After much observation and conversations with those who had been to Ijok, Keadilan (PKR) had failed to win the semi-urban seat due to its own shortcomings as well, which they must address at once, to prevent further damages and casualties in the coming elections.

Yes, although PKR’s deputy Syed Husin Ali said that BN’s win was an “immoral victory” and there were lots of hanky-panky going on, allegations of vote buying, phantom voters and violence, but PKR is not without its faults. Moral victory or no, a post-mortem should be done internally to investigate the reasons for losing. For whenever there is an accident, one cannout blame the other for total wreckage. Somewhere along the line, something went wrong. And the sooner PKR people identify these sore points, the better it is.

I must say from the onset that I am impressed with all the dedication, hardwork, sweat and sleepless nights that party workers had to endure, without which, I believe PKR would have lost even further. These people are your assets, and the real blood and diamond in your struggle for a better Malaysia.

The Ijok by-election would have been a really good platform for PKR to convince the people that it is a viable alernative party for all Malaysians. However, I felt, the party didn’t explore its potential to  the fullest in this area. Instead of fleshing out issues of real concern to the people, PKR showed its over dependency on the Anwar factor.

Yes, Anwar (Ibrahim) may be a hero to some, but not to the world at large, and definitely, not to all Malaysians who have witnessed his personality in the past when he was a government official. His magic is created by the foreign media but what is reported does not represent the reality. Let’s face it: any news that’s anti-government or anti-Prime Minister is “hot news” as so few people actually speak againt the authority. Which is why the foreign media crowd around him like moths to a flame, for example:

The by-election became as much about the possible return to prominence of Mr Anwar – seen as the opposition’s “leader in waiting” – as it had to do with the people of Ijok. (BBC).

So, its time for PKR to re-assess their selling point. Will they continue to use Anwar as a brand name or move on? This, I believe, would determine their future performance in Malaysia’s political arena. 

What is also sadly missing in the last by-election is a viable media to counter all the negative news about PKR, and its candidate Khalid Ibrahim. Its true that the Opposition has its party organ and Opposition newspapers, magazines and online news like the DAP’s Rocket and PAS’ Harakah or even Malaysia-Today. But all these are seen as pro-Opposition, perception of them are very much like how people perceive The STAR (MCA paper) and Utusan Malaysia or NST (Umno paper). In short, I can say the news follow a certain agenda , especially where politicial news are concerned, therefore, they are less credible.

However,  Malaysiakini, supposedly an alternative online newspaper, also did not carry as news Khalid’s clarification on his position as CEO of Guthrie, whereas the news about Deputy Prime Minister’s Najib Tun Razak’s allegations was. Malaysiakini merely carried Khalid’s clarification as a letter. Some complained about the online new’s coverage as being heavy on the MIC side, though some accuse it of being ‘Anwarkini’ instead of Malaysiakini. Which means, there is a credibility problem here at stake.

It’s time PKR and its Opposition allies really sit together and think of how to address the issue of media potrayal against them.  There is a need for a truly independent media who will report news fairly and independently, without fear or favour, and whose content is Malaysian in nature.

The other factor contributing to the downfall of PKR, probably not only in Iok, but elsewhere as well, is the lack of coordination at ground zero. For example, blogger Jed Yoong @ Freelunch2020 noted that she couldn’t even get a straight answer from PKR’s information chief Tian Chua about Anwar’s ceramah schedule. Now, that is frustrating, for someone who want to help the party promote its activities. Imagine, how frustrating it would be for reporters, who need to get their job done, which includes, at the same time, helping you advance your activities?

PKR certainly need to upgrade their quality and level of politicians. They need to learn how to deal with the media and party supporters as well or else you’ll lose these hopeful gems. Young turks, professional or otherwise, may be mesmerised by the initial glamour of fighting for truth or justice, but when push comes to shove, when reality strikes like lightning, even the call for justice or truth can taste bitter.

But updraging of politicians is not enough. Those with an ‘evil’ past like Khalid would have to come clean and be honest about his involvement with Guthrie. If possible, he needs to admit his mistakes and probably vow never to do such a thing again. Malaysians are forgiving. We even forgave Najib Tun Razak for wanting to “bathe the keris in Chinese blood” in 1987. So why can’t Khalid be forgiven?

My friend, human rights activist and blogger Chang Lih Kang has a good piece on the issue. He said:

In this particular case, I would suggest Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to make a public apology for what he has done to the plantation workers in the past. As a politician who vows for changes, one must possess the quality to admit his blunders and apologise over it. As the proverb goes, a fault confessed is half redressed. This move (by making a public apology) will benefit Tan Sri Khalid because he will be seen as a courageous candidate.

Like all political parties, the talk to engage and win over Chinese voters is rife as they could provide the necessary swing to ensure victory. Likewise, PKR is engaged in this campaign as well, but I do not see its Chinese leaders given the appropriate attention, prominence or publicity as they should. I am not talking about Tian Chua, he gets the publicity he deserves by being arrested for countless of times. But I am talking about hopefuls like heart surgeon Dr Lee Boon Chye (from Ipoh) and CK Law from Butterworth. They have come into PKR with an open and sincere heart, wanting to see change for all Malaysians.

However, the way I see it, PKR rather depend on DAP leaders to charm voters in the Chinese areas. Now you see why PKR is only often seen as a Malay party? There are many Chinese and Indian leaders, with the exception of one or two (who I would not recommend at all) within PKR who should be projected publicly to upgrade the party’s image. This has to be done now, not a day or two, before the General Elections.  Perhaps, they may even need a media blitz.

Focussing on Chinese and Malay voters alone is unfair for there is a sizeable number of Indian voters as well, who often throw their support behind MIC or Sammy Vellu. Why shouldn’t PKR try to win them over as well? They are after all Malaysians. Just because they are small in numbers and may not provide the necessary swing, they are human beings, who also seek better lives for themselves and their children. After all, in elections, the mentality should remain that every vote counts.

Training is of utmost important for PKR candidates for not all are born with campaigning or public speaking skills. They need to be trained in PR skills as well, on issues related to common folks. This can only be done if the candidates actually go to the ground. Of course it is easy to talk about big and noble concepts like democracy, rule of law, justice, judiciary and equality, but so what? Wwhat does it matter to ordinary folks who can’t even be satisfied with two meals a day? In brief there is no short cut to success. It’s 99 percent hardwork (homework) and 1 percent luck. I am afraid that 1 percent is running thin for PKR.

Talking about PR or ceramah skills, it was noticed that some politicians like Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, who spoke in Tamil should also try to speak in Bahasa Melayu as well, or get his speech translated. This goes for Chinese speaking leaders as well. Try to do this so that everyone who attends your ceramah would feel apart of the event, and not feel alienated. Do this as a gesture to respect our national language and at the same time, bring all Malaysians closer in better understanding of the issues you want to propagate.

As for supporters, PKR has many who are not only academically inclined but artistic as well. Zunar the political cartoonist should be really roped in to draw cartoons on posters depicting the injustices in people’s daily lives. Enough of posters about Anwar, Wan Azizah and rest. We need humour, but humour that goes to the heart and make people think.

I hear that many singers or artiste support PKR as well. Albert Ho, the blind singer had openly declared his support for PKR. Invite him to entertain the crowd at cermahs and at the same time, impart some interesting messages. I am sure he will be more entertaining than some of the politicians PKR have on stage.

Finally, and most importantly is the follow-up strategy after this by-election. Is there any? I know PKR is collecting evidence of the violence and vote buying in Ijok, but what is equally important is a follow up plan to prepare the party for the coming GE. An objective, open, sincere and honest evaluation on the party’s failure is needed. Else, I am certain there would be a lot of regrets when this year is over.

This election is one of the best opportunities for the people to make a difference. The ruling party is in a disarray. We have an ex-premier and an ex-Umno president, falling short of saying it out loud : vote PKR. We have a deputy prime minister tainted with controvery of a murder of Altantuya, the mongolian citizen. And we have a Prime Minister who seem intent on staying another term though there are forces who do not want to see this happen.

Indeed, it is one of the best chances for the people to say that “enough is enough”.

As for PKR, it is time to move on from the Anwar factor. Make other leaders known. have their alternative policies paraded for all to see. This or any other election is not about Anwar alone. It should be about the people. It should be about Malaysia.

Read also Jed Yoong’s piece in The STAR: PKR should find out why it lost.





23 responses »

  1. joehancl says:

    Right On. I agree with what u write. Democracy, elections, government should be about the people, the country, never about personalities.

  2. monsterball says:

    Beautiful piece! Hope PRK read and understand and most important…be humble and admit Susan’s advise to Khalid.
    We need to see the different characters and attitudes against UMNO…if any and pray the oppositions are so….brave and yet humble to admit mistakes to the public.

  3. gehjfd says:

    (Sila catatkan no. rujukan Jabatan ini apabila berurusan)
    50604 KUALA LUMPUR.
    Tel : 03-6203 7777
    Fax : 03-6203 7788
    Ruj. Kami : JP** $$-$$-07(**)
    Tarikh : 3 Mei 2007
    Semua Pengetua / Guru Besar
    SMK/SK/SJK (c)/SJK (T)
    Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

    Y. Bhg. Datin/Tuan / Puan,
    a. Penggunaan sekolah sebagai Pusat Pengundian Bagi Plilhan Raya Umum Ke 12
    b. Pelantikan Guru-Guru dan Kakitangan sekolah sebagai petugas – petugas Pilihan Raya Umum Ke 12
    Dengan hormatnya perkara yang tersebut di atas adalah dirujuk.
    2. Seperti yang kita sedia maklum, Pilihan Raya Umum Ke 12 akan diadakan dalam masa yang terdekat ini. Pihak Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) telah mengenalpasti sekolah – sekolah berkenaan untuk dijadikan pusat mengundi. Pegawai – pegawai pengurusan pilihan raya juga telah dilantik untuk melaksanakan urusan pilihan raya bagi kawasan – kawasan Pilihan raya Parlimen berkenaan. Pegawai – pegawai pengurus berkenaan juga dikehendaki melantik beberapa petugas pilihan raya seperti Ketua Tempat Mengundi dan kerani tempat mengundi. Lantikan ini akan dibuat dari kalangan guru dan kakitangan sekolah.
    3. Justeru itu pihak Jabatan member kebenaran pengunaan bangunan sekolah sebagai pusat mengundi dan perlantikan guru dan kakitangan sekolah sebagai petugas – petugas Pilihan raya Umum yang akan dating.
    4. Kerjasama Y. Bhg Datin/Tuan/Puan amat kami hargai dan diucapkan terima kasih.

    Saya yang menurut perintah
    ( ***************)
    Ketua Sektor Pengurusan Sekolah
    b.p Pengarah Pelajaran
    Jabatan Pelajaran ******** *******
    a. Semua Ketua Sektor, ****
    b. Semua Ketua Unit, ****

  4. Please read the Star today’s edition. Jed Yoong, former editor of DAP’s Rocket wrote her critique on PKR’s performance in Ijok, titled “PKR should find out why it lost”.

  5. […] politics, announcements, news Thanks to commentator gehjd, who posted this @ 6.37pm on my “Ijok: lessons for the Opposition” post. By the looks of it, general elections are around the corner. Cikgus out there, check […]

  6. noname says:


    U hope prk read and understand? what is prk? what i know prk stands for pilihanraya kecil. Do you get it mixed up? sorry if i’m wrong.

  7. monsterball says:

    hi noname….Wrong ..It should be PKR….Thanks alot!

  8. hi susan,

    Certainly the party can do better and should. There is little doubt KeADILan is hard pressed to match the colossal machinery, resources and money of BN and all the state apparatus and functionaries. But there are a number of misrepresentation in your piece. Eg.

    “The Ijok by-election would have been a really good platform for PKR to convince the people that it is a viable alernative party for all Malaysians. However, I felt, the party didn’t explore its potential to the fullest in this area. Instead of fleshing out issues of real concern to the people, PKR showed its over dependency on the Anwar factor.”

    There were daily press conferences at 11 am, which various issues, ranging from local to state were raised. They also include a development plan for Ijok and other less developed areas in Selangor and a relook at the development of the state. Furthermore the Local Plan of Kuala Selangor was also brought up, not forgetting health, sanitation effects due to the dumpsite which has long-term repercussions for the residents, and how to elevate SMEs in Ijok.

    Naturally these are not ‘sexy’ topics for the media to report on, save a handful of Chinese newspapers.

    At no time was Anwar Ibrahim present at the press conference or was he the centre of the campaign. His schedule essentially is walk-abouts in the evenings and nightly ceramahs.

    As for Jed’s jibe at Tian Chua about not knowing what Anwar’s schedule is:- Every journalist there would know where to get it from, i.e. me and KeADILan media coordinator. It is announced every morning at the press conference, otherwise it would be sent via SMS to journalists stationed at Ijok. We release them only when everything is confirmed from Anwar’s office. Tian Chua did not hold Anwar’s schedule as that was not his job there. So if there’s any person to be blamed for delays, it would be me, and I am discerning as to who, apart from reporters, this information can be released to, after the police created for us after the 4th day as they were intent on stopping every ceramah with Anwar in it.

    Dr. Xavier spoke not just in Tamil but in very good Malay. Ditto for anyone with facility for more than one language. The campaign team whether in Pekan Ijok or Tuan Mee were multi-ethnic. And KeADILan didn’t rely on DAP in ‘Chinese’ areas but had their own team. However most reporters would rather quote Lim Kit Siang since he is the leader of the opposition in Parliament as oppose to say, young KeADILan activists or Dr. Lee Boon Chye during ceramahs. Plus the DAP members who came to help were not only ‘Chinese’.

    And there were a number of cartoonists involved and banners, flyers were made 🙂 I took photographs but haven’t had time to process them.

    The by-election was never about Anwar. And most certainly it was not the selling-point as reported by a foreign news agency in your piece. It was only upon my return I read with astonishment, how news had portrayed it as such, esp. in the internet and foreign news. However one cannot dictate the angle in which news is framed and written, no matter how ‘sexy’ one may want to angle local issues.

  9. susan loone says:

    Thanks ELi for your detailed clarification. It seems more and more clearer to me that a real alternative media is needed.PKR cant reply on any of the existing media anymore since the coverage has been damaging and PKR has no chance to reply.

    Its good to hear that Anwar is not the centre piece as it was potrayed. If this trend continues, perhaps more and more voters will learn to appreciate PKR.

    I did rely on reliable sources for my piece and reading the various analysis about Ijok. These are from people who really wanted to see PKR do well in the coming GE. These are also issues which PKR’s opponent will use to attack the party, but with your side of the story, we now know why things happen the way it did.

    But I do think some of your good leaders really need some serious promotion lar..or else…no one knows them till kingdom come 😦

  10. DEar eli,

    u said:

    “As for Jed’s jibe at Tian Chua about not knowing what Anwar’s schedule is:- Every journalist there would know where to get it from, i.e. me and KeADILan media coordinator. It is announced every morning at the press conference, otherwise it would be sent via SMS to journalists stationed at Ijok. We release them only when everything is confirmed from Anwar’s office. Tian Chua did not hold Anwar’s schedule as that was not his job there. So if there’s any person to be blamed for delays, it would be me, and I am discerning as to who, apart from reporters, this information can be released to, after the police created for us after the 4th day as they were intent on stopping every ceramah with Anwar in it.”

    i asked azmin where to get it. he said at the main bilik gerakan at batang berjuntai.
    when i went there at 4PM and asked if the schedule was up.
    tian chua said no. it’s not there. and had NO IDEA how to get it as per my post.
    SIVARASA witnessed this converssation.
    later when i went back at 6PM, the schedule was up plastered on the main door….
    it’s A PUBLIC PROGRAM gal….not a private cocktail party at the PJ hilton.

    TIAN could have been more helpful. But I guess it’s not in his nature.

  11. stenson chin says:

    ok ok you 3 cute girls…please stop firing at each other. If you 3 could combine you thoughts and form one single issue,lee kuan yew also cannot challenge you.I do admit that i enjoy your provocate arguement. I like 3 of you to remain friends whatever differences you might have.

  12. stenson chin says:

    sorry…should be provocative arguement.My english is atrocious.

  13. AnakBapa says:

    From what i can gather all the 3 of you beautiful ladies are right. All of you have right concern for the good of PKR. Although i’m not PKR member, i’m a supporter to their ideals and struggle. There is no harm in accepting criticisms and in fact they will augur well for the party.

    Let’s take stock of what really happen and what should happen and improve along the way. There is nothing spectacular than continuously improving the party’s performance….

    I was there in Ijok almost daily and could see fantastic cooperation among the opposition members and leaders. I have also seen many PAS leaders even giving ceramah in Chinese and Indian areas with vast turnouts. AND they are well received by everybody…

    As mentioned by Susan, the problem is image, as potrayed by BN-controlled media that everything is not OK for KeADILan in Ijok. This issue is not new, we in the media-related industry must do our part to help out people that really require help!!!!

  14. susan loone says:

    come on stenson, no one’s fighting. i love elizabeth wong. jed i havent met yet but am sure we can be buddies 🙂

  15. monsterball says:

    stenson… I have seen ladies start to talk like as if quarrelling….between long lost friends missing each other…men do that too.

  16. monsterball says:

    bennyloh…Don’t put out a stupid sentence to get attention to your cartoons!!
    You have been doing it very often. What party sucks? All of us sucks?

  17. monsterball says:

    Why only at Susan’s site bennyloh?
    Why not post same message at other sites..especially Rocky’s… I dare you!!

  18. bennyloh says:

    Hi Monster Pally,
    “bennyloh…Don’t put out a stupid sentence to get attention to your cartoons!!
    You have been doing it very often. What party sucks? All of us sucks?”

    Referring to the cartoons (this party sucks) I think you alone sucks (All of us sucks?)
    “Why only at Susan’s site bennyloh?”
    Yes Rocky’s too,.. I have posted before. (You dare me? ) So what now?. Go fly a kite. I don’t enjoy reading any of your postings here too

    May I ask if you are in charge of Susan’s web- you seem to be running into posters here and you seem to be all over Susan’s place.

    I’ll stop posting at Susan’s here. I think I have linked here to Susan’s Unity Blog. Do me this service, Monster get Susan to remove the link, I will appreciate that.

  19. xpyre says:

    Hi Eli and all, just a few quick questions:-

    1. Would it be possible for PKR to campaign on its own platform in the up-coming GE? I don’t mean this as a rhetorical question, it’s a serious question. If not, how do you see PKR compromising on adopted policies (if at all) when faced with the policies of PAS and DAP – and since DAP isn’t going to work hand in glove with PAS, where does that leave Barisan Alternatif?

    2. What’re PKR’s findings on why the Indian vote was lost? Was it a lack of pandering to the Indian community (and I really do mean pandering; isn’t that how Parthiban won their votes?) or were suggested policies and plans too vague for the Indian community to find their part in it?

    3. Perhaps I have been wrong in characterizing this elections as one between Anwar and Najib; the truth is, the press has been projecting this impression – I’m willing to admit I was probably taken in.

    Nevertheless, that only means that the press and the government have chosen their target of choice i.e. DSAI. In the upcoming GE, would Anwar still have any utility in the campaign or have BN been effective in turning Anwar into a liability – again no rhetorical question here, but a serious one.

  20. monsterball says:

    bennyloh sucks!

  21. bennyloh says:

    Old hag with wery little experience in life. You are cranky indeed! You went on to humiliate me about cartooning which you know nuts about. You repeated in your postings about:
    1) you egoistic self and your old age-others are all childish youngsters
    2) your repeats about me not being qualified to posts in Susan’s
    3) you assume you are important in Susan’s web and you were
    finding/intimidating faults and chasing others away
    4) you have not answered what your ‘ not artistic intelligent’ is all about
    5) you challenge me to post at Rocky’s to which I have answered that I
    have, and I am taking up your “dare me”
    Do not use a psedonym when you want to write nastily. I dare you to use your name and photo like me.Be a gentleman.I forgot I don’t think you can “fly a kite” at this age. You really sucks

  22. susan loone says:

    Dear Benny,
    I do encourage you to ignore his comments. I appreciate your cartoon and think you are indeed making a good effort. so be happy about all those who appreciate you and like your cartoons, not the one or two who makes you feel down.

    As for your request earlier to de-link you…I would like to tell you, I like having you around.

    Cheer up. Continue to post links to your new cartoons here, ok?

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