Umno’s power grab propels Nizar to national stage


Nizar and Perak Speaker Sivakumar anxiously await the results last night

What an incredible last few days it has been. And thank you to all the “citizen journalists”, political activists and even mainstream media folks who fed me information, including complete strangers such as the young man who passed me the video he took of the teargas incident in Air Kuning. Thanks for all your kind words and encouragement, which kept me motivated.

I left Perak this afternoon after lunch at a kopitiam restaurant in Taiping with much to think about (and I don’t mean just the cendol).

Bukit Gantang ushers in a new phase in Malaysian politics. Ethnic and religious barriers were broken here as the Chinese and others voted in droves for Pas. Much of it was due to the more moderate face of Pas projected by its popular candidate, Nizar, and the party’s makeover “Pas for all”. The close cooperation among Pakatan parties, and more importantly, the interaction of ordinary people on the ground also contributed to the breakthrough.

In staging its power grab in Perak, Umno may have committed its biggest blunder. By ousting Nizar, it allowed him to be chosen as a candidate for a parliamentary seat, thus propelling him to a bigger stage – Parliament, where he will now be a regular face in front of a national audience.

His overwhelming acceptance among minority groups is something that Umno leaders cannot match – unless they dump their divisive brand of racial politics.

Here’s an article I wrote in Perak this morning for Asia Times, just before returning to Penang:

Malaysia’s Najib fails his first test

By Anil Netto

BUKIT GANTANG, Perak – Malaysia’s ruling coalition lost two of three by-elections held on Tuesday, in a result that shows that the change in prime minister from Abdullah Badawi to Najib Razak only four days prior has done little to stem the erosion in popular support for government led by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO).

Many viewed the three local polls as an early referendum on the new premier, who took over after the UMNO-led ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition suffered a setback at general elections held in March last year. The BN lost five states to the People’s Alliance opposition, made up of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic party (PAS), the Democratic Action Party (DAP), and the People’s Justice Party (PKR), led by Anwar Ibrahim.

Full article here.

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Thanks Anil for some brave reportage….someday you will definitely be given mention for your painstaking and honest to goodness journalism… are doing so well. Bravo.

Thanks also to good old Democracy Tree for so bravely weathering the storms and saving the two Bukits from the vultures and eroders of our multi-ethnic landscape. Stand tall and blow in the fresh breezes.

And hero Nizar…a man for all of Malaysia….is cetainly our most unforgetable character.

And you Anil, have a joyful Easter week-end. God bless you! for your kind of enlightenment.

Thanks, Happy Easter to you and all readers too! Anil


YES we won, of course we did – Perakians WON and we made known our anger and disgust at the way things are – We demand HAK rakyat be returned, and it showed in the ballot box and we did, didn’t we? The recent Perak political crisis/impasse occur(still on-going, still unsettled!) because the State of Perak was under Pakatan Rakyat Government, and who allowed it to happen? Haven’t we also notice that suddenly UMNO display themselves as respectful loyal citizens of King and Sultans, eh? Despite the unpredictable weather in Bukit Gantang, support for PAS and DAP ceramahs was overwhelmingly… Read more »



I believe this article will answer your queries:


Congrats to the new politics of inclusiveness than the fear mongering of UMNO.


I cant see where the hell was BN’s so called dirty tactic i.e threaten them to go INDEPENDENT or asked Sultan not to give permission to dissolve DUN….drMpower Wuahahaha…there are still unriped , naive & easily clouded guy around. Go seek Optometrist Consultant then comment. Too lenghthy to explain to u particulary on the 3 disrespectful & selfish froggies. Pity..Hee, no party wants her. Pray for the 2 ex-pkr got pardon by the court for thier corruption..then will they be able to join uMNO. Again…pAS should win much bigger majority if not of thier dirty tactic… Having road block at… Read more »


“melayu kembali kepada umno?”

because to fight a single race imperialism. islam does not teach this.
because of rm and a bicycle. islam does not teach this.
because of suratkhabar lama…………how low can you go?

Approving Authorities

The finest achievement that Nizar made in his short tenure at the top was the transformation of the views that the non-malays had of Pas.


This man is destined to lead as such anil, nothing can be taken from a man of god.


The man of the hour The triumph in Bukit Gantang It sent a shivering signal The number 6 didn’t want to hear The bad nights The haunting dreams On Cheng Beng black knight took office The day the ghosts walk free The days ahead The shadow feeling afraid Of the unfinished businesses Ringing up in his brain The man of the hour Nizar triumphed against all odds Only the people of Perak They decide the politician’s fate The democracy under the tree The black knight couldn’t smile any more The light is glowing majestically He knows he can’t escape A… Read more »


Superb article that you wrote in Asia Times Anil. Thanks


God has a way of reeling back the excess of man. First he make mad the man he want destroyed. Read UMNO and BN. Then he sent a guide to lead the way out of the mess. Read Nizar.

This story is repeated age after age. Nothing is permanent. No privilege is god given.


Thank you Anil for the live updates. I know you worked hard to cover the events at Bukit Gantang. The erratic weather, traffic jams and bad broadband service did not make your job easier! Thank you again!


Yes, the way forward is to provide hope for the poor Malays who have been given wrong impression of ketuanan melayu. PRK or Pg Governement should start a school to train future malay leaders for a One Malaysia. This will prepare them for GE13…..the way forward, give good deserving malays leadership training and fight corruption!


Anil, You can now have a good rest after your great effort the last week to share the fruits of your hard labour. With the incoming PM & his DPM (who needed Mahathir’s support at the AGM!) now inviting Mahathir membership #0000001 to be their “Adviser”…. They have all now “Succumbed” to “Mahathir’s Trap” Together with his 2 sons he is now the “Taiko” to continue from where he left the last time…. Najib…. Bodoh….remove MB Mohd Nizar but forgot to remove Speaker Sivakumar! ….invite Mahathir to rejoin UMNO but forgot to help Mukriz to remove KJ at the AGM!… Read more »


So the Perak power grab by Umno is not such a bad thing after all. It turns out to be a blessing in disguise for Pakatan. Maybe Najib should now grab Kedah as well as Umno try to do. It’s a good way for Pakatan to get rid of all those greedy frogs presently hiding in the coalition. Kedah fall will hasten the delivery of the federal government to Pakatan in the next general election.


drMpower You forgot quite a bit in your narration (DrM’s famous selective memory, huh?). – Where, in the Perak constitution, is the sultan’s power to remove the MB? – Where, in the Perak constitution, does it say “sorry MB you are asking for DUN dissolution too late”? If you can answer both questions, my advice: go to the ever-neutral AG and submit to him – Why is the federal executive power (FRU, PDRM) mingling in state legislative affairs (preventing the DUN from meeting)? What business does the same federal power have preventing access to state offices to exco members who… Read more »

Phua Kai Lit

Dear Anil

UMNO/BN nightmare coming true:

Chinese voting for PAS
Malays voting for DAP
Multiethnic PKR growing from strength to strength


Purple Haze

drMpower, The 3 INDEPENDANTS can also vote in favour of the PR (instead of the BN) because though they are independant and “say” they will vote in favour of BN, who is to say that they will not be a turncoat to the BN ? Remember, these 3 so-called independents had vowed to the Sultan of Perak in 2008 that they are with the PR coalition but now in 2009, they say that they are now “have preference” with BN. … But now, you have a situation of 28 lawan 28 with 3 independants who could go either way. This… Read more »


Anil Netto! You have always been somewhat rational in your writings & comments! So I need to ask you & place on your lap this matter for consideration: Does the word/expression MAGNANIMITY ever feature in the hearts/souls of the powers that be{ PTB } ? Does the PTB ever SEE THE WRITING ON THE WALL ? Would it not have been the right/proper/moral/ethical course of action for the PTB to accept GRACIOUSLY/HUMBLY the RAKYAAT’s decision of 080308, & get on with serving the RAKYAAT first & foremost? Does the PTB have to keep shennaniganising{my creation}the RAKYAAT until the implosion occurs?… Read more »


Terima Kasih Anil for your report.
Syabas Pakatan Rakyat !
Good to see Malays,Chinese,Indians in Nizar Constituency UNITED to bring about Change,Democracy,A Society FREE OF DISCRIMINATION,Free of Rampant Blatant Corruption
A government of Unity with Tengku Razaleigh as Advisor and
Anwar as Prime Minister with his Team of Nizar,Nik Aziz,Zaid Ibrahim ,Guan Eng,Gobalakrisnan,Uthaya,Wathy,Kit Siang,Husam Musa Raja Petra, will be a Dream Team.
Hidup Reformasi……REJECT Racism & discrimination
Hidup Ketuanan Rakyat !
Thank you Good people of all 3 Constituency for voting Pakatan Rakyat !

anna brella

Thanks for the excellent coverage of the elections.

And any numbers as yet for total PRDM election-policing spend, particularly on those cheap as chips, vfm canopies?

“Imagine Power To The Power” John Lennon.


Nil, we in Perth do appreciate your great effort, under trying circumstances to keep us informed and live! Glad you made it up with your cendol which I am willing to swap for my glass of vintage wine.

Yes, Nizar is the man of tomorrow. He reminded me of the good old days when Tuanku Abdul Rahman was PM…down to earth and mixes well with the rakyat. He is God sent to PR…hopefully, he will bring back the close integration of all races and bury the racial parties for good.


In a rather comical way, we owe our thanks to UMNO. Without UMNO’s high handed tactic of ousting the lawful government of Perak, we may notget to see Malay, Chinese, Indian and Kaum Lain2 can stay united for the well being of the Nation.

Kutty, Najib and UMNO tried very hard to split us, but we stand our ground!! Now we can tell them to go eat …!!!


if i choose to see things the way the blogger see things, i believe if 16 september ever happen, i will say ‘its democracy. everybody can choose whoever he/she likes’ then BN will be history and anwar, despite his non-commitment to PKR ( if the adviser to PKR is considered a post, then I’ll retract the sentence ) will be appointed PM. guan eng, karpal, hadi, etc etc they have to step aside for anwar to be named PM. thats the logic if i choose think and see things like the blogger is seeing now. but no. we cant do… Read more »

bangsa Cina Malaysia

Alhamdulilah Melayu Cina India bersatu hati menyokong MB Nizar dan YB Manikumar.
MB Nizar = prime minister material