Posted: 05 Oct 2010 02:13 AM PDT
Malaysia 's future comes to Sydney
Monday, 04 October 2010 admin-s
By William de Cruz
They came to sell the future, a 'new' country. And by the time Malaysian Opposition MPs Tony Pua and Jeff Ooi left the Delima dinner on 23 September 2010 in Sydney, they surely knew the movement for change had also captured the New South Wales capital city in its wake.
For the likes of SABM (Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia) and the "diaspora" (thanks, Jeff) of Malaysia's ever-growing Opposition, Sydney is a bit late coming to the party. That's partly because Adelaide and Penang are sister cities, and the former has attracted a strong presence from leaders of the Democratic Action Party, which has Penang as its base and peninsular stronghold. Melbourne was an earlier start, and stranger things have happened.
Nevertheless, Malaysians (PRs in Australia who still hold Malaysian passports), former kampungites who are now Aussie citizens, well wishers and supporters - 75 in all - had gathered to welcome the MPs, add a new twist to "Malaysia boleh" and send them back to the zeitgeist, hopefully heartened that help is also to be found in Australia.
The audience heard how corruption has festered and flourished for so long that an overseas unwillingness to participate in the Malaysian economy has led to foreign direct investment crashing by 81 per cent in 2009, sandwiching the nation between Laos (just behind) and the Philippines in the FDI rankings.
We don't know to laugh or cry because Mahathir Mohamed's New Economic Policy has been replaced by Najib Razak's New Economic Model; Penang will not be part of a High-Speed Broadband network worth tens of billions; challenging the Constitution is threatening the rights of Malays.
We are told of the failures and fantasies of a former minister of education who has launched a MR500 billion-plus program to stimulate the economy and transform Malaysia - in some countries it would be referred to as nothing short of pork-barrelling.
We suspended disbelief to know UMNO Youth and an increasingly Malay-supremacist Perkasa are using police reports to stymie the Opposition, so if Pua talks about the need to "suspend unnecessary subsidies", he is instead accused of working to "deny Bumiputera rights".
And we nodded our heads (side-ways) to be reminded of how the Malaysian media continues to hold the truth a distant second to political expediency.
The murder only got a passing mention - such is the litany of malfeasance.
Tony Fernandez should be grateful for the several plugs his low-cost carrier was given at Delima, with Ooi regularly reminding his fellow Malaysians that they only need jump on an AirAsia flight to return home and vote at the next elections to fully claim their role in change.
But Pua and Ooi also heard about tapping the fountain of votes that must be in the hands of Malaysians who left a beloved homeland, tired and beaten by a system of economic, cultural and religious apartheid. These migrants live without the auspices of a High Commission or Consulate that will encourage the postal vote. In fact, the last time this writer asked, the HC in Canberra very helpfully replied: "Balik undi, lah!"
Pua told us of his own brush with a "postal vote" - a bullet in an envelope mailed to his Petaling Jaya Utara office.
Ooi spoke of a shadow cabinet, which is also to say there is every confidence now that the next election may cost the ruling coalition much more than that two-thirds majority.
There was talk of a future with Nurul.
The new guard is already on the ground running, and Pua and Ooi are among the leaders of the pack - young, unbeaten, determined, engaging, frank and with faith enough to know that you can move that mount, you just have to learn to live with kicking around a few stones for a while.
Before the night moved into full swing, co-organiser John Khoo told us exactly how much was raised per dinner seat. He didn't look very pleased - more had been collected from 55 diners at an earlier SABM fund-raiser this year. An empty wine chiller was immediately passed around and more moolah rolled in.
Amid the addresses by Pua and Ooi as well as a testy but invigorating Q&A session, raffles and an auction were conducted to raise more cash.
But money was not the measure of success that night, when an informal coalition of people with a connection to Malaysia brought the MPs to a bunch of people hungry for hope.
The DAP duo reached into the pockets of patriots, which is not about supporting any particular government, and there were rich pickings.
It was not the money, but a future was bought.
Later, Khoo was happy to confess: "I am an Australian citizen, but Malaysia will always be my country of birth, and I want to be part of the history that will bring change to Malaysia ."
It used to be said that if change were to come to pass in Malaysia, then it would have to come at the hands of the Malay race which hold the power as the MCA and MIC support an artifice of racial harmony and integration.
That night in Sydney, there was an assurance that change today is firmly in the hands of all Malaysians.
More than 50 years since, 'merdeka' may be just around the corner.
Posted: 04 Oct 2010 10:34 PM PDT
Pictures courtesy of Jonah Sia
I spoke to some 50-60 Malaysians in Adelaide when I was there on the 19th September and Hussein Hamid has written a report on his blog post. It was my first stop in Australia, a good meeting, a good start to link up to Malaysians down under ;-)
Tony Pua in Adelaide Hussein Hamid
Why is it that that which is supposes to unite us ends up dividing us? I was at a meet on Sunday where Tony Pua, Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara, was in Adelaide to meet with Malaysian. Any Malaysians! Not only Chinese, not only DAP members not only Pakatan Rakyat supporters …it was just "Tea with Tony Pua @ Adelaide" …no Yang Berhormat…just Tony Pua.
First roadblock: One smart aleck asked me why should the meet be at a place call The Chapel? No need to guess what race the smart aleck was - is not a Chapel "A building used by Christians, members of other religions, and sometimes interfaith communities, as a place of fellowship and worship" …Jesus Christ I thought to myself, it is just a place to meet with Tony! I do not even know if Tony is a Christian and I do not care! Suffice to say that I know that guy will not be turning up at the meet.
It was a good crowd. Standing room only and I was the only traitor…errr I mean Malay around. I came late but my white hair and age persuaded someone to give up his seat for me. Thankfully I sat down. Tony was already in full flight and as he talked my eyes swept across the sixty odd crowds. Chinese, Chinese, Chinese…about two Mat Salleh and I think one Indian. Some came with their family and a number of students too were present. A good crowd eager to listen to what this messenger from KL has got to tell them of home.
As Tony talked a few words caught my ears…APC (Armoured Personal Carriers) that cost over Ringgit 30 million each, FDI, that Petronas provided our nation with about 40% of its income, 1 Malaysia, Muhyiddin and his "I am a Malay first" comment…all the usual suspect.
It was not a taklimat (an information presentation – very formal – for those that do not understand Malay!)…he was talking to us and telling us what could be better for our country, how it could be better and it had better be better or we would be in trouble! I thought it ended too soon after he took questions from the crowd but then we continued talking with him and with each other over tea.
What should have been an opportunity for Malaysian to meet with each other and to listen to someone from Malaysia talk about things in KL became for some Malaysian, another reason to shun the Chinese and the DAP for being a racist "for chinese only" political organization. No Malays came to listen, to question or debate with Tony on what he had to say and on what they perceive DAP was or was not doing. Why?
Why is it that that which is supposes to unite us end up dividing us? The reality is that the same thing will most probably be happening in Melbourne and Sydney where Tony is next due to visit. I hope some one there will tell me that this is not so.
I think this young articulate politician is our future. He was not embarrass to tell us that in DAP and Pakatan Rakyat there is a lack of good capable people to strengthen the organization and to help them to govern in the states they control.
After listening to him I understood why Pakatan Rakyat did not have a shadow cabinet – because there is no provision in our constitution to recognize a shadow cabinet what more to provide money for its working. And of course as Tony pointed out Pakatan Rakyat simply do not have the resources to look into this effectively for now. Such refreshing admission from him augers well for the future of our country when Pakatan Rakyat is call into service. Even now, as he emphasized, the royalties earned from sand in Selangor alone has increased to RM$15 million from the RM$4 million during the time of Khir Toyo of the Palatial Palace fame!
All too soon it ended. In my over thirty years in Australia I must confess that this is the first time I have attended any meet, get together or functions with any other Malaysians. Methinks I will be going to another one when Lim Guan Eng comes over at the end of this month!
Thank you Tony for taking the trouble to meet with us and to my new Malaysian Chinese Friends…thank you for making me feel welcome at a "racist DAP get together held in a Chapel!"
One regret. I would have taken more images of the meet but refrained from doing so lest Tony or anyone else thinks I am from the Special Branch!
|You are subscribed to email updates from Philosophy Politics Economics |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|