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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

PJ Utara Forum Rakyat cancelled

(Bold heading digitally superimposed)

We really wanted this to happen. We wanted this for Democracy.

We believed PJ Utara was ripe and we still do - a sophisticated and discerning voting population, a high literacy rate, well-traveled, internet-enabled - that such a Forum Rakyat, by the people and for the people, could begin to pave the way for more open dialogue nationwide.

Yup, P106 PJ Utara has the perfect setting. MCA's Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, the popular incumbent sharing the same stage as Oxford-trained Tony Pua of the DAP; sparring ideas, clarifying misconceptions, pitting visions. It's one of the hottest-watched seat this side of the peninsular.

And so as of Nomination Day, we slogged to get the idea of a forum fleshed out. We worked on the format and agenda, and took great pains to ensure it was as fair as possible to all parties; no cheap shots, no mudslinging:

What's the best format?
If it's for the rakyat, why not a Q&A?
How do you prevent freaks from showing up drunk and rowdy?
Make it a by-invitation-only affair. People have to register earlier.
How do you control the quality of the questions?
Get the audience to write down their question rather than an open mike format. Yes, we'll lose some spontaneity but it's more prudent. Get auditors to vet through the questions. Allow both sides to appoint two of their own representatives with powers to veto any unfair question.
What if they keep picking on longkangs and stuff, y'know, dig some dirt?
Look, we'll stay away from the past. The 11th Parliament was a washout, bygones; let's look forward to the 12th. Keep discussions only about the road ahead. What can they offer, where do they stand on certain issues, how will they fight the good fight on our behalf?

Formal invitations were delivered yesterday. Even before that, members of the group had called and met up with both candidates' staffers to explain about the forum. Both sides were very receptive. But when it mattered most:

Tony Pua said Yeah, let's do it! Chew Mei Fun said No, I can't.

An assistant of Tony emailed GetanMP-PJ Utara late last night to express Tony's keenness in participating in the Forum. They requested that it be held on Sunday afternoon, the weekday nights being reserved for ceramahs. Cool, we thought. Real cool.

This morning, a member from the GetanMP-PJUtara group called up the MCA side to get a response. Mr Ch'ng, a key aide to Chew Mei Fun, said the incumbent apologised but could not afford the time for the event. We negotiated, offered them the choice of a best-time slot. Think it over, please discuss, we'll call you back. Called back, the answer was the same. Negative.

Yet another dedicated member decided to plead with Chew Mei Fun directly. He reached her on her cell-phone. The gentle but firm answer was again No.

It's not our business to reveal details of the conversations, but be assured that Chew and her aides were well-mannered and cordial at every interaction. Nevertheless, our road ends here - in disappointment. We had expected more. And fine manners aside, we deserved more.

Given the scenario, we the GetanMP-PJ Utara group will make a common stand on the Candidates in the hours to come. We'll keep you posted.

Addendum: If you're interested in the agenda we formulated for the Forum, we're posting up jpg files for your reference. Want the softcopy? Just email us. i think any other constituency wanting to pursue this further ought to just carry the torch and invite YOUR candidates to a Forum Rakyat. Lembah Pantai? Subang? Pandamaran? Rembau? Kepala Batas? Anywhere! Ask for a People's Forum. Let it spread.

Let the Rakyat's call be heard. Let them know we're not just sitting back on our asses waiting for their speeches. We can take the mantle, and we can set the pace. We hold the votes, we're the boss. They will serve us yet.


Mohamad Hilman bin Nordin said...

when can we see Mr. Guo-Burne and Mr. Hwa Beng sharing the same stage? =)

Get-an-MP said...

Bro Hilman,
Go organize it, you and your buddies. Template dah ada. GetAnMP-PJU will help and advise you any way we can. Let's start it all over the country.

Anonymous said...

this chew lady is afraid to be roasted like her colleagues standing for PJS. Afraid if she is gonna be queried on her 1969 threat? common, you dont have time for a citizen debate? anyway, I dont expect you to have any stand of your own. like donald fella, you have to refer to Badawi for greenlight.
thanks but no thanks, Ms Chew. You are not fit, as fa as i am concern, to be a MP.

CP said...

Opposition DAP fields young Oxford-trained businessman

By Channel NewsAsia's Malaysia Correspondent Melissa Goh |
Posted: 28 February 2008 2020 hrs

KUALA LUMPUR : The 12th Malaysia general election is seeing more young professionals being fielded as candidates.

One of them is Oxford-trained Tony Pua from the opposition Democratic Action Party.

36-year-old Mr Pua is being touted by the Opposition as the "boy wonder" and is contesting the seat in Petaling Jaya Utara.

He founded his own IT company, Cyber Village, in Singapore and made his millions after he listed his company on Sesdaq.

But he quit business last year and returned to Malaysia to join politics full-time.

Mr Pua said: "I have made Malaysia my home. I think when you make this place your home, you have to do your best to make sure this country is worth living in. Politics can help to make and shape a better country."

He added that he hopes to capitalise on the growing anti-government sentiment among the Chinese community which makes up over 76 percent of the registered voters in Petaling Jaya Utara.

Most of them are middle class Chinese and so political analysts believe Mr Pua can represent their hopes and dreams.

He said: "I hope to make a stand for the people of Malaysia. It's possible for professionals to go into opposition politics and yet do well."

Mr Pua is facing 43-year-old Chew Mei Fun, who's widely seen as one of the more capable candidates from the Malaysia Chinese Association, a key partner in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

And despite having served as Member of Parliament for two consecutive terms, she's not taking her opponent lightly.

Ms Chew said: "This round is tougher compared to the last term."

She recently survived a car accident that broke her collar bone and injured her left eye.

And now she has another challenge in the form of an impressive but untested Tony Pua.

But Mr Pua said he's here to stay even if he fails to unseat Ms Chew in this general election.

Analysts foresee a close fight between the two, and whoever that wins will be by a slim majority. - CNA/ch

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