Greetings from Ground Zero, three days after the political hurricane that struck a wide swathe all the way from Kedah to Selangor.

guan engThis morning, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was sworn in as Penang Chief Minister even as Zakaria Md Deros passed away. (Oh, what good is storing worldly treasures in earthly palaces when you can’t take it with you when you go? I think there is a message from above in there, especially in the timing.) It is a historic day for it is the first time the Opposition is taking over the reins of the Penang state government in nearly 40 years.

Koh Tsu Koon, still gracious in defeat, was present, but BN state assembly members reportedly stayed away. In fact, Koh deserves to be commended for the calm, collected way he has handled this devastating defeat and for facilitating a smooth transition.

Chief Minister Lim pledged to introduce a Freedom of Information Act, ensure open tenders for public projects, work towards the revival of local council elections and get public servants to declare their assets. Penang’s influential civil society groups are expected to make even more recommendations in the weeks ahead.

It remains to be seen whether the BN-controlled federal government will attempt to trim or delay its financial allocations to the state in the months and years ahead. If that happens, the Penang government will have to be even more creative and imaginative in raising funds through, for instance, a review of land reclamation projects.

Let’s wait and see what happens in Perak and Selangor.

Many of us are still struggling to come to terms with the scale of the Opposition’s inroads.

According to my researcher friend, the BN’s share of the popular vote in the peninsula actually dipped below the 50 per cent mark. The BN received just 49.8 per cent of the popular votes cast. For the whole country, the BN bagged 51.5 per cent of votes cast as more than 60 per cent of the residents of Sabah and Sarawak opted for its component parties. On the other hand, more than than 60 per cent of voters in KL and Penang voted for the Opposition’s parliamentary candidates.

He also pointed out some other fascinating statistics:

More than half of the Malaysian population (52 per cent) live in areas where the Opposition triumphed – the five states under Opposition rule plus the Federal Territory of KL, which the Opposition swept as well. These areas accounted for 63 per cent of the total ballots issued.

These areas also account for 47 per cent of the bumiputera population. If only the ethnic Malays are considered, then 57 per cent of the Malay population now live in these Opposition areas. In addition, almost three quarters of Indian Malaysians reside in these areas.

In terms of economic wealth, these states account for 56 per cent of the country’s GDP. (Calculations based on figures obtained from the Mid-term Review of the Eigth Malaysia Plan.)

The Opposition-held areas include three of the wealthiest regions (in terms of per capita income) – KL, Selangor and Penang (though it must be noted that income disparities are wide) – and the two poorest states, Kelantan and Kedah.

Weird result for Mukhriz on SPR website

There is something weird about the Election Commission figures for the Jerlun parliamentary seat, which was won by Mukhriz Mahathir (who is now giving Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi a hard time).

If the Election Commission’s figures are to be believed, the voter turnout was an incredible 99.85 per cent! The ballots issued were 37,242 compared to the electorate size of 37,297.

In contrast, the state seats within the Jerlun area saw a turnout of 81-82 per cent.

Assuming there are still a number of dead voters on the rolls, it is virtually impossible to record 99.85 per cent. The Commission must clarify how this is possible.

These figures are from the Election Commission’s website:

  37,297 37,242 99.85%  
  N.3 – KOTA SIPUTEH 19,771 16,126 81.56% 278 495 BN
  N.4 – AYER HITAM 25,742 21,171 82.24% 352 506 PAS

Update: Thanks, Frank and Sean, for pointing out that the total electorate for Jerlun should be 45,513 and not 37,297 as stated on the SPR website. This would then give a turnout of 81.8 per cent, which is about right, and not 99.85 per cent.

Just for the record, during the 1969 general election, the Alliance (the predecessor to the BN) lost Penang, Perak and Kelantan while Selangor was dead even at 14-14. If I am not mistaken, the Alliance could only secure 49 per cent of the popular vote.

Here is an article I wrote for Asia Times Online:

Political shift in the industrial heart

By Anil Netto

PENANG – A torrential downpour drenched the northern state of Penang during the late afternoon of Malaysia’s March 8 general election day. Many political analysts had earlier anticipated some waves of democratic change for the area, the country’s only state with an ethnic Chinese majority; few anticipated the political tsunami which actually ensued.

Penang, like many other areas of the country fed up with corruption, discriminatory policies towards minorities, general disillusionment with public institutions and a rising cost of living, was ripe for political change. The combined opposition secured 29 of Penang’s 40-seat assembly, with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) clinching 19 of those parliamentary spots. Full article

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  1. All in All, Malaysian should be happy that Pak La is still the PM. Even if BN has lost badly this Elections, The BN leaders should be working together and do a detail on why they lost They should not blame Pak la for the failure but they and the coalition should be blame themself equally. This is a one party coalition where there are many party leaders in it. Its they who are the failure of the heavy lost. Pak La has a diplomatic way of handling things in the country. This why the country is stable and every one can sleep peacefully. The BN coalition Leaders must accept the lost and defeat and stop trying to blame Pak La for the losses. Its a collective blame. BN learders must learn the rules of the Party. They sail on ship / one party coalition and if the ship arrives to its port of orgin thru the rain and storm they will gain. If the ship has a leak ,all BN learders should work together and stop the ship from sinking. they should do some major thinking and find a solution and help the captain of the ship and stop the leak and the ship rom sinking. Not remove the captain. The captain has the experience to navigate the ship thru trouble waters.
    BN lost badly this elections is because,:

    1) Most of the BN leaders rude and stuck up
    2) Corruption
    3) High rate of crime
    4) The BN leadears not doing their work on the ground
    5) The welfare of the people of Malaysia are not taken off
    6)No transparency on state politics decision
    7)Greed of politcs and power
    8)Road and Drainage problem
    9)Floods history in Selangor, Pahang , Johor and Terengganu
    10)Water supply problems
    11) Electrical supply in Sabah
    12) Looking after the goverment servants in Federal level and States level
    13)listening to the voice of Malaysian people and deliver
    14)BN Leader involved in unnecessary scandals
    15)Better quality BN leaders and must deliver their promises
    16)Raise the standard of Education in schools, sports and sutdent loans for upper educations
    17)Raise the standard of University Education and Grades
    18)Better economy for Malaysia

    Malaysia a land of one nation of many nationality


  2. Just to clarify my aim in including the bit about Zakaria wasn’t to take a swipe at someone who has passed on but to remind other politicians that it is pointless to accumulate wealth which they cannot take along with them when their time is up. Instead they should serve the people and this will be remembered for a long, long time.

  3. Subject: Strong disappointment on DAP’s decision over Perak Menteri Besar

    From: Gerald Khor
    Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 08:32 AM
    To: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
    Subject: Re: Strong disappointment on DAP’s decision over Perak Menteri Besar

    To my beloved DAP leaders,

    Hope this message get to your CEC members as well.

    Why you want to sour the already fragile relationship with PAS, at a time where you can work towards strengthening it? PAS has shown willingness to discuss Barisan Rakyat and we rakyat is happy to see the formation of Barisan Rakyat to realize the dream of 2-party system, as long as it carry a mandate of secular state for Malaysia.

    And why such a flip-flop? Where is DAP’s integrity? DAP Perak pledged to abide by Sultan of Perak’s choice of Menteri Besar just a day earlier. Why DAP CEC rejects it? Why not discuss this among PAS, PKR and DAP? Why does it has to go public, and in such high profile? You guys are not better than Pak Lah nor BN in handling such situation.

    Your report card is already tainted. Go mend the fence now and take corrective action immediately.

    Gerald Khor

    ps: Don’t know which email address to use thus use whatever email addresses I know to hope to get my message across.

    —– Original Message —-
    From: Gerald Khor
    To: [email protected]
    Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 12:11:39 AM
    Subject: Strong disappointment on DAP’s decision over Perak Menteri Besar

    Dear YB Karpal Singh, YB Lim Kit Siang, YB Lim Guan Eng,

    As a supporter of DAP that believe strongly in “Malaysian’s Malaysia “, I wish to express my strong disappointment on DAP’s decision to disapprove Perak Sultan’s selection of the next Menteri Besar (from a PAS representative). At the very least, please respect the choice made by Sultan Azlan Shah.

    We just witness a new era in Malaysia politics after 8th March that gave so much hope to the people of this lovely nation. The loose pact between DAP, PAS and PKR scored big win in GE2008. Please keep up the good work and strengthen the pact. In fact, you guys should just formalize the pact and form Barisan Rakyat as suggested by many concerned Malaysians. Chinese voted for PAS and Malay voted for DAP on 8th March. I personally called my family members to make sure they vote no BN candidates. It is time that DAP seriously consider formalizing a pact with PAS and PKR. PAS seems to come a long way and is becoming more moderate. A pact should be made if PAS can drop their mandate to form an Islamic country.

    Please don’t let this pact break away because of selection of Perak Menteri Besar. It is no doubt an important post but the next General Election will be even more important. The bigger task for DAP, PAS and PKR is to prove to the rakyat that you guys can be good government, starting with showing good results in Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, Perak and Selangor. It is a bad start to score an “E” for this fiasco. Furthermore PAS has given its words to work closely with the coalition government in Perak, and DAP has more seats and have been promised the most EXCO members. Give and take will go a long way for this young coalition.

    I am a Chinese from Taiping and I have no problem seeing a PAS representative as Perak’s Menteri Besar, as long as there is no Islamic rules (as yet) like those in Kelantan. Given the Constitutional constraints and the state’s demographics, it is fair to have a Malay State Assemblyman to be appointed as Menteri Besar with a Chinese and Indian Naib Menteri Besar representing the other two major races.

    The rakyat is still trying to grasp with the new scene in Malaysia politics. For me hailing from Perak, I know it is not easy for the Chinese in Perak to accept a PAS rep as Menteri Besar but we are ready to give him a chance to perform. People voted him (and his coalition government) in this time round. People can vote him out the next time. And we hope DAP will put national interest before party to give this man a chance to perform with his comrades in the Perak State Assembly as well.

    If DAP cannot resolve this fiasco properly, all the manifestos and promises given pre-election will not be relevant anymore. Walk-the-talk. Integrity is everything. Otherwise DAP is no different from any BN component parties. And I will regret very much the thousands of dollar donation I made to DAP Malaysia in Jan and Feb 2008.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Gerald Khor

    ps: has a lot more feedback for your attention.

    ps: Somehow does not work properly thus a direct email.

  4. 3/8/2008-An unprecedented win for opposition in 5 states as they expect to win in parliament, but not states. Selangor is crucial state to lay a ‘siege ‘ in Putrajaya.

    3/8/2013-Pak Lah/Najib will hold election to enjoy their last days of being the government. Putrajaya will be the 112th seat to be won by BR, dooming BN into opposition.

  5. As they say, the good and righteous leave a legacy of love and prosperity for Eternity and the evil and self-centred leave their stinking names for 10,000 years and their children pay the price.

    Death is the great Equalizer and the true worth of a person is what he has done and what he has left behind …

  6. I may agreed on many of the issues you have raised all this while but it really struck me when you made a swipe on Zakaria’s death. As a malaysian, I thought you could be more sensitive when comes to this kind of issues. Death, especially among Muslim should never be made into an issue. We must paid the utmost respect to the deceased and their families, not making a mockery of their demise. I hope you will take a serious note on this matter. There is really no need for that. GOD knows what is best for his servants. We should never judge on another person especially on the deceased, no matter what he/she had done during their lifetime..

  7. Since we are on statistics, another one to note.
    At 49.8%, we can say that the popular vote for peninsula is about even between BN and BR.
    So, if we just count the number of seats contested in peninsula, it is 86 to BN and 80 to BR, which is less than 10% difference. This means this time round, the gerrymandering did not help BN and is quite fair for the first past the post election system. BN is boosted by the seats that came from Sabah and Sarawak which are all for BN save 2, I think.


  8. The swipe on Zakaria will serve as a reminder to other unscruplous people who would not hesitate to rob and bully can so easily get away —even in death. He will always be remembered for what he is. Francis is entitled to his opinion as others are with theirs.

  9. Great analysis.

    The timing of Zakaria’s demise should serve as a reminder to all the corrupt politicians that God is fair. At the end of it all, we’re still answerable to the divine one…. …

  10. Now that the opposition parties have won control of 5 state government and deny BN two third majority in the parliament, do the next stage by petition for a Royal Commission on Electoral Reform (RCER) in Malaysia.

    If you want to have a better future for our children in Malaysia, do you bit by signing the on-line petition at

    Why do we need to reform the Election Commission?

    1) the discrepancy between number of voters in urban and rural seats is too great. The smallest parliamentary seat (Federal Territory, Putrajaya) has only 6,608 voters while the parliamentary seat for Kapar in Selangor has 112,224 voters. What this means is that one vote in the Putrajaya parliamentary constituency is equivalent to 17 votes in the Kapar constituency.

    2) A common tactic is to ‘buy’ the identity card of the voters. Party members will then vote on the voters’ behalf. Random checking of a person’s identity must be conducted using those finger print checking device. Any voting done on another person’s identity must be made a serious offence under the election law.

    3) The rules on postal voting must be reviewed, tightened and amended. The current rule favours the ruling party as the armed forces personnel and policemen who vote by ‘postal voting’ would obviously not jeopardize their career or promotion prospect by voting for the opposition.

  11. that swipe on a Zakaria Mat Deros was not required, he is now in the past and let him be so, taking a swipe at him now serves no purpose.

  12. it is obvious that there is something wrong on the SPR website stats.
    If you look at the DUN seat, the P5 total voters is 19771 + 25742 = 45513.
    Thus voters turnout is 81.8% which is about right.
    So I think this is just wrong stats from SPR site. you can check on other site for the stats.

    Simple stats also SPR can get it wrong……

  13. Anil

    On your posting on Mukhriz election, you mentioned that there was 99.85 % voting.

    According to the electoral list, for Jerlun electorate, the total registered voters were 45,513 and the total turnout was 37242.

    The registered voters stood at 45,513 and NOT 37,297 as you mentioned.

    Actually the turnout was 81.8 % and not 99.85 % .

    You may want to clarify your figures so that there is no confusion and cause unnecessary alarm even though Mukhriz is from UMNO.


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