Updated 7:06 PM 13-Mar-08
|Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim also slams policy which favours Malays|
Mr Anwar, who coordinated the opposition’s campaign said the opposition parties have held initial discussions about signing an agreement and creating a shadow Cabinet. DAP, PAS and PKR were hammering out power-sharing arrangements 11th March in Kedah, Perak and Selangor.Anwar see the crucial issue in a more cohesive working relationship for a united opposition would be a “government in waiting,”
Mr Lim Guan Eng, DAP, endowed with mandate of Penang, affirms that they will run the government administration free from the New Economic Policy (NEP) that breeds cronyism, corruption and systemic inefficiency.
In Kuala Lumpur, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim states that the NEP benefits
the few family members of the ruling establishment and their cronies.It is essential to stem this practice of awarding tenders, projects and privatization to family related companies and cronies only in states where the oppositions are in charge, he added.
Many Malaysians, especially ethnic Chinese and Indians, say the plan four-decade-old NEP which was meant to fight poverty by steering resources to indigenous people, including Malays has strayed from its original aim of fostering
economic competition and is enriching a small elite, while rural Malays live hand-to-mouth in wooden huts. It has also been widely criticized abroad and was a key stumbling block in five fruitless rounds of talks with the United States on a free trade deal.
Mr Anwar has comes out with the opposition alternative which he called the Malaysia Economic Agenda which will protect the interests of "the Malays, the
poor and the marginalized” but will be a “competitive, merit-based system”.
PAS vice-president Husam Musa told reporters yesterday the opposition intended “to create an investor-friendly atmosphere...and that foreign investment and interests are guaranteed in the states where we are in power”.
DAP’s Mr Lim said he would lobby the prime minister to use cash from state oil company Petronas to fund a new US$940 million (S$1.3 billion) bridge project in Penang.
Petronas has long been seen as a cash cow for BN building projects, including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
|Malaysia's opposition coalition disputes over racial policy|
Malaysia's opposition was sworn in on the 11th March to power in Penang(DAP dominant), one of the nation's richest states, and swiftly announced plans to dismantle controversial race-based discrimination policies. The New Economic Policy was introduced in the early 1970s to bridge the wealth gap with ethnic Chinese who dominate business, by giving Malays advantages in education, housing and business. Penang, styled as Malaysia's "Silicon Valley", is Malaysia's only Chinese-majority state and is home to the manufacturing operations of electronic giants such as Intel and Sony.
Opposition alliance comprise of 3 parties namely Democratic Action Party lead by Lim Guan Eng, the Islamic party PAS lead by Abdul Hadi Awang and the Keadilan party lead by Anwar Ibrahim.
PAS Party President Abdul Hadi Awang said the NEP should not be abolished, though he stressed that the preferential treatments should not be at the expense of other races, a day after Democratic Action Party said it will dismantle the policy in Penang. Mr Abdul Hadi also insisted that there is no formal pact with the Chinese-controlled Democratic Action Party. He added that PAS only recognizes PKR defacto president Anwar Ibrahim as the representative in the three-party electoral pact. The PAS leader added that Mr Anwar will only be formally considered the head of the opposition coalition after he wins a by-election.
Former deputy premier Anwar, who was barred from contesting in the last election due to his corruption conviction, is widely expected to seek a by election after mid April in Permatang Pauh.His wife, daughter and other PKR MPs have expressed their readiness to step aside to make way for his formal return.
Political analysts foresee problems ahead for the opposition coalition especially without a common ideological platform.Associate Professor Khoo Kay Khim, University Malaya commented that the opposition coalition also known as Barisan alternative or the alternative front has difficulty to sort the NEP issue as they have different agendas.
Just how to support the NEP without having the preferential treatments be at the expense of other races is an agenda that needs to be addressed urgently. (Read Comment section below for NEP's corporate wealth yardstick flawed by Tang Ching Leng)
Of the parties drawing the biggest of the popular votes in Parliament, Umno leads at 35.51% (2,462,749) followed by PAS (21.65% - 1,501,800), PKR (13.15% - 911,761) DAP (12.76% - 884,941) and MCA (9.14% - 633,985).In the states, it was almost the same order with Umno leading at 29.99% (2,371,867) followed by PKR (18.6% - 1,471,150), PAS (14.75% - 1,166,918), DAP (14.01% - 1,107,960) and MCA (10.74% - 849,108).
Barisan Nasional (BN), the ruling & dominant coalition party suffered worst performance on Saturday in a general election since independence in 1957.It lost control of four state governments, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor, while PAS secured two-thirds majority to keep its hold on Kelantan, and failing to win the crucial two-thirds majority in parliament.A two-thirds majority is needed to amend the Constitution. The last time the BN lost that majority was in the 1969 election.
Chinese and Indians account for a third of the population of 26 million and many complain the government discriminates in favour of Malays when it comes to education, jobs, financial assistance and religious policy.
About 70 percent of Malaysia's 10.9 million eligible voters had cast ballots, the country's top poll official.
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The 12th Malaysian general election was held on March 8, 2008, in accordance to Malaysian laws for national elections, which states that a general election must be held no later than five years after its last, since the previous general election was held in 2004. Malaysia's Parliament was dissolved on February 13, 2008, and the following day, the Election Commission announced nominations would be held on February 24, with general polling set for March 8. State assemblies of all states other than Sarawak were also dissolved and their elections will take place at the same time.
Political parties were reported to have began preparations for upcoming polls as early as January 2008. As in 2004, the incumbent Barisan Nasional coalition, as well as the opposition parties represented primarily by Democratic Action Party (DAP), PAS, and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) contested in the election.VIA
Related Post: Malaysian stocks take a beating in the aftermath of its 12th general election.
2008 polls - interesting facts Malaysiakini
More at The Malaysian March 2008 Archive
Malaysia: Ruling coalition loses ground at he International Relations and Security Network (ISN).
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