The Fake Third Force



Recently in the last 10 years, Penang has seen an influx of new political parties filled with interesting personalities flooding the political landscape. All of them seem to claim that they are there to “strengthen democracy” but they all seem to be united in one cause, to criticise the Pakatan Harapan Penang State Government while completely ignoring the seemingly “immaculate” Barisan Nasional who last I checked, are still in power on the federal level.

These seemingly “independent” political parties along with some disgruntled former members of PH parties claim that they do not represent nor side with either BN or PH and want to be the “third force” in the Malaysian political arena. They claim to be the true voices of the Penang people and will give Penangites an additional option in the coming elections. Strange as prior to 2008, there seemed to be no interest in these groups to form their so called “third force” and only seem to pop out only within the last five years.

Many of them are now proceeding to go all out to either promote a vote for the “third force” or a “spoiled vote”. What many do not actually know, is that they are merely promoting the chances for the BN to recapture Penang in the coming elections. Now I know, many of you reading this would probably think that I am writing this as a DAP member but let us explore this concept of the “third force” first in the Malaysian context.

I am first and foremost, a believer in democracy. It was because of my faith in democracy that I chose to become politically active. Many countries around the world have vibrant democracies with multiple parties contesting for power and the direction of the country. Some like the United States of America have a strong two party system which presents two candidates that have almost equal chances of being elected President. Some like the United Kingdom have moved on beyond the two party system with multiple new parties gaining ground and forcing established parties like the Conservative Party and the Labour Party to often have to form coalition governments with smaller parties in order to have a majority in Parliament.

Malaysia on the other hand, has seen the complete domination of one party in the last 61 years. Some argue that the BN is not one party but a coalition of multiple parties each representing their own interests for a balanced system. This is however inaccurate as each BN party does not have an equal say as the other. It can be argued that in the BN, while their “dacing” symbol claims that their parties are equal, after 61 years, it can be seen that one party is “more equal than others”. Yup, 73 years after it was first published, George Orwell’s Animal Farm book’s political allegories are still very much relevant today especially in Malaysia.

Anyway, back to my point. The ruling BN has been in federal power for so long that they have comfortably entrenched themselves in every vein and artery of government body giving them absolute unchecked power. This has also led to the BN being able to completely centralise power into the federal government by slowly stripping away power from state governments that were ruled by their own members. This has effectively made Malaysia a unitary state while maintaining the facade of a federation in name only. Real federations are countries that usually strong elected State Governments that control most of the administration and law makings of those individual states while having a weaker federal governments to control matters like joint security, foreign relations and defence.

Unitary States are countries that have strong central governments while having weak to almost non-existent state or provincial governments. Last I checked, Malaysia was a federation as we are officially known as the Federation of Malaysia but in practice, unchecked 61 years of one party rule has led to the complete amalgamation of party and government.

Malaysia is still a federally dominated country and has not achieved the two party system that we all want. Yet, these so called independent groups are calling for a “third force” already. With the “first past the post system” election system based on party symbols that the country has practiced since independence, voting this so called “third force” can only achieve one thing, the complete electoral victory of the BN in the coming elections. The reason is rather simple; Malaysia is too used to voting either for or against the BN. Hence the votes are either for or against establishment without regards to the different political parties out there. Add that to the earlier fact that the BN is in complete control of the government’s machinery and use it to their full advantage, it is easy to say that the path to victory for the PH is indeed an uphill battle.

So when the votes that are against the establishment are split between different rival political parties, the victory will be handed to the BN automatically as their establishment votes will be able to have a majority over the split anti-establishment votes. The BN knows this and hence encourages financially, the establishment of as many political parties and individual personalities to contest to coming elections in an attempt to confuse and split the voters. The BN does not care if they truly have the mandate of the people to govern, it is a “win at all cost” to recapture Penang. BN and in particular Gerakan and MCA knows that they have to impress their UMNO bosses as much as possible or they will lose all their privileged perks. UMNO themselves want to destroy any possible formation of a two party system or their entire gravy train will be permanently derailed.

So let us really ponder upon the realities. A vote for the so called “third force”, abstaining from voting or spoiling your vote will only achieve one thing, the return of the BN with a supermajority and the permanent elimination of a possible two party system. We have to stay the course and establish that two party system first before talking about a possible multiparty system. The so-called third, fourth, fifth, sixth or whatever forces that are present today are just BN supported parties and individuals that the BN is using to ensure their continuous rule and the end to all possible future threats to them.

Chris Lee Chun Kit is a City Councillor at the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) representing the DAP

Finishing off the BN system


As witnessed at the recently concluded Pakatan Harapan Convention, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has been unanimously agreed upon among all the PH parties to be our Prime Minister designate to take on the current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Barisan Nasional in the fast approaching 14th Malaysian General Elections which is expected to be held in the coming months. Intense debate has followed among Malaysians who are all forming different opinions of the announcement. One thing is certain though, the candidacy of Dr. Mahathir has struck fear into the hearts of the BN leaders who are extremely worried about losing their positions of power that they have invested so much financially to obtain,

Let us look at the bigger picture and explore what is at stake in this coming GE. On one hand we have the BN that has been in power uninterruptedly for the past 61 years. This means the ruling coalition has never tasted defeat in a GE and has never had to be in the opposition. Those many years of uninterrupted rule has made the BN very established in the government and most Malaysians today have never seen neither have they experienced a Malaysia without the BN in power. This has made BN so comfortable in power that every single level of the individual parties of the BN are now only functioning because the BN is in power. BN leaders who seek higher positions or office now have to climb the ladder in the only established way: money!

One way of determining how endemic the money culture is within the BN is to simply talk to your friends. If you tell them that you are volunteering in the coming elections for any opposition party, they will probably be fine with it. Tell them that you are volunteering for the BN and they will probably laugh at your face and ask you why aren’t you getting paid for your time? You see, in other countries, any political party that is seeking a mandate from their electorate would have to raise money for their individual campaigns but here, the BN never seem to have to raise any money at all. They have never held a fundraiser neither have they ever set up a websites asking for donations for any of their election campaign. Instead, they offer free food and money to their election workers every time they go into an election. If they never have to raise funds for their campaigns then where are they getting their money from?

The money culture has infected the BN from the very top to the very bottom. Their non-stop reign as the rulers of Malaysia has made them unable to shake money politics out of their system as divisions and branches insist on getting paid for support of any leaders to climb the ladder or for them to remain as party leaders. Any BN leader who seek to reform the BN will be forced to make a choice between reform or losing power. Divisional leaders hold their top leaders ransom in exchange for financial rewards. A BN leader who is in power at the governmental level will then have to find the funds from within the government in order to pay their “downlines” in twisted form of multi-level marketing. Unfair monopolies and super ridiculously priced contracts will then have to be created for money to be channeled out of the government and into the party’s “downlines”.

As BN leaders and grassroot members make themselves rich over their milking of the country’s resources, the country suffers on the overall as the culture has become unbreakable for as long as the BN remains in power. No BN leader today is willing to risk his or her political careers in order to try to break the culture and reform their parties. As far as their wealth is concerned, its “better me rich than jobless”. Thus the BN is unable to reform itself and is now suffering from an internal disease that is eating them from the inside but with their grip on power acting as a steel armour, no one has been able to even put them out of their miseries.

This is why we now have to stay focused and once and for all put the BN out of their misery by breaking their armour of power. Only then will their disease be removed from the government and the country can once again heal. The talk of reform within the BN is over. The BN is beyond saving for as long as they are in power. The system within the BN is too well established after 61 years of uninterrupted power. Their armour of power is stuck with the BN that it has come to a point that BN and power are one and the same.

This elections is no longer about personalities or politicians, it is about destroying the system that is destroying Malaysia. It is about destroying a BN system that will be fighting tooth and nail with every ounce of their governmental powers to stop us from saving the country. Every single party of the BN is suffering from the money plague and as long as they stay in power, it is a matter of time before every single Malaysian gets infected with poverty plague that follows it.

The PM has no intentions of reform, rather the comforts of power will make him use any means necessary to win the next elections. We the rakyat, will have to pay his bills as well as the bills of every BN leader as a result.

Let us put our differences of opinions aside and stay focused! Bring down the BN system and put them all out of their misery!

Chris Lee Chun Kit is a City Councillor at the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) representing the DAP

Divide, divide and divide some more


It is clear that the current ruling BN government of this country will do anything to stay in power. Their noble causes of entering Malaysian politics were all but destroyed decades ago, replaced by a desire for luxurious lifestyles all funded by public money. Nothing is now below the belt for them in their quest to retain power. So no matter what they say, their so called “transformation” is another sweet word meant to entice voters to maintaining the status quo. And despite what they tell you, that status quo is not the welfare and betterment of the people, but rather their access to almost limitless wealth.

The most toxic among the political movements of the ruling regime was something they inherited from the British colonial days which is the politics of ‘divide and rule’.  You see, they know the corruption that exists within their ranks as well as the increasing disappearances of money.  So, to hide all their misgivings, the BN will resort to dividing Malaysians as much as possible in order to stay in power. They know that should Malaysians stand together as a united force, their days in power would be numbered. Therein comes the age old game of scaring people about “those other guys” that may be different from them.

The BN has played this game to perfection. What started as a power sharing formula between parties that were supposed to ensure that each community is fairly represented in government had turned into vehicles for opportunistic politicians to create a climate of fear of between the communities in this country. It is quite simply, a blatant move to exploit differences between communities given that populace is diverse culturally and religiously each with their own norms and taboos.

Instead of promoting the beauty of unity in diversity, they decided that it is better to exploit people’s natural insecurities about the same diversity to ensure that the electorate can never work together. Add in gerrymandering and voila, you have a sure fire way of retaining power no matter how much you screw the country up. Sad isn’t it?

Rest assured, these types of politics are not just practised in Malaysia but all over the world. Fear is the easiest way of winning and retaining power. Fear of “those other guys”, happens everywhere from the Americas to Europe, Africa and Asia, as long as the population is diverse, there is the possibility of exploiting those differences for staying in power. All someone has to say is “vote for me so I can protect you from ‘those other guys’!”

Division of the people aside, those in power will then proceed to divide their political rivals through their game of “bait and switch” of promises and rewards. Their objectives are of course to ensure the devoid of a united force in opposing them order to further split their threats and keep themselves in power. Suddenly, there are parties, individuals and organisations popping out saying that only they truly represent the voices of the people and asking for votes in the upcoming general elections.

The only thing that they will achieve is to ensure that the BN stays in power on the federal level and capture back the States that they had lost. Confused voters who are opposed to the BN will be forced to choose between opposing parties which will result in the splitting of the opposition votes and allowing the BN to win the majority. After all, we practise the “first past the post” system and the BN will do whatever it takes to exploit it to their advantage.

People of Malaysia, our differences are being exploited to maintain the luxuries of those who currently walk the halls of Putrajaya. The 14th General Election is coming soon and you can bet if we do not stay focused on battle between Pakatan Harapan and the BN, then the BN will further drive this country to the ground for their own personal wealth.

This election must be between the Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional. Some may say they are the “third force”, well let me ask you what good is a third force when a two party system has not even been achieved yet? What good is a third force when the ruling BN will use all aspects of governmental power to their advantage during the campaign and the actual polls? That third force is only going to result in a one force system which is a return of the Barisan Nasional to near absolute power with a two third super majority in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution and further consolidate power to the Prime Minister.

As the nation heats up towards the 14th General Election, let us be focused on ensuring that Pakatan Harapan gets the votes in this electoral battle for the future of Malaysia. All other parties and individuals within that contest will only seek to divide the votes and ensure a BN victory. Focus on the establishment of a two party system so that we can finally end the dominant party system that has made the BN what it is today. Only with proper political competition, can the people truly be winners. We are all Malaysians; let us do this as a team for Malaysia.

Do it for Malaysia…..

Chris Lee Chun Kit is a City Coucillor in the City Council of Penang Island (Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang) representing the DAP. #ilovepenang

Does BN even know what a job is? by Chris Lee Chun Kit


Does BN even know what a job is?

I remembered once driving along the North-South Highway and seeing a huge banner of the Menteri Besar of a particular BN-ruled state welcoming the diaspora population back home for the festivals. On first glance I thought “well, he is trying hard to increase his public profile” then I realised,

“wait a minute, instead of welcoming the diaspora back for the holidays like it is a norm, shouldn’t he be doing something to stop or even to reverse it?”

Yes , basically that particular BN MB seemed to be happy to portray that his state had contributed a lot of home grown talents to Penang, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur as well as overseas. He was proud that other states and countries could benefit from the best brains his state could offer.

Basically, he was indirectly implying that he was proud in failing to provide jobs and retain his talents. If that is the case then as an elected government, he has failed his people. But I know, some would argue that people are allowed to seek employment elsewhere like in the cities around the world but if that is the case then what is the role of the elected government then?

You see a while back, Deputy Health Minister and former Penang Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Hilmi Yahaya had claimed that the Penang State Government had failed the people of Penang when he said that around 6000 people had lost their jobs when their factories closed. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng then responded by saying that based on statistics from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), 24,000 job opportunities had been created in the state in 2016 under his administration and then urged the Deputy Minister to respond to whether he thinks Penang had benefitted from the job creation. Dr. Hilmi has since been silent.

Dr. Hilmi was obviously trying to spin facts to work in his favour and thus create a perception that the Pakatan Harapan coalition government was incapable of governing. This form of attempt to destroy confidence is nothing new as the BN often claims that they are the only coalition worthy and smart enough to govern. What Dr. Hilmi had conveniently forgotten was that many states which are directly governed by BN has been severely lacking in jobs and has resulted in a brain drain of the talented youths to the cities or other countries.

You see, many BN leaders are so comfortable with their stable high salaries in their offices of power that they do not seem to realise nor understand the needs of their electorate anymore. Let us just skip the technical terms and get straight to the point, people need jobs because jobs equals spending and spending generates an economy. Without a job, the populace will be unable to earn a living and be forced to move elsewhere. So if they are unable to look for a job in their home state, then did their governments do enough to ensure that investors bring jobs to their respective states?

Not every Malaysian has the financial nor academic ability to leave their homes and seek jobs elsewhere. Family and financial commitments are among many causes that may lead to a decision to stay home. However, the option to stay home and find work seems to be increasingly difficult in many BN states due to the inabilities of their leaders to find ways to improve the economy. As a result, the people have to suffer while the BN mismanages the economy of both the state and the country. The depreciation of the Malaysian Ringgit coupled with BN crony monopolies of local industries has resulted in rising living costs while salaries remain stagnant and low, lower in the states that the BN governs, due to lack of economic competitiveness.

One would think that after comparing their failing economies to the well managed ones of Pakatan Harapan states like Penang and Selangor, they would learn. But what do these BN leaders know? They have high salaries as government officials both in the state and federal levels. They can afford to send their children to international schools and overseas. As far as they are concerned, their priorities are power and retaining power. Your welfare does not cross their minds at all.

They do not seem to understand nor even care to understand.

Chris Lee Chun Kit is a City Coucillor of Penang Island (Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang) representing the DAP. #ilovepenang