Of Joe the Plumber, Joe Regular, and Joe Reform – Letter to Malaysiakini

Politics.. politics.. politics.. It looks like we can’t never be bored of talking about politics, and that includes myself. Certainly it is not exclusively to Malaysian politics, but these corridor of power talks have been conquering the air from Palin’s favourite shooting range in Alaska to Tsvaringai’s mansion in Zimbabwe and finally to the Southernmost tip of Asia mainland, Tanjung Piai in Johor. One should not venture to look for the reason why these politico talks are interestingly contagious and time consuming, one should only embrace and indulge into it. CNBC can talk about politics all around the clock, Wolf Blitzer will be happy to not to sleep just to talk about the tussle between Obama and McCain.

Are the situations different in Malaysia? I guess not. Our wolf blitzers come in the form of coffee shop addicts burning the midnight oil, not for the coffee but for the stories that go with every single sip of the coffee.

18 days before the Americans decide who is going to move in to White House, all of a sudden Joe the plumber caught the interest of everyone in America, and also keen followers of America presidential race. ‘Joe the Plumber’ was mentioned by both Obama and McCain in their third (and the last) presidential debate. What’s so special about this guy? Some even question is he really a plumber? But seriously, who cares. The important thing is both candidates are trying to win Joe the Plumber’s heart, anticipating that if they get Joe’s vote, they’ll get the other Joes votes. But this time it’s no longer Joe the Plumber, but Joe Regular.

Joe Regular goes by many names, some call it Joe Average, Joe Biden calls them as Joe Six Pack. But Joe Biden is no ordinary Joe, he is the Democrat candidate running for Vice President with Mr. Obama. Back home in Malaysia, Joe Regular is much known as Joe Rakyat, or simple names as Ahmad, Ah Chong, and Muthu. They are named differently, but that doesn’t take away the politician’s effort to win their hearts in order to be in power. Joe Rakyat in Malaysia is no different with Joe Six Pack in America. Those who seems like and looks like the one who represent this group of people will have one foot in the office, be it the Oval’s Office or Putrajaya.

To be the front runner, politician must include reform in his/her agenda. Reform is compulsory as reform means for the betterment, and improvement. Nobody will ever want to vote for no-change. Something has got to change, be it the Prime Minister or the agendas that binds with the head of the state. Therefore, these constant demand for change will give rise to another type of Joe, similarly to another Joes, this guy is also a voter, but not only that, he will rise from the group that put themselves on the ballot paper, the politicians. They go by the name of Joe Reform.

What’s happening in America is almost similar to the political ‘tarik tali’ in Malaysia. It’s about which Joe Reform can win the most hearts of Joe Regular. The agenda for reform is the x-factor in pulling votes into politician’s pocket. Barisan Nasional must come with a substantive reform agenda which appeal to Ahmad, Ah Chong and Muthu to catch up with this fast moving political pace in Malaysia. Even McCain is differentiating himself from Bush’s administration, McCain is portraying himself as not the usual Republican candidate to overcome Obama’s Change We Believe In campaign. So, I don’t see the reason why Najib or Tengku Razaleigh ( maybe ) refuse or choose not to table their agenda of reforms to the benefit of Barisan.

The pressure for change tantamount to surprises, shocks and unexpected news. BN had been surprised by the last March 12th General Election result. If there is no major rehaul to BN’s engine, I’m anticipating that Joe Rakyat will turn to another Joe Reform on the other side of the Isle.


4 responses to “Of Joe the Plumber, Joe Regular, and Joe Reform – Letter to Malaysiakini

  1. Hey,

    Do you mind removing the accidental comment i made with my mom’s id?



  2. The ruling coalition has enjoyed an almost unbroken 50 years of 2/3 majority in parliament. The only time this overwhelming majority was lost was in 1969.

    Immediately, the race riots were triggered, parliament was suspended and the National Operations Council (with 100% control) installed. The semblance of democracy was only restored after the major opposition parties were sucked into a new and larger coalition and the 2/3 majority regained.

    The ruling coalition operates on the whip principle – component parties and representatives must toe the official line. Under no circumstances is a wakil rakyat allowed to vote according to his conscience or according to the mandate the people he represents gave him.

    So what has 50 years of 2/3 majority given us?

    * The Malaysia Constitution has been amended some 690 times. The USA has been in existence for more than 200 years and their constitution was only amended 27 times.

    * The Malaysia Constitution is amended for matters as trivial as extending the term of office on the Elections Commission officer, simply to avoid facing rejection by the Agung.

    * Because of the overwhelming power available to the executive, the judiciary has been emasculated and corrupted, the legislature has been reduced to a rubber stamp, the powers of the Agung have been clipped.

    * The legal system is a sad joke, serving only further the desires of the ruling clique.

    * The Elections Commission serves only to ensure that the ruling clique is returned to power.

    Look at the statistics:

    · In the last election (2004), Barisan Nasional received only 63.8% of the popular votes but has 91% of all parliamentary seats. All due to gerrymandering, phantom votes, voter relocation, voter substitution – there are even suspicions of ballot box stuffing.

    · Umno received 35.9% of the popular votes, has 50% of the parliamentary seats and holds 71% of the ministerial positions. The other members of the coalition have been reduced to running dogs, wagging their tails and begging for scraps.

    · Little Napoleons have been allowed to run rife and the rights of non-malay, non-Muslim communities have been trampled upon.

    · The wakil rakyat do nothing even when constitutional amendments threatening these rights are proposed. It is left to the opposition members to highlight these alarming matters and try to prevent total steamrolling.

    · Meanwhile, it is not like the rights of all malays are really being addressed. Claims of hardcore poverty among rural malays indicate that wealth distribution is not making real headway.

    · Under the umbrella of the NEP, wealthy Umno leaders continue to steal the wealth of the country, feeding pittance to the people. And the malays are being deprived of the ability to compete and gain new skills.

    · Under the shield of the NEP, incompetent people (skilled in politicking) are given promotions while capable people are being deprived of the opportunity to lead.

    · Major national corporations and companies are blundering from error to error. We have lost our competitive edge in practically every field.

    Change may not necessarily be better.

    If we want to become better, we must want change.

    We hold that power.

  3. When will be the good day the Orang Asli come forward to utter their rightful word – “you all go back to your land of origin and leave us alone”. Then malays, Indians and Chinese etc, can all pack and leave Malaysia for good.

  4. The truth is that Umno has ruled supreme for the last 50 years. It always got its way because the dominant ethnic majority of the country always supported its policies.

    The state of the nation is corrupt, racist, discriminatory, abusive, unjust, inefficient, and backwards. If Malaysia stinks then it is because Umno stinks.

    If the “morals of the country” stinks, then it is because the morals of Umno politicians stinks.

    I won’t even discuss the morality of explosives and murder of foreign nationals as most people seem to be able to tell the difference between right and wrong in this instance.

    Instead, I shall talk about Umno corruption and Umno racism as the former will occasion the disastrous downfall of this nation, and the latter will be the downfall of the Malays.

    Umno teaches that it is just to discriminate against all non-malays and non-Muslims – jobs, education, schools, colleges, universities, business opportunities, government contracts, taxes, and even finding a cemetery to bury the dead.

    Umno teaches that it is right to discriminate on the basis of a person race, culture, language or religious belief.

    In front of non-malays, it speaks of tolerance and unity in diversity, and in front of malays it speaks of race, religious, cultural and language supremacy, and the glorification of power and ethnic subjugation.

    Bung Mokhtar leadership role as characterised by a yobbish machismo, obscene gestures, medieval attitudes towards women and minorities, and strutting bigotry within Umno is not only not an accident of chance, but an exemplary example of Umno appeal to the baser instincts and darker fantasies of its ethnic constituency.

    To the vernacular schools it gives a pittance for support, and to malay language schools, there is no need to be diplomatic and call them “national language” schools, it gives 100% support.

    As for English medium schools, the type that made Malaysia education the best in South East Asia, and our school leavers the most sought after anywhere in the civilised world, they were made extinct, courtesy of Umno language and cultural supremacist fantasies.

    So we are left with unemployable graduates with deplorable job skills and prospects.

    Umno policies caused a brain drain to Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, and the US.

    Umno language supremacist policies caused the extinction of the best high quality education that Malaysia and the malays would ever know.

    Umno perversion of the very idea of meritocracy in favour of racist discrimination has ensured the lack of meritocractic competition for all Malaysians.

    Sooner or later, the malays will realise that denying meritocracy to non-malays guarantees that there can be no meritocracy for malays even within their own community.

    The fact that there is no notable inferiority complex nor entitlement complex or NEP dependence amongst the non-malays is no accident.

    If the non-malays were the dominant ethnic majority, and they had an Umno-like racist party to lead them with promises of ethnic supremacy, racial discrimination and ethnic privileges, then I believe they would have lost their self-confidence, self-respect and self-belief too.

    Farish Noor once said “Umno ternak melayu untuk disembelih”.

    I agree, and if the dominant ethnic majority fails to see past Umno seductive promises of ethnic supremacy and false gods of ethnic aggrandisement, then we are all finished.

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