, and lack of awareness about registration facilities, he said.
There are also those influenced by certain parties to paint the commission as allegedly corrupt or partisan, although such an issue is not a major factor.
“Such (negative) views about the EC are part of the propaganda by certain parties. All of them are not true,” Hashim said.
In his recent blogpost on, Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said explanations had to made to the young to correct their perception about politics and to stop them from remaining politically passive.
Salleh said he was sad that the statistics showed many who did not register as voters were 21 years old.
“I think it’s a loss if young people are politically passive.
“If their non-interest in politics is the factor, then their perception (about politics) needs to be corrected.
“Young people cannot go on like this as they will be the ones charting the country’s future.
“There is still time and the young need to be motivated to register as voters,” he said.
Salleh quoted the Merdeka Centre survey, which found the young being politically passive due to a number of factors, including being busy with work, fed up with the political games of the elders, distrust of politicians, and the feeling that voting would bring them no benefit.
“Another study by researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia revealed the shocking factor of young people’s interests being neglected by politicians and their confusion over the political situation.
“They don’t trust the country’s political institutions. ‘
“They are fed up. Thus, the above views should be given attention.”
He urged political parties to campaign to get the young to be politically active because the country needed them for its future success as “young souls are strong, energetic and visionary”.

(NST File Pix) Voters lining up to exercise their electoral rights at the Tanjung Datu by-election in Sarawak in February.

Political expert Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian agreed that such was the long-term issue often overlooked and the setback lay in ratio imbalance between voters in neighbouring polling constituencies.
If people continue to disassociate themselves from the electoral process, the results could be just a collective waste of opportunities in charting the country’s path.
“The last redelineation was carried out in 2003, and another should have been implemented in 2013.
“However, the EC said the exercise in 2013 could not take place as the 13th General Election was just around the corner.
“The redelineation is now overdue and we have to implement it as soon as possible to fit into our geographic and demographic changes.”
Theoretically, the imbalance would lead to constant redelineation exercises and a split in voter bases.
“Certainly, (an imbalance will take place) as it depends on which constituency registers the most voters.
“And it is not just about numbers. The whole spectrum includes imbalance among gender and socioeconomic groups.
“The latter is particularly important to determine the background of voters, whether they are from the upper, middle or lower-income groups.”
The late United States president Grover Cleveland once said: “Your every voter, as surely as your chief magistrate, exercises a public trust.”
Cleveland, who was the US’s 22nd and 24th president, was expounding on the mandate given by the masses to their elected representatives.
The low number of voters due to non registration could mean the results are not a reflection of the majority’s wishes.
Hence, the low number of registered voters could easily lead to a question on the legitimacy of winning parties, Professor Dr Azizuddin Mohd Sani said.
“Ideally, the party that wins and fulfils the requirement to form the government, by and large, has received the mandate and is endorsed by eligible voters to set the direction of the state or country.
“If only less than 50 per cent of eligible voters turn up, then there will be a question of legitimacy. Regardless of which party wins and forms the government, do they truly represent the people’s confidence and wishes?”
Sivamurugan said democracy could only be realised through mass participation of the people, and it was a right exercised by mature nations.

“If you do not participate in one of the main pillars of the country’s democratic system, then you are losing your right to decide the type of government you want.
“One can always say that there is no guarantee that a registered voter will cast the ballot paper on polling day, but those who did not register will certainly not vote.”

(NST File Pix) A citizen has the right to vote and participate in the conduct of public affairs through the ballot box.

Business consultant Mark Looi, 34, believes that people play a large role in determining the country’s future.
Looi, from Petaling Jaya, puts his faith in the democratic system, without veering too much into the political bedlam that colours most of the media headlines today.
“I look into the policies adopted by the government. For me, as a voter, that is the main factor to be considered before I reach a decision.
“I do not really look into political sentiments.
“The government with the best policies in managing the country and its people gets my vote.

“As voters, we care about our nation and future.
“Voting is the most direct way for a citizen to express political preference.
“Rather than spending time simply making noise (talking about political issues or sentiments) or attending political rallies, it is better to support your stand by voting.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

'Pilihan raya tahun depan? Selepas Umno satukan Melayu' The Malay Mail Online, 19 September 22

Datuk Seri Najib Razak berucap di perhimpunan agung Umno pada 2015. Beliau dijangka mengadakan pilihan raya umum selepas perhimpunan tahun ini. — Foto Bernama© Provided by Trinity Diligent Sdn Bhd Datuk Seri Najib Razak berucap di perhimpunan agung Umno pada 2015. Beliau dijangka mengadakan pilihan raya umum selepas perhimpunan tahun ini. — Foto…SERDANG, 19 Sept — Pilihan raya umum ke-14 (PRU 14) dijangka tidak berlangsung sehingga selesai perhimpunan agung Umno (PAU).
Seorang pensyarah Universiti Sains Malaysia berkata PAU menjadi medan terpenting menyatukan ahli Umno supaya tidak berlaku undi protes nanti.
“PAU harus diguna untuk mendapatkan barisan yang kukuh pada Disember nanti. Sebelum PRU13 hanya tiga parti orang Melayu iaitu PAS, PKR dan Umno.
“Tetapi kini bertambah dua iaitu Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) dan Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) yang boleh memecahbelahkan undi Umno,” kata profesor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian.
Dr Sivamurugan berkata sabotaj perlu diminimumkan supaya Umno boleh berdepan dengan masalah lain. — Foto oleh Zulyana Rahman© Provided by Trinity Diligent Sdn Bhd Dr Sivamurugan berkata sabotaj perlu diminimumkan supaya Umno boleh berdepan dengan masalah lain. — Foto oleh Zulyana Rahman PRU14 perlu diadakan selewat-lewatnya Ogos tahun depan, namun pemerhati berpandangan ia mungkin diadakan akhir tahun ini atau awal tahun depan.
PAS, tidak bersama Pakatan Harapan (PH), menyebabkan undi Melayu khususnya pembangkang berpecah dalam persaingan tiga penjuru dengan Barisan Nasional.
Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak sebelum ini menyatakan kesediaan untuk mengadakan PRU pada bila-bila masa melihat perselisihan dalam PH.
Sivamurugan berkata selain PAU yang menjadi medan menyatukan ahli Umno, rakyat terbanyak juga ingin merasai insentif dalam Bajet 2018.
Katanya, apa yang lebih penting adalah PAU itu sendiri yang akan memberi peringatan kepada ahlinya untuk tidak mensabotaj parti dalam PRU 14.
“PAU itu penting untuk mengelak perpecahan undi Melayu. Ahli Umno perlu disatukan bagi mengelak undi protes dan apakah agenda untuk orang Melayu sendiri.
“Sabotaj perlu diminimumkan supaya Umno boleh berdepan dengan masalah lain.
“Kalau masalah dalaman sukar untuk diatasi bagaimana untuk bersama mengatasi pembangkang,” katanya lagi. Dr Arnold Puyok berkata rakyat tidak melihat isu kabotaj tetapi kesan langsung daripada GST. — Foto oleh Zulyana Rahman© Provided by Trinity Diligent Sdn Bhd Dr Arnold Puyok berkata rakyat tidak melihat isu kabotaj tetapi kesan langsung daripada GST. — Foto oleh Zulyana Rahman
Pensyarah Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) pula berpandangan kerajaan perlu menangani isu kenaikan kos sara hidup di Malaysia Timur menjelang PRU 14.
Dr Arnold Puyok berkata isu itu penting kerana pengecualian dasar kabotaj di dua negeri itu tidak memberi kesan kepada penurunan harga barang.
“Ada pihak mendakwa kenaikan harga bukan disebabkan kabotaj tetapi disumbang beberapa faktor lain. Perdebatan ini masih berterusan. 
“Keluhan yang kita dengar harga barang dan harga minyak semakin naik. Ini menimbulkan keresahan rakyat.
“Rakyat tidak melihat isu kabotaj tetapi kesan langsung daripada cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST),” katanya.

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