Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 9 March 2018

The Pakatan manifesto for GE14 promises many things and the most welcome ones are the calls to repeal draconian laws, make several commissions directly answerable to Parliament and cut the PMO fat, which is long overdue. Beyond these critically needed reforms, the manifesto is long on populist concepts but short on actionable specifics. The current water crisis in Selangor is yet another reminder of the dire consequences of such cavalier populist policies as Selangor’s free water policy. Is providing cheaper cars the answer to our traffic problems or purely populist? The manifesto proposal to “resolve issue of unilateral child conversion in a harmonious manner” is no doubt well-intentioned but wishful thinking in the current toxic climate without spelling out the clear constitutional and juridical positions on this issue.

Fundamentally, the manifesto lacks three vital changes sorely needed to take our country into a new beginning after sixty years of BN rule, namely: a race-free agenda to unify the nation; a progressive tax structure to redistribute wealth and a truly democratic society.

  1. A truly democratic society

Term limits for the PM, CM & MB are welcome and overdue. We are told that it will not be applied retrospectively to Selangor and Penang, the states that PH already rule. Why not? The democratic principle behind the term limit for these posts is simply that elected officials can over time obtain too much power or authority and thus makes them less representative of all the citizens. It is also to prevent chances of corruption. As we have seen only recently, even within a two-term service, corporate interests including those in property and finance can provide inducements to the incumbent leaders such as drastic discounts on house purchases. There is clearly a correlation between the length of time a politician serves and the degree to which he/she has opportunities to engage in corruption. So, if Pakatan truly believes in democracy, it should adhere to the two-term limit for their MB in Selangor and CM in Penang as of now.

  1. A national agenda:

Now with Pakatan having embraced the leader of Parti Pribumi as the prospective Prime Minister, there is no mention of an end to the NEP in their GE14 manifesto. This is indeed bad news for those who had hopes of a more liberal economic policy and also for all who have criticised the government for its racially discriminatory economic and educational policies. PH tries to suck up to the “Malay Agenda” by proposing puzzling proposals such as “restoring State Sultans’ powers”. Which sultan’s powers are PH referring to that have been weakened? The ones that Mahathir effected during his reign? Please be specific.

And are we going to go through the same “statistical charade” that we have seen through the 50 years of NEP with the manifesto’s proposal to “increase Bumiputera equity through GLC management buyouts? Which class of Bumiputeras is going to gain from this? Doesn’t it matter whether or not the poorer Bumiputeras benefit? The statistics on “Bumiputera equity” are meaningless when such equity can be resold to Non-Bumiputeras as soon as it is allocated and when Bumiputera companies fail such as happened during the 1997 financial crisis.

Instead of needs-based measures that target the lower-income and marginalized sectors, the Pakatan manifesto follows the same divide-and-rule method of BN’s. Thus, Indians have been specifically identified for special treatment as increasing their numbers in premium schools and Mara institutions. But the manifesto does not specify by how much. And what about the Chinese, Eurasians and the Orang Asli? Pakatan would like to “invest in training schemes for Indians” but a needs-based policy would be more cost effective and unifying to open the “Bumiputeras Only” institutions in this country to all Malaysians.

The NEP was scheduled to end in 1990 but has become a populist never ending policy to win over the Bumiputras while benefiting mainly the political elite. Instead, it is common sense that poor rural Malaysians should be assisted based on their needs according to the particular economic sectors in which they live and work. Today, with the lack of ethnic diversity in the civil and armed forces, it is high time that recruitment and promotion in these services are based on merit. Does PH address this? Does PH propose an expiry date for the NEP or is this not going to be realised in our lifetime?

  1. Progressive taxes on the super-rich:

Pakatan does not tell us how their many populist promises will be financed. There are no fiscal policies to redistribute wealth, never mind fundamental changes in economic policies, including nationalisation of utilities. Malaysia is one of the few countries where the super-rich do not have to contribute part of their wealth to finance state welfare. How much do the top 10% of earners contribute to total tax revenues?

Across the developed world, the rich are expected to pay a substantial share of taxes and this share has risen in recent decades. According to the OECD, the top 10 per cent of earners contribute about a third of total tax revenues — 28 per cent in France, 31 per cent in Germany, 39 per cent in Britain and 42 per cent in Italy. America’s wealthiest households contribute a larger share to government than in any other OECD country, at 45 per cent. In Europe, they certainly have more to show for it — social services, unemployment benefits, a national health system and other social benefits. Despite this, William Buffett, one of America’s richest men recently criticised the US tax system as manifestly unfair since he is taxed at a lower rate than his secretary!

Malaysia’s income tax system grants greater tax savings for the rich as well as encourages tax evasion. We rank among the world’s top countries for illicit outflow of money. What reforms does the Pakatan manifesto propose to prevent tax evasion? The limited coverage has resulted in poor revenue generation. Without sufficient revenue, individual income tax cannot provide substantial funds for poverty lifting projects.

Similarly, we do not see a higher marginal tax rate on high-income earners and a correspondingly lower tax rate for lower income earners; an incremental Capital Gains Tax on property; a progressive inheritance tax; a tax on all international financial transactions and hedge funds; a progressive tax on all luxury goods.

  1. A progressive economic policy:

Pakatan has all along stood for the same neo-liberal capitalist policies as the BN. Consequently, their manifesto does not have a progressive economic policy including nationalising all utilities and essential services including water resources, health, public transport and energy. They have not proposed measures to ensure that government enterprises such as the GLCs are owned and controlled by the Malaysian peoples at federal, state and local levels and to bring respite to our lowest paid workers who deserve a decent standard of living and not populist crumbs.

  1. Mother tongue education as part of the National Education System

The Pakatan manifesto pledges to recognise the UEC and to build one Tamil Secondary school. That is good. But are the Chinese and Tamil schools still going to be treated like step children in this country with a few schools being allowed to be built and the Chinese Secondary schools getting occasional funding at the pleasure of the government whenever elections are round the corner?

  1. Defence cuts

The Pakatan manifesto is silent about their defence policy, which is surprising as they speak vociferously against the commissions that are creamed off from big arms deals. While we are agonising over giving our lowest paid workers a guaranteed minimum wage of RM1,500, the government is coolly shopping for the next generation Multi-Role Combat Aircraft to replace the MIGs. British Aerospace (BAE) is trying to flog their Typhoons and other special offers in a RM10 billion arms deal! It is expected that the government will go through with this deal as soon as they get their mandate after GE14.

Beyond GE14

It is time that BN and PH take human rights seriously and respect all Malaysian citizens irrespective of ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender or sexuality so that we can march forward as a unified nation. Furthermore, in the states under both BN and PH, deforestation by developers goes on uninhibited, highways, tunnels and land reclamation continue unabated without concern for the environment, the public commons and the marginalised people living there. A just, democratic and progressive alternative calls for a living wage and rights for all workers; a reasonable pension at retirement; affordable and liveable housing; free tertiary education (means tested for the well-off); formal or informal elected local government; commitment to international human rights practices and covenants.

The neo-liberal ideologies that both BN and PH practice involves allowing private developers to buy up public assets. Such a practice has serious consequences in that it overrides and neglects the people’s interests and degrades our precious environment which is regarded as a free resource. As a result, we are left with polluted air, questionable water quality, and limited green commons. We want a Government that will take the lead in sustainable development initiatives such as renewable energy, that will benefit ordinary Malaysians and their environment. The current reliance on the private sector results in environmentally harmful and socially destructive projects. A people’s government would enforce recycling measures, responsible waste disposal and enact laws to protect animal welfare. Such a progressive government would also make it a priority to put the rights and livelihood of the Orang Asal at the top of the national agenda by recognizing their rights over the land they have been occupying for centuries, prohibiting logging in Orang Asal land and ensuring all Orang Asal villages have adequate social facilities and services.


Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 7 March 2018

I believe young Malaysians like Wan Saiful should have a go at the political game which is like a merry go round in a fun fair and that the aging politicians who have been hogging the dumb horses for nearly half a century should get off and let other youngsters have a go…



Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 28 Feb 2018

I read with gob-smacked amazement that “environmental activist” Wong Tack, the DAP’s candidate for Bentong in the last general election is looking forward to Pakatan Harapan leader Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to Bentong. Instead of pushing the green agenda that he said would be his responsibility, he seems more concerned to stress that “Mahathir is popular not only among rural Malays but also had admirers among the Chinese”.  Continue reading “WONG TACK ON WRONG TRACK OF GREEN POLITICS”


Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, Suaram Adviser 15 Feb 2018

BAE Systems’ offer to provide Malaysia a UK government-backed financing deal if it decides to replace its fleet of combat jets with the Eurofighter Typhoon should alert Malaysian voters to make this multi-billion ringgit purchase an election issue.

Malaysia has been weighing France’s Rafale jet and the Eurofighter Typhoon, built by a European consortium including Britain’s BAE, as it looks to buy up to 18 jets to replace its Russian MiG-29s,  most of which are grounded.



Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser, 1 Feb 2018

The vile misogynistic attacks by supposed Pakatan Harapan supporters against a young woman proponent of #Undirosak reveal the ignorance, hypocrisy and cowardice of these cyberpoopers.

Their ignorance of how votes will go in GE14

These cyberpoopers (they are paid peanuts to poop on dissident views) do not seem to be able to make out the real threats to PH votes from mere dissent. Do they really think that the #Undirosak campaign is so strong that it threatens PH? Don’t they know what is the biggest threat to PH?

The biggest threat to PH and one that has not existed since 2008, is the breakup of the Opposition alliance formed since 1990. The electoral pact that has enabled one-to-one battles since 1990 does not exist anymore, ever since Pakatan kicked PAS out of Pakatan Rakyat in 2015. Pakatan has to explain to the supporters of the Opposition Coalition how this came about after the disastrous “Kajang Move”.

It is this new scenario at GE14 with 3-cornered and multi-cornered fights all over the place which is the gift PH has presented Najib and BN. This is what the ignorant PH mercenaries cannot see while they cast their vile poop at the #Undirosak proponents. The number of spoiled votes in GE14 will be infinitesimal compared to the seats BN will gain through the Opposition votes being split.

This is what genuine democrats should be railing about and not the righteous dissent by the #Undirosak knights over the betrayal of the Reformasi movement.

The second biggest threat to PH is the loss of faith of their erstwhile Reformasi supporters after they chose to opportunistically embrace the most infamous autocrat in Malaysian history as their PM elect. As I warned when PH embraced Dr M, they must now also embrace all the scandals of his term in office. It is anybody’s guess how many voters of the Reformasi generation will now vote PH, how many who were not too committed might even swing to BN and how many will cast spoilt votes.

The third biggest threat to PH is the existence of three million or so apathetic young voters who have not even bothered to register to vote. If we want to believe that most young voters would tend to be anti-establishment and vote for change, then there is this pool of potential but disengaged PH voters. Instead of wasting their energies and exposing their misogynistic, racist and ignorant supporters, PH supporters would do better to try to register more of these potential young voters.

Hypocrisy of the Crypto-Mahathiristas

Ever since the crypto-Mahathiristas have come out of the closet, it has opened our eyes to the reality of voting patterns for ultimately, the general election involves the secret ballot. Who is to know how people actually vote at the ballot box?

We know from the confessions of the crypto-Mahathiristas who include the top leaders of PH that “during Mahathir’s term, at least we could hold our heads high as opposed to now under Najib…”

Thus, for all we know, these PH leaders could have secretly voted for Mahathir during all those years of the 80s and 90s when BN used to win handsomely. In fact, many crony capitalists and middle-class professionals made quite a lot of money during Mahathir’s term in office. While they might have joined in cursing Mahathir at the time of his financial scandals and racist policies, who knows how they actually voted at the time?

My point is, while the young proponents of #Undirosak have courageously indicated they will spoil their votes in protest at the betrayal of the Reformasi movement and the destruction of the Opposition Front, we don’t really know how these hypocrites who pour despicable obscenities at dissenters will vote.

Just as we have just uncovered the crypto-Mahathiristas today, who knows how many crypto-Ajibgoristas we will discover in the future? Among those who claim to be PH supporters will be those who have profited from Najib’s policies and the Sinophilics who support his Greater China Overture in contrast to Mahathir’s claim that Najib is selling away Malaysia’s sovereignty. Meanwhile, they are making the “politically correct” noises about thieves and pirates…

Cowardice of the misogynistic, racist anti-#Undirosak pack

I do not intend to repeat the misogynistic and racist filth that these supposed PH cyberpoopers have heaped on the #Unidirosak proponent. Their pathetic and standard modus operandi are only too familiar on social media. Some use pseudonyms, others use names that no one has heard before – the traits well beknown of social media cowards.

Alas, after the big mistake of embracing the infamous autocrat in Malaysian history, PH’s second biggest mistake is to have to lay claim to these ignorant, hypocritical and cowardly cyberpoopers.

As George Bernard Shaw has said, “Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.”

It also brings to mind Erica Jong’s admonition of the cowardly misogynist:

“Beware of the misogynist who denounces courageous women; his penis is tiny and he cannot spell…”